Beechy Head is a steep point sticking out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca from East Sooke Park. It's mentioned as an excellent dive with a life-covered wall (including soft corals) in the book: "Diver's Guide Vancouver Island South". I've been trying to dive here several times, but the steep rocky shore and the swell crashing against the rocks discouraged me from tying up my boat. The mess of current eddies ripping past the point didn't help either. Finally, after a dive at South
Bedford Island (Nov. 1, 2009), the conditions seemed decent so I motored over to Beechy Head for a look. I went past the point a few times, sometimes figuring I'd go in next to the rocks and then changing my mind as the small swell pushed my boat up and down the barnacle-covered rock wall. Eventually, I found a spot next to the cliff on the West side of the point where the water movement was less and there were vertical cracks above me in the rock where I could wedge my anchor. I had no idea how to predict slack here. From what I'd seen in the past, the Race Passage and Juan de Fuca East current tables seem to have no correlation to current flow here. After more hesitation, I decided to cautiously swim out towards the point underwater and turn back if the current was too strong. The water dropped straight down under the boat to about 20 feet deep. I saw a few giant green anemones in the shallows on the wall. Large schools of herring flashed around in the kelp. I followed the base of this wall towards the point and it became progressively deeper at it's base. When I neared the point, the wall went down to about 60 feet deep. It was covered with plumose anemones, hydrocorals, tunicate colonies, cup corals, a Puget Sound king crab, etc. -All the usual stuff. It reminded me of the wall at 10-Mile Point. I didn't see any soft corals though. Visibility was around 20-30 feet. At the base of the wall there was a slope of boulders with more hydrocorals, crimson anemones and quillback rockfish. I saw a juvenile wolf eel swimming around. There was also a huge school of black and yellowtail rockfish that started almost under my boat and continued along the wall and slope for my entire dive. There must have been thousands and thousands of them. My maximum depth on this slope was 77 feet, but if I was less cautious I could have followed it out deeper. Out past the tip of the point, The top of the wall was at about 30 feet deep and was topped with stalked kelp. So far I hadn't felt any current (according to the Race Passage tables, it should have been running at maximum at that time), but suddenly I felt a waterfall of water flooding straight down over the reef over me. It seemed that the current had turned to an ebb without warning. I struggled back along the reef (swimming up at an angle just to stay at the same depth), hoping to make it back to the more sheltered area under the cliffs before the current became even stronger. Of course I made it back fine. I was always intimidated by this place on the surface, and now that I've been diving here, I get even more nervous thinking about it. If you can get past the logistics, this is an excellent dive. I'd say it's probably the best spot along this stretch of coast. If you dive here with a live boat on a calm day with a minimal tidal exchange, it would probably be fairly easy too.