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Deep-sea exploring

Alisha Postma (BSc’12) is a scuba diver, underwater photographer and author who loves to dive into a day of adventure and deep-sea exploring.

24 hours

6:00 a.m. Beep, beep. It’s an ungodly hour of the morning and while I’d love to stay in my warm bed, one of my favourite shore diving sites on the Bay of Fundy calls. My workday actually started the previous evening, long before my alarm was set to ring, as I sorted through dive gear and camera equipment in preparation for dive day.

6:30 a.m. From leggings to my polar fleece onesie, I sometimes feel more like the Pillsbury Doughboy than an actual scuba diver in my thermal gear. But I will need every layer to keep my body warm against the cold waters.

7:15 a.m. On Deer Island, the site of the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere, it’s not about being early—or late. It’s about being smack-dab on time. Here the tides are no joke and can go from lazy river to rip-roaring in the blink of an eye. It takes knowledge and experience to dive this area. Wading out into the water, my husband and I are keen to commence our dive prior to slack tide.

A close-up of a sea anemone.

7:30 a.m. Taking the first breath in my regulator, I drop down into the Bay of Fundy with a splash. Right away, I spy urchins and crabs scampering across the rocky bottom. Kicking away from the entry point, we navigate to a cascading wall with heaps of anemones and sea peaches. I also glimpse some of my favourite photography subjects: nudibranchs.

8:00 a.m. I’m at the midpoint of my dive. I can feel the push of the current as the tide turns and begins to drive me back towards my entry point. In less than one hour this gentle push will have turned into a ferocious flow. Letting myself succumb to the tide, I backtrack. I see brilliant red anemones and sea stars galore—even an itty-bitty spiny lumpsucker. It’s enough to make me squeal into my regulator.

A small purple spiny lumpsucker.

8:30 a.m. My dive buddy and I remove each other’s fins and hobble, chilled, to the shoreline. While our time underwater was limited, there are few places in New Brunswick that match the scuba diving thrills of this location.

10:30 a.m. After breaking down our gear, we waste no time making a beeline for the ferry. It will take just over an hour to travel to the mainland. We’ll spend the rest of the day visiting and photographing another dive site—one less dependent on tidal fluctuation. Then we’ll prepare for tomorrow’s travels, heading to Nova Scotia to photograph and dive Canada’s ocean playground.