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”

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)”

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”

Jellyfish, over easy

An unexpected sight while paddling in the Nanaimo Harbour last week: dozens of Fried Egg Jellyfish lazing just below the surface of the waters in Newcastle Channel.  These distinctive jellyfish come by their name honestly: each one looks like an egg that’s been cracked into the water – from the bright yellow “yolk” at theContinue reading “Jellyfish, over easy”