Oak Leaf Drive in the Nanoose area is the future site of a new United Nations social housing subdivision set aside to provide housing for some of the masses of refugees flooding out of the Vancouver area. I drove up there recently to have a look and it was heart-rending to see the convoy of these refugees in their white Audis and Porsche Cayennes stretching along the road from the Nanaimo ferry terminal. Many of the locals (who were once refugees from the mainland themselves) lined the road handing out jugs of water and pieces of bread to the grateful hands sticking out of the vehicles' windows. I heard a shocked gasp from the locals and I saw that one of the approaching refugees was only driving a base model Lexus. We stared in stunned silence. We've all seen the news footage coming out of the Lower Mainland, but we never thought it was this bad. The dead look in the eyes of the refugees told us of the horrors they've experienced during their lives in the Vancouver area. When they reached Oak Leaf Drive, I could see a sudden spark of hope in their eyes when they looked around at all the trees still available to be cut down. I tried to shout out some words of encouragement as the tears of joy streamed down my face. "Don't worry! Your box-like, 4000 square-foot, West Coast Modern homes will have a view of the ocean once the trees are gone!" I saw some UN workers in blue helmets gently direct one young family of refugees out of the line. They tactfully had to explain to them that the Nanoose/Parksville/Qualicum area was set aside by the UN for displaced persons between the ages of 55 and 70. They gave them some vaccinations and sent them away in their Escalade with directions down to their age group's designated subdivision in Victoria.
One of the benefits of the Oak Leaf Drive Lower Mainland Resettlement Project (other than the pride in helping others) is that the end of the new road has been set aside as a waterfront park. The marine chart shows that depths of over 100' are reachable near shore. I've never heard of anyone diving here so out of curiosity I did a dive here on Aug. 22, 2016. At the end of Oak Leaf Drive there are 5 parking spots and a trail leading through the park (maybe 200 meters long) to the shoreline. I entered the water at a small beach.
I swam straight out from the beach. Visibility was 8-10'. The bottom was sand and small rocks with some urchins. There were lots of bits of wood on the bottom that made me think that this place used to be a lumber mill or booming ground or something.
Off to my right as I swam out I saw a solid rocky area going down to about 45' deep.
I kept swimming straight out down the sand/gravel slope and the visibility suddenly improved at about 60' deep. I could now see about 40'. I went down to about 90' deep and didn't see any more rocky areas. There were a few sea pens and crimson anemones.
I swam a bit back up the slope and started swimming North to see what was in that direction. At about 75' deep I saw a dark shadow in the distance. It was a large rock cliff looming up ahead. This wall was the end of what I think is a large rock area sticking out from the rocky point on shore. I followed the base of this wall North and the deepest it bottomed out at was 110' deep. There were a few boot sponges and crimson anemones. I didn't see many fish. There were some quillback/copper rockfish, a small lingcod, kelp greenling and a juvenile yelloweye rockfish.
I'm definitely coming back for another look at this rocky reef/wall area. I'd especially like to have a proper look at the part of it above 60' deep when the visibility is better.