At the entrance to Chemainus Harbour there's a red marker buoy about 200 meters from shore marking a shallow reef. The marine chart shows this reef popping up to about 10 feet deep at low tide. It seemed to go down to about 60-80' deep. I was curious to see what was out there so I drove up from Victoria on Sept. 26, 2014. I parked at the Rotary boat ramp park and walked down the rocky beach to the point nearest the buoy. I swam out on the surface to the buoy.  As usual for me, the distance seemed longer than it looked from shore. I descended down the line to a gravel bottom 30' deep. The shallow part of the reef was probably back a bit towards shore, but I decided to try and find the deeper side of it. I swam towards the other side of the harbour and  saw a flat sandstone reef barely sticking out of the gravel. This was about 50 feet deep. It was pretty small and there were only a few closed-up orange plumose anemones on it. I started swimming into the harbour since the chart showed the reef running in this direction. Eventually I ran into some more sandstone reefs. They were made of slabs of rock and in some areas there was a solid sandstone slope covered with silt. Visibility ranged from 15 feet up to 40 feet. It seemed to get better and worse as I swam along.   The bottom of the rocky area was about 70' deep. Some areas had groups of copper and brown rockfish. There were a few sea pens, plumose anemones and clusters of feather stars, but mostly it was pretty barren. I swam up to the top of the reef (about 50 feet deep). The reef seemed to be long and narrow. I swam down the other side and headed back to shore. The silty bottom here was 60' deep. I came across a large tire and some cement mooring blocks so I figured I was close to the sunken drydocks that I visited last time I was here. Sure enough, I saw them rise up in front of me. I didn't have the air to  spend much time here so I kept swimming back up the slope to the shallow eelgrass bed near shore.
        This was one of those curiosity-satisfying dives, where I wasn't expecting much so I wasn't disappointed, but I don't see any reason to come back.
red marker buoy
in the shallows starting the swim out
mooring buoy chain
first view of a low sandstone reef
plumose anemones on sandstone
plumose anemone with sandstone in the background
flat sandstone slabs
feather stars 70' deep
feather stars
feather stars
feather stars
feather stars
sea pen and feather stars
feather stars on silty reef
plumose anemones
feather stars and plumose anemones
red rock crab
brown and copper rockfish
sandstone slabs
sandstone slabs
another group of rockfish
feather stars and fish
sandstone slabs
lonely plumose anemones
lion's mane
lion's mane
sea pen on the top of the reef
boulder on top of the reef
plumose anemones on the boulder
the side of the reef facing shore
plumose anemones on the side of the reef
side of the reef
rockfish and anemones on a pile of boulders
rockfish and anemones
pile of boulders
mooring blocks
big tire
metal junk near the sunken drydocks
eelgrass near shore
jellyfish caught in eelgrass
perch in the eelgras
near shore
kelp crab near shore
jellyfish over eelgrass
parking by the boat ramp
parking by the boat ramp
looking down the beach
where I entered the water
marker buoy