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Tofino July

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        Images Five days on the west coast of Vancouver Island



My mom has close friends that live in Port Alberni which is "just down the road" from Tofino.  Their aniversery is in early July so they usually stay for a few days in the resort area to celebrate.  This year the dates lined up so that we join so we spent a week on the West Coast.

Bamfield

Dead Painted Lady
This year Nara participated in Science Fair and was lucky enough to be picked to go to Nationals.  Her project involved growing Kelp and the kelp she used came from a small business in Bamfield called Canadian Kelp Resources.  Bamfield is about an hour and half of dirt road driving from Port Alberni.  Nara organized a visit so we started the day early so we could drop by on our way to Tofino.

While we could drive from Port Alberni to Bamfield and back again on a single tank of gas, it's good idea to keep the tank full if you can.  There is a small "full service" gas station in Bamfield that has limited hours.  It's been so long since I've seen a mechnical gas pump, I decided to take a photo.

Gas Station In BamfieldMechanical Dial Gas Pump

New Bamfield Sign
Our destination was the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.  This is a jointly operated facility run by 5 West Coast Canadian universities. There is a "field trip" program where high school classes can stay for several days, but this programs all closed during COVID and there is quite a backlog to getting them running again.  Most of the mini-schools in Vancouver mentioned this program, but none of the schools have been in years.  Nara's mini-school this year isn't planning on going.


View Of Bamfield InletClaira With Marine Mammals SignNara With Marine Mammals Sign

Anemone In Recovery
Nara's contact at Canadian Kelp Resources kindly gave us a tour of some of the labs.  There were university students at some of the desks working away on reports and animals in a variety of tanks along the walls.  Sea water and fresh water is available in each station and most containers have notes about what animals are insider and why.  It's an amazing facility and you ask yourself if you could actually live in Bamfield.  Be aware, there is no Chinese food restaurant.

Wet Lab At Bamfield


Tofino

Sunset In Intertidal Zone
After our tour, we had heads full of sea life.  We arrived at the resort just as the sun was setting but the next morning a new adventure would be waiting for us.  This week had particularly low tides in the morning so we knew there was going to be a lot of intertidal exploring.


 
Small Green And Purple
Everyone has their favorites at the beach - I have a soft spot to Aneomes, but my kids quite like the crabs.  Having done a kelp themed science fair project, we had our eyes open for all of the different kinds of kelp in all of the different habitats.

Anemone Starting To See LightAnemone Burried In Sand
 
  Lines On Green Sea Anemone
My Mom stays at Crystal Cove Beach Resort at the South end of Mackenzie Beach.   The beach has rocky headlands and sandy beaches which makes for tide pools, rock walls and sand with a thin ocean over it.

Tentalces Of Green Sea Anemone At Surface

When the tide got this low, what were islands became walkable.  I was a little considerned about shore nesting birds, but I'm hoping it's late enough in the season that the chicks have flown.

Beach At Low TideIsland Connected By Low Tide

The rock walls are impressive.  The kelp grows in layers depending on what species is most effective at keeping a foot hold and can tolerate the waves and out of water time.  If you had a ton of time, you could dig through the kelp and find small animals hiding, but there is only so much time and ton of beach to investigate.

From Low Intertidal To TreesBlood Start In Shallow PoolKelp Knitted Like Fabric

These grassy areas are probably underwater 95% of the time - they come out of the ocean only on the lowest of low tides.
 
  Laminaria Hanging From Verticle RockBright Red Sponge On Rocks
 
As you move up the rock face, the species change.  Dead Man's fingers and rockweed can live half of their life outside of the ocean and they live highest on the rock surfaces.

Constantinea Cup And SaucerDead Man Fingers On RocksFeather Boa KelpFive Ribbed Kelp
 
Layers Of Kelp On RocksMacrocystis Low DownSmall Sea Star On Kelp

The roots/feet of the kelp are quite different from the rest of the algae.

Red Blades KelpSmall World Under Sea GrassLarge Foot Of Feather Boa Kelp

On the other hand, the shallow water covering the sandy beach also had treats for people willing to spend the time looking.  Nara doesn't really like Jellyfish but I find their complexity beautiful.
 
 
Egg Yolk JellyfishSmall Transparent Jelly In Water
 
There are more mobile beach dwellers - Sand Dollars in the sand, crabs in the rocks and sea stars in the pools.  I like Chitons - a kind of mollusc with a multi-part shell.
 
