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.