This trip will be an all day excursion to some of the offshore banks and canyons in search of albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels and other pelagic birds. Exact route to be determined based on local weather, fishing activity, and up-to-date recon of where birds seem to be concentrating. Our goal is to bird out to, and then along, the shelf edge near one of the large offshore canyons about 35 miles off the coast.
Despite having access to the boundless imagination that most ten year olds are privy to, young Charlie Hoffman likely had no idea what he was getting into when he boarded my boat for a fishing trip the other day. We mustn't fault him. In all of Charlie’s secret dreams in the weeks leading up to his vacation even he couldn’t prepare himself for the adventure that lie ahead.
Shortly after daybreak Charlie and his family showed up at the marina wearing broad grins, their eyes twinkling with anticipation. Their excitement was contagious and I couldn’t help but smile as I assisted Charlie, his mother and grandpa aboard the boat.
After stowing their gear I gave them a quick safety orientation and showed them where the lifejackets and fire extinguishers are kept. When I finished the orientation I turned to mom and grandpa and told them to make sure they pay close attention to the captain. “The captain is always the boss” I told them, “so be sure to follow his orders. No exceptions!”
With that I turned to Charlie and asked him to hold out his left hand...
Jenny Mustard, my young and boundlessly energetic golden retriever, is eyeballing me in exasperation as I type this report. She’s perched on a nearby cushion, head thrown over the back of the couch, moaning and barking in the direction of the woods outside as if to say “Dad, it’s a nice day out there. Please get off the stupid computer and lets go outside and fish.”
Jenny Mustard has proven herself to be a dependable fishing companion over the past year since she made the journey over the Rocky Mountains, across the Salish Sea and down the emerald river valleys to Tofino. She’s mastered the art of saltwater fishing since she arrived on the coast, and includes trolling, jigging, and hauling traps for crabs and prawns in her repertoire. She will chastise me with her growling and barking if the action is slow, and closely inspect all manner of species to ensure their quality and quantity when we indeed manage a catch. Her watchful eye comes in handy when sea lions and whales are about, though thankfully she has firmly given up jumping overboard in pursuit of them - particularly when the boat is running at full speed...
Join us for a memorable evening rich with stories, science, and stunning images. This passionate talk will celebrate all who safeguard our precious coast. Chris Darimont will guide us into the Great Bear Rainforest - where cedar trees date to the Middle Ages, black bears can be white, and wolves are considered marine mammals. Be inspired by powerful alliances of people, led by Indigenous communities, who have stood tall against habitat destruction, Big Oil, and trophy hunting in the GBR. Lessons learned there could help us tackle new threats now facing other areas of our priceless coast.
The Tla-o-qui-aht word for whale is Ihtuup. “Ih” means “really big” and “tuup” means “animal” or “creature”. Very soon we will be welcoming back a “REALLY BIG CREATURE”, our migrating Gray Whales! After wintering in the warm water lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, 18 to 24,000 whales will pass our BC shores towards the summer feeding grounds of the Bering, Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas. This 15-20,000 km round-trip migration is one of the longest known mammalian migrations.
Here in Tofino, we are fortunate to enjoy them within 5-km of shore and in shallow waters. Not all whales complete the migration north and instead spend their summer feeding in our local waters. These are what we fondly refer to as our “summer residents”. Gray Whales mostly feed in shallow areas using their baleen to strain out small invertebrates from the soft muddy bottom. Gray Whales can also be seen during summer months feeding on herring eggs and larvae found in eel grass beds.