British Columbia


Vancouver Island


Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria

This dive site is arguably one of the most popular dive sites in Victoria.  Its popularity lies in the awesome accessibility including parking for $2, picnic tables for gear set-up/break down, stairs directly to the water as well as The Ogden Point Dive Centre onsite with all emergency equipment if required as well as tank fills and a post-dive fresh water shower!  Many people are meeting here on Wednesdays for after work dives as well.  The breakwater itself is 800m/.5 mile long with a stunning view of the Olympic Mountains just across the Juan de Fuca strait – the gateway to the Pacific Ocean.  The breakwater, originally built between 1914 – 1917 received lots of attention in 2013 when I was there due to the installation of some very controversial railings along the sides of the breakwater.  They seem to make sense to me, but I guess some people didn’t like the change.  However, the scuba divers were very happy as two sets of stairs were also installed for easier entries/exits at different points along the wall.  The blocks themselves can be slippery and are covered with barnacles, so do be careful when walking and getting in and out of the water.  There have been many torn dry-suits and even some accidents along these blocks.  This dive site isn’t just popular because of how accessible it is, it is top notch for all sorts of critters!  Just begin your dive with a nice cruise starting at 10m/33ft and enjoy the mystical view of the kelp growing like trees from the bottom and their leaves drifting mid-water like the hair of a mermaid.  As you go deeper to 12m-18m/40-60ft, keep your eyes peeled for the resident Giant Pacific Octopuses that rest in between and under the giant blocks and you’ll be sure to see some good sized Ling Cod here just hanging out with their funny, human-like facial expressions; I’m always racking my brain trying to figure out who these fish remind me of!  If you love the little guys, you will definitely have the opportunity to discover the brilliance of the many different kinds of nudibranches here.  Or if crabs are your thing, you will certainly see a Dungeness Sea Crab or two and prawns galore.  Although it may be difficult to pry your eyes away from all these critters, do take a glance around every once in a while as you are likely to see the torpedo dive and dash of local Harbour Seals!  They are truly the puppies of the sea :)

Ten Mile Point, Victoria

A colourful male Greenling.  The females are brownish and almost look like a different species.

10 Mile Point, Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

Ogden Point might be the most popular scuba dive site around Victoria, but I’d say Ten Mile would be the most sought after and definitely on your “Must-Dive-List” for Vancouver Island.  The access point is at the end of White Rock Road where you can find street parking and a nice park bench to set up your gear.  Entry into the water is over the craggy rocks, so definitely watch your step going in and out.  Ten Mile is famous for its beautifully vertical rock cliff and exhilarating darkness into the deep below as well as the mystical kelp forests around 5m/6m which are perfect for exploring during your safety stop.  Ten Mile is most known for the huge variety of wildlife that you get to see, such as impressive Irish Lords, seaweed-covered Decorator Crabs, and my personal favourite – the speckled with colour Greenlings!  The last and most important point to raise about Ten Mile though is that it is a slack tide dive.  You absolutely must know the tides when doing this dive site as the current is so strong and may dangerously pull you away from shore.

Sluggett Point, Saanich Inlet, Brentwood Bay

The moon jellyfish are harmless and don't sting!

Sluggett Point, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

This is an absolutely lovely little dive site that can be enjoyed as a shore dive or by anchoring your boat.  It sits only 50ft/15m from shore and starts with a very shallow reef of only 10-15ft/4-5m with many pretty reef fish and gorgeous sea stars of every variety climbing and feeding on this rocky shelf.  If you are lucky, you may have the chance to experience the moon jelly madness as the dive site shallows are chock full of these stingless jellies.  Use your hands to part a pathway through the rhythmically pulsating jellyfish!   As you follow the cliff down into the green, the gravel bottom sprouts sweet tube dwelling anemones and make sure you keep a close eye on kelp floating along the bottom for the strange and long-armed squat lobster!  Watch your depth as you continue to descend and swim south along the wall, at around 80ft/24m tucked into what looks like a pile of rubble, is the most famous and exotic animal to see out here – the wolf eel!

