• Depth: exceeds 200 ft
This is my favorite shore dive site.
It offers walls, kelp beds and rocky areas to explore, a lot to look at for one dive site. I have a couple of pictures of the kelp bed area and every time I look at them I want to go back to Dolphin Beach. Kelp beds make for interesting poking around during a safety stop. This dive site beach is loose rocks. It’s easiest to enter the water at high tide, when the rocks aren’t exposed, minimum 13 ft tide. The loose rocky shore makes for a tricky walk to the water at low tide, it still can be done (if you’re as sure footed as a goat), it’s just easier and safer at high tide. The beach is literally a few steps away from the road. Parking at this site is placing your car half on the road and half in the ditch. There’s not a lot of room here. Again this site is in a residential neighborhood, so don’t tick off the locals.
As for diving, if you decide to explore the deeper wall simply gear up and swim out straight from the beach.
It’s a long swim; we usually conserve our air for the wall and surface swim out a ways as a lot of this area is shallow around 20-40 feet. One unique thing about this site is about two thirds of the way to the wall you suddenly come upon what seems like an underwater road, we refer to it as the trench. The wall itself is just after the trench. I’ve followed the wall either way to the left or right, there are things to see in either direction. Bring a camera. At the wall and to the right, I’ve been down about 100 feet or so where the wall hits sand, but I tend to go back up a bit as I like to explore the rocks and peek inside the chimney sponges.
No matter which direction you go here, either in the water and directly to the right, or out to the wall and then right or left, it’s a good dive and worth the trip.
Getting to this site
Head north of Nanaimo to the Petro Can gas station in Nanoose Bay. Turn right on North West Bay Road, drive Dolphin road and stay on Dolphin Road to Blueback Road, turn left on Blueback road at watch the roadside to the left. Dolphin beach isn’t marked, it’s just a place where the water comes up very close to the road. There is a house on the left hand side of the road that recently planted young red maple trees. When you see these, you have found Dolphin Beach.