May 8

Ogden Point | Victoria, British Columbia

By Graeme Contributor

Graeme is an experienced and well trained diver, with PADI Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver status in addition to CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2 and being a Canadian standards (CSA Z275.4-02 and CSA Z275.5-05) trained commercial scuba and surface supply diver. Currently employed as a commercial diver in the interior of British Columbia, he is always looking to improve his skills, gain new qualifications, and do as much diving as possible!

Ogden Point is an excellent example of the popular local dive spot. To look at it, it seems a bit of a let down initially, a long breakwater curves out into the Straights, sheltering the ferry terminal and providing a place for people to walk their dogs. Great stone blocks are stepped below the main walk way, leading down to the last barnacle covered stones before the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. The only signs that diving occurs here are the dive shop you'll be parking by and the great painted and numbered dive signs on the side of the breakwater. That said... a lot of diving happens here, and for good reason! Ogden Point is an introductory level dive site; deep enough to train new divers in and offering a great taste of things to come for divers in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. For the more experienced diver it offers a simple but fun dive, the breakwater is riddled with marine life and for a photographer, it can offer quite a bit in the macro shot area. While it does suffer from the "uggh, how often have I been there" feelings such dive sites tend to accumulate with local divers from over familiarity, they still come, dive it and love it.

Diving at Ogden Point is easy and straight forward. You can either enter from the small beach beside the breakwater, or you can walk down the stepped stones to one of the markers and enter there. Entry off the breakwater can be interesting, as the neither the giant stride or roll in are good ideas because of the stepped stones. Some divers turn their backs to the sea and push off hard from the edge, jumping past the shallow submerged ledge of stone to the deeper water past it (hoping they clear it and don't hit their tanks on the stone). I prefer to sit down on the dry ledge, hopping into the waist deep water of the submerged step of the breakwater, then just swimming down. Once you're in, you can follow the steps of stone blocks down to the bottom or follow along them. My dives on location haven't exceeded 15m, but if the tide is high, you could easily hit 18m or more. Visibility is average to good in my experience, and talking with local divers confirmed that. There is always some particulate matter in the water, so while you can see further than 4m+/- I wrote in my logbook, it's hazy and indistinct. The area can be subject to a bit of wave action and surge in the shallower depths, but nothing serious enough to worry over. The temperature is around 6˚C to 8˚C, the norm for dives in the Victoria area. The bottom is sand with some small stones scattered about, and there can be a strong kelp presence at times, especially in the 6m depth area.

Marine life in the breakwater is decent, with a fair variety of marine vertebrates and invertebrates all in, on or around the breakwater. Along the base of the breakwater are some broken and odd shaped rocks, and there are numerous gaps, cracks and crannies for things to hide in. Because of the particulate matter in the water, you tend to have to get quite close to photograph things, so the macro setting will get a work out on this dive. Tiny hermit crabs and a few of the odder crabs in the area make the breakwater home, as do colourful nudibranchs, the always fun North Pacific Giant Octopus, as well as numerous rockfish, greenlings, sculpins, anemones and scallops. While paling in comparison to the stunning diversity found in say, Barkley Sound, it's still offering a great slice of the types of marine life in the area.

Overall, Ogden Point is a great dive location for divers of all skill levels. It offers the local divers a great standby location for when other sites are unfit for diving or for spur of the moment dives. For visitors, it's a great starting point to showcase some of what Victoria area and Vancouver Island diving can offer. Ogden Point may not be the flashiest dive site in the area, but it's certainly one of the most reliable and enjoyable!

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