DIVE INTO CANADA
Tell people that you are going to Canada on holiday and they’ll likely think of mountains and snow. Tell people that you are going on a diving holiday and they’ll envision white sand beaches in tropical locations. Never would they think you would choose to go diving in Canada.
Like most cold-water regions, Canada seems ignored by scuba diving holidaymakers who flock to the tropics. Of course, we can all understand this, but as our time in Eastern Canada draws to a close, we wouldn’t have done our job if we hadn’t piqued your interest just a little, and, we couldn’t leave without really making sure.
The Water’s Cold. Come On In!
There are undoubtedly some great dives to be had in Eastern Canada, and wreck divers will be in absolute heaven. Tobermory and The St Lawrence River are home to a huge variety of shipwrecks from modern day vessels to some perfectly preserved wooden wrecks from the 1800s. For those whose diving is only good if in glorious technicolor we shared with you the delights of Les Escoumins. I’m betting that you read about those sites with a shiver, but the waters aren’t perhaps as cold as you think. Tobermory in summer can reach 22°C (72°F), and while I admit that you would still want to be diving in a dry suit for comfort it’s hardly cut-through-the-ice-with-a-chainsaw cold is it?
That’s not to say that those locations don’t get cold, they do, and if you’re happy to dive under the ice, the vistas can be stunning.
Way Out East
Those areas aren’t all there is to be discovered. You can dive with seals from Forillion National Park or head even further east to Bell Island in Newfoundland. Here there are four WWII cargo ships sunk by u-boats and now cloaked in coral reef. If you have a liking for the ugly fish, then you’ll love the resident lumpfish and ocean pout.
If you happen to be in this region between April and July, you can join dives on dying icebergs. The icebergs fizz, break, shatter, and explode causing down currents and dramatic changes in the bergs buoyancy. It’s dynamic and exciting but not for the faint-hearted. Divers wear helmets and must be adept with using lift bags too.
Another interesting dive here is The Whale Graveyard at Dildo (yes – get it out of your system). The site is close to a former whale processing station which is why the ocean floor is eerily littered with whale bones.
A Whale Of A Time
Happily, commercial whaling in Canada ended in 1972, and today it’s one of the best places to see whales alive and where they should be. The St Lawrence River and, in particular, where it meets the Saguenay River is blessed with whales year around; blue, humpback, fin, beluga, and minke whales can all be seen along with harbor porpoise and three types of seal. Head over to Tadoussac and hop aboard one of many cruises.
More Than Diving
Eastern Canada does offer more than diving. It’s a great choice for a multifaceted holiday; enjoy your dives and move onto reveling the uniqueness of Quebec City. Chateau Frontenac tops the skyline; Place Royal encapsulates the birthplace of French-Canadian civilisation, the Morrin Centre was once a prison and today is a unique building steeped in history dating back 200 years. Old Quebec is charming with its colorful townhouses and cobbled streets. And did we mention the food? It’s amazing how much the local food can make or break a holiday, and the local specialties offered in Quebec won’t disappoint.
So what are you waiting for? Dare to be different, and the rewards of a unique scuba vacation await. You can enjoy diving in cold water, and if you’ve never donned a dry suit before, you’re going to pick up new skills learning – and that’s never a bad thing.
Tell us about your favorite cold water diving spot, and maybe we can inspire others to explore the world’s more temperate waters!