text and photos
- by Nicolle Pratt (Dive date: November 2002)
The Pinnacle is one of those dive sites that is quite a ways offshore as evidenced by the picture to the upper left taken from the boat when we were anchored on the site. You cannot identify the site from shore and specifically in the case of this dive site you will need to use a depth finder to locate it because the formation is completely submerged and surrounded by deep water.
On this day, we lucked out with the weather. It was a clear non-windy day, all-be-it cold. Because of this, we enjoyed up to 40' of visibility. It was simply beautiful.
The Dive Site: The Pinnacle is a conical shaped rocky formation rising up from the Hood Canal sea floor (100'+) and topping off at about 30' below the surface. The top of the formation is only about 30' by 60'.
Bryan positioned the boat using the depth finder while Lance and I set the anchor close to the top of the formation. Boat divers are cautioned to set a good anchor and allow for a lot of give along the anchor line at this site. Because the top of the formation is smaller and the site is surrounded by deep water, divers should try to avoid the possibility of the anchor pulling and the boat drifting. It is unlikely that the anchor would be able to catch again.
Although navigating a cone shaped formation would be easier than on other sites, it is still important to discuss the dive plan with all divers before entering the water. So we planned to descend along the anchor line making note of the anchor depth and check its hold, then descend to the bottom of the cone and move upward in a circular pattern around the formation. Since the top of the site sits in 30' of water, our safety stop would be spent on the anchor line.
Sea Life: The Pinnacle is a healthy dive site with great rocky formations. On this dive, I collectively saw more Wolf Eels than I have on entire dive weekends. I believe we counted at least 8, including quite a few pairs. We also spotted one Giant Pacific Octopus in a hole.
Looking up from the rocky crevices swirling overhead were some of the largest schools of perch I had seen since The Wreck at Taylor Bay. The interesting thing about these Perch were they looked almost gold instead of silver. It turns out, they were Kelp Perch. A few other interesting sea life notes at this site were the number of large Sea Lemon Nudibranchs, White Nudibranchs, and Calcareous Tube Worms. In fact, some of the Sea Lemon Nudibranchs were larger than may extended hand.
We also spotted several Lingcod including some very large ones. I am starting to understand that Hood Canal supports an abundant number of Lingcod. I would be interested in seeing the numbers of Lingcod in Hood Canal compared to that in Puget Sound. I understand there is a Lingcod study taking place this summer and I might just have to research that more. I'll keep everyone filled in as to what I discover.
In addition to the sea life listed above, we also encountered Blackeye Gobies, Rockfish, Decorator Crabs, Dungeness Crabs, Kelp Crabs, Gunnels, Orange and White Plumose Anemones, Orange Sea Cucumbers, and various Sea Stars.
Important Dive Site Notes: This dive site is completely submerged and is not easily identifiable via distinctive landmarks. Also, because of its distance from shore, this dive site is considered a boat dive only.
Current: Although many dive sites in Hood Canal are not current intensive including this one for the most part, because it is located in open water current tables should still be reviewed prior to diving this site.
Missing the dive site all-together or losing a boat because of improper