This is the largest island in the Chain group off Oak Bay, although it's still pretty small. It's part of the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve. I've done a few dives around the nearby Chain Islets. Some of them were ok and some were disappointing. So far, I've looked for spots that show a steep drop underwater to deeper than 30 feet or so. There's a tiny rock near the West side of Great Chain Island that has a drop to 40' deep or so off it's West side. I took my boat here for a dive on June 8, 2014. I normally wouldn't bother at this time of year because of the plankton-bloom poor visibility, but I had heard a recent report of decent visibility at nearby 10-Mile Point so I decided to give it a try. I put my anchor up on the rock and swam down through a screen of feather boa kelp. I keep wanting to call it "ankle-grabbing kelp" since it's the most frustrating kind to swim through in my opinion. Once away from shore, visibility was around 15-20 feet. I swam West towards the steeper area. The bottom dropped down in step-like rocky reefs to about 35-40' deep. The vertical faces of the rocks were covered with large urchins and giant barnacles. I was hoping for walls of plumose anemones, but I only saw 2 or 3. There weren't many fish either. There were some kelp greenlings, a copper rockfish, an Irish Lord and the usual small sculpins. The rocky steps ended in a flat pebble area that was covered with more urchins in places. I was diving on a "good current" day. The Race Passage current table was only showing around 2 knots, but the current here was almost too strong to swim against. I kept seeing dark shapes charging towards me out of the corner of my eye, but they were just masses of broken-away kelp being swept along by the current. I tried swimming down the flat slope at the base of the reefs. I managed to reach 45 feet deep, but there were no more rocky areas. I swam back up towards my boat and saw some small patches of encrusting hydrocoral on the rocks. Back on the surface, I noticed that my zodiac had developed a slow leak from banging against the sharp barnacles. The wind had also picked up and it was a wet ride back with the waves spraying up in my face.
My curiosity has been satisfied and I don't think I'll be diving here again.
kelp in the shallows
urchins on the rocky slope
hermit crabs and bryozoan
urchins and giant barnacles
nudibranchs, snail and hermit crab on giant barnacles
rock step with urchins
swimming scallop
small sculpin
crab under an urchin
small sculpin on kelp
small wall with urchins
shrimp and tunicate
flat area with urchins
looking at a heart crab
heart crab
urchins on a rocky reef
over a reef with urchins
crab on a giant barnacle shell
Irish lord
Irish lord
urchins and giant barnacles
anemone and urchins
urchins and an anemone
hermit crab
nudibranch and urchin spines
urchins and an anemone on a boulder
chiton and snail on hydrocoral
small sculpin
coralline algae and feather boa kelp
pink coralline algae under feather boa kelp
hermit crab
young bull kelp
nudibranchs, snail and hermit crab
bull kelp
bull kelp
brooding anemones
brooding anemone