This is a popular Nanaimo charter boat dive in Boundary Bay. It's an easy dive for newer divers or an alternative site when the wind is too strong to leave the bay. Taking a boat would mean socializing and stuff so I swam for it on July 9, 2007. There's a public access trail off Stephensen Point Road that leads down to the shore across from the island. This "trail" is a steep set of wooden steps. At the bottom, you can see that the Western tip of Jesse Island (the end with the private dock) is about 200 meters away. I swam out on the surface. This took me about 10 minutes. I had forgotten how warm the surface water is in the Strait of Georgia in summer. I almost thought of taking off my hood to cool down. Jesse Island is made of sandstone (like everywhere else in the Nanaimo area) and on the surface, the rocks drop down in sculpted cliffs, overhangs, mini "sea-stacks" and deep cracks. As soon as I descended near the dock, I could see that the crazy topography continued down underwater. There were walls, overhangs, swim-throughs, caverns and pillars. Visibility was around 15-20 feet. Many of the rock surfaces were covered with small plumose anemones and a variety of seastars (mostly purple). Fish life included copper rockfish, small quillback rockfish, kelp greenlings, longfin sculpins, schools of perch and several painted greenlings. I saw a single small lingcod. This "drop-off" area ended in a sandy slope around 30 feet deep. This slope had large boulders and some rocky reefs here and there. I passed through a thermocline at 40 feet deep and the visibility improved to around 30 feet. I went down to around 65 feet deep. There didn't seem to be as much life down here. The rocks were mostly bare. I did see a small feather star and some patches of zoanthids. I was enjoying the cooler water, but I ascended back to the shallows and the cavern area around the dock, which I think is the best part of the dive. I swam a bit farther to the East along the island, but there seemed to be less life than near the point. On the East point of the Island, there's supposed to be a wall that goes deeper, but I didn't feel like swimming that far. After a dive lasting over an hour and the surface-swim back, the climb up the steep, never-ending staircase was like a ray of sunshine trying to make me a better person.
PLUMOSE ANEMONES AND ROCKFISH IN CAVERN
UNDER OVERHANG
INSIDE CAVERN
IN CAVERN
PLUMOSE ANEMONES ON WALL
SEASTAR, FISH AND PLUMOSE ANEMONES
ORANGE PLUMOSE ANEMONE AND PERCH
OVERHANG
JELLYFISH STUCK TO DEEPER REEF
SHALLOW CRACK
ZOANTHIDS ON BOULDER
PERCH
LOOKING OUT OF CRACK IN CAVERN
COPPER ROCKFISH AND PLUMOSE ANEMONES IN CAVERN
PERCH
COPPER ROCKFISH UNDER OVERHANG
PAINTED GREENLING AND PURPLE SEASTARS
INSIDE CAVERN
CALIFORNIA CUCUMBERS AND ROCKFISH UNDER OVERHANG
ROCKFISH UNDER OVERHANG
WALL OF PLUMOSE ANEMONES
INSIDE CAVERN
STIRRING UP SAND UNDER OVERHANG
PERCH
LOOKING AT ZOANTHIDS ON OVERHANG
SEA STARS IN SHALLOWS
SEASTARS IN SHALLOWS
SWIMMING THROUGH CRACK
SEASTARS IN SHALLOWS
PERCH AND SEASTARS IN SHALLOWS
PAINTED GREENLING IN BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER
IN CAVERN
ANEMONES IN CAVERN
SWIMMING NEXT TO WALL
SWIMMING THROUGH CRACK
SEASTARS IN CAVERN
ROCKFISH IN CAVERN
UNDER OVERHANG
ANEMONES ON WALL
IN CAVERN
LOOKING ACROSS TO JESSE ISLAND
STEPS DOWN TO BEACH
LOOKING ACROSS TO EAST POINT OF ISLAND
SIGN ON BEACH
PILINGS BETWEEN BEACH AND ISLAND
JESSE ISLAND