The Sooke Potholes are a series of pools, waterfalls and canyons on the Sooke River. It's a park and in the Summer  it's a popular place for teenagers to swim and jump off the cliffs into the deep pools. For older people, it's a popular spot to hike along the top of the canyons and wish they were teenagers instead. I came here for a scuba dive on June 13, 2015 since the visibility and currents weren't that great in the ocean. There are 3 different main parking lots along the river in the park. I had a look at the 1st parking lot, but the water was too shallow to submerge here so I drove up to the 3rd parking lot. Here, there was a steep trail down the canyon to the river. The diveable area here was too small. It was some small pools separated by shallow rapids and waterfalls. I drove back down to the second parking lot and walked down a trail through the forest to a small pebble beach facing a larger pool. The water here looked more than deep enough to submerge and upstream there was a narrow, deep canyon that looked like it was definitely diveable. I swam down into the pool and was impressed by the clear water. I'd say visibility was at least 40'
I swam into the canyon. The maximum depth here was about 30'. I saw a few schools of tiny baby trout and one foot-long adult. There were also a few crayfish and freshwater sculpins. Patches of fresh water sponge were on some of the walls. I expected to see lots of beer cans and other junk, but all I saw was a set of swim goggles and a hair band. There wasn't much to see compared to an ocean dive, but the clear water, rock formations and the rays and ripples of sunlight made it a worthwhile dive. When I looked up, I could see the trees on the tops of the cliffs and the white clouds above them. I didn't feel any current in the river as I swam upstream.
I began to see floating bits of algae in the water. As I continued to swim upstream, there were more and more of them so I gave up trying to take pictures. I reached a shallow area where I couldn't swim any farther. I popped my head up and saw several people swimming. The algae was being stirred up by people standing on the slippery rocks in the shallows. I swam back downstream through the canyon and surfaced near a swimmer who seemed to be trying to figure out where the bubbles were coming from.
Later I walked up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the canyon and could see down through the clear water all the way to the bottom. If anyone was up there when I was diving, they must have wondered what I was doing down there when I set up my camera and tripod for my self-portraits and frantically swam into position while the timer counted down.
       I think I came at an ideal time. There had been over a week of dry weather so there was no runoff to cloud the water and create strong currents. I also showed up in the morning before the crowds arrived and stirred up the algae on the rocks.
the pool
freshwater sponge
baby trout
looking up at the clouds
fresh water sponge
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