French Beach is a pebble beach in the series of Provincial Park beaches stretching out past Sooke along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I've never really seriously considered diving here since it's very shallow and flat underwater. The almost constant swell makes me think that the visibility here is usually stirred-up and nasty. I was recently at French Beach though and it was as calm as I've ever seen it and the water looked pretty clear. There was also a tempting bull kelp bed just offshore. I drove down again for a dive the next day (July 12, 2015). Of all of these beaches out here (French, China, Sombrio, Mystic, etc.), French Beach is the only one I'd consider to have a trail short enough to allow diving it from shore. From the parking lot there's a 160-meter paved path to the beach. The beach is made of large pebbles (cobbles?). On a normal day, getting in and out of the water here would be awkward in the surf. Fortunately, it was still very calm today. I swam out over the flat sand bottom towards the kelp bed. Visibility was 15-20'. The water was full of moon jellyfish as I reached the kelp. The bottom here was only 8-10' deep. The place wasn't swarming with fish, but I saw some schools of young herring, a few large perch, some juvenile rockfish (black), a few kelp greenlings and 2 cabezon. In places the kelp was too thick to swim through (especially out to the right). Straight out from the trail, the kelp bed was over a bottom of large pebbles with not much marine life (except for the kelp). Out to the right, there were some larger boulders here and there. Most of them were covered with feather duster tube worms. Looking up close, I could see a coating of tunicates and encrusting sponges. I didn't see any larger anemones like plumose or fish-eating. I saw 2 octopus dens. Despite the seemingly-calm conditions, there was a surge that swept me back and forth a few feet which made my usual tripod-mounted self-portraits difficult (the camera/tripod kept falling over). It also made macro photography frustrating. Just as I focused on some tiny subject, the surge would sweep me backwards and I'd see the image zoom away in the viewfinder. The swirling blades of kelp were always trying to get in the way of the lens as well. I swam out a bit over the sandy bottom past the kelp bed, but I never got deeper than 12'.
I won't say the dive was a waste of time since I'd always wondered what was out here, but I don't think I'll bother diving here again.