Half Sun Bleached Sand DollarHandful Of Crab MoltsLined Chiton
 
Purple Sea Stars On Rocks
Sea stars suffered from Starfish Wasting Disease only a few years ago but the Ochre Star had made a strong come back.

Leather Star In Small Pool
 
Speaking of Molluscs, there were a wide variety of snals on the beach.  From small to giant, they were in the sand, tide pools and ocean.  
 
Small Lined Snail ShellChanneled Basket Snail In HandMoon Snail On Beach
 
Purple Olive In The SandPurple Olive Foot Out Of ShellSkulpin In Pool Of Snails


In the rocks close to the tide line we found a sea urchins and sponges!

Purple Sea Urchins Hiding In CracksPurple Sponge On Rocks
 
  Red Velvet SpongeSmall Spot Of Sponge
 
 
Moon Snail Collar In Sand


In the mornings I would go out as early I could and then the family would come out for walk as well.  The low tide only lasts about an hour before it starts to rise so you do have to use your time appropriately.

Claira On Rocks In Front Of ResortParents Out On BeachMorning Walk On Beach
Walking On Mackenzie BeachSitting On DeckTacos On Picnic Table
 
Pacific Crab Apple
 

Hot Springs Cove

We booked a trip by plane to Hot Springs Cove.  We could take the boat up, but the boat is slow and a number of us get sea sick.  The plane is much faster and we could go all in one plane. 

Ready To Get On PlaneYolk Flops Side To SideLeaving The Dock

Noise Warning
The plane spends about as much time taxiing as it does in the flight to the hot springs.  The plane is all metal with almost no sound proofing so it's loud - you have to wear head phones loud. 

Watching World From Back SeatFlying With Ear Protection

The flight leaves Tofino heading North and flies over a number of islands that look unoccupied.  It really does emphasize how important road access is to development.

Empty Sandy BeachesStrong Currents Through Rocks

Coming Around To DockHot Springs Cove

On Dock At Hot Springs
The hot springs are on first nations land and there is agreements in place so that land owners can use the springs for hours a day and at no point are there too many operators all at once.  There is a first nations site stewart on sight to welcome you as you start your hike out to the hot spring.

Start Of BoardwalkOur Plane Flying Away

The hike to the hot spring is about 2 km from where the boats and planes dock.  It's boardwalk the entire way and being warm weather there was nothing slippery about the walk.

Straight Boardwalk With Tree OverheadCanadian BunchberryMoss Hanging From Shrub

Coming Down Stairs At Hot SpringsDad Walking On Hot Springs BoardwalkBoardwalk At Hot Spring SourceOld Change Rooms

The hot springs themselves are very warm - where they flow over the rocks they were unbearably warm.  The temperature changes with the seasons (more water flow means colder temperatures) we sat in further down the route to the ocean.

Hot Springs At Ocean Edge
The hot springs themselves are in solid rock which is steep and slippery.  It's not an easy place to walk around.

Hot Springs Over RocksTide Pool With New Changerooms

Walking Back Down Ramp
The plane is on a schedule so you need to be back at the dock in time to meet your plane.  The plane has flights back to back - they unload the late afternoon guests when they come to pick us up.

Loading Back Into Plane


We switched the seating around and flew back to Tofino.

Claira With View Of OceanPacked Into Middle Seat

Aircraft ControlsShallow Beach From Plane


Ucluelet

I've been to the Vancouver Aquarium quite a few times, but I have to say I really like the Ucluelet Aquarium.  It's a catch and release aquarium - almost everything is gathered in the spring and returned in fall save one tank which has just ocean water added and all the life came in on it's own in larval stages.


Rock ScallopTwo Feet SweepingStrawberry Anemone


The wildlife in the tanks at the Vancouver Aquarium is generally huge and in fantastic shape - it has lived it life without predators or want of food.  The wildlife in the Ucluelet aquarium come in many different sizes and the small tanks makes it easy to get a close up view.

Short TentaclesInternal Structure
The choice of wildlife is also surprising.  The Vancouver aquarium has a swirling jellyfish tank but the Jellyfish are from the tropics.  Here the Jellyfish are smaller, but they are local.

Long Tentacles

The Vancouver Aquarium does have a sea grass tank with bay pipefish in it.  Here they have nudibranch in tanks.

Northern Feather Duster WormsClown DoridBay Pipefish Face


As I said, one of my favorite aquariums.

One Orange AnenomeFeet On Leather StarRed Fish Stands Out


We had lunch in Ucluelet, but it was a bit tricky because several restaurants were close due to a lack of staff.  Nara bought a nice hoodie with a local print.

