Nanoose Bay

  • Nanoose Bay
  • British Columbia

We woke up in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia. This community of about 5,000 residents is located near Nanaimo, on the Strait of Georgia. Nanoose Bay gets its name from a First Nations band related to the Nanaimo First Nations. We began the day at the Mount Arrowsmith biosphere reserve, where we were greeted warmly by the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nations, who explained the significance of the biosphere reserve to us. The biosphere reserve is located proximity to the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve and situated in the Coastal Douglas-fir bio geoclimatic zone. Tourism, fishing and forestry are some of the main sources of income for the area’s residents. The entire area also acts as a habitat for many avian species, including the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot and Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan. After our welcome meeting, part of our group headed to the Rathtrevor Provincial Park to try out wetland mapping and monitoring, and try their hand at geocaching with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) team. The MABR team has created the Amazing Places Project, which connects people with nature in Canada’s UNESCO biosphere reserves. The second half of our group travelled to the Garden of Spiritual Healing, which is managed by Snaw-Naw-As First Nations. The garden aims to help preserve traditional knowledge of local native plant species, and also helps to promote food security, raises awareness of physical and mental health benefits associated with gardening, and fosters a sense of community. We then got together again at the the Qualicum Fish Hatchery, located within the traditional territories of Qualicum First Nation. The Hatchery operated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is extremely important to Qualicum First Nation and employs many of their community members. The hatchery provides an important source of fish for the Nation, and also adds to regional research with elements sent to the Pacific Biological Station for sampling. Coho, Chinook, Chum available in the river. We finished the day at the Pacific Biological Station – DFO facility in Nanaimo, where we learned about the preliminary results for the Environmental DNA biodiversity project from our chief scientist Kristi Miller, and former participant and scientist Ben Sutherland! We then headed to the DFO labs to try our hand at fish dissection, identifying diseases in salmon, and how to organize samples without contaminating them. After our tour of the station, we headed back to the ship for a delicious chef dinner cooked by our guest chef Warren Barr, who hails from Tofino, B.C. and cooks with local ingredients, including delicious mussels and sea asparagus that we got to sample! Our time on leg 15 has been filled with special moments, and seems to be flying by. Thank you for following along, and we hope you’ll stay tuned as we dock in Vancouver tomorrow!