Octopus Hole

USA West


Submitted By:

Submitter Comments:
Octopus hole is about 5 miles past Hoodsport on 101, this is a great dive site for both day and night diving.



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09/06/2011 George Duncan (Avg: 2.80 Review) - This site is always a good place to dive, and always delivers something. Limited parking along highway, steep little trail down to water. Swim straight out from tree that has fallen and points across the canal. Top of the wall is around 30 fsw, bottom around 50 fsw. Usually some Octos in dens in many possible locations on wall and at bottom.

09/24/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 3.45 Review) - I have dove at this location several times throughout the past year. The ease of getting to critters and the confidence of finding the right exit point keeps me coming back! If you are at all concerned about currents of diving new places, definitely check this place out. It is not the easiest to get to and from the water, and parking can be tricky, but the dive will make it all worth it. One of the few places I can always go and find at least one Octo! Typically there are 6-8 hiding around tire reefs, walls, under rocks, etc. Just start poking around and you will not be disappointed!

06/23/2008 Toby (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Follow heading 145 to 50' then follow depth South to rock wall (~100 yards). Six or more large Octos 4'-6', and some large fish, and crab. Also, some kelp at 20' @ the entry point. Great dive, very relaxing. Slowly drift down to the wall, and drift back if you time it right. No current to speak of, and visibility typical for the canal. I will be going here again soon!

09/23/2007 Will (Avg: 3.47 Review) - This was a great place that had very thing from wolf-eels, and giant pacific octopus, to really big rock fish and even dogfish… all in one 23ft dive. We went down to about 100ft and slowly worked our way back up. This is NOT a good idea unless you have training to that depth, but I think you would see just as much going down to 60ft. I did an evening and night dive, both were great.

09/09/2006 Anonymous (Avg: 2.88 Review) - Pretty good dive site!

08/17/2006 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.69 Review) - I can't resist an update. The now annual start-to-Fall low oxygen conditions on this wall is making for some interesting diving. The lack of oxygen at the bottom of Hood Canal forces thousands of fish into the top of the water column where they then swim in diver territory. Accordingly, though, in previous summers a diver might only see a few groups of five copper rockfish along the wall, now there are schools of 50 big coppers at frequent points along the wall as well as occasional quillbacks and even black rockfish. Ling cod are still plentiful as are wolf eels, but this last week there was not an octopus was to be found, and very few nudibranchs. Crab, shrimp, moon snails, flounder, anemone and sea cucumbers are still plentiful, but I imagine in another month lots of these will be washed up dead on the beach.

09/12/2005 Edward J. Palumbo (Avg: 3.16 Review) - Directions have already been provided to this site so I will not be redundant except to say it is located 18 miles from Kneeland Road in Shelton and it lies on the right (east) side of northbound 101. As you pass the Tides Restaurant (left side of the road), you have less than a quarter-mile to Octopus Hole on the right, but it's easily overlooked. There is parking for 5-6 vehicles to the right, and 5 or so on the left or S/B side of the road, but these spaces fill early so you do well to plan to arrive by 0900. Access to this site, which is privately owned by Mike & Sherry Smith of Mike's Dive Shop, is free of charge but ethics and gratitude dictate that divers who use this site get their air refills and accessory needs at Mike's, which is about 6 miles south of this site on 101. There is another dive shop nearby, Hood Sport & Dive. Access from the road is accomplished on a stair step of rocks. Classes are frequently conducted here. There may be a wind-driven surface current, but the exchange is generally mild. The site offers a variety of marine life, including an occasional glimpse of wolf eel and octopus, pile perch, rockfish, crabs (decorator, kelp, dungeness), plumose anemones, lemon nudibranch and many other critters. There seems no pattern for visibility; it varies from poor (arm's length) to 20+ feet. This weekend, my son and I noted a thermocline at 22 fsw, beneath which the temperature was 50-51 deg F. Viz seemed to improve noticeably beneath that temperature layer. Morning conditions are often smooth and calm, but wind and chop may develop by afternoon. The weather is beyond prediction (this is the Northwest) but, if you wait just a bit, it'll change. Lodging is available nearby, though I'd recommend calling at least 2-3 weeks in advance during the summer. Cell phone transmission may be a problem here; the nearest land line is the Tides Restaurant. There is an ambulance (volunteer fire department) in Shelton. I hadn't visited this area in a great while because the site appeared to be in decline, but I am reassured that the biosystem is recovering well, and I hope that continues to improve.

