Last week I felt as if I was diving with giants. While I'm not new to diving, I am new to technical diving and underwater photography. Many of the team on last week's trip to God's Pocket in northern British Columbia had logged over 1000 dives.
If you don't mind the cold and a bit of current and depth, this remote dive camp at the northern tip of Vancouver island is some of the best diving you can do anywhere. Sheer walls covered in anemones, octopus, giant colorful crabs, wolf eels, the occasional sea lion ... even a wolf sighting on the way to a dive.
One thing that was omnipresent was the focus on safety. Partly this was because of the challenging diving, partly it was because I was diving with photographers. Recreational diving relies on a buddy system where two divers pair off and look after themselves. Anyone who has spent time around serious photographers knows that the moment you put a camera up to your eye, the rest of the world goes away. This made the rules simple - dive within your limits, don't be stupid, and if something bad happens, assume you are on your own.
This may sound like we took risks. I don't believe we did. There was no bravado, no egging each other on. It was always fine to skip a dive or bail of things felt bad.
All in all, it was a great week. A fine reminder of what a treasure the BC coast is, and another alarm bell that we need to do everything we can to stop the Canadian government from putting an oil tanker terminal right in the middle of this ecosystem.