Scuba Diving Barkley Sound at Ucluelet, BC Canada

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Garrett Clement discovers the wonders of Barkley Sound while visiting a friend on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Uncharted Odyssey wishes to acknowledge that this video was shot on the Nu-Cha-Nulth First Nations’ traditional lands.

Barkley Sound is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, south of Ucluelet and north of Bamfield, and serves as the entrance to the Alberni Inlet. The archipelago of the Broken Group is hidden in the sound. Barkley Sound is part of the Nuu-cha-nulth First Nations’ traditional territory. Captain Charles William Barkley of Imperial Eagle discovered the sound in 1787 and named it after himself. Frances Barkley, the first European woman to visit what is now British Columbia, accompanied Barkley.

The Spanish ship Santa Saturnina, commanded by Juan Carrasco and José Mara Narváez, thoroughly explored Barkley Sound in 1791. It was given the Spanish name Boca de Carrasco. Entrada Nitinat was another popular Spanish name at the time.

The ship’s lifeboat #5 was discovered floating in Barkley Sound in 1933, 27 years after the sinking of the SS Valencia. Surprisingly, it was in good condition, with much of the original paint still intact. The nameplate from the boat is now on display at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Barkley Sound
Roy Luck, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dive Report:

  • Date: October 9th, 2022
  • Dive Site: Ucluelet Pinnacles 
  • Location:  Ucluelet, BC
  • Water Temperature: 8°C
  • Visibility: 10m
  • Dive Time: 50 mins
  • Max Depth: 24m 
  • BEST TIME TO VISIT? – June-October 

Site Highlights: the pinnacles are topped with bull kelp and as you descend you are greeted by huge amounts of fish and anemone life as well as giant acorn barnacles. From big schools to tiny nudibranchs this site wont leave you a moment to be bored with its feast for the eyes. Diving Ucluelet can be tricky because there aren’t any long-standing formal charters. Dive Guide and commercial diver James Cox is looking to start regular dive charters to the sound and unlock its amazing potential as a dive attraction.

Hazards:  High exposure, weather conditions need to be calm to dive this site safely. The pinnacle also descends below recreational limits so you are diving without a floor so buoyancy is crucial 

Follow Garrett Clement’s Dive Adventures at Unchartered Odyssey

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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