Flora Islet - Hornby Island, British Columbia

Access: Boat dive.

Location: Hornby Island is located off the East coast of Vancouver Island between Parksville and Courtenay. To get there, take the ferry from Buckley Bay to Denman Island, drive across Denman and take another ferry to Hornby Island. Flora Islet is located at the Southeast corner of Hornby at the end of a long peninsula. Flora is quite popular amongst the SCUBA set, so it is easy to find a charter boat. There are regular charters from the dive store in Courtenay or from Fords Cove on the other side of Hornby.

Hornby Island Diving has set up three permanent mooring buoys along the Southwest side of the islet. These buoys are in about 50 feet of water and are at the top of the wall. Closer to the islet, there is a shelf at around 20 feet.

Flora Islet
Flora Islet viewed from Helliwell Park. The arrow points to the location of the first buoy.

What you'll find: Flora Islet is world renouned as one of the few places where divers can find six-gill sharks. They usually inhabit very deep water but in the summer these sharks come up to diveable depths, often around 100 feet but sometimes as shallow as 30 feet. It is very hard to spot a six-gill shark while freediving but it has been done. While looking for sharks you'll see some very large lingcod, hanging out on the wall. At the second buoy there is a flat sandstone rock with a pair of wolfeels living underneath it. Seals and sealions hang out on the rocks at the South end of Flora and may come out to play.

Hazards: There is lots of boat traffic in this area and the weather can get ugly at times. There can also be quite a lot of current at either end of the islet. Visibility can be quite poor in the summer, either right at the surface or in a zone between 15 and 40 feet. Also be sure to look where you're going underwater because you wouldn't want to bump into a 12 foot long shark by mistake.

Submitted by Tom Lightfoot.

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Updated 24 August 2002
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