Years ago, while I was looking at a zoning map of the Ladysmith area, I saw a public access right-of-way to the water at wittily-named Sharpe Point. The marine chart shows a pretty steep drop to about 120-130 feet deep on the side of the point facing Ladysmith Harbour. Back then I drove down the road (Fairtide Rd.), but I couldn't find an obvious trail to the water in this area.
Today (June 13, 2013) I was in the Ladysmith area planning on doing some dives at nearby Elliot Beach. I passed by Fairtide Road and remembered my old quest. I turned around and drove down it for another quick look. At the end of the road there's a turn-around with a forested area surrounding it. I got out of the car and could see a worn path leading through the trees down to the water. I forgot about my Elliot Beach plans and decided to dive here instead. The trail was pretty short, but it was steep enough to make it seem twice as long on the way back up. Immediately below the sandstone shoreline there was a sandy slope with sargassum seaweed in the shallows. Visibility up here was about 20 feet. I followed this slope straight down. There were lots of giant nudibranchs and moonsnails laying eggs. So far, the slope was just sand, but the visibility had improved to about 40 feet and I saw a large rocky reef off to my left at about 40 feet deep. I followed it down to about 105 feet deep where it ended in what I'm assuming is the muddy bottom of the bay. This reef was smothered with feather stars in places. The 60-80' depths were especially thick with them. I saw several buffalo sculpins and medium-sized rockfish (mostly brown). Mating crabs (red rock and decorator) were everywhere I looked. I saw a tanner crab on the mud below the reef. Several sea pens were in a sandy channel 60-70' deep. I expected this reef to continue along the slope towards the tip of the point, but it suddenly ended in a plain of sand. I swam 60 feet deep along this sandy area towards the tip of the point. There were lots of tube-dwelling anemones and giant nudibranchs on the sand. I saw a ruby octopus living in an empty moonsnail shell. Before long I saw another reef in the distance. This one was shallower, ending about 60 feet deep. There weren't as many feather stars on this one, but there were still groups of rockfish, buffalo sculpins and small lingcod. The sandy ledges had more giant nudibranchs attacking tube-dwelling anemones. I saw an octopus in it's den, 2 wolf eels, a few midshipmen, and a red brotula hiding in a crack between some boulders. The base of this reef grew progressively shallower as I swam towards the point. By the time I turned around, it was only 35 feet deep. Back in the sandy shallows, I was surprised by how many giant nudibranchs there were. At times I could see about a dozen around me. Some of them were in piles of 2 or 3. Their white egg masses were scattered around as well.
On a second dive later the same day (with a video camera), I tried following the sandy slope down from the base of the shallower reef. I found another small reef at 70 feet with more rockfish and feather stars, but mostly this area was just silty sand.
I like these reefs better than Elliot Beach and the access isn't too difficult. It's definitely worth coming back to. Maybe next time I'll try swimming out to the right.