We decided to walk to see the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse (my dad drove back to get dinner started).  The view to the ocean is amazing and the wind stunted trees make an impressive forest.   

Kids On Wind Formed BranchHaving Sleep In TreeOut Climbing Trees

At LighthouseTaking In Open Ocean View

There is another short loop to see a bog.  The path was bouncy from the bog.

Habitat In Damaged TrunkNara Exaggerating Height DifferenceSundews And Sphagnum Moss


There are a lot of nice places to stop in Tofino  We were biking distance from Tacofino so we stopped in for dinner one afternoon.  The line up was 45 minutes long and they eventually placed a plastic chair in the queue and tell people that the chair is the last order - no more customers.

Stopping In For Ice CreamTacos Drinks And ChipsStickers On Tacofino TruckWaiting For Food To Arrive


  Thanks Mom for including us in the booking - we had a fantastic time!


Boardwalk At Hot Spring Source
Altitude: 13m (42 feet)
Location: Go To...
Old Change Rooms
Altitude: 13m (42 feet)
Location: Go To...
Stopping In For Ice Cream
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: ice cream
Small Lined Snail Shell
Location: Go To...
Island Connected By Low Tide
Flying With Ear Protection
Altitude: 129m (423 feet)
Location: Go To...
Parents Out On Beach
Person: Janet, Lloyd, Nara
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach
Watching World From Back Seat
Person: Janet
Dead Painted Lady
Species: Vanessa cardui (painted lady)
Tags: butterfly
Five Ribbed Kelp
Species: Costaria costata (Seersucker Kelp, Five-ribbed kelp)
Tags: kelp
Blood Start In Shallow Pool
Species: Henricia leviuscula (Blood Star)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Bright Red Sponge On Rocks
Species: Clathria pennata (Red Velvet Sponge)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal
Out Climbing Trees
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, Nara
Location: Go To...
Tags: climbing
Empty Sandy Beaches
Altitude: 248m (813 feet)
Location: Go To...
Walking On Mackenzie Beach
Person: Claira, Nara
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach
Having Sleep In Tree
Location: Go To...
Small World Under Sea Grass
Constantinea Cup And Saucer
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara With Marine Mammals Sign
Person: Nara
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign, vista
One Orange Anenome
Walking Back Down Ramp
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
View Of Bamfield Inlet
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign, vista
Hot Springs Over Rocks
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: hot spring
Purple Olive In The Sand
Species: Callianax biplicata (Purple Olive Snail)
Tentalces Of Green Sea Anemone At Surface
Species: Anthopleura xanthogrammica (giant green anemone)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sunset In Intertidal Zone
Location: Go To...
Pacific Crab Apple
Species: Malus fusca (Pacific Crab Apple)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: apple
Small Spot Of Sponge
Species: Clathria pennata (Red Velvet Sponge)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal
Tacos On Picnic Table
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, Lloyd, Nara
Tags: picnic
Claira With Marine Mammals Sign
Person: Claira
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign, vista
Stickers On Tacofino Truck
Altitude: 12m (39 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: food truck
Handful Of Crab Molts
Location: Go To...
Packed Into Middle Seat
Person: Claira, Lloyd, Nara
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Habitat In Damaged Trunk
Species: Polypodium scouleri (Leathery Polypody, leather-leaf fern)
Location: Go To...
Kelp Knitted Like Fabric
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kids On Wind Formed Branch
Person: Claira, Nara
Location: Go To...
From Low Intertidal To Trees
Rock Scallop
Tags: aquarium, Ucluelet Aquarium
Start Of Boardwalk
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Gas Station In Bamfield
Altitude: 14m (45 feet)
Location: Go To...
Moon Snail On Beach
Species: Neverita lewisii (Lewis's Moon Snail)
Location: Go To...
Tags: snail
Aircraft Controls
Location: Go To...
Tags: plane
Internal Structure
Tide Pool With New Changerooms
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Half Sun Bleached Sand Dollar
Species: Dendraster excentricus (eccentric sand dollar)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Purple Sea Stars On Rocks
Species: Pisaster ochraceus (Ochre Star)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sea star
Leaving The Dock
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira On Rocks In Front Of Resort
Person: Claira
Location: Go To...
Yolk Flops Side To Side
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: plane
Waiting For Food To Arrive
Person: Claira, Helen
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Two Feet Sweeping
Coming Around To Dock
Altitude: 144m (472 feet)
Location: Go To...
Coming Down Stairs At Hot Springs
Person: Claira, Janet, Nara
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boardwalk
Large Foot Of Feather Boa Kelp
Species: Egregia menziesii (Feather Boa)
