Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada
Beaver Island Bed and Breakfast/Pender Chief Charters
5/7/99 to 5/9/99

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Author: Scott Roberts (May, 1999)

We left Seattle at 2 pm headed for the border. Take the truck route if your driving this way. We had a two car wait at the border. We loaded the ferry at about 6:00. It was a little late. The ferry ride is very scenic. Glaciers stretch down the jagged mountains, and bald Eagles soar along the jagged rocks that line horseshoe bay. Once you load the ferry, you are about two hours to the Beaver Island Inn. We stopped at The Old Boot in Sechelt for some dinner. The food is good, inexpensive, and the portions are huge.  The service was very slow, but that's a good thing when your hanging out with friends.  There is a dive store (the dive locker) just down the street in case you want to pick up some gear. We continues on about 40 minutes after dinner, and arrived at the inn just after dark.

Lodging:

The Inn consists of a two bedroom cabin, a three bedroom cabin, and a main lodge where dinner and breakfast are served. In addition to your hosts, Chris and Diane, there are potbellied pigs, pigmy goats, dogs, cats, roosters, chickens, and a parrot living at the inn. With the exception of the parrot, they all live outside.

The entire inn is very clean and well laid out. The landscaping is also very attractive. The main lodge was built from the ground up by Chris and Diane. They have done an amazing job with this property. The decor in the cabins has your typical bed and breakfast feel to it, but itís not overdone like some BnBs are. There are a lot of interesting books in the book shelves. Many of which focus on activities around the island or diving.

The two bedroom cabin consists of a double room with private bath, and a queen room with a small table, bath, and kitchenette. There is a small hallway which connects to a gear room. The room is a heated garage where you can store your diving gear. It is well set up for hanging all of your gear including dry suits. We stayed in the queen room. The bed was a bit uncomfortable, but not too bad.

The three bedroom cabin consisted of an enclosed porch, TV and VCR, kitchen, common bathroom, living room with a hide-a-bed, two double rooms, and one room with two singles. There is a picnic table with outdoor furniture located just outside the front door of the three bedroom cabin. This is a nice place to hang out in the sun and enjoy a couple brews after a day of diving.

The main lodge includes a large dining room with hardwood floors which open up to a large deck with a BBQ. The dining room and deck look out over the harbor. All of the cooking takes place in a large commercial sized kitchen.

Chris is the chef, and he is quite good. There is no going hungry when staying at the Beaver Island Inn. There is always a variety of food, and there is always a lot of it. Second helpings were gladly served. For breakfast we had eggs, sausage, bacon, blueberry pastries, blueberry pancakes, muffins, fruit salad, orange juice, coffee, and tea. For dinner we had barbecued teriyaki salmon, tandori chicken, green salad, pasta salad, potato salad, rolls, and potatoes. For dessert was an incredible cherry cheesecake. We always left the table way too full. Everything was very good. Bring your own wine or beer. They donít have a liquor license.

Chris Kluftlinger is the boat captain and a dive master as well. The only bad part of the trip was hauling the gear down the dock to the boat. It’s quite a long dock. I would recommend that you bring a hand truck or a cart of some sort. His boat is the Pender Chief. It is an old 1920 vintage tug boat. It has a very low profile to the water. There is a small heated wheelhouse which can accommodate 4 to 6 divers. The back portion is covered and has a bench, tank rack, and bungee straps for your tanks and BCs. There is also some under the deck storage for more tanks and gear. The front portion of the boat is large and uncovered. There is a front cabin which serves as a changing area and also provides more storage space.

