Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cleanup crew under the dock. And a few stars.

At the Discovery Harbour Marina* in Campbell River, we divided our time between looking at boats and reflections and peering into the depths of the murky water, looking for life. In spite of the bright sunlight, or maybe because of it, since it highlighted all the dust and floaters on the surface, it was almost impossible to see more than a few metres down, so most of what we saw was in the narrow gap between the first dock and the shore.

I cleaned most of the bright surface interference off these photos, and adjusted the contrast to make things more visible.

The largest sea cucumber I have ever seen. I estimated it at about a foot and a half long. An inoffensive scavenger, busy vaccuming the rocks.

In the corner between two docks at right angles, the chains were draped with huge seaweeds colonized by many different animals. I think those red sprays are feather duster tubeworms. The yellow mass is a sponge. I don't know what the white blobs are.

Leather star. This starfish eats sponges, anemones, and sea cucumbers. To the left, barely visible, is a good-sized kelp crab.

Two small sunflower stars.

A medium-sized sunflower star. We saw a much larger one, but it was too deep for a decent photo. I counted over 20 arms on the visible part of the star, about 3/4 of the whole. This one would have about 15.

The sunflower stars are major predators. A man who passed us as we were looking at the largest one, angrily called them oyster pirates. They eat any invertebrate they can find, including other starfish, although their favourite foods are sea urchins and bivalves (clams, etc.). We didn't see any sea urchins this trip, but plenty of sunflower stars.

*K Dock, just past Moxie's.


  1. In the second photo, my guess at the white blobs are hooded nudibranch. I've seen them while diving, and their translucency seems about right.

  2. I hadn't thought of those; the size is right, too. Thanks!


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