MacDonald Bridge Dive Site
Halifax Regional Municipality - Dartmouth
Certification level: Novice to advanced
This is dive site that has a variety of ocean life as well as many interesting rock formations. It also has a good deposit of bottles ranging from current to very old (late 1800’s to present). The visibility can range from 0 to 30ft on the best days. It is a good site to dive in the winter/ spring as the water is generally clearer.
Gear up at parking lot and walk down the road/ pathway to the water approx. 50m distance. Watch for trains as you cross the tracks. At the water’s edge there is a small rocky beach that allows easy entry in to the water.
At this site it is best to dive at slack tide as there is a strong current that comes with the incoming and outgoing tide especially between the shore and the first tower of the bridge.
The dive begins in a shallow cove for about 10m which gives a nice area to get your fins on and check your buoyancy. Heading out toward the bridge tower at a compass bearing of 210. The bridge tower is about 400ft from shore, at approx. the halfway point there is a small drop off to a depth of 30ft. Closer to the tower you will see large boulder as part of the foundation for the bridge tower. At this location you can choose to travel left or right. Travelling to the left will take you around the tower foundation into deeper water where there are deeper channels radiating from the foundation.
Bottom and depth:
The entry to a depth of 10ft it mostly coarse gravel that turns to a muddy/silty bottom. It is best to stay a few feet off the bottom to avoid stirring the silt up and reducing visibility. The average depth for this site is around 40ft, however if you go south towards the mouth of the harbour past the tower you can reach depths to about 80ft. this is a long swim and is not recommended unless you are confident you have sufficient training and air supply!
What to see:
This site has a large collection bottles and artifacts from the late 1800’s to present day. Also there are many Crabs and lobsters, as well as the ever present cunner fish, some flounder and occasionally you will see Squirrel hake and gunnels. There are a large array of shellfish including scallops, mussels and clams. Take note that Scallops are not safe to eat in the Harbour!
This site has various hazards to be aware of. The shore entry does have some broken glass on the beach area so be aware of where you walk. If the tide is coming in or out there can be a very strong current between the bridge tower and shore. The bottom composition is very silty and if you kick up the silt the visibility can drop to zero quickly, always keep in contact with your dive buddy!
Emergency: 9 1 1
Canadian Coast Guard Halifax: 1-800-565-1582
Nearest Hospital(5km away):
Dartmouth General Hospital
325 Pleasant Street
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4G8
Nearest Hyperbaric Chamber(5km away):
Victoria General Hospital
1278 Tower Rd.
Halifax Nova Scotia B3H 2Y9
Phone: Emergency 24/7: (902) 473-7998
DAN Emergency Hotline 1-919-684-9111