Just a couple hundred yards off Beach Drive lies one of the best little dives along the entire Alki strip. Locals would reefer to it as a a swim-up bar but most get to it by boat (want more puns?).
Known to most as the Alki Rock Pile, this site also goes by Alki Reef, Jacobson Fishing Reef or Fish Haven (as noted on marine charts). Several popular dive sites on the web incorrectly state that this man-made reef was one of the original 13 artificial reefs created in Puget Sound in the mid 1970's by Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife. It was actually created in May of 1987 as a "mitigation reef" to offset the ecological damage created when developing the Elliott Bay Marina.
The idea was to carefully construct a reef which would provide an assemblage of economically important fish species similar to, or greater than, the impacted habitat.
A scientific study used to measure the effectiveness of the reef in 1989 described how it was built…
"A total of 181,400 metric tons of quarry rock was used to construct fourteen 41 m· 15 m· 6 m (high) reef structures in a 2.83 ha area during May 1987. This design of a 1:2 ratio of reef material: sand bottom also accommodated the trophic level relationships normally occurring for fishes feeding from reef structures and surrounding natural habitats."
While researching this particular reef on the internet, I found that it has become a reference point for building artificial reefs worldwide.
Today marks the opening day for Ling cod fishing which will attract several boats fishing the reef in May.
Photo credit to zlatcarp Hey baby, last time I seen a mouth like that, it had a hook in it!
I'll end this fish story with a great video of a couple of divers that were escorted from Emma Schmitz Viewpoint to the reef by a "true local". Turn up your speakers and enjoy!
Scupper, for Beach Drive Blog