2011 & 2012 Trips
|Norb's 2011 and 2012 trips are being planned and confirmed trips are described below. More information will be posted here as they are planned. Send us an email if you would like to be put on the mailing list to be notified of future trips to be led by Norbert Wu.|
About the trip:
Why is this special? A visit to God's Pocket provides not only spectacular cold water diving, but also an opportunity for kayaking, hiking, shore walks, swimming with dolphins, and whale watching.
This area is home to some of the world's best diving. The walls here are absolutely covered with invertebrate life, and it’s not unusual to have 45-minute encounters with 6-foot wolf eels and 8-foot giant octopus, to swim through coves completely filled with moon jellies, or to spend entire dives photographing thousands of lion nudibranchs covering kelp stalks. The dive sites are legendary to divers in the know: Browning Wall, Hunt Rock, Nakwakto Rapids, Dillon Rock, and the list goes on. I’ve had the best wolf eel and giant Pacific octopus encounters I’ve ever experienced at Dillon Rock.
The resort itself is a real treasure. The rooms are all land-based, very comfortable, with their own bathrooms and showers. The food has been absolutely great every time we’ve been there. They offer topside activities like kayaking, hiking and whale watching.
For this trip only, we will have the use of God's Pocket's Hurst Isle or Shoal Searcher, a houseboat or dive boat that we can anchor over Dillon Rock for three days (if the animals make their usual appearances and if the group is interested). This will give a select group of eight divers unlimited diving at this haven for wolf eels and giant octopus. We will spend time at other world-famous sites such as Browning Wall, Hunt Rock – whatever the group and leaders decide will work best. Rebreathers are welcome and will be supported.
The dive boat or houseboat will be limited to eight divers per day, including the trip leaders Norbert Wu and Alan Studley. We will return to God's Pocket each night for their fantastic meals and comfortable rooms. We will be the only group of divers; where the boat usually holds up to 16 divers, we will have only 8! We will be able to go wherever we want to go and spend as much time as we want.
Some of Alan’s photos of the resort and the diving, as well as a giant octopus encounter, can be seen here:
Gallery 100100 (slideshow)
Gallery 100114 (octopus encounter)
Gallery 100179 (video of the resort and September 2010 trip)
My (Norb’s) video of a friendly giant octopus encounter at Dillon Rock can be seen at:
Norbert Wu Films
Some of Norb’s still images from the area can be seen at:
Norbert Wu Still Images
Information on the resort itself can be seen at:
We love the place, the small group size, and the ability to have our own boat and make our own choices. This won’t be a situation where divers are herded like cattle. We will have a small group size but will also have the entire boat to ourselves – which is truly a rare situation. We will be able to choose our own dive sites (dive times will be dependent on tides), and will have our own input and freedom to do what we want. Very few dive operations can allow this.
We don’t want to brag about ourselves, either, but Alan is an accomplished rebreather instructor, trip leader, and videographer/photographer. In case we haven't met yet, I am a wildlife photographer and writer. I've written and photographed fifteen books on wildlife, including How to Photograph Underwater, Scholastic Encyclopedia of Animals, Splendors of the Seas, and Diving the World. I’ve just returned from leading and filming for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) new series LIFE in Antarctica.
The trip will be a six-day, seven night trip. You will need to arrive in Pt. Hardy to meet the boat to the resort on October 14 late afternoon, and the boat will get you back to Pt. Hardy on October 21 at 9AM.
Trip cost: $2605.75 includes all diving, meals, accommodations, and shared land room for two.
This past trip, Alan and I were able to pick divers up from the Seattle airport, everyone stayed overnight in Nanaimo that night, then we drove my van and other cars up to Pt. Hardy the next day. Everyone shared in the cost of gas and I contributed the use of my van. We hope to do this again this coming trip.
We did this trip in September 2010, and here are comments from a few participants:
“I had the pleasure of diving at God's Pocket for a week in September of 2010. The diving exceeded my expectations and the underwater and above water photo opportunities were fantastic. I was surprised by the richness and color and variety of life on the wall dives which compares with anywhere that I have been. The dive operation was well organized, the boat was perfect for the locale and the owners, Bill and Annie, were highly personable, very knowledgeable, and always accommodating. I enjoy tasty and healthy food, and the meals as well as the homemade snacks on the boat really added to my enjoyment of the trip. I'm looking forward to my next visit!”…Bob Bayer, San Diego, California.
“Browning Pass has an incredible amount of life, and is the best diving I've ever done. God's Pocket is an excellent resort: great people, great food and great scenery, and the best way to see the pass.” …Brian Hackett, Santa Cruz, California.
“Every aspect of the trip to God’s Pocket was absolutely incredible! Bill and Annie know the area like the back of their hand and made sure we dove every site at the perfect time based on the tides. This led to wolf eels galore, lots of great interactions with giant pacific octopus and incredible wall dives that were as colorful as anything in Indonesia. Topside we had bald eagles, humpback whales, and very friendly deer at the resort. Combine this with meals consisting of a wide range of excellent food and you have a vacation that can’t be beat! I’m a confirmed “warm water wimp”, but can’t wait to get back to God’s Pocket”…Doug Ebersole, Lakeland, Florida
“I really think this was some of the best diving I've ever done. It was amazing to see the same kind of creatures that we have in the Monterey Bay but untouched and bigger! I really appreciate you letting me go on this trip. I will be going back for sure. “ …Jeff Honda, Monterey, California.
And a comment from the web:
“…We were buzzed by a huge stellar sea lion at 60 feet, cool! Browning Wall was the most spectacular area with incredible red, purple and hot pink soft corals and of course the Irish Lords, decorator crabs, war bonnets, grunt sculpins. The six wolf eels at Dillon Rock are amazing. Many huge octos were out playing. The dive off Nakwato Island with the 20 knot current, to see the long necked goose barnacles, is always great. This is truly some of the best diving in the world.” From Undercurrent Chapbook: http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/chapbook/c2003/USAPacific2003.pdf
I should probably state now that my trips are run so that people can have a good time and see things that they might not otherwise see. If you are looking for the bargain dive trip of the century or an intense photo seminar-type trip, you should probably book a trip somewhere else, perhaps with the folks at the Jim Church School of Underwater Photography, or Cathy Church’s Underwater Photo Classes. I am available to give informal discussions on underwater photography, and of course I run well-planned trips (I only go to sites that I have a desire to go myself, and only on boats that I have found comfortable), but my divers are ones that can have a good time even if the visibility may be bad, the seas rough, or the animals uncooperative. They enjoy my company, and I enjoy theirs. It is a very select group, and I hope that you will be comfortable with the informality and the way things are run. If you are concerned, I will be happy to return your deposit.
I hope you can join us in October 2011!! If you are interested, please let me know.
Octopus Approaches Camera
Octopus Covers Camera