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Urchin diver swims to safety after tide took her in snowstorm

A sea urchin diver had a close call last month during a flurry of winter weather off Quadra Island.

Shortly after noon on January 18, Quadra RCMP were called after a commercial diver failed to surface after 40 minutes off Cape Mudge.

The diver had surfaced early, but was unable to signal her dive boat because of thick fog and snow that day. She tried using an air horn, but her boat didn’t respond, and she lost sight of it as the current took her north.

She drifted in the four-and-a-half-knot tide for 40 minutes, before she was able to swim to the west shore of Steep Island, across the Passage from Duncan Bay. She was unharmed, and was transported to her dive boat by West Coast Marine RCMP.

BC’s red and green urchin fishery is the only commercial urchin fishery in Canada. The urchins’ roe is known as uni and is highly prized as a sushi and seafood ingredient around the world.

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