Iron Mine Bay is at the West end of East Sooke Park. I never considered scuba diver access to be reasonable here since the trails to the water are too long to be hiking them while wearing dive gear. It is semi-popular with snorkelers lately since they aren't burdened down with scuba equipment. A few months ago I dove at Pike Point (the West point of Iron Mine Bay) from a boat. The problem with taking my small boat out here is that the weather has to be calm with almost no wind. I had an ambition to try diving Pike Point from shore so I came here on Jan. 25, 2021. At the last minute I chickened out since I imagined that after the hike and the long surface-swim, I would arrive at the point only to find that the current was too strong to dive. Instead I decided to try diving off the tip of a small island off the East side of the bay. The marine chart showed a reasonably steep (hopefully rocky) slope to around 70' deep.
I parked near the start of a trail leading down to Iron Mine Bay from the development at Possession Point. This trail was a bit over 200 meters long.
From the beach at the end of the trail, I snorkeled out to the tip of the island. I was surrounded by a big school of herring for half of the way out.
At the tip of the island, the West side dropped straight down in a wall to a sandy bottom 20' deep. Visibility was only around 10'. Even though it was a calm day, the usual Juan de Fuca surge was stirring things up.
I swam down the slope from the tip of the island. The bottom here was more irregular, with large boulders. It was bright and colourful in the shallower depths with lots of fish-eating anemones.
As I went deeper, below the reach of the surge, the visibility increased a bit to maybe 15'. The bottom wasn't as colourful as in the shallows. It seemed relatively grey and silty. I was diving around the Race Passage slack and I didn't feel any current. The rocky part of the slope ended about 70' deep. Down here, there were mostly red urchins.
I headed back up into the shallows at the tip of the island. Like at many sites without strong current in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, there seemed to be the most colour in the top 20'. The near-constant surge in these shallower depths has a similar effect to current.
I swam back along the shoreline to my entry-point beach. There were 2 logs bouncing in the surge that looked like a pair of huge pale snakes when I first saw them at the edge of visibility. Many of the fish-eating anemones seemed to be clustered in groups here. I tried to force myself to stop taking pictures of all of them, but I was unsuccessful.
I think this was a pretty good dive, especially in the shallower areas. I don't think I'm physically up for coming here again though. The hike down (and back up) is a bit too much for scuba divers in my opinion. One strange thing here is the almost complete lack of fish. I'd expect this rocky slope with lots of boulders would be swarming with a variety of rockfish. I only saw a few juvenile black/yellowtail/quillback. Other than that, I only saw 2 kelp greenlings (and none in the shallower depths). I also didn't see any larger sculpins like cabezon, buffalo sculpins or Irish Lords. I didn't see any perch or lingcod. I don't know if most of the fish here were killed off or if they for some reason never colonized this spot.