This spot doesn't have a name on a chart, but I used an old set of stone/cement steps leading down to the water from nowhere as a landmark. It's a bit South of McCurdy Point in Saanich Inlet. I think it's just North of the spot marked "Spectacle Creek" on the marine chart. The origin of the steps is a mystery to me. The only hint I could find was a reference to an old WW2 movie filmed in the Inlet ("Commandos Strike at Dawn") where apparently the allied soldiers stormed up an old set of stone steps during their attack in a "Norwegian" fjord. I rented the movie and watched it, but I didn't see any stone steps. Maybe they were in the director's cut. Anyway, I had heard reliable reports that the spring plankton bloom was over and visibility was great in the Inlet so that was a good enough excuse for me. I took my boat here on June 15, 2009. I could hear people hacking away at the bushes above the steps and a small bulldozer had managed to make it down a trail so I'd guess someone will be building a house here shortly. There was a gravel beach close to the steps so I beached the boat and swam down from there. Visibility was about 20-30 feet at the surface and as I swam below the shimmering thermocline (20 feet deep), I could see well over 50 feet. There was a steep sandy slope with tube-dwelling anemones leading down to a rocky reef starting at about 60 feet deep. This reef was steep, with ledges and walls. I followed it down to about 130 feet and could see more rock below me. There were several kinds of rockfish (copper, quillback and black) swarming all over the reef. This was probably the most rockfish I've seen in one place in the Inlet. There were also some small lingcod and a buffalo sculpin. I saw a few crystal tunicates and a crimson anemone. That was a surprise since crimson anemones are rare around most of Victoria and I never expected to see one in Saanich Inlet. There was an octopus in a den and outside another octopus den there was a strange, vase-like metal object. I tried to pick it up to have a better look at it, but it turned out that it didn't have an opening anywhere on it and it was unusually heavy. I lost my grip on it and it rolled down the muddy slope in a cloud of silt that left a trail deeper than I wanted to go. I didn't see any sponges anywhere on the reef. It's frustrating that there are spots nearby covered with them, but here, in seemingly identical conditions, there isn't a single one. It was still an excellent dive. With the good visibility I could see most of the reef at once. It was also the brightest dive I'd had in a long time. At 100 feet deep, I felt like I was in the shallows. The water was also full of several kinds of jellyfish (lion's mane, moon, ctenophores, etc) and jelly-fish-like pelagic tunicates. This was probably the biggest variety of jellyfish I've ever seen on one dive (there were even a few species I've never seen before). Back in the shallows, I saw clusters of squid eggs, but no lost viking gold so the mystery of the stone steps is still unsolved for me.
Despite the good time I had here, I probably won't be back in awhile. The Southern half of Saanich Inlet is basically one steep reef/wall so there are too many more places to explore first.
next to reef
crimson anemone
seastars and rockfish
tube-dwelling anemones on reef
crystal tunicate
thing outside octopus den
tube-dwelling anemones
tube-dwelling anemones and copper rockfish
rockfish 100 feet deep
sunflower star on slope
next to reef
swimming anemone and quillback rockfish
rockfish on reef
crimson anemone
copper rockfish
black rockfish
tube-dwelling anemones
band of mysid shrimp above tube-dwelling anemones
rockfish and sunflower star
sunflower star and tube-dwelling anemones
buffalo sculpin next to red rock crab
plumose anemone
moonsnail egg casings
small lion's mane
perch in shallows
lightbulb tunicates in shallows
perch and seaweed near surface
kelp crab near surface
squid eggs
seastar in shallows
sunflower star
seastars near surface
seastars near surface
kelp crab near surface
gravel beach
entry point
boat on beach
shoreline looking North