Sunday, June 06, 2010

North to Duncan Bay

Little changes make a difference. Latitude, for example. At home in Delta, we are at 49.14° North. Today we crossed the 50th parallel, and poked around a beach at Duncan Bay, at 50.07°, about 100 km. north (and quite a bit east) of Delta.

This is a high-current section of the coast. It is just south of Seymour Narrows*, only 750 metres wide, where the current runs at up to 15 knots per hour, about 27 kmh, during tide changes. The water is clear, the shore rocky and sloping down quickly.

Around Campbell River, so far, we have seen mostly familiar intertidal animals; our beach is similar to Boundary Bay area beaches; wide, flat and sheltered. At Duncan Bay, however, the snail population was different; mostly fat, round periwinkles, but very tiny; none of the invasive Asian snails. I saw a couple of white whelk shells. The crab molts we found were a bright, strong orange; we saw no hermit crabs.

Just a shore crab. But these were all orange.

The limpets, and there were many, were greyer and larger than I'm used to, and we found eight freshly butchered orange-brown sea urchins. Gull dinners, I think. This was all in the upper intertidal zone; the tide was fairly high.

And Laurie found me a pair of snails that I have not seen before.

I think this is some sort of whelk. Or a look-alike.

A closer look at the "ribs".

Look again at the photos. See the broken, then healed, section? This is probably crab damage; the crab's pincers are capable of breaking off a section of shell so as to get at the delicious snail meat inside. This one escaped.

*Seymour Narrows is the former site of Ripple Rock, the location of the world's largest non-nuclear explosion. Story here.


  1. Looks like you trip is being fun and productive. We are setting out on a boat cruise to somewhere in Desolation Sound this afternoon, hoping to get at least one good night and day of sunshine before the next storm. - Margy

  2. This is why you totally amaze me - I saw the spot on the shell that was different, but had no idea it was from a wound!

    And I love the orange crab! He's a beauty!


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