03/06/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.81 Review) - Update on my recent report - as of March, 2005, octopi have moved back onto the main wall. Also, my ratings will raise on this site due to the incredible winter conditions today. I woke to a brilliant sunrise - no wind, no frost - so I high-tailed it two hours from my mountain outpost to the coast just as the weather cleared over Hood Canal. The water was so calm at the site it looked like a thin layer of see-through neoprene was coating it. Cars were parked all along the road, filled with divers, as the secret of our tremendous diving conditions this winter has definitely leaked out! Most of the divers, however, were doing an AOL course, I think, so I never saw them. This is typical - don't worry if you see cars all over both sides of the road - you are still likely to have most of the wall to yourself or to not even see another diver. The viz was muddied at the beginning of the descent from the floating platform, but it cleared quickly. At a wolf eel hangout below the mid section of wall at 60 feet of depth I could see the surface. That is pretty unusual around here. Just a bit farther along, I could see a hundred feet of wall horizontally. That is definitely unusual!! Only two divers were on the most interesting section of the wall and none in the boulder field beyond, my favorite part. What's to see? Well, octopi once again, and I was glad to see a few had made it back after two straight years of tragic dissolved oxygen deficiencies in the early Fall. Two beautiful wolf eel and one grand old warrior watched from their perches high on the wall. I could only find two wolf eel anywhere deep. There were six areas with big clutches of ling cod eggs, and both gnarly and good-looking younger ling guarding them - also, two nice schools of coppe rock cod and perch. The tube worms and nudibranches at wall's end were exceptional. The superlative viz really helped in locating these - it's the first time I've seen the topography of all the boulder patches beyond the main wall. One nudi I've never seen before - darn it if I don't have my PNW nudi book loaned out. Porcelain texture, an inch and a half long, with nice highlights of red and black on raised spicules. The only thing that could have made this dive better would have been watching the orcas cavort there the evening before. That's what the divers who stayed overnight saw.

02/06/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.46 Review) - Since '98 I have seen so many fluctuations at this popular site. At first so many people were grousing about the lack of octopi, supposedly due to this dive op or that tribe poaching. The biggest factor in the fluctuations appears to be annual late summer/early fall oxygen depletion due to lack of natural circulation in this narrow fjord, aided and abetted by human contributions of nitrogen pollution. In any case, I have seen a high of 21 octopi on two dives in the summer of 2002 and several low counts of none at all. I have never failed to see a wolf eel at this site. Sometimes millions of shrimp in early fall are in a narrow band a few feet thick, perhaps gobbling up the remaining oxygen. Squid eggs often decorate the shallow kelp, especially in December. I have not found the tire reef very interesting, but you can reach it by following the line down the north side of the floating wooden platform just offshore. If you get to Octopus Hole when no one is there, you may get to dive with sea lions, something which has happened twice for me. A friend saw orcas there this winter. If you need to change clothes, just north of the site on the cliffy side of the highway there is a cave. I don't know why someone has cut down a lot of the brushy growth that used to protect this spot from the highway.

08/03/2004 George Duncan (Avg: 3.00 Review) - As all the Hood Canal dives, vis is subject to change daily...this is a very popular dive, and a great dive. Good wall, plenty of critters to see. Parking is interesting, watch traffic on highway. Gear up in back of vehicle, or pack it down short steep path to shore.

04/18/2004 Bryan (Avg: 3.36 Review) - Easy entry over guard rail. Parking can be limited on weekends. Pretty good wall with critters. Look under rocks to find octopus, in wall cracks to find wolf eels. Shrimp, crabs, starfish, anemones, moon snails and several species of fish call this area their home. Take your time and enjoy.

02/17/2004 Wayne Sargent (Avg: 2.68 Review) - From Olympia, I-5 Exit 104, onto Hwy-101-North, go 5.8 miles & turn right at Hwy-101/Hwy-8 to Shelton & Port Angeles, and through Hoodsport 28 miles, cross Finch Creek Bridge north of town, then 3.1 miles, just over a rise in a left turn with a guardrail on the right, there's small turnout, maybe 5 cars fit, step over guardrail, trail is on north end of turnout down ~20 feet to the high water, heading 145 degrees about 150 feet, drop 30-50 feet & turn south, might be a small deck moored over site... Typical: current 0-1.3 knots, vis. 20 ft, weekend very busy, Hood Sport/Dive is about a mile south by Sund Rock [a much better dive] with air, Nitrox, & showers.

09/24/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 4.50 Review) - A relaxing dive!

Dive Site Pictures:
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Diver Averages for  Octopus Hole  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.85
Bottom Conditions:  3.38
Reef Conditions:  3.31
Animal Life:  3.77
Plant Life:  3.08
Facilities:  2.15
Solitude 3.23
Roads:  4.08
*Site Average:  3.40

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.38
Beginner Scuba:  4.15
Intermediate Scuba:  4.00
Advanced Scuba:  3.23
Night diving Scuba:  3.85

Number of reviews for this site: 13


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