Purple, Brown, Orange and Red: The Multi-Coloured Mystery of Ochre Sea Stars

Ochre sea stars are the most common sea stars found in the waters around Vancouver Island, and we see them in three distinct colours: purple, orange, and red-brown. What causes one ochre star to be purple while its neighbour is orange and the next star over is brown? Scientists don’t know for sure what causesContinue reading “Purple, Brown, Orange and Red: The Multi-Coloured Mystery of Ochre Sea Stars”

Warm Hands for Winter Paddling

The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome as a year-round paddler here on Vancouver Island is keeping my hands warm. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome in my hands, which means the blood vessels spasm and constrict in colder temperatures, leaving my fingers white, numb and largely useless. Cold, damp conditions, like we have here on theContinue reading “Warm Hands for Winter Paddling”

Branching out, eaglet style

It was the constant mewling — like a cross between an eagle and a sea gull and a whining child — that caught our attention. When my partner and I ventured out on the rocks outside our safari tent at So Damn Lucky Glamping on Barclay Sound, we discovered a juvenile bald eagle perched onContinue reading “Branching out, eaglet style”

Red-Eye Medusa (Jellyfish)

It’s a tiny jellyfish ringed with red. The Red-Eye Medusa spends most of its time in dark waters near the ocean floor, yet we were lucky enough to see these jellies swimming near the surface of a calm, protected nook in Harlequin Bay on Hurst Island in God’s Pocket Marine Provincial Park this week. TheContinue reading “Red-Eye Medusa (Jellyfish)”

Simple solution for stinky neoprene

Does your wetsuit stink? How about your neoprene booties, gloves or spray skirt? After a certain amount of active wear in the ocean, it’s bound to happen to all of us. Instead of spending big bucks on a dedicated neoprene shampoo (which these days can be hard to find), try this cost-effective tip I receivedContinue reading “Simple solution for stinky neoprene”

How to fix a big, nasty tear in your drysuit neck gasket

I was sliding my drysuit over my head last month, eager to get out for a Sunday paddle, when suddenly I felt the latex neck gasket give way… The result was what you see in the photo above: a 7.5-inch curving tear from neck opening almost to the base of the brand new gasket IContinue reading “How to fix a big, nasty tear in your drysuit neck gasket”

Extraordinary Eelgrass – Fast Facts

Gliding your kayak over a bed of bright green eelgrass in the intertidal zone can be pure bliss, the waving blades a picture of serene beauty beneath your hull. Yet this plant holds secrets beneath the surface… Did you know that it has two methods of propagation? Or that it converts atmospheric carbon into oxygenContinue reading “Extraordinary Eelgrass – Fast Facts”

Teeth & Tongue: Whale Feeding Fun

Orcas vs humpbacks vs gray whales vs rights — do you know that each type of whale uses its own unique strategy to hunt and capture the food it eats? Science writer and Tofino resident David Pitt-Brooke explains how different whales chow down in his excellent book Chasing Clayoquot: A Wilderness Almanac, excerpted below (emphasisContinue reading “Teeth & Tongue: Whale Feeding Fun”

An explosion of tiny spiders

Earlier this month, I noticed a swarm of tiny yellow spiders scattering across the deck after I dragged the patio table into the shade. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they’d come from a tight ball of spiders — numbering in the hundreds — all massed together in a nest suspended between two boards inContinue reading “An explosion of tiny spiders”

Assisted rescues with physical distancing

With Paddle Canada courses set to resume today, I want to share a few techniques that instructors in BC and around the globe have come up with for conducting assisted rescues with physical distancing. The experimental ideas in these videos provide good food for thought. It’s great to see folks getting creative and taking theContinue reading “Assisted rescues with physical distancing”