Spring Bay, VictoriaSat 28 May 2011 by Tom Lightfoot in Blog
On Saturday, May 21st I went over to Victoria to dive with local resident Paul Lescarmure.
My day started in the wee hours of the morning, walking with my gear bag in hand and weight belt around my waist to catch the bus that would start my transit trip to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen. From there I would walk on to the ferry to Swartz bay where Paul would pick me up to go diving. Our destination was Spring Bay, a little beach access in Victoria (technically Saanich) just North of Cadboro Bay. We were scouting this spot as a potential club dive as it was reputed to be a more beginner-friendly alternative to Ten Mile Point just a short swim to the South.
We got in the water around noon, just a short time before low slack. Our first observation was that the visibility was not all that good. Paul was disappointed but this was typical of the times that I had been diving Ten Mile Point in earlier years. I had my new camera in the water and was trying it out for the first time with the strobe from my old camera. I was well set up for macro photography which isn't as sensitive to poor visibility.
The bay itself slopes gently out to sea and the bottom is covered to a certain depth with gravel and rocky outcrops. Bottom kelp, sea urchins and sea cucumbers cover the rocks. Decorator crabs and nudibranchs live on the kelp.
There was a gentle current to the North so our plan was to work our way up-current to Ten Mile Point, check that dive site out as well and then drift back to our original entry point when we were done. It took us a while to make it to the point but it was well worth it. The bay's gentle slope quickly gave way to a rock wall covered with anemones, individual and colonial tunicates, sponges and bryozoans. The wall was spectacular, albeit spooky in the poor visibility and current.
Paul and I spent almost two hours in the 9 degree C water. In retrospect I wish we had made a quicker trip to Ten Mile Point and spent more time there. I don't think I would want to take a large group with beginners there but I would like to go again in the late Fall or Winter to see if the visibility improves. I have only been in that area in the Spring and Summer. Ten Mile Point would be quite spectacular in clear water.