Whiskey Point is the Northern point of Mill Bay in Saanich Inlet. To me, Mill Bay has often been a flat, muddy-bottom, bad visibility sort of place. So far, the only spot in the area that I consider visiting now and then is the wreck of the Lord Jim. I remember years ago, a local diver (Jamie Smith) told me that he dove a rocky reef off Whiskey Point and he said it wasn't bad and there were lots of rockfish. I still didn't consider diving there for years, but I recently saw a sidescan sonar image of the area and saw the rocky reef off the point. The marine chart shows this area to be about 50' deep. There are lots of great dives around the Victoria area, but after diving them many, many times over the years I often get more satisfaction from seeing what a new spot is like (even if it's crap). Anyway, that's my reason for showing up to dive this spot on May 13, 2016. I parked at the end of Whiskey Point Road and walked down a 200 meter or so trail to the water.
I swam out towards the point. I was surprised by the decent visibility. I could see 10-15' near the surface. I had a look at a group of pilings near the point. As I descended down them, the visibility dropped to 6-8' below 10' deep.
At the point, the broken-rock slope ended about 10' deep and I followed my compass out towards the deeper rocky reef. With the bad visibility, it was dark and gloomy during this swim. I saw a few plumose anemones on the mud.
At about 60' deep, I reached an area with bottles scattered around. Just past that I reached the rocky area. It was a slight rise with boulders on the mud. There weren't many large solid rock areas. It was pretty flat. The top of this area was about 45' deep. It was all very silty with very little obvious marine life. I did see lots of shrimp, some squid eggs, red rock crabs, California cucumbers and a few sea stars. The crabs would scurry away, stirring up billowing trails of silt. There were maybe 2 plumose anemones. There were hardly any fish on this part of the reef. Down here visibility was maybe 10'.
The Eastern side of the reef seemed to have more of a solid, rocky structure. There were even some small walls. The shallowest part of the reef here was about 40' deep. The base of the reef was still 60' deep. This Eastern area had a bit more marine life as well. There were more California cucumbers and orange burrowing cucumbers. Many of the rocks were covered with a carpet of tiny white barnacles.
Around the North-East corner of these reefs, there was a rocky area with lots of copper and brown rockfish. This might be the area that the local diver told me about years ago. I also saw a great sculpin on the rocks. The rockfish were shy and wouldn't let me get closer than about 4-6' away. I eventually headed back towards shore following my compass. I came across the bottle area again. there were 2 old crab traps here as well. I saw a large old chain in the mud. It was heading towards shore so I followed it and it ended at an old anchor.
I wasn't very impressed by this site. Even if the visibility was better, the dreary, silty landscape isn't worth the drive from Victoria for the average diver. The only reason for me to come back one day is to look for the deeper part of the rocky area.
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