This is the public government dock at the end of James Island Road in the Saanichton area. This whole area on the East side of the Saanich peninsula is relatively shallow, gently-sloping and silty so I haven't thought much about diving around here. I was doing some local sightseeing in the area recently and I happened to walk out on the dock. Looking down in the water, I could see a forest of plumose anemones on the pilings. The visibility seemed reasonable and there were no parking or access issues so I came back the next day (Mar. 13, 2011) with my dive gear. There happened to be a gale blowing, but the dock was reasonably sheltered by Cordova Spit. I flopped into the water right off the lower part of the dock. Visibility was about 10-15 feet, which was good enough to see a few pilings at a time. They were mostly covered with plumose anemones, painted anemones and sunflower stars. Up close I could see tunicate colonies, hydroids, sponge, etc. There was a lot of junk scattered around under the dock (bicycles, old crab traps, scraps of metal and bits of wood. I saw one old abandoned trap stuffed full of captive sunflower stars. There must have been 10 of them in there. It was made out of netting, so I cut it open to allow them all to escape. There weren't many fish under the dock. I saw a school of tube snouts and a few tiny sculpins (this is a popular fishing spot). The area under the dock was about 17 feet deep. I swam straight out to where the chart shows a bit of a slope going down to about 50 feet deep. It was mostly muddy, but there were two or three small boulders. When I reached 40 feet deep, I was surrounded by a garden of sea pens. I followed them down to 50 feet deep, before turning around. I swam back up to some shallow reefs (10-30 feet deep) along the shore North of the dock. There were more plumose anemones and sunflower stars. I saw a few small copper rockfish hiding around the rocks. There's a small ladder mounted on the lower part of the dock and I was intending to use it to climb out of the water, but the rungs barely reached a foot below the surface and the small waves were making the floating dock bounce up and down so I climbed out on the rocks on shore.
I came back the next day with a close-up lens. It was much calmer, but I could see slicks of brown water from the rain runoff and the previous day's waves. Visibility was only 6 feet. I noticed a few shaggy mouse nudibranchs, gunnels and a great sculpin. With good visibility, this could be a decent little dive. It's also the easiest way I know of to see lots of sea pens in the Victoria area.
I noticed that on the American NOAA marine chart, there's a beached wreck just North of the government dock in Ferguson Cove. In Fred Rogers' "More Shipwrecks of British Columbia", he describes the wreck of the 80-foot steam tug Restless which caught fire in 1933 while tied up at the government dock. The crew cut it free and it drifted ashore in the nearby bay where it burned to the waterline. The book (written in 1992) says that "only a few iron fragments on the beach now mark her grave". I didn't see any sign of a wreck on the satellite image and I walked the beach at low tide without seeing anything resembling wreckage. It may have been buried/corroded/removed.