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Diving in Seattle / Olympic National Park September 9-11, 2018

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest' started by tmassey, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    387
    391
    63
    Hello!

    Six years ago I asked about diving in the PNW (Diving near beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest). Well, it's taken me this long to make this trip happen, but we're doing it: A trip that covers from Seattle to Yellowstone!

    We're going to be in the Seattle / Olympic National Park area September 9-11, 2018 (Sunday through Tuesday). We actually fly in Friday evening. We will be in Seattle on Sunday, and near Port Townsend Tuesday. I would like to get a morning of diving in on one of those days. It will be just me diving. I'm asking for some advice on how I might be able to make this work.

    I've got lots of questions: where should I dive? Who can I dive with? And where can I get some gear--and hopefully the "right" gear?

    I'm a reasonably experienced cold-water diver from Michigan. I've got roughly 350 dives, a healthy number of which are in cold quarries and inland lakes with 30 feet of viz or less. I have Advanced Wreck, Intro Cave, Ice Diver and AN/DP certifications. I dive exclusively BP/W and HP steel doubles.

    I will be flying into Seattle. A second bag will cost less than renting a drysuit, so I will be bringing one bag of gear. That's normally enough to get all my gear somewhere, but *not* with a drysuit, and given your water temps, I think the drysuit will be the higher priority. Which means I won't be able to get all (or maybe not even most) of my gear out there, so gear will need to be acquired. I would certainly prefer BP/W and doubles, of course, but I'll make do with what I can get! :)

    There are other possibilities for diving (Monday the 10th, or maybe on the return trip in the area of Portland or Seattle Saturday through Monday the 22th through 24th), but those would be more difficult. But in case there might be something wonderful, I'll throw those out there too!

    So, any advice? Anyone want to go diving one of those days? Or an operator that would work well? And any suggestions on where gear might be able to be acquired?

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    Before I answer any questions, just where will you be on the Olympic Peninsula? If you can make it out to Neah Bay and can get your hand on a scooter (as I don't think any dive charters will be there in September, but I'll check), Waddah Fingers is a easy scooter run, and amazing. There's also some good diving in Sekiu that @NWGratefulDiver knows about.

    I'll be out of the country, or I'd get you outfitted with doubles (hp100's) as I've gone sidemount and haven't disassembled my doubles yet.
     
  3. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    @Peter Guy may also be available. Hopefully he'll chime in. He knows the area extremely well.

    If you are looking for more tech folks, there's a strong GUE community. Check out the shop 8 (Eight Diving Co.).

    There are some great dive charters, from Bandito Charters in Tacoma, Ocean Quest in Des Moines, Lu Jaqs in Anacortes. I highly recommend boat diving at this time of year. Good viz and nice warm temperatures often during the day. It makes a nice boat ride out on the Sound too.
     
    tmassey likes this.
  4. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    387
    391
    63
    We have a reservation in Port Townsend. I have zero scooter experience, sadly. And from what Google tells me, Sekiu is 2 hours away from Port Townsend, which might be tough for the rest of my family, unless there's things they want to do out there. Can you get to the rainforest without going all the way back to the entrance? We picked the lodging mainly based on cost (a three week trip for five is expensive!) and a very vague idea of where we wanted to go. We are in Lynnwood before that. Those are are not etched in stone, however.

    If possible, I'd prefer tech folks: how else do I get doubles? :) Not really looking for a heavy-duty tech dive, but diving with tech-capable divers certainly makes my life easier. (@TSandM is the one who got me interested both in diving the PNW and diving GUE. I'm not GUE trained, but I'm actively working toward it.) Right now, 8Diving's website is under construction: I'll have to give them a call.

    I'll certainly look into a charter. I've tried finding one via Google but have had zero success. Thank you for the suggestions!

    Now that you know where we are specifically (Lynnwood and Port Townsend), do you have any more suggestions? Including considering changing where we're staying? :)
     
  5. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    387
    391
    63
    OK, after a bunch more research and planning, I'm going to try to make this a little more flexible. We will be in the Seattle/Olympic area September 8-12. We will be in the Portland/Seattle area September 22-24. I'd ideally like to get two mornings of diving in, but absolutely at least one.

    Where we stay is also flexible, but needs to sleep 4 and be cheap (under $100/night). I have places that meet our criteria right now (Lynnwood, Port Townsend and Portland), but they might not be in the best places for diving (2 hour drives before and after a dive really put a crimp on the rest of the day -- and the rest of the family!). And all are cancellable, so we are flexible.

    And I will need at least tanks and weight, and possibly some other gear, and I would prefer tech gear: doubles strongly preferred.

    Within that, I'm up for anything. Thoughts?
     
  6. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Tacoma, WA & Channel Islands, CA- USA
    1,952
    1,985
    113
    If you could stay in Tacoma, WA the dates of the 8th-12th. You could get out on the Bandito dive boat either Saturday or Sunday for a 2 or 3 tank morning dive. Tacoma is a great city with lots to do (your family would love the Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and the Chihuly Museum of Glass) and its still close to Seattle for a day trip. And the diving off of Bandito will be outstanding. Here is their calendar and website.
    Calendar - Bandito Charters
    There are a number of dive shops in Tacoma. Do a google search and see who can set you up with doubles and a drysuit.
    There is not going to be any decent diving from Portland without multiple hours of driving back up to the Puget Sound. Everyone in Portland dives the Hood Canal (Hoodsport, WA) for shore diving or boat dives with Banditio or Ocean Quest.
     
    tmassey likes this.
  7. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    @tmassey

    From Port Townsend, you could pop over the Ferry to Keystone/Whidbey Island to dive at my favorite shore dive: Keystone Jetty (right next to Coupeville Ferry terminal). WSDOT - Ferries - Schedule: Coupeville to Port Townsend. Just check the currents (PlanYourDive.com), as it can be tricky and the hides of ferry captains get chapped whenever a diver drifts into the ferry lane. Your family can explore the park there or stay in Port Townsend while you dive. Look for dive buddies to meet up with you from Salish Sea, Marker Buoy, and Pacific Northwest dive clubs.

