Scuba instructor Mike Hughes says he wants to get divers excited about the “cold yet beautifully bodacious waters of the Pacific Northwest.”

In his new book, The Northwest Dive Guide (Harbour Publishing), Hughes outlines destinations in British Columbia, Washington state and Oregon, and also provides information on diving gear and training. He calls Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, “the pinnacle Northwest dive trip destination.”

“Reaching Port Hardy at the end of the road (Highway 19) is the signal that you are mere miles by boat from some of the best cold-water diving in the entire world,” Hughes writes.

“These waters are filled with thousands of species of invertebrates, hundreds of species of aquatic birds and mammals, colourful species of fish smaller than minnows and others bigger than the ubiquitous salmon that the local populations of killer whales, dolphins and seals covet so dearly.” He also says that off Quadra Island the diving is “spectacular,” drawing enthusiasts from around the world. Hughes describes seeing giant tubeworms, strawberry anemones, giant Pacific octopuses, white sea cucumbers and large abalone in the area. Nanaimo and Victoria are among other top B.C. dive destinations, according to Hughes. B.C. waters also offer many options for exploring wrecks such as warships, cargo ships and wooden ships.