A Week on the West Coast – Bamfield Marine Science Centre

I was lucky enough to spend last week out on the west coast of Vancouver Island at the fantastic Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. The BMSC is, of course, located in Bamfield – a tiny town near the northern trailhead for the West Coast Trail. We were in Bamfield (at Pachena Bay) in 2007 when we hiked the WCT but I haven’t been back in the area since.

We had an incredibly busy 6 days (they sure know how to make sure you get lots of interesting experiences) so I’m not going to give a detailed recap. Instead, here are a few of my favourites moments from our trip:

1. Driving to Bamfield along one of those bumpy, twisty forestry roads. Seeing all the cut-blocks made me nostalgic for my tree planting years.

Can’t you just smell those fresh cut trees?

2. Getting to touch some examples of the local marine life. I held a hermit crab, this beautiful crab, several sea stars and a sea urchin.

holding a crab

3. Tide pool explorations at Aguilar Point. Sea stars are my favourite and Aguilar Point is beautiful example of a rocky beach.

Just hanging out, waiting for the tide to come in
Aguilar Bay )1
Rocky beaches, green seaweed and blue ocean – the perfect reminder as to why life on the coast is so nice

4. Going out on the ocean to spot seals and sea lions, and taking a sea floor sample. We had really beautiful weather for most of our trip, and our afternoon out on the boat was no exception. Our ocean floor dredge brought up more sea stars, lots of shells and several sea cucumbers.

On the boat
It was a pretty calm day but I didn’t suffer any sea sickness!

5. A sunny morning on Brady’s Beach. Another perfect morning for exploring at low tide. Brady’s beach is beautiful with sand, sea stacks and even more tide pools.

Bradys Beach
Of all the beaches, I do think that sandy ones are the nicest

6. Walking in the temperate rainforest. So lush compared to Alberta and so green, even in April.

rainforest walk
Walking among giant trees and ferns always makes me think of dinosaurs

7. This view. I love our mountains, but the ocean is also pretty nice.

this view
This is the view looking out from Bamfield Inlet

8. Braving the elements at Pachena Bay. I do not love being out in the rain, but I do love the strange feeling of triumph that comes from having a terrible weather day when you’re outside. This photo does not accurately capture the pure misery that was our morning on the beach – driving rain, winds and cold – but we all learned the importance of good rain gear.

pachena bay
I was surprised to find out that my rain gear was indeed water proof. This was the fastest that I’ve ever gotten that miserable before – a few hours of this rain and I was definitely ready for some indoor time

I’m happy that we’ve got some more coastal adventures planned this year as I don’t think I’ll ever get my fill of visiting the ocean!

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