Mole Crab Mania!

I’ve been spending summers out on the west coast since 2006 and I’ve never seen anything like it. Earlier this July, a large number of juvenile Pacific mole crabs made an appearance at Wickaninnish Beach. And they’re still here! A handful of Pacific Mole Crabs (Emerita analoga) found at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Pacific mole crabs …

A Helleva lot of Velella

One of the early arriving Velella velella last week on Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s like some ill-conceived, poorly planned invasion on the shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island. In the last week, small blue jellyfish-like creatures have been landing on the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the millions—large swaths of …

Herring Spawn Head’s Up

It’s all in the timing and it’s easy to miss. Last spring I was lucky, and the kids and I witnessed the amazing spectacle that is this country’s largest annual Pacific herring spawn. In other years, I’ve been a day or two late or early. The aquamarine colour of the water is a sure sign that the spawn is on! This …

Beach Hopper Party at Wickaninnish Beach!

Sand fleas, beach hoppers, beach fleas – these are a few of the names given to the (usually) small little jumping things leaping about on the sand in a frantic attempt to escape your descending bare feet. At first encounter they can be a bit hard to love, maybe due to the unpredictable trajectory of their jumps and the possibility …

Deep Bay Marine Field Station

At the end of a crushed shell road lies the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, a research facility run by Vancouver Island University. It’s a gorgeous location overlooking Deep Bay and the station is spectacular in its design, looking a little like a huge clam shell. In addition to being used by Vancouver Island University for aquaculture and marine conservation …

Kye Bay Beach Walk

I had a couple of hours to myself on Saturday afternoon and thought that I’d walk from Kye Bay through to Air Force Beach and back. It didn’t take too long and the tide was low so I had plenty of beach and tidepools to explore. Water flows from one tide pool on the flats into another, draining as the tide drops. …

Green Burrowing Anemones

Miracle Beach Provincial Park is a spectacular place to take kids tide pool exploring—the wide expanse of sand allows for plenty of running in bare feet and the warm shallow tide pools are great for wading and searching for sea life. This weekend I took Alden and Clara up to “the beach house” and kept one eye on the dropping …

Saving the Magnificent Pacific Gaper

It is not often that you see a living horse clam on the surface of the beach unless you have taken the effort to dig one out yourself. That’s why Jocie and I initially thought that the Pacific gaper (Tresus nuttallii) that we found at Miracle Beach was dead. We quickly realized otherwise after touching the extended siphon and watching …

Strand Line Buffet

With the wild wind we have had in the Comox Valley this week, there are bound to be some interesting things washed up in the strand line along the beaches at Point Holmes and Goose Spit and other beaches on Vancouver Island. Earlier this week I was out at Point Holmes looking for some last signs of the herring spawn. …

Herring at Goose Spit

I always love getting down to the edge of the sea and at this time of the year there is even more incentive to wade into the tidal pools and poke around. In late February and early March it pays to watch for flocks of very active gulls and groups of barking and feeding sea lions. Both of these are …