Canada has a much to provide snorkelers and scuba divers with numerous pure freshwater lakes and rivers along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. There are plenty of wonderful snorkelling places in Canada with several hidden gems, peculiar calcareous formations and a large variety of aquatic life.
9 Best Spots For Snorkelling In Canada
Snorkelling is a major water sport enjoyed in Canada. If you are visiting and wish to ‘dive in’, well, here’s a guide to help you know where!
1. Nova Scotia
Did you know that you can snorkel with whales in the Cabot Trail area of Nova Scotia from May to mid – October? You could see 75 feet of whales, pilot whales, minke whales or even dolphins. Snorkelling near St. John’s could also be a breath-taking trip. The gathering of the cool Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream off the coast of Newfoundland produces an array of marine life which draws thousands of whales and gives millions of seabirds’ affluent nesting grounds. Clear and cool water, 10,000-year-old icebergs and 500-year-old shipwrecks top that off though.
2. Fathom Five
Ontario is blessed with amazing large lakes, most of which host all kinds of sea life and snorkellers. Popular dive locations are the “Graveyards of Lake Ontario,” the Lake Erie wrecks, the 22 historic shipwrecks shielded in the Fathom Five National Marine Park just off Tobermory (Georgian Bay) and the St Lawrence River Kingston shipwrecks. Thanks to the cold water environment, these wrecks are remarkably well preserved. Visibility is superb and some can even be seen through clear waters from the surface. The ships consist mainly of barges and schooners and there are also distinctive cave formations and overhangs that you can enjoy while exploring.
You can snorkel with seals! You could even augment this unexpected bonus with a trip to the renowned Percé Rock and a simply stay at one of the most gorgeous out – of-the-way hostels, HI Anse-au-Griffon near the Forillon Park, where you can snorkel.
4. Heber River
Credit: Jett Britnell, National Geographic Your Shot
The Heber River is an unfamiliar but incredible swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving spot near the Campbell River. You can apparently snorkel alongside seals here too! Imagine what lovely underwater landscapes while snorkelling in Tofino or Victoria can be found. The latter can be very visible in the summer from 20 – 30 degrees to only 2 degrees. Winter and fall are naturally cooler, but usually much better for surface visibility.
5. Vancouver Island
Immerse yourself in the clear blue waters of Vancouver Island and paddle with the seals. These nimble and whimsical creatures are nesting on the island and hunting in the waters around it, seemingly inquisitive about scuba diving and snorkelling. Come at the correct time of year and you can also swim with salmon. Every year, hundreds of these fish pass through the Campbell River to their birthing place. The vivid waters allow ideal inspection of these fish. In addition to a number of different salmon species, you can also have a look at beavers, deer, bears and many other creatures on the island.
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6. Churchill River
The Churchill River of Manitoba is connected to the sea with its mouth on Hudson Bay, providing access to a broad range of aquatic life. One of the most prevalent inhabitants is the congenial beluga whale which reaches the Churchill River Estuary every year by thousands. Visitors can snorkel or cruise on the surface in a zodiac next to these magnificent beasts. Underwater, these whales can be heard speaking and calling each other first hand. It’s a transcendental experience that repeatedly brings whale watchers back. These waters are quite cold, but the majority of tour operators include dry suit rental packages.
Kingston is just an hour’s drive away from Brockville near thecoast of Lake Ontario. Wrecks are again the great attraction, but they are deeper and better preserved than the wrecks of Brockville. In fact, due to the frigid water and the lack of wood eating critters, they are surprisingly well conserved. The Katie Eccles sank here in 1922, but it is so astonishingly well preserved that on a clear day, as you descend to the wreck, your imagination could trick you into seeing it rising from the bottom like a spectral ship from the “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
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8. Barkley Sound
Jacques Cousteau said it was the second best dive spot in the world. Why?? This region is the marine world on roids— everything here is big, from gigantic pacific octopus to colossal six-stranded sharks, starfish the girth of trash lids and plumose anemones as thick as a person’s thigh. A simmering cauldron of life, the nutrient-rich water is called the “Emerald Sea.” This represents an excellent chance for divers to come into contact with species such as wolf eels, harbor Seals or sea lions of Steller. Photographers enjoy an astounding macro-life concentration; the range, texture and ample supply of nudibranchs is truly amazing.
9. Bell Island
The main features here are four cargo ships from World War II that were torpedoed by German submarines in 1942. The SS Rose Castle, SS Saganaga, PLM-27 and SS Lord Strathcona were all collecting iron ore from the local mine when submarines snuck into the port and destroyed them, ensuing in the deaths of over 40 men. The results of these battles are now in Conception Bay bottom. They are draped with a stable growth of marine life and it often looks as if you descend on a coral reef when the light is right. The deck guns of the ships are still undamaged and containers of ammo can still be found strewn around.
Contrary to assumptions, summer is not always the finest time to dive in Canada. Some of Canada’s best dive sites are vastly better when it’s chilly. Brockville, Kingston, and Tobermory are all finest during the summer, yes, nonetheless Barkley Sound makes winter diving much better — the water is not much milder, but the visibility is often better because the water contains far less organic material. Be sure to inform yourself well before jumping into any body of water. Before planning an adventurous trip to Canada , make sure you know the temperature and conditions of the water and the probable risks in the area (rocks, currents, etc.). Be careful. And never go alone!
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