East Sooke Park is a wild, rugged, semi-West-coast stretch of shoreline on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island. There's a trail that follows the shore and it's a great place to watch for orcas, seals, sealions, etc. In the Fall and Winter, this area seems to be a highway for California and Steller's sealions. There's a point that sticks out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca here called Beechy Head that drops down steeply underwater and has some nasty current running past it. I've wanted to dive here for awhile, but according to the Environment Canada website, the marine forecast here has shown constant gales and small craft warnings for the last few months. I've been hiking here a few times and it often seems calm to me, but I don't want to drive out here, launch my boat and then just have to turn around because of the wind. Finally (Oct. 18, 2009) there must have been a glitch in the forecasting software, since it said that the winds were light and variable all day here. It happened to coincide with a decent tidal exchange so I launched at Cheannu Marina in Becher Bay and went out to Beechy head. Unfortunately, there was still a small swell that was no big deal out on the water, but anchoring near the shore would throw my boat around on the rocks. Beechy Head was a mess of current eddies and choppy water and to be honest, bringing my boat near shore freaked me out a bit so I continued along the coast looking for a sheltered spot to tie up my Zodiac. This whole time I was being investigated by curious sealions passing by (some of them jumped out of the water like dolphins to get a better look). I could see schools of herring beneath me and some salmon jumped out of the water occasionally to get away from my boat. I eventually came across a group of small, steep islands near shore where I could safely tie up on the sheltered side. I tied up to a log of driftwood and could see carpets of tiny green anemones 10 feet under the boat. There were several seals splashing on the surface as I swam out to a channel between two islets that lead out to the open Strait. I descended through 40-foot visibility to an underwater canyon with vertical sides that dropped to 20 feet deep. There were tiny white anemones in the shallows and big fish-eating anemones deeper down. The rocks were coated with colourful encrusting sponges, tunicates, hydrocorals, cup corals, nudibranchs, brooding anemones and urchins. I swam through a forest of bull kelp with thousands of herring swirling above and shy seals cruising by just at the limits of visibility. Outside in the open strait, I followed a sloping reef/boulder bottom with more fish-eating anemones and urchins down to about 65 feet deep. There didn't seem to be any drop-offs here, but I only had a quick look and didn't go too far because of the threat of current. I didn't see many fish (other than the herring) on this dive, just a few small quillback and copper rockfish and several kelp greenlings. It was still a great dive. The only reason I probably won't come back is that there is still a huge coastline nearby that I haven't had a look at yet.