Diving in Canada, North America

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Canada is located in the northern part of North America spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean.

Canada boasts the longest coastline in the world – 17,000 miles of rich waters teeming with marvelous marine life and dive destinations as diverse as glacier-chiselled fjords and modern warship wrecks such as the HMCS Cape Breton, GB Church, HMCS Chaudiere, HMCS MacKenzie, HMCS Columbia, HMCS Saskatchewan – all purposely sank to create artificial reef. Canada which is also known as British Columbia earned the 2001 RSD Readers' Choice Award for Best Overall Dive Destination in North America.

Be forewarned though that Canada's diving conditions are for advanced divers because of chilly waters and limited visibility and strong tidal currents. For divers looking for the real diving adventure, the rewards are nerve wracking.

Race Rocks located in the southernmost tip of western Canada sports diverse invertebrate life, marine mammals and rugged topside scenery. Shallow forests of bull kelp washed daily by chilly ocean water shelter juvenile rock fishes and sea urchins in a frenzy. As you dive deeper, what awaits you are the awesome underwater cliffs emblazoned with softball-size barnacles, pastel brooding anemones, vivid lavender hydrocorals, pink soft corals and basket stars. There's also a congregation of over a thousand California and Steller's sea lions during the fall. About a hundred harbor seals live in the rocks the whole year.

Various dive sites lie in the straits and sounds that surround Vancouver Island. The water temperature reaches up to 40F/4C but the amazing underwater scenery includes pods of orcas, playful sea lions and white-sided dolphins which come to surf some of the strongest tidal currents in the world. Various prolific marine life can be witnessed such as plumose anemones growing in thick fields and hosting many varieties of nudibranchs, wolf eels, giant Pacific octopuses, urchins and starfish. Experienced divers can experience wild life at its finest.

One of the best dive sites in Canada for shipwreck diving is in the province of Ontario which is located in the eastern part of Canada. It is the home of the Great Lakes – Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake St Clair forming part of the border of the United States. It allows entry for deep-water ships from the Atlantic Ocean. Because of violent storms that typically form in the Great Lakes, its floor is littered with wrecks of small boats which are perfectly preserved as they do not deteriorate as quickly as they do in salt water. The dive sites are for novice and advanced divers. Interestingly, some of the wrecks are from the 1800's lying in pristine condition.

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Canada is actively implementing smart ocean management to protect its waters teeming with abundant marine life. One of the issues that Canada is actively studying is the effect of climate change on its oceans whose results will also benefit the whole world.

Canada has dramatic changes in air temperature. During summer, the temperature reaches 0F/-17C while winter lows dip to as low as -30F/-34C.

The average water temperature on the surface during summer is 60F/15C but at the depth of 30 feet the water temperature is steady at 40F/4C to 50F/10C.

Canada has a year-round diving season but a dry suit is a must.

Canada’s main cities are littered with many international airports.

Most major towns in Canada have a reputable public transportation system offering several options such as bus, subway, train, and many more.

Public transportation is deemed safe and very efficient.

Air travel is still the most efficient transportation in Canada considering its gigantic size.

Use the following links for more information about;

- Decompression Chambers in Canada

- Foreign Travel Advice for Canada (UK Government)

- More about Canada (Wikipedia)

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