At Lighthouse
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, Nara
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Ready To Get On Plane
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, John, Nara, Lloyd
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dock, plane
Laminaria Hanging From Verticle Rock
Feather Boa Kelp
Species: Egregia menziesii (Feather Boa)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: kelp
New Bamfield Sign
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 31m (101 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign
Sundews And Sphagnum Moss
Species: Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaf Sundew)
Altitude: 11m (36 feet)
Location: Go To...
Strong Currents Through Rocks
Altitude: 215m (705 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Exaggerating Height Difference
Person: Janet, Nara
Altitude: 17m (55 feet)
Location: Go To...
Red Velvet Sponge
Species: Clathria pennata (Red Velvet Sponge)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal
Shallow Beach From Plane
Altitude: 161m (528 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach
On Dock At Hot Springs
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, Lloyd, Nara
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dock
Anemone Burried In Sand
Species: Anthopleura artemisia (Buried Green Anemone)
Location: Go To...
Lines On Green Sea Anemone
Species: Anthopleura xanthogrammica (giant green anemone)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Macrocystis Low Down
Species: Macrocystis pyrifera (Giant Kelp)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: kelp
Hot Springs Cove
Altitude: 172m (564 feet)
Location: Go To...
Canadian Bunchberry
Species: Cornus canadensis (Canadian Dogwood, Canadian bunchberry)
Altitude: 22m (72 feet)
Location: Go To...
Skulpin In Pool Of Snails
Species: Tegula funebralis (Black Tegula, Black Turbans), Oligocottus maculosus (Tidepool Sculpin)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fish, intertidal, snail
Purple Olive Foot Out Of Shell
Species: Callianax biplicata (Purple Olive Snail)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Red Blades Kelp
Hot Springs At Ocean Edge
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Egg Yolk Jellyfish
Species: Phacellophora camtschatica (Egg-yolk Jelly)
Tags: jellyfish
Small Transparent Jelly In Water
Species: Aequorea victoria (Victoria's Crystal Jelly)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: jellyfish
Small Green And Purple
Species: Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone, Clonal Anemone)
Location: Go To...
Our Plane Flying Away
Moss Hanging From Shrub
Altitude: 39m (127 feet)
Location: Go To...
Purple Sponge On Rocks
Species: Haliclona permollis (Purple Encrusting Sponge)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal
Sitting On Deck
Person: Claira, Janet, Lloyd, Nara
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Noise Warning
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Strawberry Anemone
Channeled Basket Snail In Hand
Species: Caesia fossata (Channeled Basket Snail)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal, snail
Red Fish Stands Out
Clown Dorid
Morning Walk On Beach
Person: Janet, Lloyd
Location: Go To...
Loading Back Into Plane
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dock, plane
Feet On Leather Star
Taking In Open Ocean View
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Straight Boardwalk With Tree Overhead
Dead Man Fingers On Rocks
Species: Halosaccion glandiforme (Sea Sacs)
Anemone In Recovery
Altitude: 17m (55 feet)
Location: Go To...
Long Tentacles
Small Sea Star On Kelp
Layers Of Kelp On Rocks
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Short Tentacles
Tacos Drinks And Chips
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: drink, food porn
Northern Feather Duster Worms
Lined Chiton
Species: Tonicella lineata (Lined Chiton)
Tags: intertidal
Leather Star In Small Pool
Species: Dermasterias imbricata (Leather Star)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sea star
Moon Snail Collar In Sand
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Purple Sea Urchins Hiding In Cracks
Species: Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Purple Sea Urchin)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sea urchin
Wet Lab At Bamfield
Altitude: 34m (111 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mechanical Dial Gas Pump
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Dad Walking On Hot Springs Boardwalk
Person: Lloyd
Altitude: 25m (82 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boardwalk
Bay Pipefish Face
Claira With View Of Ocean
Person: Claira
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Beach At Low Tide
Anemone Starting To See Light
Species: Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone, Clonal Anemone)
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: intertidal(7), plane(4), sign(4), vista(3), snail(3), kelp(3)
People: Claira(17), Nara(16), Janet(11), Lloyd(8), Helen(7), John(1)

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Last Modified Saturday, December 16th, 2023 at 10:48:43 Edit
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