Post by Divemaster Mike Juren with photos courtesy Chris Sherwood:
Yesterday we did a very special dive to the dive site affectionately named by Jan Breckman as “Sponge Bob”, and officially named the Halkett Pinnacle.
This dive was organized for a group of keen divers all wanting to see this amazing dive site some time ago. This pinnacle is very special, and possesses different species of sponges, the silicate cloud sponge being the most dominant. There are dozens of these sponges on the pinnacle, some growing to 6′ or more, and the bioherm as discovered by Glen Dennison and Paul Sim is simply astounding.
The weather was great!, sunny and warm with just a light breeze around mid day, so we arrived on the dive site on time and had a nice view of Gambier Island and the Lion’s Peaks on the other side. While Jan and I got the big buoy ready with the high viz line especially purchased for this dive at the back of the boat and myself along with Barry went down to set the line on the small bare part of the pinnacle as not to cause any damage to the sponges. After the line was ready I sent up a marker lift bag as a signal to Kevin that the line is set and soon divers began arriving over the pinnacle. Everyone knew that this is a delicate site that has to be preserved so I was glad to see the first 2 divers (Stuart and Gabriel) come close to the line without even touching it and then perfectly leveling off some 7′ above the reef without touching anything or kicking up any silt.
The visibility was around 60′ at the pinnacle so most of the divers with cameras such as Diane and Chris and others were able to take some truly beautiful photographs of these stunning sponge formations. The most impressive was the sponge with the large tubules looking like huge gun muzzles on an old battle ships and the goblet shaped ones which were truly amazing. I was very glad that none of the divers kicked up any silt and that everyone had a great time there.
After our surface interval and having the snacks served on the boat we motored over the short distance to Halkett Wall. As the sea conditions were awesome we all went in as a group, but soon separated into our pre-assigned buddy teams. I dove with Diane as she has a very keen eye for critters I usually fail to see and I was not disappointed. She was taking pictures of critters I had to use my magnifying glass to see….but I DID see the 8′ octopus too! 🙂
The critters found by the various dive teams were octopus, Puget Sound king crabs, decorated and tanner crabs, beautiful sculpins, some ling cod and rockfish, various species of nudibranchs and some gorgeous painted and other anemonies. Visibility was around 80′.
We all had a great time on the boat and almost all of us went to the Olive and Anchor (formerly Ya Ya’s) for a snack and some drinks after we unloaded at the dock. There we were joined by more Peskie members who unfortunately could not take part in the dive yesterday (Rob and Cherrein) but will definitely join us on the next dive to Sponge Bob scheduled in June.
– Mike Juren firstname.lastname@example.org