• Depth: 100’
Here’s a great shore dive.
There are three walls at Madrona, one you have to ‘find’, via compass heading and surface swim. The other just jump in and swim to and a third that is short and usually part of the dive to the small wall.
The most popular wall here drops to about 100 feet, depending on the tide.
You can find Wolf eels, Octopus, lots of Ling Cod and Rock Fish here as well as Sea lions, Ratfish, Grunt sculpins, the list is enormous. For other marine life there is also urchins and sea cucumbers, a variety of star fish, nudibranchs, all the local small stuff, a lot of things to poke around and look at and occupy your dive.
As far as getting to this wall, park at the end of Madrona Road, in a residential Cul-de-sac, gear up and follow the path that starts at the base a large rock. At the beach, walk to the point on the right that juts out the furthest from shore; it’s about 100’ from where you come down to the right of the path. Take a compass reading for 330 – 340 degrees. Surface swim out about 100’ before dropping down. If you’re really lucky, you’ll drop down right beside an old scuba tank if you continue along the same heading you will find the wall. If you don’t see the tank, keep an eye open for rock off to the right. The wall starts out as 2’ or 3’ high and gradually falls off to 100’. If you’re swimming over a sandy bottom then you’ve either over shot the wall or you’re too far left. Either way, enjoy the sand dive, maybe next time you’ll have better luck.
A word of caution
There can be a strong current in this area. Plan your dive to allow for current. Also please keep in mind you’re parking in a residential neighborhood, please be courteous, don’t block driveways, don’t disturb the residents, and don’t litter. As far as what’s around the dive area, food and bathrooms are 8.4 Km back at the Petro-Can station at the corner of the Island Highway # 19 and North West Bay Road. It is about a 10 km drive, so I highly recommend you use the bathrooms before you head up to any of the dive sites in Nanoose Bay area, especially if you’re planning two dives in a day.
Getting to this site
North out of Nanaimo to Nanoose on the Island Hwy. Turn right at the lights at the Petro Can gas station onto North West Bay Road. Continue on North West Bay Road over the rail road tracks, and pass the turn off for Dolphin Road. Stay on North West Bay Road until you reach Beaver Creek Wharf Road. Turn right. continue to the end of Beaver Creek Wharf Road, turn left on to Madrona Rd. Follow Madrona Road until you reach the end which is a Cul-de-sac. Parking is in front of residential properties.