I haven't been to the Senanus Island Reef in about 10 years. I wanted to check on the health of the cloud sponges in what is the "spongiest" dive in Saanich Inlet so I came back on the Inde charter boat on July 29, 2023. Visibility at the surface was barely 6', but it started to clear about 20' deep.
        The bottom of the mooring line was 80' deep. A big surprise for me was that the bottom was covered with white and orange plumose anemones and feather stars. Years ago when I dove here, there were none of them and except for the sponges, back then the reef seemed bare. Now, this is a huge change to this site. It almost looks like it should be in the Nanaimo area instead of Saanich Inlet. This whole area was about 70-80' deep.
        I had no idea where I was in relation to the sidescan image and I also had no idea where the sponges were in relation to the mooring line so I just started swimming down the rock slope. Visibility down here was about 40', but it was a bit dark from the murky surface layer. I had to let my strobe do most of the work for the photos.
        I went down to 100' deep and didn't see any sponges. I started following the edge of the reef around to my left and soon started to see a few cloud sponges. In the distance, I could see that the other divers had already found the main group of large sponges.
        The sponges started at about 90' deep. My maximum depth was 120' and the sponges carried on deeper.
        After a too-brief visit to the sponges, we swam back up shallower to the plumose garden around the mooring line.
        This was a great re-introduction to this site. There are still lots of big, healthy cloud sponges and now the plumose/feather star-filled area around the mooring line is almost as interesting as the sponges. This is probably my favorite dive site in Saanich Inlet.
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