The sea creatures out here like it cold, rough, and salty - just what the North Pacific is constantly dishing out. As distant wave energy expends itself on the sharp, black volcanic shelves of reef - hundreds of varieties of mussels, clams, urchins, barnacles, and anemones (to name only a fraction) are shot with this clean, cold, nutrient dense water. Eel grass hypnotically obscures colourful orange and purple starfish, shy crabs, and psychedelic rainbow anemones. Gooseneck barnacles extend their heads from vast mussel beds millions strong like slimy, fire engine red lipstick while octopus, salmon, and translucent blue jellyfish occupy the deeper and more distant places. The biodiversity both above and below the water is intense.
Below the tide line is a place which most people will never know. Seeing literally hundreds of forms of life in small tide pools is an amazing experience. My goal with this photo - which is becoming a part of a larger series - is to show what a rich and complex world lives just below the shiny surface of sparkling waves dancing away from the setting sun.
All of these creatures are delicate and fragile, yet amazingly tough to be able to stand up to the legendary ferocity of a proper winter storm above the 49th parallel. They are built to ebb and flow with the storms and the tides - but not against foreign substances like stray crude oil, industrial sludge, and soil choked runoff. In the face of proposed oil tankers, pipelines, and industrial permits, it’s unsettling to think of what would happen to this coast if something went wrong. Especially given the fact that with a long enough timeline - something always goes wrong.
A lot of Canadians see the west as a natural savings account to drive our country’s economy. We see things a little differently in BC because we surf in these uninviting waters, walk through stands of ancient moss cloaked giants, and gaze out across an immense landscape that is worth holding on to. We see and experience things that the rest of the country doesn’t and need to advocate for lands which cannot speak.
I chose to depict a surfer gazing out into the setting sun with beautiful wild creatures at her feet because we who love and recreate in these places know them more intimately than anyone else and need to be the ones educating and showing how special they really are. That they’re worth protecting - not purely for economic value, but for the fact that these small creatures, clean waters, and diverse forests are what make where we live special.
- April 2016