Text and Photograph by Eiko Jones
Near the top end of Vancouver Island the picturesque community of Telegraph Cove nestles in rainforest overlooking the Johnstone Strait, a bountiful west coast waterway that’s home to its own lush forests, dazzling in their own right. With its serpentine shore and island-choked waterways, British Columbia’s inland sea can be fast and furious, and diving is best enjoyed when the turning tides are slack. I was surfacing from such a dive at the northeast end of nearby Pierce Island just as the slack ended to find myself in the centre of this stunning, brightly lit kelp forest. As sun streamed through the fronds, the tidal rip accelerated, transforming the undulating, all-over-the-place kelp into a stand of giant flora abruptly called to attention. The symmetry of the scene was striking and image-worthy. I quickly shot off a few frames before the water velocity blew me away like a feather in the wind.
A note of caution. Diving in thick kelp can be dangerous. The risk of entanglement is ever present, but a dive in one of these aquatic forests is magical and, for me, worth the exertion of pushing a large underwater camera apparatus through the kelp and fast water. The flow can exceed 10 knots in some places around Vancouver Island. No one swims against that – but just sayin’. Access to these wonderland scenes is a simple matter of following the tried and true rule: plan your dive, dive your plan. Safety stops are way easier at slack tide. Trust me on this.
Photograph taken at Telegraph Cove, B.C. using a Nikon D800 with Tokina 10-17mm lens set at 15mm, in an Aquatica Housing with a 9.25-inch glass dome port and twin Sea & Sea YS D1 strobes. Exposure ISO 320, f5.6 at 1/125 second shutter speed. www.eikojonesphotography.com
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