This whole part of Saanich Inlet, from Elbow Point to McKenzie Bight is usually in the shade and looks somewhat gloomy, compared to the bright, sun-hit areas. There's an area though, on the North side of Elbow Point that has been calling to me. The chart shows what looks like one of the steepest drops in the Inlet, down to over 300 feet deep. If you felt like swimming, you could get to about 600 feet deep here. I don't know why this appeals to me, since I seldom go below 120-130 feet, but I came here as a second dive of the day on Aug. 17, 2009. It seemed dark and spooky along the shoreline. There were dead trees covered with mussels and seaweed hanging down into the water. It was low tide and I could see several seastars eating the mussels. One of the trees was a convenient place to tie my boat to, so I didn't have to anchor. As I swam out down the slope, it gradually became brighter since I was no longer under the shade of the treeline. There was a slope of broken rock with a few reefs, but nothing like the sheer wall the chart had led me to expect. Visibility in the shallows was 10-15 feet and 40-50 feet below 30 feet deep. I reached 100 feet deep and started to swim to the left towards the point. A large rocky area showed up which turned into a wall that seemed to go deeper the farther along it I swam. My maximum depth was about 130 feet. I saw a small cloud sponge and several tiger rockfish. There were piles of large rocks around the ledges and at the base of the wall that would make perfect wolf eel habitat, but I didn't have the time down here to hang around and look in every crack. Saanich Inlet can be frustrating with a single 80cf tank. I'm sure a 20-foot-across cloud sponge with a six gill in it was just around the next corner, but I had to get back to reasonable pressures. Back in the shallows, I saw a small octopus out in the open trying to look casual. I took a few photos before it changed colour and slowly crawled back under some rocks.
boat tied to tree
tiger and quillback rockfish
rockfish above me on wall
lion's mane 100 feet deep
seastars on wall
looking at crystal tunicate on wall
cloud sponge
cloud sponge from different angle
quillback rockfish on wall
tiger rockfish under school of mysid shrimp
copper rockfish on wall
lion's mane
copper rockfish
tiger rockfish
lingcod on wall
seastar on wall
crystal tunicate on wall
seastar on light bulb tunicates
copper rockfish in shallows
light bulb tunicates on boulder
sunflower star in shallows
lion's mane stuck between rocks in shallows
mating red rock crabs on kelp
sunflower star
seastar near surface
sunflower star eating mussels on tree branch
mussels on tree branch
sea stars near surface
copper rockfish
kelp crab
sunflower star in shallows
sunflower star
sunflower star eating mussels on branch
kelp crab on branch
another sunflower star near surface
tied to tree
seastars in water at low tide
dead tree
Elbow Point
tied to tree
at Tsartlip boat launch
sea stars