Usually the kelp forests around Victoria (and most of the East coast of Vancouver Island) are made up of bull kelp. On the West coast of the Island apparently, there are beds of giant kelp. It's the kind that forms the famous kelp forests off California. I've often seen pieces of it washed up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but I've never seen any actually growing attached to the bottom. On one of my treks along the coastline of the future Silver Spray development in East Sooke, I noticed quite a bit of it up on the shore. There's a small pebble beach in a tiny cove just West of Possession Point. The Silver Spray marketing info calls it "Emerald Beach", but I don't think it has a real name. I noticed a mass of giant kelp floating in the middle of the cove. Despite the surge and waves, it was staying in the same place. So this was the first time I've seen live giant kelp around Victoria. The first few times I was here, the swells were too big to easily get in the water . The bottom was probably too stirred-up to see much anyway. The marine forecast didn't look too bad on May 14, 2010, so I drove out here for a dive. I parked on the side of East Sooke Road and walked down a short-but-steep gravel lane to the beach. A house is being built on the right side of the path. When the other lots are bought up and built on, I don't know if this beach will still be easily accessible. There was still a small swell rolling up on the beach so I did the walking-backwards-with-my-fins-on "California entry". I swam out the the clump of giant kelp. It was anchored to a small rocky area in a plain of sand about 15 feet deep at low tide. Visibility was about 15 feet. It was hardly a forest, just a few plants stretching up to the surface, but it was a first for me. I saw perch, gunnels and copper rockfish living around the kelp. After a few minutes, I swam out around the right-hand point to see what else was there. The steep rocky shore met a sandy bottom at about 20-25 feet deep. Below about 10-15 feet, most of the rock was covered with stalked kelp, but I could see some fish-eating anemones, cup corals, staghorn bryozoans and urchins. In the shallows, the marine life was much more visible. The shallow walls were covered with tiny anemones, zoanthids, hydroids, etc. There was a narrow, overhanging, tunnel-like canyon that almost reminded me of a mini Swordfish Island (without the soft corals and plumose anemones unfortunately). Near the surface there were several giant green anemones among the mussels, barnacles and surf grass. To me, this place seemed like a wilder, more "West coast" version of Saxe Point.