San Juan Islands
Lopez Island, WA
Access: Moderate Shore Entry
Aquatic Life: 5
Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle, Boulder Pile / Shelves, Eel Grass Beds
Agate Beach County Park provides a great dive site for new divers or those looking for a relaxing shallow dive in Outer Bay. There is a rocky shoreline on both sides of the sandy beach marked by boulders and kelp. The bay is only about 35' deep with a large eel grass bed and houses several rock formation that are visible above the water. One is very near the shore and has minimal life on it.
A possible dive plan (for strong swimmers) would be to surface swim to the larger formation in the middle of the bay (called Shark Fin Rock), descend and explore and and then to a smaller one to the north called Outer Rock. The outside of Outer Rock has a broad face usually covered with urchins. Then swim to the northern shore and explore the kelp and boulders on your way back in. On a flood you'll have the current working with you on the return. On an ebb there will be little if any current at all.
Nearly nonexistent ebb currents (great time to dive here). Floods will actually follow the northern shoreline toward the entry point so a diver can utilize the current to return from outer rock.
How to get there:
Agate Beach County Park sits on Outer Bay on the west side of the southern end of Lopez Island, 21 miles from the ferry terminal that is located on the north end of the island.
Head southwest on Ferry Rd toward Hilltop Way 2.1 mi
Sharp left at Center Rd 5.7 mi
Slight left at Lopez Sound Rd 154 ft
Slight left at Mud Bay Rd 0.2 mi
Turn right to stay on Mud Bay Rd 2.6 mi
Turn right at Mackaye Harbor Rd
Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
|Entry and Exit: Go down the stairs across from the parking lot. Once on the beach be careful: The rocks are large and round and really give way under your feet. We had some large surgey waves that made entry/exit and putting on and taking off fins sketchy.
Dive Plan: Because of the great distance out to Shark Fin rock (.28 mile) and Outer Rock (.36 mile) we opted to dive the near rock that was only .07 miles away. There is no way we were going to surface swim all that way out there. Has someone actually DONE this dive plan and monster surface swim??
Depth: Unfortunately our max depth was only 12 feet.
Marine Life: We saw little life, except for a few cool nudibranchs, some Gumboot Chitons, a few small Rock Scallop, lots of small crabs, and two Giant Pacific Octopus - one hiding and one out in the open on the south side of the rock.
Dive Conditions: No current to speak of, but the surge was making us feel pretty nauseous. Visibility was milky/cloudy and a whopping 5 feet.
Amenities: Be sure to check out the outhouse in the park - it has reading material and bright colors inside. The headline I saw on 'Velo' magazine read "Defending the Throne"...haha!
Needless to say, I won't be back.