I haven't been here in a few years. I've been trying lately, but the weather wasn't cooperating. Finally the wind was reasonable, so I went out on an Ogden Point charter (March 21, 2009). I was hoping for some sea lion photos, but there was only a small group of Stellers on one of the rocks. Our first dive was at West Race wall. Visibility was 30-40 feet and it was a good day for current, so we didn't feel much of it at all. I took a few pictures on my way down the wall before my camera strobe started flashing by itself and wouldn't work with my camera. So here I was, swimming along one of the most colourful places on Southern Vancouver Island and I didn't have the means to take decent pictures. I felt a bit lost, but I had a look at all the anemones, soft corals, hydrocorals, basket stars, sponges, etc. There were a few fish (mostly kelp greenlings, small lingcod and cabezons). I went down to around 110 feet before heading back up to the top of the wall. I took some natural-light photos to stitch together later for panoramas and suddenly my strobe started working again. I snapped as many colourful pictures as my remaining air would allow before I had to surface.
For the second dive we went to North Race Rock. While I was on the boat, I tried to find out what was wrong with my camera strobe. There were no obvious leaks and the sync cord contacts were dry. When I tested it it seemed to be fine again. I jumped in the water and descended to a flat, rocky, urchin-covered reef 20 feet below. I turned on my camera strobe and now it wouldn't even turn on. So again, I was stuck taking natural-light photos. I swam deeper and the bottom seemed to be a series of rocky "fingers". I would swim over one and then it would drop down in a small wall and then the next finger would rise up in front of me. Eventually, I followed these steps down to about 100 feet. The shallows didn't seem to have as much life as West Race Rock, but down deeper, these small walls were covered with all the same anemones, hydrocorals, sponges, basket stars, etc. I didn't see as many soft corals here, but there seemed to be lots of big cabezon. Of course without a strobe, I couldn't take any decent photos down here. I went back up to the shallow reefs and tried for more natural-light panoramas. There were areas covered with tiny brooding anemones, but mostly there was kelp and urchins.
Even without the sealions, Race Rocks is an amazing area to dive. I'll definitely have to come back more often.