TSK Bern
Könizstrasse 157CH-3097Liebefeld
+41 31 332 45 75bern@tsk.ch
TSK Zürich
Stauffacherquai 54CH-8004Zürich
+41 44 291 94 94zuerich@tsk.ch

#God's PocketTravel Report

Our Trip to Vancouver Island 2023

At last, the time had come! After the originally planned trip in 2021 had to be postponed due to Corona, our group of 12, including 6 repeat offenders, gathered at Zurich Airport. Full of expectations and excitement, we flew to Vancouver and then drove with rental cars to the east coast of Vancouver Island to the small town of Campbell River, our first diving spot. We could hardly wait to have our first diving experiences in the renowned Campbell River.

On two boats, our diving guides led us twice a day to different dive sites. The visibility wasn't always optimal, but we mostly found the spots recommended by our guides. We explored 2 wrecks, encountered a variety of fish such as lingcod and cabezons of all sizes, rockfish in various variations and colors, but also king crabs, scallops, and a sea wolf couple. As a balance, one afternoon we visited Elk Falls National Park with its impressive waterfall.

On the day of our departure, a special highlight awaited us. At 7:00 in the morning, we drove to a special section of the Campbell River for salmon snorkeling. To our surprise, but to our great joy, we were the only snorkelers on site. In the partially knee-deep water stood anglers trying their luck to catch one of the big salmon. As soon as we submerged into the water, we entered another world. Surrounded by thousands of pink salmons between 1 and 2 meters, elegantly moving upstream to spawn, we let ourselves drift 2 km downstream. Upon arrival, it took little persuasion to convince our drivers and divers Turi and Dänu to another snorkeling trip. The second tour was even more intense; we tried to hold onto rocks underwater to observe the salmon's journey longer. We all agreed that none of us had experienced anything like it before, and it will remain in special memory.

Totally amazed, we continued our journey, first with our bus and car to Port Hardy, then further with the dive boat to our main destination, God's Pocket, the paradise on Hurst Island.

Externally, not much has changed on God's Pocket over the years, but behind the scenes, much has been renovated. The rooms have been repainted and equipped with drinking water from their own water treatment plant. Additionally, enough electrical outlets have been installed to charge all equipment.

At the boat dock, a new floating house has been built where dive equipment can be cleaned, dried, and serviced.

Our boat guide Bryan took us to all the well-known dive sites like Seven Tree, Aquarium, Fantasy Island, Ruth's Rock, Hussar Point, Browning Wall (Colifower Wall), Castle Gap (current channel), and many more. Each dive had its own uniqueness. For some of us, it was like coming home, for others, it was discovering a different underwater world. We were spoiled with encounters with giant octopuses, who patiently allowed themselves to be watched, even going so far as to touch arms with us divers, with sea lions and otters playfully circling around us, with nudibranchs in all sizes and colors, with king crabs and the many small crab species that presented themselves in different 'costumes' and peeked out between the anemones and corals. In addition, we were often accompanied by schools of black rockfish, saw eels, cabezons, ratfish, sea wolves, large jellyfish, kelp crabs, shrimps, and more.

Especially memorable was the Browning Wall, laden with cauliflowers and layered up to three times, which we dived twice because of its beauty and diversity.

The boat rides were never boring. Splendid atmospheres, curious sea lions, otters, and the observation of passing humpback whales kept us captivated.

Our culinary needs were well taken care of as well. In Campbell River, Dänu selected the best restaurants for us, and in God's Pocket, the crew spoiled us with delicious meals. Since we had stocked up on drinks in Port Hardy, we could toast to our beautiful dives every evening until the end.

Our group harmonized very well from the beginning. We helped, motivated, and supported each other. The limited internet availability brought us even closer together; we laughed, discussed, exchanged photos and experiences, and played together. We explored the island together, where jungle-like paths led us to other coves, or climbed to the highest points of the island, which were rewarded with beautiful views.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and after 15 unforgettable days of diving, we returned to Vancouver, where we arrived late at night. To end our trip, we spent three beautiful days in Vancouver. In addition to a hiking tour, we were introduced to the beer culture by testing different beers on a brewery tour. Furthermore, in Vancouver, we visited the Shearwood factory, where we were initiated into the craft of manufacturing dive computers and were able to watch the individual manufacturing steps. The obligatory stroll through the outlets and shopping centers was very popular with everyone; each found something among the huge offerings and varieties. Lastly, Dänu and Daniela managed to reserve a place for us on Granville Island at one of the best waterfront restaurants, where we celebrated the end of our vacation.

With many new experiences and surely lasting memories, we boarded the plane in the late afternoon, where we partly remained awake, partly dreaming about our experiences in a deep sleep before landing in Zurich and facing reality and everyday life again. It was clear to all of us that we would return to work with the goal of planning and realizing the next diving adventure.

Thank you to Daniela and Dänu from TSK for the excellent organization and support, and also to all participants for the friendship and the great vacation.

Text by Theres Mosimann