Tsartlip Boat Ramp, Saanich Inlet, Brentwood Bay

This dive site was full of nudibranches like this one - Red Flabellina

Tsartlip Boat Ramp, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

This is a fun shore dive with a very easy and clear entry just next to the dock on the Tsartlip Native Reserve in Brentwood Bay, BC.  I did this dive on a beautiful crisp winter morning, so it was completely vacant, but I believe summertime will bring lots of boaters, so be vigilant with your dive flags and wary upon surfacing.  From the dock, take a 240 degree compass bearing and enjoy a nice gradual sloping bottom over eel grass covered with stunning nudibranches.  Take note of the various other interesting items that tend to lurk near boat ramps like beer cans, car tires, and lures too!  Soon, at around 14m/46ft you will find a cool rock cliff with shells of evidence pointing to the dens of nice giant pacific octopuses – look inside and see if he/she is home!  Sadly, when I did this dive in January 2014 most of the Sea Stars had been affected by the Sea Star Wasting syndrome as well as many left-over carcasses of the stars that had completely deteriorated could be found.

McKenzie Bight, Saanich Inlet, Tod Gowland Provincial Park

This dive site was full of nudibranches like this one - Red Flabellina

McKenzie Bight, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

Would you like your dive entry to be from a forest pathway?  Getting to this dive site is just as fun as the dive itself!  McKenzie Bight can be found in Tod Gowland Provincial Park at the end of Mark Lane off of Willis Point Rd.  You can enjoy the curvy-swervy road dotted with the luxurious homes of Vancouver Island’s elite until you arrive at this seems to be “secret” location under the canopy of the forest.  The access point is very easy to enter down the main path and the first small path on your right will lead straight to the water and the area is protected, so the tide changes shouldn’t be a problem.  Underwater I didn’t find a lot of sea life, but instead enjoyed exploring the intriguing landscape of giant boulders with strange cracks and crevices.  In the shallows, there were several varieties of nudibranches and more schools of fish darting in and around the lovely Plumose Anemones.

Brentwood Bay Resort Marina, Saanich Inlet, Brentwood Bay

A busy kayaking day at the Brentwood Bay Resort Marina!

Brentwood Bay Resort Marina, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

I did this dive a few times with some students and to clean the hull of a boat or two.  For some reason I love marina dives!  They always seem to be brewing with life and at the same time feeling like a treasure hunt of goodies that people have dropped overboard.  Pay attention to the pilings that are covered in colourful sea stars and the eel grass that is the playground for the Dungeness Crabs.  Explore out in front of the marina to discover some rock gardens where I was excited to spot a very beautiful San Diego Dorid with its leopard-like purple and black spots atop a white body.  As you can imagine, boat traffic should be a concern for divers here as well as the Mill Bay ferry dock.  Do not enter into ferry zone by any means at all.


Henderson Point, Saanich Inlet, Brentwood Bay

Although the Red Irish Lord is a bright colour, they are really hard to spot!

Henderson Point, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

This is a great reef dive, which is a little different from the drastic and awesome wall diving available in this area.  You can find some nice rock mounds protruding from a generally flat and sandy bottom that are nice and busy with marine life.  Many people seem to get lost on this dive site because of the similar looking underwater landmarks, so be sure to take a compass heading.  There also lies a nice little wreck…if you can find it (which I haven’t yet!).  I really enjoyed the great big shrimp jumping around here and the fabulously camoflauged Red Irish Lord!

Deep Cove

Awww...The Dungeness Crab, Leather Star, Nudibranch and Diver all living in harmony!

Deep Cove, Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada

If you like shallow reef dives which are perfect for photography, then Deep Cove is for you!  This pretty dive site is located at the end of Setchell Road on the northern point of the Saanich Peninsula.  It is very accessible with stairs to the water and some nice flat rocks for entry.  Be cautious as the changing tides can certainly bring some current along with it.  A beautiful outcrop of rock shelves start at around 10ft/3m, which were chock full of colourful healthy sea stars of all varieties.  The shelf ends at about 30ft/9m at a sloping bottom of sand.  Swim along the edge of the wall and enjoy strolling with many Dungeness Crabs, keeping an eye on the reef for the well-camouflaged Decorator Crabs, and the eerie shadows beneath the docks and piers.  Check out this cool video of Deep Cove that I filmed and edited using my new GoPro!