Aquatic Life: 5
Point Defiance West Wall is an exciting boat dive near Owen Beach at Point Defiance in Tacoma. It boasts tall clay walls, dropping from 30’ at the top to 60-80’ at the base and is relatively sheltered from incoming tides (in other words it is divable during a low to moderate floods). The face of the wall is riddled with clam holes that have marred the face so that very little of the current swept wall is smooth. These holes make great homes for small creatures like nudibranchs, scallops and sculpin, while sea stars cling to the surface in search of their next meal. Rockfish and schools of perch swim in and out of the crevices. Due to the clay substrate and heavy current, invertebrate life growing on the wall is limited, but the grandeur of the wall more than compensates.
An alternative dive profile would be to do a drift dive during a small ebb (out-going tide) and wrap around the point into the shelter Point Defiance North Wall. The contour brings you naturally to North wall is easy to do. The opposite is possible during a flood (head from North wall, around the point to West Wall).
Point Defiance West Wall is an advanced dive site due to depth, likely currents, and the sheer and immediate drop. Be careful when trying to find a place to anchor. The wall runs close to shore and your boat could end up beached or stuck in the trees, or worse yet, swept away in the strong currents.
How to get there:
Located just west from the Point Defiance Marina and Owen Beach, around the point to the South. There is a large marker on pilings right at the shore that sits over the north end of the wall at the point where it wraps around to Point Defiance North Wall. Head South about 100 yards from the marker to the southern end of the wall, enter the water and swim to 35-40’, turn right (north) and swim to the beginning of the wall if you haven’t hit it already.
Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
|Fun dive. The clay wall has tons of clams and other critters on it. Current was strong so planning is important. Live boat is a good idea and generally required at this site. The beach which is just feet from the top of the wall is a nice place to regroup before or after a dive. |
|There wasn't a lot of life on the wall but the structure is really cool. We dove it on a 12ft exchange during a flood but it back eddies here and still pushed us north toward North Wall. The current was moving us right along but there didn't seem to be any weirdness to it. Fun dive!|
|This was a fun dive. Jeremy and Rob really built up how fast the current was going to be, and that it would be dangerous. Though it was moving pretty fast, I didn't notice any upward or waterfalling currents, so it really didn't phase me at all. In fact I think it added to the enjoyment of the dive. As we rounded the point to the north side of the wall, the current let up and we were actually in a back eddy. This is where I started to see some of the life. I'm not sure if it was because I was moving too fast before, or if it was because the fish were avoiding the current. Fun dive, but I wish we could have drifted longer.|