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April Shop Dive – Edmonds Underwater Park
April 8, 2018
Divemaster – Paula Bailey
Large Wreck, Small Wreck, Debris, Tire Reef, Eel Grass Beds
Edmonds park is a huge (20+ acres) and shallow (the deepest point is about 45 feet) marine park. The bottom is so gradual that it is impossible to tell which way shore is so take a good compass heading before descending. There is a good map near the restrooms that shows what’s out there and where to find it. Buoys on the surface and rope trails on the bottom help you to navigate the site and find the different features. Be prepared for a long surface swim as the best stuff is way out there. The bottom here is sandy, and the only structures are the man made objects placed here. Luckily, that includes some good sized boats including an old wooden tug that is half way gone. Also many pipes and concrete structures. The park is huge, so if you see alot of divers heading to one spot, pick another if you want solitude.
If man made structure is not your thing, then don’t worry, the stars of the show here are the freakishly huge fish. This site has been a sanctuary for a long time and with no fishing sites near it, the fish are able to grow to monstrous sizes. In particular the lingcod are impressive with many topping 5 feet. The cabazon are also truly huge for their species. Look closer and you will find grunt and longfin sculpin, gobies, nudibranchs and other small treats. As you swim out, you will pass over extensive eelgrass beds in the summer, a good place to find hooded nudibranchs.
One last note…bring your camera, you really will have a hard time convincing people how big the fish are!
- No boats allowed in park waters.
- No solo diving.
- No spear fishing or collecting.
- Diving at night by permit only.
- No diving within 300 feet of ferry dock.
And what ever you do STAY OUT of the ferry terminal area. That sounds obvious, but many have drifted into the ferry lane endangering themselves and delaying the ferry.
You can dive this site off slack, but keep in mind that once away from the man made structures the flat sandy bottom offers little protection from the current. Also the surface swim can be taxing if the current is moving and the waves are up, so use your good judgment and be honest with yourself about your fitness and ability if you intend to swim to the farthest portions of the park.
How to get there:
From I-5 follow the signs to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry terminal. The park is immediately north of the ferry terminal. Parking is limited, so if it is a nice day or a weekend, be prepared to drop gear off with someone to watch it and park offsite.