John Harvey Photo

Aristazabal Island - Day 5, 6
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Loredo Channel


Previous Day
Day 5 - Fifer Cove, Princess Royal Island
Pretty much giving up on trying to find a bear, we drove down Laredo Inlet and headed north up Laredo Sound - the channel separating Aristazabal Island from Princess Royal Island.  By lunch we were next to Aristazabal Island and went onshore to see what the island was like.

Immature Bog Cranberry
The first 150 meters from shore was just like any other part of rainforest we  explored, but very quickly the environment changed .  The trees got smaller, the cedars disappeared, and we were left with little scrubby shore pines.  The green moss was replaced by red and green sphagnum.  We were in a bog.  We found two useful fruits - Bog cranberry (a tiny plant), and bog blueberry - again small.  Comerical species are much larger and prolific than these humble plants, but at one point they were an important food source.
Bog Blueberry

My favorite find has to be the Sun-dews.  These tiny plants - only a few centimeters tall, were common in any piece of clear moss.  Bosses happen when nitrogen poor soil is present and the sundews have adopted by taking nitrogen from insects they kill.  They are beautiful to see.

Sundew in SphagnumRound-Leaved Sundew

Mushroom Pushing Up
But sundews were the only surprise. Mushrooms weren't in the bog, but they grew where ever there was a good dry spot.  We found a caterpillar living on blueberry, and an Abalone shell in nearly perfect condition. 
Caterpillar On BlueberryAbalone Shell On Sphagnum



All too soon it was time to get back to the boat.  In the minuets waiting on shore for the zodiac, I went back into the forest to look for things (mushrooms) to shoot.  Much to my surprise, I found a frog.  How a frog gets onto an island the size or Aristazabal (the next closest island is at least a km of ocean away), and then finds another frog to mate with is beyond me.

Western Toad In MossToad Side View

Traveling North, we crossed Caamaño Sound and got our first major whale sighting of the trip - a mother and calf humpback whale.  We didn't get close enough for good pictures, but we knew the whales were out here.

Day 5 - Eclipse Cove, Campania Island

Kayaking Into Channel
We were woken when Jan saw a humpback pass by the mouth of the cove.  Into the Kayaks for most people, but Pam and I (slow to get read - I had just woken up) went with Jan on the Zodiak.  The whale proved too fast for the kayaks, but the Zodiac caught up with it.  The whales were feeding and followed a pretty regular cycle.  When the surfaced, they would breath and then dive for 20 second or so, then take another breath.  After about 6 to 8 breaths, they would dive deep (showing there tail) and disappear under the water for about 5 to 8 minuets.  They didn't necessarily come up in the direction they we dove, but generally you could count on them to follow a direction.


Dive Sequence

Dive Sequence

In the afternoon we started to see some new behaviour.  Rather than feeding out in the sound, some of the whales moved close in to the rocks.  They were still on a regular feeding cycle, but the shallow bottom shortened their bottom time.   The people on the Zodiac were lucky enough to see a breach, but we didn't get it on film.

Dive Sequence By Rocks

As the afternoon wore one, we started to see different surface behaviour.  Not all dives were so precise and sometimes full sized whales would come up in very close proximity - perhaps close enough to be touching. 

Fluke And FlippersTwo Humpbacks Together

Next Day


Mushroom Pushing Up
Tags: mushroom
Bog Blueberry
Species: Vaccinium uliginosum (bog blueberry)
Tags: fruit
Sundew in Sphagnum
Species: Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaf Sundew)
Tags: plant
Immature Bog Cranberry
Species: Vaccinium oxycoccos (Bog Cranberry, Small Cranberry)
Location: Go To...
Tags: plant
Fluke And Flippers
Species: Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal, whale
Kayaking Into Channel
Location: Go To...
Tags: depth cueing, kayaking
Dive Sequence
Species: Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)
Tags: marine mammal, multiple frame image, whale
Caterpillar On Blueberry
Species: Acronicta impressa (Willow Dagger Moth)
Tags: insect
Round-Leaved Sundew
Species: Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaf Sundew)
Tags: plant
Toad Side View
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Tags: amphibian, fern
Two Humpbacks Together
Species: Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal, whale
Dive Sequence
Species: Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)
Tags: marine mammal, multiple frame image, whale
Dive Sequence By Rocks
Species: Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal, multiple frame image, whale
Abalone Shell On Sphagnum
Tags: shell
Western Toad In Moss
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, moss
Tags: whale(5), marine mammal(5), BC fauna(4), plant(3), multiple frame image(3), mushroom(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Aristazabal Island > Aristazabal Island - Day 5, 6
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Aristazabal Island > Aristazabal Island - Day 5, 6

Hi Wow --- awesome photos. I'm planning a kayak trip to this area next year --- your photos make me all the more excited about it. Regards, Tom
Tom
Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 06:56:19

I enjoyed reviewing your photos of Aristazabal Island; I spend many days each year in this beautiful area. I take it that you did not find a Spirit Bear on Princess Royal Island. I see them every year and have taken many spectacular photos of these beautiful elusive creatures. I will be back on Ariatazabal Island and Caamano Sound this spring in June of 2009 for at least two weeks. Look for my article,Fishing in The Land of The Spirit Bear, to br published In: Salmon Trout and Steelheader Magazine.
Ron LaForce
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 at 14:57:34

Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip. Could the amphibian you photographed be a toad instead of a frog ?? Looks like a toad to me..
Thomas
Friday, July 6th, 2012 at 09:56:42

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