Hill Head is on the South side of Sooke Basin. It's a steep rocky point near the narrows where Sooke Basin becomes Sooke Harbour. According to a DFO report I read on the oceanographic conditions in the Strait of Juan de Fuca area, this narrows can have up to 3 knots of current. I've never really thought too hard about diving in Sooke Basin, since I've always thought it was silty, shallow and murky, but this point is the steepest and deepest (100 feet) spot in the Sooke area. Because of the topography and the current, I figured if I was going to dive in the area it would be here. A few days of gales discouraged me from diving in the open Strait so I thought I'd try Hill Head since the Basin is relatively sheltered. I checked the zoning map and saw one of the Land Title Act public access lanes to the water on Seagirt Road between houses # 61 and 63. This "public access" is mostly too steep to be passable, but on one side there's a narrow, steep trail down to a small beach just East of Hill Head. I carefully picked my way down the trail on May 1, 2010. Visibility in the shallows was a plankton-filled 6 feet. I swam down and out to the left towards the point. The rock bottom at the point sloped down with some small walls, sandy areas and boulder-ledges to about 70 feet. Below that, the slope was mostly mud. My maximum depth was 75 feet. Below 20 feet deep, the visibility improved a bit to about 15 feet. There was a surprising number of orange plumose anemones and seastars on the rocks. As I swam around the point, the rocks started becoming much more colourful. Most of them were covered with a variety of tunicates. Everything seemed orange. The deeper area seemed dark and gloomy so I went up to a ledge at about 40 feet deep. This area had even more marine life. There was a large school of black rockfish with some yellowtail and juvenile vermilion mixed in. There were also quillback, copper and brown rockfish as well as kelp greenlings and a painted greenling. I saw a sailfin sculpin and what looked like a cross between a buffalo sculpin and a great sculpin. There were also lots of burrowing cucumbers and I was surprised to see a fish-eating anemone. According to the DFO report, the current here corresponds to the tide table so I timed my dive for low tide and didn't feel any current at first. Eventually, as I started swimming back I could feel the current flowing against me. It was getting stronger, but it was flowing in the opposite direction to what I expected. Maybe there's a significant back-eddy along the South side of the Basin. Back on the beach, I saw a river otter chewing on something. It ducked underwater as a bald eagle flew low overhead. As I walked back to the trail, a mink ran under a pile of boulders. Overall, this place was probably the biggest surprise I've had in the 10+ years I've been diving on the Island. With better visibility (and I'm sure it gets better), I'd even say that this is an outstanding dive.