Craig Willemsen wears a lot of hats at Silent World Diving Systems. The instructor certifier, tech instructor, and store owner has spent the last 40 years swimming with schools of fish all over the world. After his first trip in 1972, Craig developed a passion for diving, exploring international waters and teaching others advanced techniques that they use to follow in his flippersteps. With more than 6,000 dives under his belt, his dedication to diving and education has earned him one of the highest SSI instructor ratings and the SSI Platinum Pro 5,000 Diver and Instructor Award.
Craig leads Silent World's team of certified instructors who strive to teach students the art of underwater exploration and also broaden their knowledge on a variety of related subjects. At any given moment, they may be leading students in open-water dives, pointing out local diving sites that match their skill levels, or matching newcomers with the right gear and Zodiac-themed wetsuits.
At the PADI-certified Bubbles Below center, instructors help to illuminate the art of breathing under water for divers of all skill levels. Beginners can drop in for discover scuba lessons, which familiarize students with the fundamentals of safe diving. Certification programs prep more experienced practitioners for unassisted open-water plunges, and local dives invite advanced explorers to stop by, strap on some flippers, and get some practice for their next underwater board meeting.
To learn about the wildlife of Puget Sound, you could go to your local library or pour through pictures online. Or you could see it up close during a trip with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking. True to their company's name, the staff immerses adventurers in the scenic locale through SCUBA dives and kayak tours. While divers submerge themselves in dreamlike sites to look for octopi and rock fish, kayakers paddle across Eagle Harbor in search of otters and seabirds.
Outer Island Expeditions' fleet of kayaks and boats safely cruises at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through frothy crests ebbing amid the striking sights and wildlife of the San Juan islands. Venturing as far as 50 miles into Canadian waters, whale-watching excursions foster personal rapport between patrons and boat-side orcas, gray whales, or humpback whales trying to learn human etiquette for future espionage missions. Tours of Stuart Island's Turn Point lighthouse begin aboard a 22-foot Kodiak skiff, which buoys patrons through 16 miles of waters inhabited by sea lions and porpoises before they disembark and hike to the lighthouse's historical museum. Fishing charters set sail in search of ocean creatures and potable salt water from all of Outer Island Expeditions' four launch points: Smuggler's Villa Resort, Semiahmoo Resort, Lopez Island, and The Willows on Lummi Island.
The instructors at Rockfish Divers love scuba diving and sharing their passion with others. But they also realize that much of the appeal of scubaing is seeing the amazing natural sites. That's why the team teaches its students environmentally friendly behaviours, such as how not to upset delicate sealife and why pouring sugar into the sea doesn't make it freshwater. Through PADI open-water diving courses, chartered diving trips, and snorkeling, Rockfish Divers provides adventurers with a great way to see a different side of Victoria.
It's hard for Andrew and Christine Edwards to remember a life without scuba diving. From an early age, they both would plunge into the depths of Vancouver's waters, gazing across underwater landscapes where wolf eels swam and octopi stretched their sneaker-covered tentacles across a carpet of strawberry anemones. These experiences stuck with them, and in 2007, the couple opened Ocean Planet Adventures to share their life's passion with others.
From Discovery Scuba classes to advanced PADI certifications, Ocean Planet Adventures' instructors guide their students at dive sites peppered across Clayoquot Sound and Barkley Sound, a UNESCO biosphere. During these expeditions, instructors and groups feast their eyes on jungles of aquatic plants and animals, including whales. Aside from open-water diving, the staff teaches specialty courses such as wreck diving, which lets divers explore shipwrecks or polish the hoods of sunken automobiles.