When I started snorkelling in the Salish Sea, one of my favourite spots was one not too far from my home. I originally referred to it as Yarrow Point, after the nearest prominent feature labelled on marine charts.
Then a friend pointed out that there is also a small town named Yarrow Point near Bellevue, Washington. After that, I switched to calling the site Dyer Rocks because those tiny islets adjacent to Yarrow Point were where I spend most of my time while snorkelling at the site. By that time I had also been told that it was more commonly known by that name among scuba divers.
About a year later, I noticed that other people were swimming and snorkelling at the site and found out that, among them, it was simply known as Ardmore, the name of the neighbourhood and the nearest road, so that is the name I now use.
My first snorkelling session of 2023 was at Ardmore. Conditions were not ideal. The sky was cloudy, the water temperature was 6 C, there was a cold breeze and I had a slight headache. Normally I would have stayed home but it had been nearly a month since I had been snorkelling and I had been longing to get below the surface.
I should have stayed home. Every still photo I took was blurry because of seasonal freshwater runoff mixing with the salt water. The videos were boring. My headache got worse. When I got out of the water, after only about half an hour in my usual full wetsuit, I was exceptionally cold while getting changed back into dry clothes.
What did I learn? Nothing that I did not already know.
In the summer months, the surface of Saanich Inlet is much warmer than other nearby parts of the Salish Sea like the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait but my records indicate that, in the middle of winter, it is at least 2 degrees C colder than those other areas. Until it warms up a bit, I will go snorkelling elsewhere.
Unless I have a good reason, such as reports of unusually good visibility near the surface, I will try harder to schedule my snorkelling sessions for sunny days in order to get better natural light.
Most importantly, if I am feeling at all unwell, I will keep my face out of the ocean.