Explore an Underwater Paradise
Jumping into the Pacific Ocean is an experience like no other. The moment your feet leave the boat deck and you break the surface tension you are enveloped by the water like a full body hug. You’ve entered an entirely different world. Near Nimmo Bay Resort, donned in high quality dive gear, you have access to this magical and highly biodiverse ecosystem. It’s a space that welcomes you in, filled with vibrant creatures that you so rarely get to see.
At Nimmo Bay, snorkelling has quickly become a favourite activity of both our guest and guides alike. Prepare for an underwater adventure of a lifetime.
We reached out to one of our Wilderness Guides and avid freediver, Liam McIlvenna, to share what the snorkelling experience is like at Nimmo Bay.
The Magic of Cold Water Snorkelling
Here in British Columbia, we play in cold water. The water temperature shifts between 7-10 degrees Celsius all year round in the Broughton Archipelago. Liam shares with us that because of the cold temperatures, there’s an abundance of oxygen in the water. More oxygen is an attractant for rich biodiversity, so there is a higher density of marine life in our waters compared to other locations.
The Inside Passage of British Columbia, which refers to the body of water between the mainland of BC and Vancouver Island, is famous for this explosion of life and amazing colours beneath the water’s surface. The small island chains that make up this region have created perfect shelters with high tidal flow, creating a wide variety of habitats. These lush landscapes are teeming with vibrantly coloured invertebrates, kelp forests, and rocky reefs, waiting to be explored on a Coastal Safari with our expert guides.
What stands out for Liam is that, “at Nimmo Bay, we embrace the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the water and explore.”
What will you see on a dive?
When you take the plunge into the water for a snorkelling adventure, you never truly know what you might encounter. Liam revealed some of the ocean critters that he’s seen while on various snorkelling adventures at Nimmo Bay.
One of the most stunning underwater experiences is swimming through what are often called the rainforests of the sea; the giant kelp forests. Liam tells us that it feels like you’re flying. When the sun rays filter through the water and the kelp it creates a beautiful kaleidoscope. Bull kelp are abundant in the waters around Nimmo and are a source of food and shelter. They grow up to 30 meters tall and feed impressively sized green sea urchins and provide refuge for kelp crabs. While snorkelling you’ll also see jellyfish, sea stars, and the wild and wacky sea cucumbers that populate the shallow rocky shelves.
Some special species of fish call these waters home and are frequently seen when diving as well. Rockfish are among our favourites, along with perch, and sculpins.
how does it differ from Tropical snorkelling?
Liam shed some light on how Nimmo Bay prepares you for diving into the cold-water snorkelling experience. Ultimately, there’s just a little bit more gear involved and Nimmo provides everything that you need! You’ll put on a neoprene wetsuit, gloves, boots, a hood, and we’ll equip you with goggles and a snorkel. As you take your first dive into the water, you’ll immediately feel its cool embrace. However, the wetsuit quickly does its job, trapping a thin layer of water between you and the neoprene. This layer of water acts as a warm shield, as your body heats it up, keeping your temperature regulated throughout the swim.
One of our favourite Nimmo tips and tricks is the thermoses of warm water that get stocked on each boat. They aren’t for drinking though. These thermoses are for the hot post-snorkel shower that will take away any chill you might feel after getting out of the water.
Environmentally Conscious at its heart
Snorkelling is no compromise when it comes to adventures at Nimmo Bay. It just so happens to be eco-friendly and a local activity, on top of being the most incredible discovery of the underwater world. The waters around Nimmo Bay are rich with life and there are so many special spots to visit right around the corner from the resort. With shorter boat rides, we’re able to reduce overall fuel consumption.
It also offers you an opportunity to engage with the marine environment in a way you might not have before. These ocean creatures are at a high risk as climate change starts to impact coastal waters. By showing, interacting, and teaching guest about these sensitive ecosystems, our hope is that we can grow awareness around their importance.
Who can Participate?
Snorkelling at Nimmo is a perfect activity for any age! We only ask that you’re comfortable in the water and have basic swimming skills. For Liam, the joy of snorkelling is that it offers a unique and accessible experience for anyone who enjoys being in the water! Our program doesn’t require any prior snorkelling experience.
You’ll set out on one of our customized vessels, the Fathom, or the Vesper, that will take you out to the best spots. Our snorkelling guides get in the water with you and tour you around your own private underwater oasis. The boat and it’s highly skilled captain will stick by the entire time, so there’s always space to rest and recharge close by. Like every experience at our luxury resort, you can relax, leave the logistics to our expert team of guides, and jump into the experience with both flippers.
This is one of the adventures that leaves people with the fondest memories when they look back on their trip to the Great Bear Rainforest. Liam has been a part of many of these trips, so he’s got the inside scoop. “For many, snorkelling is far from a regular activity, making it an excellent way to create lasting memories and forge connections, as the experience engages multiple senses.”
Choosing the Perfect Spot
Nimmo Bay has operated for 40 years in these waters. We’ve found many special coves and inlets over the years that provide ideal diving conditions in all types of weather. One of the best rainy-day activities is to hop in a wetsuit and jump in the water. Once you’re in the ocean, you’re completely protected from the elements! Guides like Liam have homed in on how to choose the perfect spot on a day-to-day basis. He explains that the first step in selecting the snorkel spot is consulting the current and tide, which shifts throughout the day. Water clarity is also an important factor, so that you get the best visibility when diving.
A Once-in-a-lifetime Picnic
The snorkelling experience doesn’t stop underwater at Nimmo Bay. We’ve created a way to blend this oceanic adventure with one of the best culinary experiences you’ll ever have. Imagine snorkelling through forests of kelp, discovering underwater creatures you’ve never seen before, and swimming up to a floating picnic table. A world-class chef is at the head of the table and presents you with the freshest feast of classic Pacific Northwest seafood. A crab boil, fresh spot prawns grilled right on top of the ocean surface, and plenty of bubbles for all. This is the snorkel picnic, or a snorknic as we like to call it, an utterly unique experience to Nimmo Bay. We can’t wait to welcome you to our ocean table.
Photos by Jeremy Koreski