Fox Island, WA
Aquatic Life: 5
Wolf Eels and Giant Pacific Octopus , Wall, Boulder Pile / Shelves
Z’s Reef is a popular boat dive that draws scuba divers because of the resident populations of wolf eels and giant pacific octopus. The dive site is comprised of a short wall running about 200 yards along the shore on the northeast side of Fox Island. The wall is actually a series of rugged natural rocky ledges standing between 10’-20’ tall, which have a lot of undercuts, crevices, and dens where our large local critters lurk. The top of the wall is about 40’ deep and drops to 60’ at the highest point. There are some rocks and ledges below the wall too if you have done several dives here and want to explore beyond the main wall.
As mentioned, the big attraction is the near certain encounter with wolf eels and GPOs that you can easily find with a dive light by looking in all the crevices and under cuts at the base of the wall. Other fish that make their home on Z’s Reef include lingcod, painted and kelp greenling, rockfish, perch and various sculpin. Many stars, crab, snails and nudibranchs can be found on the wall and the sandy shelf above.
Current sensitive, dive this site at slack or during a small ebb exchange (during an out-going tide) where it is shelters from the current heading toward the Tacoma Narrows. If you run a live boat then this site is diveable most of the time under these conditions. If anchoring, be careful to dive during minimal exchanges and during slack.
How to get there:
To find Z’s Reef, head south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Fox Island and Follow the northeast side along the shore in Hale Passage (that’s what this channel is called), past a small cove that cuts in to the south until you are lined up visually with the point of the land that obscures the west side of Tacoma Narrows bridge to exactly the middle point. You’ll be directly west of the popular dive, Titlow Beach and Day Island Wall. Looking along the shore, all the houses have some rocky bulkheads at the water line. There is one that is smooth cement instead of rocks, directly below a nice house that has a small room shaped like a lighthouse on the top right side of the house. Drop Anchor directly in front of this bulkhead in 20-30’ of water, drop in and head northeast to the wall. It is very long, running parallel to shore so it is easy to find. Look at the link to the google map to see its location.
Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
|John R||5/29/2010||Rating: 4|
|We did this as a boat dive anchoring in 26 ft between the large house with the lighthouse-type turret on top and the small boathouse on the beach. We entered the water at predicted slack and experienced no current. The algae bloom was in full force but disappeared after descending to about 20fsw. Interesting critters sighted included one large wolf eel, buffalo sculpin, RIL, a beautiful red crescent gunnel. We also spotted a large GPO but he/she was buried deep in a den. Nice dive … as expected.|
|I loved this site and can't wait to get back. I am pretty sure this is an old nuclear dump site judging by the size of the monterous lingcod, copper rockfish and GPO's we saw. The wolf eels were impressive as well. We saw two pairs of wolf eels. About 5 GPO's ( two of wich were the biggest Iv'e ever seen.) and dozens of lings. Matt even found a small grunt sculpin. The reef is impressive in size and is worth the trip. |
|If you DON'T like seeing pairs of wolf eels, and several very large Giant Pacific Octopi, then don't dive this site because you will see these guys. Also if you don't enjoy seeing huge ling cod and gargantuan sized copper rock fish, painted greenlings and sculpins, then you shouldn't dive here. You'll just think it's stupid. I absolutely loved it though.|