Bainbridge Island - Blakely Rock, WA
Amenities: Public Mooring
, Wall, Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle
If the vis is good when you descend the anchor line at the buoy you will see that the main "wall" is actually an almost pyramid shaped rock embedded in the steep slope such that on one side is a tall face that runs from 60 to 100 feet deep, but you can swim all the way around the rock. The main rock is just west of the anchor line. There is a series of rocks and smaller walls extending from the east of the main rock towards Blakely rock. In fact, while at the surface take a look at Blakely rock, because all the bottom structure around the rock looks the same. At China wall there is not a lot of vegetation, but as you get closer to Blakely Rock (and shallower) you will encounter kelp and seaweed on the rocks. There is not a ton of life on the wall itself, but expect to see rockfish, lingcod, and several species of sculpin. If the vis is good then it is a great sight seeing dive anyway. There are cracks and fissures to explore in the wall and I imagine finding a Giant Pacific Octo would not be out of the question. You can end your dive in the shallow rock ledges and reefs surrounding Blakely rock where there is a ton of little critters such as sculpin, gunnels, war bonnets, etc.
This site is an advanced dive due to the depths and potential current. You can dive this site off slack, as the rock creates an eddy from the currant, but donít venture east of Blakely rock if there is current of you could get swept out to the middle of the sound ( bad) if you are not comfortable with currents, then I would dive this close to slack, or on a small exchange. Also, make sure your anchor is secure if you are not using the buoy.
How to get there:
The site is easy to find. Use your marine chart to find Blakely Rock. It is about 5 miles west of the boat launch at Alki Point, west Seattle. It is off of the SE corner of Bainbridge Island. As you approach the rock, it is easy to see as it stands about 20 feet above the surface even at a high tide and has a navigational marker above it. You can approach safely from the south. There is a sand bar to the west, reefs to the east and northeast. You can approach from the north if you are careful and in a shallow draft boat. As you approach the rock, to the southwest of the rock (I seem to remember it is a couple hundred feet from the rock) you will see an orange marker buoy. It is provided and maintained by a local dive charter and is attached to a bombproof anchor. If it is in use, the cobble shore to the north of the rock provides OK holding, but check your anchor before leaving the area to dive. I would not recommend anchoring near the wall as the slope is steep and the currant could easily drag your anchor off the slope. (long swim!)
Thanks to Slobert for submitting this site!