This is one of the well-known dive sites in the Vancouver area that I never dove while I lived there (up until the late 90's). I always heard it was one of the best sites in the area for marine life. I was in Vancouver for a couple of days and I stopped here for a dive on my way back to the ferry to Vancouver Island (Oct. 26, 2016). Lookout Point is just to the North of Whytecliff Park near Horseshoe Bay. There's a public access trail to the beach at the intersection of Cliff Rd. and Arbutus Rd.
Almost this entire area has no parking signs lining the roads. There is only one small area where parking is allowed (with room for maybe 2 cars to park) across the road from the start of the trail.
It was high tide and the water almost came up to the base of the stairs. The water was choked with a jumble of floating logs that I had to awkwardly climb over before I could start swimming out. Just as I made it past them, the wake from a ferry hit the shore and the logs were tossed around in the surf. This would have been very dangerous if a diver was caught in them. The tip of the point was about 150 meters away. I started swimming out on the surface, but it seemed like it was taking forever to get there . I think there was a current flowing down along the point, slowing me down. I gave up swimming on the surface and descended near an old cement dock. The rocks sloped down in a small wall that met the sand at about 20' deep. Visibility below 15' deep was about 30-40'. There wasn't much here except for clusters of ochre and leather stars. Some of them still had the wasting disease that's been wiping out populations of sea stars all over the coast in the last few years.
I reached the area at the tip of the point. There was a rock overhang with lots of perch swimming around. I started swimming up and over the rocky reef to reach the outside of the point, but the current here was very strong. I was diving when the Point Atkinson tide table was showing high tide slack so I was surprised to feel so much current. It was flowing in the direction I wanted to go (towards the far side of the point), but I didn't want to be stuck over there by not being able to swim back against the current. I tried to swim back, but the current was too strong to swim against so I pulled myself along the rocks back into the bay. I continued following the base of the 20'-deep wall out from the point, hoping that the current would be less farther out. I saw a concrete highway divider sitting on the bottom. According to a local diving guide book, this marks a good location to cross over to the far side of the point. I tried swimming across the reef here, but the current was still worryingly-strong so I turned back and continued swimming farther out along the reef sticking out from the point. Eventually I reached the tip of the rocky reef (about 30' deep). There finally didn't seem to be much current here so I continued around the point and down the slope on the far side.
On the far side of the point, the bottom wasn't as steep a drop as I expected. There were wide sand ledges with boulders and sloping rocky reefs in the top 60'.
For a dive that was supposed to be one of the best in the Vancouver area, I was a bit disappointed so far by the marine life. There were only a few feather stars. As I swam South along the slope, it suddenly got better. I saw some boulders in the distance covered with zoanthids. The only other place I've seen this is Cottam Point in the Nanoose area on Vancouver Island. Past these boulders, I saw clumps of white plumose anemones, feather stars, swimming anemones and a few crimson anemones. This was all between 50-80' deep. There were some copper, quillback and Puget Sound rockfish.
Around 100' deep, there were some boot sponges and small cloud sponges. On a sandy area about 110' deep, there was a large boulder with another carpet of zoanthids and some decent-sized cloud sponges.
I swam back up the slope that was covered with more plumose anemones, feather stars and swimming anemones. I didn't notice any at the time, but later, looking at my photos, I noticed a Puget Sound king crab as well.
I swam back around the point and into the bay, following the shallow wall back to shore.
Despite the potential for strong current and the sort-of long swim to get around the point, I think this is now my favorite Vancouver-area shore dive.