Scuba diving Alaska
Scuba diving Alaska

Scuba Diving in Alaska

Alaska offers truly outstanding diving. The coastline is remarkably pristine and the water is of course very different from what you might be used to from tropical or sub-tropical diving. Apart from being cold, the water is also very oxygen- and nutrient rich. If you don’t have any previous drysuit and cold water experience, attending a diving course is a very good idea since diving in Alaska is quite different than wet suit diving in warm waters. Alaskan animal life includes Stellar Sea Lions, Octopuses and the gigantic Ling Cods. You can experience dramatic walls, pinnacles, cove diving and wrecks. A lot of divers enjoy catching scallops and Dungeness crab, which is permitted year round. If you are not an Alaskan resident you need to buy a sport fishing licence, allowing you to catch five Dungeness crabs and five sea bass (rockfish) per day, as well as a limited amount of scallop.

If you are interested in wreck diving, check out the Princess Sophia. She sunk on Vanderbilt Reef in a storm in October 1918, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Juneau. You might need to set aside some time to this adventure since the wreck is to be found in the middle of the Lynn Canal where the weather can be unpredictable. The Lynn Canal is not suitable for beginners, and the winds can come close to 75 mph during the winter with seas reaching 15 feet (4.5 metres) or higher and surface currents running 4 knots. It is unadvisable to dive here when the waves are higher than 2 feet (0.6 metres) if you don’t take extra safety measures. These include using a floating safety line. However, it will definitely feel worth the hassle when you descend into the astonishingly clear water. More often than not the visibility here will reach 100 feet (30 metres). The upper end of Princess Sophia is located at 65 feet (20 metres), with the stern at approximately 120 feet (37 metres). This dive site is not only popular among wreck lovers; it also attracts spear fishermen hunting for sea bass and pacific cod. While being in the Juneau area, wreck enthusiast should take the opportunity to visit the Princess Kathleen, the Clara Nevada and the State of California as well. They are all located within 70 miles (113 km) of Juneau.

Resurection Bay Seward is one other well-liked dive site located a little more than 2 hours by car from Anchorage. The trip continues by boat for 2 hours and 30 minutes if you wish to dive at the beautiful dive site called Eldorado narrows. Water temperatures usually varies between 45 and 65 °F (7 respectively 18 °C). Typical depth is 80 feet (12 metres). In the Anchorage area you will also find the Passage Canal Whittier. This is a boat or shore dive, with a typical depth of 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 metres). Temperatures usually vary between 45 and 63°F (7 respectively 17 °C).

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Scuba diving in Alaska