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Rosario Beach - Urchin Rocks

Deception Pass
Rosario Park Picnic Area
Anacortes, WA
Google Map

Type: Saltwater
Snorkling, Advanced
Access: Moderate Shore Entry
Parking: Limited
Amenities: Restrooms

Photo Gallery:

Rosario Beach - Urchin Rocks
Clown Nudibranch
Sand Lance
Urchin Rocks
Frosted (Alabaster) Nudibranch
Monterey Sea Lemon
Yellow Rimmed Nudibranch

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, Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle, Boulder Pile / Shelves, Kelp Forest


Urchin Rocks at Rosario Beach offer a dynamic shallow dive with easy shore access. The rocks can be clearly see protruding from the water at Rosario Beach head. The rocks form canyons and short walls covered in kelp and invertebrates dropping to about 40' at the base of the larger ones.

On an ebb current, enthusiastic divers can dive all the way around the head into Sharp cove to the left and exit from a small, easy to find trail. On a flood current you could enter the water at Sharp Cove and swim with the flow around to Urchin Rocks, then exit at Rosario Beach. This would be an incredibly long swim/dive so please walk the trail at the head before you decide.

Special Restrictions:

This site is current intensive and visibility can be poor after any storm. Visibility is always questionable even when there isn't a storm due to nearby rivers and the proximity to Deception Pass. Recommended diving at high tide slack before an ebb for the best visibility. Ebb currents bring in sediments from nearby channels. Stay deep enough to avoid waves that could toss you up onto the rocks.

Rosario Beach is a marine preserve so fishing is prohibited.

How to get there:

Just north of Deception Pass. From WA-20 take Rosario Road to Cougar Gap and turn left. Left again at Rosario Picnic Area Rd. Follow it to the end and park along the road. Hike your gear in a few hundred yards along the trail toward the head and enter the water at the beach to the right.

Advanced divers looking for a challenge may want to try out Rosario Beach's Northwest Island which is located just outside this cove and is accessible from shore at Rosario Beach.

Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
  Reviews Leave Review  
Marek Sk8/20/2014Rating: 3
OK, I also dove around Rosario Head on a flood current starting from Sharpe Cove and around Urchin Rocks and finishing at Rosario Beach. I usually do my research before diving new place. According to this site description you can just dive with the current going around Rosario Head but the book “Northwest Shore Dives” only recommends to dive on the Ebb current (starting at Rosario Beach and ending at Sharpe Cove) the opposite direction. I soon found out why. Diving out of Sharpe Cove I did not feel much current and I followed the bottom of the slope at about 20 ft depth around Rosario Head and estimating my position with the compass. When my direction started changing from W to NW I run into moderate current going opposite direction ?! Exactly like Scuba Paul experienced. As I was diving with 130 CF tank and just used only about 20-25% of air I decided to beat the current because just before the dive I walked around the Rosario Head and seen Kelp on a NW side pointing NW while on SW side pointing E – indicating that the current is getting split on SW-W side of Rosario Head. It took another 20-25% of my air to reach the Urchin Rocks where the current finally was going N. I had plenty of air to explore Urchin Rock and still end the dive with great margin of 900 PSI after 85 min dive. I recommend walking around Rosario Head and checking the kelp direction and current flow and strength on each side before the dive. Visibility can even vary on single dive. On Sharpe Cove it was only 5 ft while west side between 10-15ft while on Rosario Beach side improved to almost 20.

ScubaPaul7/14/2012Rating: 3
We dove this yesterday on flood (tide coming in) current. We started in Sharpe Cove and swam south around the point then headed east-notheast toward urchin rocks. As I expected and planned we were swimming into the current. This is the opposite of what paragraph 2 of the description of this dive seems to suggest. We turned around halfway through the dive and swam with the current then back west-southwest toward Sharp Cove. When we came around the south end of the point and turned north into the cove the current was pushing us south out of the cove even though it was still 30 minutes or so before the predicted high tide for Bowman Bay. That I didn't expect. Does the current maybe swirl counter-clockwise around Bowman Bay when approaching high slack? Either way someone should take a look at that description and tell me if I'm missing something.

ChevaYEA7/26/2008Rating: 3
Fun dive. We were there on a very small exchange so currents weren't too challenging. Not nearly as much life as the island but fun none the less.


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