    A good collection of dive sites can also be found here: Puget Sound Dive Sites

    8 is located in Des Moines, north of Tacoma. I'd recommend going with the Ocean Quest (Ocean Quest Dive Charter | The Northwest Premiere Dive Charter) just due to proximity to 8 and that the shop/dive charter are tightly coupled.

    You may want to look at staying in the Des Moines area, south of Seattle, as that will be more conducive to your diving.

    Hope this helps.

    If you are interested, I'll be publishing for free a dive planning for the Puget Sound document that is intended for OW students (let it be a template for dive planning anywhere, just replace Puget Sound resources/dive sites with one's local area). It has a lot of resources for shops, clubs, etc.
     
    tmassey and Seaweed Doc like this.
  8. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    387
    391
    63
    OK. Based on your feedback, we've done some re-arranging on the second half. We will end up in Tacoma on the 22nd (Saturday night). My plan would then be to do a charter Sunday morning. The logistics of getting the gear I will need (tanks and weights at a minimum) will need to be factored into this: it seems that charters in your area don't include those...

    Right now you have helped me to identify two possibilities: Bandito Charters/Underwater Sports and 8Diving/Ocean Quest Dive Charters. Only Bandito lists an actual trip running that day. But I figure it'll be much easier to get doubles from a GUE shop! :) So I'll see what I can make work with that.

    Given other factors involved (such as the rest of my family's needs!) I think that the Tacoma part will stay pretty settled at this point. I'd say anything between Des Moines and Tacoma would work for Sunday the 23rd, or even Monday the 24th. So if you have any other suggestions in that area, please let me know!

    As for the beginning part of that trip: The time on the Olympic peninsula will be spent hopefully deep in the rainforest. That will make a half-day of diving more difficult on the rest of my family (having to drive back and forth to get me). And the diving there seems much more self-supported, which I'm not in a position to do by myself. So unless someone's willing to step up and become a temporary dive operation :) I'm not sure that's going to work. (But if you are: speak up! :) ).

    So that leaves the weekend of September 8 and 9. Right now, we're staying in Lynnwood. Ideally, I'd find something similar here: some sort of organized dive taking place in the morning (preferably Sunday), nearby to things that my family wants to see and can stay nearby when they drop me off.

    Something like this jumped out at me: Scuba Dive Tours of Seattle and Puget Sound ~ Seattle Dive Tours . It's a bunch of gear I won't need, but it's a built-in buddy and it runs every day from a location I can work with. It's not ideal but it's convenient! :) Any other suggestions?

    Or again, if anyone wants to become an instant dive operator and help me to get in the water, get in touch with me! :)

    Thank you all very much for your help. It's really helped to narrow this down and hopefully I can have some definite plans in place for fun diving without too much impact on my family!
     
  9. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    Tim,

    I just sent a message to Andrea, co-owner of the Ocean Quest, with a link to this thread. Dive charters do provide weights, probably because people occasionally forget them. 8 is a new shop. It has some really good people involved. It should be one of the nicest shops you've seen, as one of the investors, a GUE instructor, owns a remodeling business, and he did the work. I've seen pictures and it looks really nice (I'll be getting a trimix fill in 3 weeks there, so I'll check it out then). Haven't been as Des Moines lately as it is out of my way and Seattle traffic is horrid.

    One thing about the Olympic Peninsula: it is big, and drives are long. To go around the entire thing, count on 10 hours, unless you have a nice rally car. Port Townsend is a nice little town, but only worth spending a day, if that. It is not great for exploring as the distances are so large. You may want to consider Sequim, which is in the "Blue Hole" (most storms from the Pacific come in from the south west, so they miss Sequim due to the Olympic mountains. Seattle gets 37 inches of drizzly rain, Sequim gets about 10). Port Angeles is a dump. There is only one decent place to stay, and that is overpriced.

    Since I have your email, I'll send an email out to some of my students to see who may be around and can dive with you. I'd be happy to do so, but that day may be when I'm in the blue cave on the Greek island of Kastellorizo proposing to my girlfriend.

    I'd recommend not staying in Lynnwood. It is the northern armpit of Lake Washington (south armpit is Kent). . Of course, it has improved since the local comedy show Almost Live! was aired, but I don't have anything really nice to say about the city. Maybe stay in Anacortes and take a charter on Lu Jaqs? Not sure where you'd get tanks, but that is a nicer possibility than Lynnwood.
     
    tmassey likes this.
  10. WetRocks

    WetRocks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Marianna, FL
    104
    81
    28
    I have nothing to add about the diving up there, but we just returned from a week on the Olympic Peninsula. The rainforests are on the west (far) side of the peninsula, probably 4+ hours from Port Townsend. I would suggest staying in or near Forks, WA for that portion of your trip. From forks it is ~15 min to the Hoh Rainforest entrance (about 1hr to the visitor center and trailheads), about 1.5 hr from the Quinault RF. Two hours or less to Neah Bay from there too, so more convenient to the things it sounds like you want to see.

    We stayed until Port Angeles on our way back to Seattle as it was a convenient launching off point for visiting the Hurricane Ridge section of the park. Would have been really long days to visit the Hoh from there!

    Check Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO for places to stay.
     
    tmassey likes this.

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