Oops! What Happened to the Water?

A few days ago I posted an article on the lightkeepers being the eyes and ears of the BC coast. While writing it an incident was brought to my mind of my early days in 1977 on McInnes Island. We arrived on McInnes in August 1977 so this had to have happened in Spring 1978.

Every year on the British Columbia coast the herring start their spawn in early spring. We, being curious lighthouse keepers are always interested in the goings on in the sea, from the arrival of the salmon to the arrival of winter storms. We always had our eyes out for something happening.

Well, one of the things we had been warned about was pollution. One morning I awoke and the ocean around the lighthouse as far away as Price Island, two kilometers away, was a milky white as though lime had been dumped in the ocean. Nowhere could I see blue sea except distantly in front of the lighthouse.

white water – photo Flickr by poecile05

I was astounded! What had happened? I had no idea. Last night everything was normal; today, total chaos!

I phoned Coast Guard Radio in Bull Harbour and reported this accident, not knowing what it was or how to describe it. The operator said he would pass it on to the Coast Guard. 

That was it? The ocean was polluted! I could not see a foot into the water! That was all they were going to do? Continue reading

Killer Whale Attack at McInnes Island Lighthouse!

2 HP Evinrude electric trolling motor

One early morning I was out on the water trolling for salmon from my 12 foot (4 metre) aluminum boat. The sun was just rising and I had just completed and transmitted my first weather of the morning. By the time I had a coffee ready, loaded rods and lures into the boat and lowered the boat into the water via the highline it was probably about 04:30.

At the time I did not have the money for a gas outboard so was using 12 volt Evinrude 2HP electric motor for trolling. Becauseof winds and tide this was only good on a a flat calm day which this was. As the sun rose it became warmer and I could see better. Behind me in Catala Passage the water began to boil and the herring gulls started to appear from nowhere. It was a herring ball!1 (a.k.a. bait ball as there are many types of small fish that ball up when attacked) Continue reading