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Dive Photo Guide


Destination Portfolio: Matthew Sullivan, God’s Pocket
By Matthew Sullivan, June 5, 2024 @ 10:00 AM (EST)

An iconic fish of the Pacific Northwest and a common sight at God’s Pocket, the red Irish lord. These are a type of oversized, venomous sculpin and can be found on just about every single dive site

To those unfamiliar with the area, the words “God’s Pocket” might elicit visions of a truly remarkable and beautiful place. To those familiar with the area, they know that God’s Pocket is exactly that: One of the most stunning and wonderful places on Earth, both above and below the water.

Nestled in a small cove off the northeast corner of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, God’s Pocket is actually a dive lodge. The area surrounding the lodge has taken its name, and the whole area is now referred to as God’s Pocket. The spectacular topside landscape continues straight down into the sea. Every inch of available real estate below the surface is crammed with marine life. From mighty giant Pacific octopuses—or so I’m told, as I've yet to see one—to the wonderful wolf eel, to the fantastical warbonnets, the chilly waters around God’s Pocket are home to some of the most iconic and sought-after underwater subjects.

The portfolio here is just barely scratching the surface of what can be seen in the region, and no image can do the underwater world there justice. Enjoy the pictures and perhaps you’ll be inspired to take the plunge and visit this incredibly special resort in this incredibly special corner of the world.

A charismatic little fish and a sought-after subject at God’s Pocket is the mosshead warbonnet. This species is easy to find in bottles and other discarded trash beneath the dock at the resort

After the giant Pacific octopus, perhaps no subject in the Pacific Northwest is as well-known or well-loved as the wolf eel. Despite their appearance, these gentle giants are often curious and will emerge from their dens to get a closer look at divers and photographers. Wolf eels are actually the world’s largest blenny species—they are not, in fact, an eel

God’s Pocket is home to dozens of nudibranch species, but perhaps the most unusual is the hooded nudibranch. This large species shows up by the tens of thousands at certain times of year, covering every inch of kelp on certain sites

It is difficult to not photograph every single red Irish lord. They are everywhere, are very unconcerned with being photographed, and often pick beautiful perches

While all crabs are shelled, Puget Sound king crabs are armored. Growing to larger than a basketball, this fantastic crustacean begins life with bright orange coloration. As they age, the color begins to fade to red and then to brown

Plumose anemones often cover every inch of any structure, be it rock, wreck, or docks

Nudibranchs, even species that can be found further south, reach gargantuan sizes in the God’s Pocket area. Opalescent nudibranchs in the southern part of their range are quite small. The one pictured, found at the God’s Pocket dock dive, was over four inches long

Every inch of underwater substrate at God’s Pocket is covered by life. This is the world-famous Browning Wall, blanketed by plumose anemones, a Pacific red anemone, and a red Irish lord

A rainbow, or anemone eating, nudibranch. Among fields of tube anemones, a closer look will often yield this big nudi. The species feeds exclusively on anemones and in addition to eating them, they also steal its toxins and store them in their own tissues

Two stunning topsnails share a kelp frond with a gunnel. Life abounds in these chilly waters

One of the many mosshead warbonnets that lives beneath the dock at God’s Pocket Resort. The mouth of its glass bottle home is ringed with barnacles. Typically a bit shy, warbonnets will eventually emerge to look at you, a reward for the patient photographer


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