Norris Rocks. This small rocky islet 500 m off the southwest end of Hornby Island is located in the Marine Conservation Area. Winter storm waves break over the islet at high tide. Access is by boat only. Please maintain the required distance by boat, kayak, canoe, paddle-board, etc. to avoid disturbing wildlife. Please do not go ashore.

Steller and California Sea Lions live here from November until April, and Harbour Seals from May until October. Flocks of Black Turnstones are seen in winter. Gulls nest from May until July. Arctic, Pacific and Common Loons, Oystercatchers, Long Tailed Ducks and Red Phalaropes are observed on occasion. Many bird species reside off the island.

Transient Orca are also known to hunt in proximity to Norris Rocks.

Arguably the best launching point for kayaks, canoes or paddle-boards is from Bill Mee Park on the southeast side of Denman Island. The launch offers quick access to Lambert Channel, open views to the north and south and the paddle over to Norris Rocks only takes about half an hour or so. Winds can pick up in the channel, so be aware of changing conditions on the water. As well, the access ramp can be slippery at low tides so be cautious.

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It was impossible to know for sure, but I would estimate about 300-400 Steller Sea Lions were out on the rocks. The squawking and scent very intense. It can’t be emphasized enough, keep your distance!

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I spent a couple of hours out near the rocks, scanning the southern horizon in hopes of spotting some Orca without any luck. I noticed the winds starting to pick up and decided to start the paddle back to the launch point. Along the way I noticed a beautiful mature Bald Eagle posing on a small outcrop with a mountainous backdrop. A picture-perfect moment, or so I thought. I managed to position and steady my kayak along the edge of the outcrop without startling the Eagle and prepared for some shots. I didn’t notice until it was too late, a small wind wave slam against the side of my kayak splashing me but more importantly my camera which was supposedly water resistant. I think I managed to get only one decent shot while the Eagle flew away before the camera turned off. I think it is permanently turned off now too due to water damage. So much for my prized $4000.00 Nikon D810. It is currently being assessed by Nikon professionals in a lab in Ontario but I am not holding out much hope.

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Fortunately, and if it can’t be repaired, I will be replacing the model with another D810 or else upgrading to the new exquisite D850. Going forward however, I think I’ll only be taking my trusty Nikon 1 AW1 mirrorless model out on the water with me. It’s waterproof! Why didn’t I think of that before? Hard lessons learned I suppose.

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All wildlife images were created using a super telephoto lens and crop factor in post processing.

The Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is a near-threatened species of Sea Lions in the Northern Pacific. It is the sole member of the genus Eumetopias and the largest of the eared seals (Otariidae) and is also the largest Sea Lion. Among pinnipeds, it is inferior in size only to the Walrus and the two Elephant Seals. The species is named for the naturalist George Wilhelm Steller, who first described them in 1741.

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Andy Everson

I’m very excited to acquire #38 of only 99 limited edition prints by renowned artist, Andy Everson. “Connection” commemorates T073B’s visit to Comox Harbour in July of 2018. This has been one of my most remarkable and profound experiences with wildlife. Read more about the print here: totemdesignhouse.ca/products/connection

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Andy Everson is named Nagedzi after his grandfather, Chief Andy Frank. His cultural interests lay with both his Comox and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestries and are expressed through dancing, singing, and even the pursuit of a Master’s degree in anthropology. Andy feels that his artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments.

Although he began drawing Northwest Coast art at an early age, his first serious attempt wasn’t until 1990 when he started designing and painting chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. From these early self-taught lessons he has tried to follow in the footsteps of Kwakiutl relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of his ancestors.

What a great time recently with my friend Nick Templeman, Owner / Operator with Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions – campbellriverwhaleandbearexcursions.com

It took us a little bit to find T087 and the A24’s but it was definitely worth the wait. I think we owe it all to Nick’s dog, Yukon #chiefwhalespotter

 

If you’re looking for a truly unique, personalized and one of a kind experience, look no further than Nick. His extensive knowledge and passion serves as a sense of inspiration for wildlife and nature lovers. Book your tour today! 

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ON TOP OF THE WORLD
“The Everest” of Sea Kayaking
Brooks Peninsula!
 
I can’t wait to get back out there this summer!!
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I kind of want to keep it just for me! Wow! 😯📸👍 I’m proud to donate a 24 X 36 framed print of the image below, to be sold at auction at the Paddling Film Festival in Vancouver at the end of March. 100% of proceeds will go to support BC Marine Trails and the Howe Sound sites, under stewardship of the Sea Kayak Association of BC (SKABC) Get your tickets to the festival here: skabc.org

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There’s a certain amount of tranquility after a snowfall. It doesn’t happen often here on the island but it offers interesting perspectives. 

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The last time I visited Mystic Beach was 2009, 10 years ago! It’s always been a place that I wanted to visit again and so I did yesterday! I’m a paddler, not a hiker! I got lost twice on a relatively easy trail but it was well worth the anguish! What an extraordinary place!!

discovervancouverisland.com/…/mystic-beach

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The Importance Of Herring
 
Like the foundation of your house, herring is the foundation on which the Great Bear Rainforest is built. It is a small fish with a major role in the lives of nearly every coastal species on land or underwater in BC. It provides an important link between tiny plankton and larger fish, marine mammals and birds. For millennia, this forage fish has provided sustenance for humans to whales to wolves to birds. Fish, such as salmon, perch, and hake, feed on the larvae shortly after they hatch. Seals, sea lions, whales and numerous types of birds feed on adult herring.
 
Fisheries managers have argued that climate change and variations in predator abundance have been contributing to coast-wide declines in herring in recent decades. However, many observers point to commercial fisheries as the culprit, which began in the late 1800’s when herring were harvested en masse to make fertilizer and fish oil. An archeology study of fish bones found along the coast of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington (McKechnie, year) showed that one species, herring, was consistently the most abundant and ubiquitous fish in the 171 sites. The study of sites up to 10,000 years old also provides sobering “deep time” evidence of consistent abundance and distribution of herring. Only until the industrial kill fishery started in the late 1800’s did stocks begin to collapse.
 
Each year, the waters turn black as countless tonnes of herring migrate from offshore waters to more sheltered nearshore bays and estuaries where they spawn en masse. Pacific herring spawns are relatively short-lived, lasting approximately three weeks each year at any given location. In some areas, millions of birds, thousands of sea lions, seals – in addition to orca, humpback and grey whales all converge on the spawning grounds. The migration of shorebirds to their northern nesting grounds and the northern grey whale migration are time perfectly to feast on the annual herring spawn.
Protect Pacific Herring – pacificwild.org/…/protect-pacific-herring
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Proud to be a new member of Comox Valley Paddlers! 😊👍 Find our more about the club here: https://comoxvalleypaddlers.ca