Dive sites on Deer Island should only be attempted by Advanced level and experienced divers. The extreme tidal range combined with the deep walls around the southern tip of the island, result in dangerously strong currents. Contact COJO for questions on the best times to dive these sites. The information provided on this site is for reference only, and does not take the place of having the proper training, experience, gear, and good judgement.
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This is an Advanced Dive site but is also quite manageable for experienced Open Water divers as it is rather easy to navigate. It is an incredible marine life dive. This site is a wall dive and depth increases gradually. This dive is done at low slack tide, and tends to be forgiving to be late on the tide.
From NB Highway 1, take Exit 56 to St. George/Deer Island. Follow signs to the Deer Island ferry. The ferry is a free government ferry and runs every 30min during the day (check the Ferry Schedule to confirm crossing times). Once on the island, follow route 772 and turn right on Deer Island Point Road. Near the end of the road will be the Canada Customs building on the left. Directly across from that is a gravel parking area with a path to the beach. This is the diver parking area.
This is an Advanced Dive site with potentially strong current even at slack tide. This site can only be dove at low slack tide (we have tried it at High tide and the current experience is not pleasant). At Low tide, walk across the beach and head to the left towards the exposed rock wall.
At slack tide you will have at least 45min for this dive. The dive can be done within 50fsw but divers often drop down to deeper walls at 60-70fsw and some explore even deeper walls (do with caution, currents can pick up suddenly at depth). Navigation is easy along the wall but watch your compass bearings. Entry and exit will be done at the same beach. The area to dive extends from the beach to as far as the wilderness campsite area. Generally when the tide starts to turn, the current will provide a gentle push back to the beach.When the campground is open (May-Sep), only use the parking area in front of the Canada Customs building. Do not use the parking by the campground site except for off season.
In Winter the campground is not plowed, but this site often remains accessible as the snow accumulation usually isn't deep and it's a reasonably short walk down the path. If there has been recent snowfall, bring a shovel to get access from the road.
The Deer Island Recreational Council requests that all divers register at the Campground Office in-season, and to pay a fee of $5.00CDN per day, or $20.00CDN per year. The funds are used by the Recreational Council to maintain the campground. Divers who have paid the fee are permitted access to use the flush washrooms when open.
Entry is down a gravel path from the diver parking area and across a rocky beach. As the dive is at low tide, rocks may be slippery near the water.
The dive MUST only be done at slack tide.
Average is 15ft, but may be lower depending on recent weather.
Water temp will range from 38F in the Winter, to 55F in early Fall.
The site can have strong current, divers must be able to manage their buoyancy. Divers should not be higher than an arm length from the bottom, in case there is a sudden need to grab on to rocks. Ascent should never be direct to the surface as the area has boat traffic and surface current may be very strong. Carry a SMB in case you need to surface away from shore. A light and a whistle is recommended. A compass is essential to ensure you are following the shore line.
The bottom will really start to show concentrated marine life at about 20fsw. Look on the wall as well as along the bottom. On the shallow wall, look for nudibranchs, lumpfish and spiny lumpsucker. This site has rather large resident lobster. On the deeper walls, there is a higher concentration of anemones, soft coral, and dens with Atlantic Wolf Fish.
This site is great for looking at macro marine life... nudibranchs, various sponges, crabs, sculpin or sea raven, sea vase, anemones, sea stars. Lots of larger critters as well, Atlantic Wolf Fish, Ocean Pout, and oversized lobster. In the shallows while doing your safety stop, look closely for juvenile lumpfish, juvenile pout and more.