The Quimper Peninsula offers some of the best shore diving in the state of Washington. Several excellent dive sites are accessible out of historic Port Townsend on the Peninsula’s tip. Explore the jetty at Point Hudson and see Giant Pacific Octopus, Plumose Anemones and numerous varieties of crab and rockfish, as well as a sunken barge covered in marine life. Or, take a drift dive and examine old bottles that litter the sea floor - some dating as far back as the early 1800’s when Port Townsend was a busy Victorian seaport. Fort Warden State Park offers a shallow dive in and around the pilings of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. See shrimp, giant barnacles, Clown Dorids, Kelp Crab, Spider Crab, Sea Cucumbers, and many colorful rockfish. Deeper dives in this area are current dependent, and feature an artificial reef that is home to Giant Pacific Octopus, rockfish, anemones of many varieties, and more.

Point Hudson
Point Hudson has a varied topography, with eelgrass along the beach and a steep slope that drops to 45’ at The Dolphin (big concrete piling assembly in the water). This is where a submarine net was attached on the Port Townsend side of the bay during WWI and WWII.

The jetty is a fantastic dive with an old sunken barge covered in marine life that can be found in approximately 60’ of water just off the end of the jetty itself. Look for Plumose Anemones, multiple species of nudibranchs, sponges, giant barnacles, sea urchins, and many varieties of crab, including Juvenile Puget Sound King, Decorator, Heart, Rock, and Dungeness. Also look for mounds of crab shells which indicate a Giant Pacific Octopus is close by. Fish include Kelp Greenlings, Lingcod, sculpins, warbonnets, and at least six different species of rockfish, including Canary, which is protected in Washington State.

For an enjoyable drift dive, follow the 60’ curve along the water and check out the remnants of Port Townsend’s Victorian seaport days including the possibility of finding antique bottles. Look for nudibranchs and sea pens, Grunt Sculpins and gunnels, and some good sized Lingcod.

Point Hudson is suitable for beginning to advanced divers, but requires the ability to accurately read currents.

Other Good Quimper Peninsula Dives

The Ranger
The Ranger is a sunken tug boat. This dive requires a long walk in knee high water during high tide or a low tide trek through sand flats to the end of the Port of Port Townsend breakwater in order to get to water. If you run parallel to the breakwater following the 45’ curve you will come across the Ranger. There are numerous perch, rockfish, greenling, sculpins, and Lingcod all over this wreck. The jetty rocks are also teeming with life. The Ranger is suitable for beginning divers.
GPS 48° 06.271’ N 122° 46.589’W

Fort Worden State Park
A shallow dive with a sandy beach entry that takes you under the Marine Science Center
and around pilings where you will see shrimp, giant barnacles, Kelp Crab, Spider Crab, Clown Dorids, and lots of perch and rockfish. Giant Plumose Anemones are taking over the pilings, which makes for a gorgeous sight. Straight out from the Kitchen Shelter in approximately 25’ of water, there is an artificial reef which was created in the 1970’s. The reef consists of tires roped together and large concrete structures which provide lots of nooks and crannies for critters to hide in. Remember, mounds of crab shells indicate Giant Pacific Octopus so be on the lookout for them as well.
Camping is permitted in the State Park, and there is plenty for non-divers to do, including kayak rentals in the summer and miles of trails for hiking through the woods along with old military bunkers to explore and beach combing around the Point Wilson Light House. Non-divers will also enjoy the exhibits at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center with include aquariums that contain critters which live below the Center.

Swain’s and Nifty Fifties
Swain’s and Nifty Fifties are two stores located on Water Street in Port Townsend that offer parking near public beach access. Use the left-hand parking lot at Swain’s where the rental kayaks are located, and the small lot next to Nifty Fifties.

This is a fun area with an occasional current. You will find pilings both upright and fallen, the remains of an old ferry dock, and ballast stones in deeper locations. Bottle hunters may still find treasures buried in the sand and silt, though these “finds” are becoming fewer and farther between. Nudibranchs are in abundance throughout the year, as are rockfish, perch, and a variety of sculpins. Plumose Anemones, Burrowing Sea Cucumbers and other invertebrates are plentiful here, as well. A tip for treasure hunters; if you find a bottle embossed with the letters W.T., it stands for Washington Territory which predates Washington statehood (1889). The best time for bottle hunting is right after a winter storm has blown through which tends to shake up the bottom and exposes previously hidden treasures.

Historic Port Townsend has what many consider the finest collection of bed & breakfast inns on the West Coast. There is also an abundance of motels, hotels, vacation rentals, private getaways and campsites. Fine and casual dining options feature fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine and ethnic specialties. Walking tours, wine tasting, shopping, live music, hiking and cycling are just a few of the activities available to keep the non-divers in your party busy. Click on the following link for more information.