Bucket List Dive, "ALASKA"
Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska, Summer 2017!
Bottom Line: Alaska diving is amazing, the scenery is breath taking, and the water temp...well not as cold as you might expect.
When I tell folks I dive up in Alaska, the first questions are always...OMG! Wasn't it freezing? Is there anything to see? I approached this articled with these FAQs in mind as I crafted my recollection of the experience.
If you have ever dove in California's Central Coast, then you will have an idea of what to expect as far as temperatures and visibility. Very similar to the Monterey Bay, CA. Last summer my dives were a balmy 57F; this year was a little chillier... down to 48F. I dove with my Pinnacle Freedom 2 Dry Suit and a 400gram undergarment and I was fairly comfortable. The instructors & dive masters sport DUI and Santi suits with nice canister heated undergarments, pretty sweet set-ups. If you were diving up there for business, multi-dive days, multiple days a week... I would invest in the heated undergarments gear.
Resurrection Bay is among the most beautiful locations along the southern Alaska Coast. All the cruise lines make Seward a Port of Call. Why? The trip into and out of the bay are nothing short of breath taking. Glaciers, mountains, bald eagles, whales, sea lion rookeries, puffins... I could go on and on. In my opinion what makes the diving so amazing... Structure! Resurrection Bay's diving and aquatic life is similar to other Pacific Northwest destinations, but the way the landscape has been shaped and carved from the millions of years of glacial movement, is absolutely unique. Shear walls that you can pull the boat right up next to can extend down several hundreds of feet below the surface. Underwater canyons, walls, crevasses, are a common place. Several dive sites with nice sandy bottoms are there as well. I've had the opportunity to dive Humpy Cove, Boulder City, and The Grotto.
Humpy Cove was a nice calm cove with a bouldery bottom and a nice slope that had several rock walls that fell off to 60-70 foot. Boulder City was interesting, which I dove last year with Stephen Robertson. Boulder City has two routes to take, we did the southern route, which included canyons and crevasse structure, which were covered with amazing invertebrates and we had a few sea lion visitors as well. The Grotto is an awesome wall dive that slopes off from 30' and the drops down slowly deeper and deeper, where we saw a giant pacific octopus in a large crack in the wall and tons of life. Nudibranchs and a variety of unique anemones litter the wall and crabs and halibut skirt the sand.
Dive Alaska is the premier dive operation in the Anchorage/Seward, Alaska. I spent a week straight with them this summer as I completed my GUE Fundamentals and then several experience dives afterwards. Other shops were around, but Dive Alaska was hands down the best. Offering PADI, TDI, ERDI, and GUE training curriculum, Scott Anderson and his team at Dive Alaska have been diving and teaching for the past three decades. From Open Water to Technical Diving as well as Ice Diving and Public Safety Training, Dive Alaska can deliver. Their shop is located conveniently of Old Seward Why in Anchorage. Their dive boat, "Bottom Time", is the only proper dive boat and dive charter boat in the entire area and it is the perfect platform for training, tours, and exploration. A few others exist, but if you are a well travelled diver, you quickly realize that Dive Alaska is the most professional outfit in the region.
Other dive opportunities in Alaska include some pretty unique and amazing sites. Shark diving in Alaska? Yep... Every year the crew makes a trip to see Alaska's Salmon Shark. Everyone has heard that that the biggest part of an ice berg is submerged, but wouldn't it be cool to see it first hand? Dive under an iceberg? Tours to see glacier calving and whale watching are awesome and every dive trip includes some sort of spectacular mountain views or wildlife encounter.
If you have the opportunity to dive Alaska, do it. I hope to go again next year. If you are interested in joining me on a trip, send us an email or use the contact form.