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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - South


Point Defiance North Wall  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Point Defiance
Tacoma, WA

Type: Saltwater
Difficulty:
Advanced


Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 2
Enjoyment: 3.67
Visibility: 3.33
Current: 4.33
Aquatic Life: 4.33

Photo Gallery:

Sea Star
The Pitted North Wall
Red Irish Lord
Frosted (Alabaster) Nudibranch
Hermit Crabs
Clam Siphon
Sea Star
Scallop
Kelp Greenling




Features

Wall

Description

The north wall is a beautifully sculpted clay wall that starts in about 20 feet of water and goes down to 80 feet or so. Unlike a lot of the other walls in the area, this one descends in a series of shelves and walls like a giant stair step. Some of the steps are a few feet tall, and some are 20-30 feet tall. Some of them are carved under and overhanging. Some of the shelves are wide enough that with poor vis you might think you are at the bottom. As you move further east, the wall gets smaller, and their are even blocks of the wall that have fallen to the bottom creating more fish habitat.

As far as life goes, you can find Warbonnetts, small Octopus, various Sculpins greenlings and rockfish in the nooks on the wall. You may find wolf eels too, it seems like their kinda’ place. The scenery is more dramatic the closer you get to the point.

Special Restrictions:

This dive is only doable during a low exchange at slack (or very near it) entering an ebb tide. At that time, the current comes blasting out of the Narrows, past the West Wall, and misses the north wall, though there is a back eddy heading towards the point so pick a minimal ebb for your safety and sanity. On a flood tide this site gets blasted by the massive amounts of water heading towards the narrows, but then the Point Defiance West Wall becomes divable (again with a back eddy heading towards the point) As you dive this wall, pay attention to the water movement, because the current waterfalls over the wall as you approach the point. This can pull you off the wall and push you deep then send you out to the middle of the sound for good measure.

Consider a live boat! If not, double check your anchor on the clay shelf! Please note that in many spots, the shelf is exposed clay slab, and your anchor won’t set, so check your anchor. There are some random boulders you could wrap your anchor chain around.

How to get there:

Point Defiance runs northwest from Commencement Bay and Tacoma. At the very point is a navigational marker on a piling. On the west side of this point is a dive called Point Defiance West Wall. The Point Defiance North Wall dive site is east of this marker, below the cliffs facing North. Anchor on the shelf above the wall in 10-15 feet. The first prominent bluff east from the point will put you above the main wall, further east to the second bluff puts you where the wall turns into shelves and smaller walls. The anchorage is better at the second bluff.


Thanks to Slobert for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
Matt_Tyler12/5/2008Rating: 3
The topography was very cool. I enjoyed the variety of life here. I think by the time we reached the North part of the wall though, I was pretty tired and I have to admit I was struggling a bit. I think that took away from my enjoyment a bit, but not so much that I would wish I didn't dive here.

LaynesterV2/9/2008Rating: 4
The first time I have dove this site. The underwater topography is outstanding. The wall and shelves are magnificent. Visibility was about 15-20ft. This site requires you to look for the small things. The holes in the sandstone hold lots of little suprises. Didn't see any octos or wolf eels, however did run into a rather large ling on the west end. Lots of sculpins, shrimp and more hermit crabs than I have ever seen in my life. Overall a very enjoyable dive. Take the time to explore every little hole.



 

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