This is another great South Pender Island shore dive. It's at the end of Higgs Road on the Southern end of Pender Island just East of the Tilly Point area. There is a short trail down to a rocky area overlooking the water. Drummond Bay is immediately to your left (facing the water). Look for the small island (more like a rock) in the middle of the bay. At low tides it can be pretty close to the beach. On the chart, it looked like there was a wall from 30-60 feet deep on the outside of this island so I decided to have a look. I arrived early and could see the current ripping like mad past the shore. This is definitely a "go by the current tables" kind of dive. When slack arrived, I walked down the slippery rocks (past a turkey vulture eating a dead seal) to the beach and swam out to the far side of the island. Underwater, the island dropped down immediately with walls, huge cracks, overhangs, etc. - The usual South Pender topography. If you've been to Tilly Point you get the idea. There were not as many plumose anemones as at Tilly Point, but all the other species were here: All kinds of colourful tunicates, cup corals, sea pens, etc. Visibility was around 30' (beginning of August). At around 50 feet there was a large sandy ledge covered with huge angular boulders. There were small caverns where they were piled on top of each other. I saw a few yellowtail rockfish and then I was surrounded by literally hundreds of them. They were totally unafraid and hung still in the water a couple feet from my face and stared at me. I've seen plenty of schools of yellowtail rockfish, but never anywhere near this many. They massed as far as the visibility would allow on all sides and above me. I'll come back just to see them again, but on to the rest of the dive. At around 60 feet, the bottom dropped off again in a sheer wall. I went down to 100 feet and still couldn't see the bottom of the wall. Like at other Pender dives, I didn't see as many fish down deep, but there were some yellow "sea lily" sponges. The current was beginning to move again so I ascended up past the yellowtail rockfish and stayed as long as I could exploring the "caverns" before I gave up and surfaced. I didn't see a cave as large as the one at Tilly Point, but there was a larger area to explore (It would take several dives) and you can go deeper here. A very nice dive!
I came back Feb. 20/2005. As mentioned in the "Tilly Point" update, the visibility was a nasty 10 feet or so. The school of yellowtail rockfish was still there, but not nearly as impressive when you couldn't see very far. I went down to 110 feet, but because of the visibility, didn't bother to do much "topographical" exploring, instead focussing on the marine life in front of my face. I saw quite a few large Puget Sound king crabs and a couple of small ones. A bunch of river otters were playing on the rocks when I left the water.