I was going to dive here the week before as a second dive after Jesse Island, but after seeing the trail to the beach, I wimped out. This time, full of caffeine and sugar, I charged screaming up the trail and had 2 excellent dives. Neck point is a scenic park North of Boundary Bay. There are several beaches and trails leading to them, but the best place to dive (I'm told) is out at the point where there is a pebble "neck" leading out to a big rocky pair of islands (at high tide anyway). Since I'm a geek, I noticed that the rocks here are igneous instead of the usual sandstone. Anyway... the problem is the trail to get there. It's not that long (maybe 1/2 kilometer), but there is a hill that pops up right in the middle. If you're a diver carrying 100 pounds of gear, this is an excellent way to diagnose a heart condition. Apparently you can sign out a key from the Nanaimo parks people that allows you to get past a gate and park closer to the water (by-passing the hill as well). Of course I'm scared of authority so I parked in the regular-people lot and dragged myself along the trail to the point. It was overcast and rainy (July 17, 2007). I can't imagine doing this walk in a drysuit on a typical sunny summer day.  I made it down to the gravel neck (trying to ignore the vulture perched on the rock watching me) and swam out through the gap between the "islands". Visibility was only a few feet here, but as I descended, it cleared up steadily to around 50 feet (below 30 feet deep). The bottom was a slope of rocks with some piles of boulders here and there. This ended in sand around 60 feet deep (low tide). There was a great amount of life around these rocks. There were feather stars, zoanthids, sea pens, various sea stars, crimson and painted anemones, cup corals, etc. There were also lots of rockfish (copper, quillback and juvenile yelloweye), kelp greenlings, small lingcod and blackeye gobies. I saw 2 octopus in their dens under piles of rocks. I swam to the left (when looking out from shore) and the rubble bottom changed to walls and ledges. This area still seemed to bottom out at around 60 feet deep. I swam out for a bit down the sandy slope. There were a few boulders and rock reefs, but nothing major. According to the chart (which isn't a very detailed scale), there is a steep area that goes very deep farther out to the left, but I didn't want to go out too far. The last thing I wanted was a long surface swim before the hike back. I swam back up to the wall/ledge area. I found that my favorite area was around 30 feet deep. This was on the border of the good/not so good visibility, but there was an incredible amount of colourful life. Most of the rocky surfaces were scattered with more cup corals than I've seen anywhere else. The walls here were also covered with small plumose anemones as well as the usual variety of seastars and urchins. The rocks weren't silty at all, but seemed clean-swept and were bright and pink with corraline algae. My camera loved this place. It was hard to restrain it as it tried to jump out of my hands and dart off to the next photo opportunity. If I come here again I might have to use a lanyard. I had planned on doing a second dive somewhere else in the Nanaimo area, but I liked this place so much I decided to use up my other tank here instead. I walked my empty tank back to the car and traded it for the full one. This time I entered the water on the left side of the "neck" and swam around the point to the right. This was the shallow area that I was infatuated with so I figured I'd visit it again. Visibility seemed to have gone down a bit since my earlier dive. There were lots of white plankton bits drifting in, but it was still decently clear. I've heard this used to be the place for wolf eels in the Nanaimo area, but I didn't see any. It doesn't matter. If I want swarms of wolf eels, I'll go to Ogden Point. What I liked here was the bright, clean rock dotted with orange cup corals. I think that this might be my new favorite Nanaimo dive site, although next time I'll have to track down that magical key or bring bolt-cutters.
PAINTED ANEMONE, URCHINS AND SUNFLOWER STARS
WALL 30 FEET DEEP
CUP CORALS AND URCHINS ON WALL
NEXT TO WALL
OCTOPUS IN DEN
COPPER ROCKFISH ON WALL
KELP GREENLING NOSE POKING INTO PICTURE
CLOSER UP. THERE'S A PAINTED GREENLING IN THERE SOMEWHERE.
WALL
COPPER ROCKFISH, ETC ON WALL
SEA PEN
WALL
CRIMSON ANEMONE
GROUP OF ROCKFISH
WALL
SUNFLOWER STARS AND CUP CORALS OVER OCTOPUS DEN
WALL AND OVERHANG
URCHINS AND FEATHER STAR
COPPER ROCKFISH AND BOTTOM KELP
SUNFLOWER STAR, ETC.
WALL
SEA PEN
SEA PENS AND YOUNG QUILLBACK ROCKFISH
WALL AGAIN
COPPER ROCKFISH
JUVENILE YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH
ZOANTHIDS ON BOULDER
JUVENILE YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH AND ZOANTHIDS
COLOUR ON ROCKS
CRIMSON ANEMONE
NEAR SURFACE
OCTOPUS IN DEN
SUNFLOWER STAR ON WALL
ANEMONE AND URCHINS AT BASE OF SMALL WALL
LIFE ON WALL
PLUMOSE ANEMONES NEAR SURFACE
AT TOP OF WALL
ZOANTHIDS AND URCHINS ON WALL
LOOKING AT WALL
OVER REEF
SEASTAR IN SHALLOWS
SUNFLOWER STAR ON REEF
WALL AGAIN
SUNFLOWER STAR AND URCHINS
LIFE NEAR SURFACE
SEASTARS IN SHALLOWS
SEASTARS IN SHALLOWS
URCHINS ON REEF
PLUMOSE ANEMONE IN FRONT OF REEFS
PAINTED ANEMONE
ANEMONES IN SHALLOWS
PAINTED ANEMONE AND ROCKFISH
SHALLOW WALL
COPPER ROCKFISH
THE WHITE STRIPE! LIVE! AT NECK POINT!
PARKING
PATH THROUGH ROCK TO PEBBLE NECK
DIVE PROPAGANDA NEXT TO TRAIL
VIEW OF PARKING FROM TOP OF HILL
STEPS TO VIEWPOINT
STEPS TO VIEWPOINT
NECK POINT SHOWING CHANNEL BETWEEN ISLANDS
FLOWERS AT THR TIP OF NECK POINT
PANORAMA OF POINT
FLOWERS AT POINT