Four divers can set up in the front portion of the boat if the weather is decent. We had ten divers the first day. My wife and I chose to suit up in the front area. This helped provide more room for the people in the sheltered back portion. It was a bit tight with ten divers, but it was fine as long as everyone was patient. You could do twelve if the weather was really nice and everyone got along OK. Six would be fine in all types of weather. There is a large fin ladder which drops off the stern. I found it very easy to get back into the boat fully geared. My small force fins probably helped a little.  Chris will also help you take your BC off in the water if you prefer to climb the ladder without the extra weight. The boat is not fast, so it takes some time to get to the dive sites. Lunch is served in between dives and includes sandwiches, juice, fruit, cookies/pastries, hot chocolate, and homemade soup. Chris is very patient, and lets you dive at your own pace. If you want to go to a particular site, I’m sure he would be willing to accommodate your requests. He is very knowledgeable on diving in the area. Once your in the water, you and your buddy are on your own. It’s your responsibility to dive a safe profile and within your capabilities. We dove twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. The dives were incredible.

Furney Bluff, Agamemnon Channel

This dive is a wall dive that starts at the surface and goes down to 400 plus feet. Between 20 and 40 feet there are white anemones that cover the rocks. Coralline algae and sponge covers rock with purple and orange. Starfish are abundant as are various cod, sea pen, urchins, greenlings, blennies, crab,  etc. Between 40 and 80 feet, more red, pink and purple anemones begin to appear. The fish get larger, and the anemones are more colorful and dense. From 0 to 70 feet the visibility ranged from 10 to 30 feet. At about 70 feet, the water cleared up considerably. I would estimate  that the visibility was easily 60 ft. It was the best visibility I had ever seen in cold water. Between 80 and 120 feet the walls were covered with huge cloud sponges and chimney sponges. Some of the sponges appeared to be 5 ft in diameter. The current was non-existent. It is a bit dark at 80 plus feet, so bring your light.  This was an incredible dive. I’m sure there is the possibility of seeing wolf eel and octopus, but we didn’t see any.  This dive is very similar to 2nd Power Lines.  I think the life is more abundant at 2nd Power Lines though.

Moon Bay, Agamemnon Channel

This dive is a gradual stepped wall dive going down to about 80 ft. The fish, anemone and coral life is pretty typical for the area.  Various cod, anemones, urchin, crab, etc.  There is quite a lot to see, and includes a wall packed with white plumose anemones. The visibility was about 20-30ft. The current was minimal. This is a pretty good 2nd dive. I’m sure there is the possibility of seeing wolf eel and octopus, but we didn’t see any.

2nd Power Lines, Agamemnon Channel

This dive is a wall dive that starts immediately at the surface and goes down to 400 plus feet. Between 20 and 70 feet there is a good amount of the typical marine life. It’s very colorful and dense. Coralline algae and sponge covers rock with purple and orange. Starfish are abundant as are various cod, urchins, blennies, greenlings crab, etc. Between 40 and 80 feet, more red, pink and purple anemones begin to appear. The fish get larger, and the anemones are more  colorful and dense. From 0 to 70 feet the visibility was about 20 to 40 feet. At about 70 feet, the water cleared up  considerably.  I would estimate that the visibility was easily 70 ft. It was the best visibility I had ever  seen in cold water. Between 80  and 120 feet the walls were covered with huge cloud sponges and chimney sponges. There seemed to be more here than at Furney Bluff, and they were larger as well. Some of the sponges appeared to be 6 ft in diameter. We saw some jellyfish, some weird jellyfish like creature that had rainbow colored phosphorescent lights. The other divers we were with went down to 150 ft where they saw huge gorgonian corals. The current was non-existent. It is a bit dark at 80 plus feet, so bring your light. This was an incredible dive. I’m sure there is the possibility of seeing wolf eel and octopus, but we didn’t see any. It was very deep, but very easy because it went straight down.  No navigation skills required.

Conclusions

We had a great time at Beaver Island Inn and diving with Pender Chief Charters. We are looking forward to going back soon. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the services provided by Chris and Diane. They make the weekend a pleasure. Their prices are very reasonable.

At the time of writing, prices were approximately $199-$280/ea (Canadian) for the entire weekend.  This includes two days of boat diving, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, 2 lunches on the boat, and lodging for 2 nights.  Once you experience this first class operation for yourself, you will realize why the Beaver Island Inn is one of the best bargains in the Pacific Northwest.

Unfortunately, This operation is no longer in business.  Too good to be true I guess.

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