Cold water divers of the Pacific Northwest are a hardy bunch and maybe even a bit crazy as they brave frigid ocean water that ranges in temperature from 45°F to 55°F (7.2°C to 12.7°C). The big plus is the abundant marine life of the area which includes seals, sea lions, wolf eels, and the giant Pacific octopus. This is the place to experience some of the best cold water diving in the world. Even Jacques Cousteau enjoyed diving so much on northern Vancouver Island he said it was “second only to the Red Sea”.
Visibility can be fairly low while diving in the Pacific Northwest. The distance cold water divers can see horizontally usually ranges anywhere from 10 feet to 80 feet on an exceptional day. Most of the diving I have done has visibility around 15 – 25 feet. In the winter months the clarity improves greatly as there is less plankton in the water, so this is the ideal time to dive.