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Agate Pass | USA: Pacific Northwest
Old Man House State Park
Bainbridge Island, WA
Access: Difficult Shore Entry
Amenities: Restrooms, Showers
Aquatic Life: 3.67
Boulder Pile / Shelves
Click here to view a google map of the Drift Course.
Click here for Current Predictions.
Agate Pass is a 1 mile, high speed drift dive from the SE corner of the Agate Pass Bridge to a park called Old Man House State Park. It is a relatively shallow dive (35-40ft) that affords you the unique opportunity to soar over the bottom covered with carpets of anemones, do effortless flips and cartwheels and play in the eddies behind rocks. It is a unique experience to succumb to the pull of the current and ride it along to your exit point.
Upon entering the water under the bridge, descend and steer toward the middle of the Channel (35-40fsw) and enjoy the ride. The time you are under the water will depend on the speed of current.
The only real trick to diving this site is knowing when to ascend. Come up too soon and you’ll have a long walk ahead of you, too late and you’ll have a heck of a time getting back to the beach. Stay in the middle as long as you can until you feel it is time begin your exit. If you move too far left too soon (NW Shore) you’ll hit a back eddy that will impede your progress down the channel and you’ll end up walking to the park, but it also works as a nice “safety net” if you feel the need to end the dive. On a one knot current you can plan to drift for about 25-30 minutes before you need to turn toward shore and begin your swim to the exit point. Good luck, it’s tricky!
This site description was written for an EBB TIDE only (out going tide). I do not know if it can be done on a FLOOD.
This is truly an advanced dive for divers in good health. Keep an eye in front of you so you don’t get dashed against a boulder. Plan a lost buddy procedure because it is easy to get separated in extreme current. Depending upon your luck and skill (or lack there of) you may be in for quite a walk or swim to find your exit point. Make sure you are physically prepared to do so. It is not a bad idea to have a non dive on shore at Old Man State Park with a bright flashlight to signal you to your exit point (in case of fog) and to drop you off at the entry point. Be ware of boat traffic overhead.
How to get there:
NOTE: This will require two vehicles or one person who does not plan to dive who can drop the divers off at the entry point and pick them up at the park.
You can take the Seattle/Bainbridge Ferry to Bainbridge and head up 305 to the bridge, then take a right on Suquamish Way NE. Turn right at Divison Ave NE. Turn left at NE McKinstry St. and you’ll run right into Old Man State Park.
To get there from Tacoma:
- Follow Hwy 16 and cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
- Drive north for 22.4 miles through the town of Gorst and around the tip of Sinclair Inlet
- Turn left at Hwy 3 North/Hwy 304 East junction
- Follow Hwy 3 North for 15.8 miles before exiting to Hwy 305 South towards Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island
- Turn right at the bottom of the exit ramp and drive to a 4-way intersection and stoplight. Continue straight through the intersection towards Winslow, following Hwy 305 for 6.2 miles to the Agate Pass Bridge
- Turn left at Suquamish Way NE
- Turn right at Divison Ave NE
- Turn left at NE McKinstry St. and you’ll run right into Old Man State Park
Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
|We misread the current charts and ended up in a slower-than-hoped-for current, but still had a great time. Any time you have a chance to let go in a current and just ride it home, it's a great thing! The best part of the dive is the 1st half from the bridge on the far side. Get over as quicfk as you can. You'll see large boulders and the entire bottom covered in small white anemones.|
|When you first get into the water take the time to check out the footings under the bridge. This can easiestly(?) be done on a moderate current for Agate Pass. The current seem is stronger around the bridge footing then almost anywhere else during the dive. I would recommend walking under and passing the bridge to a retaining wall footing of the bridge is at about 45 deg out from that spot. This will allow to get to the footing without the current pulling you passed it. The base of the footings are covered with huge boulders covered with a wide variety of life. I think there is more life on and around these boulders then all the rest of the dive. REMEMBER to look up at the bridge from under the water, its a cool view. Especially a twilight when the light in the sky makes the brigde standout from the background and the bridge lights can be seen.|
|The best life is in and around the boulders during the first 1/3 – 1/2 of the dive. Hit the water and somewhat aggressively work toward the opposite shore until you pass the middle (about 35’) and start to come up again to around 30’. There are large carpets of anemones, boulders and trenches to block the current and make it possible to explore. Roll out of the eddy and you’ll shoot to the next boulders downstream. After the life starts to dissipate take about a 15° heading and softly kick or just ride the current toward the exit point. Not as much to see on this portion of the dive, mainly just clam shells. It’s time to turn toward shore when you feel the current picking up and the bottom starts getting deeper. Either surface and swim in or cut hard and work through the current, (it’s possible but you’ll need to be familiar in current diving). Don’t turn into shore too early or you’ll find yourself in an annoying back eddy and you’ll start slowly drifting the wrong way! If you choose to surface and exit that way you can judge your position by the channel marker because it lines up with the exit point. The surface current is a slower next to shore on this side. It has consistently taken us about 30-35 minutes during a 1-1.5 knot current to get to the exit point.
While on this dive we saw several species of Gunnels, Mossy Head Warbonnets, Decorated Warbonnets, white spotted greenling, Cabazon, Red Irish Lords, and more. Take a moment to drop into one of the eddies behind a boulder and explore among the barnacles and you’ll be surprised what you find!
|Very cool! Flying over the bottom is a unique experience.
There are some boulders big enough for two divers to sit behind. Assuming both divers are able to make the eddy turn it's a nice way to get a closer inspection of the marine life. There is a lot of marine life not found in more protected dive sites.
It was very foggy the day we dove making it difficult to determine where you were in relation to the start and end of the dive. The start of the dive is marked by the brigde. The end of the dive is marked by some pilings in the middle of the channel.
|Loved this dive!!! It was difficult to get into mid channel and then back out, but well worth the effort. You felt as if you were flying over snow covered hills and mountains, with feather duster tube worms shooting up through all the white anenomes. it was a beautiful dive, and I would do it again, anytime.|
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