Plasticized Oceans

I lived thirty-two years on the lighthouses bordering on the Pacific Ocean. As a lighthouse keeper, I was also aware of the ocean as a living habitat that should be protected. We voluntarily reported oil spills, garbage, etc. For me it was a beautiful place, but I saw what man could do to the oceans in just a short period.

One prime example which I will never forget was back in the 1970s when I was at Quatsino lighthouse (aka Kains Island) where a mining firm near Port Alice was given government permission to dump mine tailings five (5) kilometers off the coast.

If the weather was bad, they only went as far as the entrance to the sound, maybe one (1) kilometer, and dumped their barge-load of rock garbage.

My crystal clear fishing water around the lighthouse turned from 40 foot visibility to a murky brown colour with a visibility of about one (1) foot because of the tailings.

The oceans are not a garbage dump! Please watch Chris Jordan’s trailer video below and then read the news articles.

We humans are ruining the oceans of the world!

The complete video can be found on the Midway website

Many more similar videos can be found here on Youtube.

The Garbage Patch



It used to be birds and seaweed that heralded a landfall - now . .












October 03, 2012 – Expedition Embarks To Study Effects Of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Robert C. Seamans, a tall ship owned and operated by Sea Education Association (SEA) will leave port October 3, 2012, on a research expedition. The journey is dedicated to examining the effects of plastic marine debris in the ocean ecosystem, including debris generated by the 2011 Japanese tsunami.!hash=25493d1f370b96693e04011b50db7bd

October 02, 2012 – Plastics at sea – North Pacific Expedition

An area of plastic debris was first observed in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early 1970s, but in recent years, a similar area of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean has received the most media attention. Sea Education Association (SEA) has been studying both debris fields – in the North Atlantic for the past 25 years, and in the North Pacific the past eight. Click here…

August 12, 2012Ocean plastic an ugly threat

Yet the biggest contamination problem in the Pacific Ocean existed long before the 2011 tsunami. It’s summed up in that word from The Graduate: “Plastics.”

Mary Crowley, founder of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a U.S.-based environmental group, says the tsunami debris poses a significant risk to the ocean, but it pales in comparison with the vast amount of debris already floating in the ocean. Most of that debris is plastic and most of it comes from this side of the Pacific.

August 07, 2012 – Ship Tracking Tsunami Debris, Ocean Trash Makes Stop in BC

Marine litter a growing problem, but cleanup plans are in the works

The tall ship Kaisei, seen here docked in Richmond after several weeks of tracking debris and gathering research on the Great Pacific Patch and the Japanese tsunami. The findings will be presented at the Richmond Maritime Festival Aug. 10-12. (Courtesy of City of Richmond)


 July 24, 2012 – Litter From City Streets Ends up on Beaches

Trash falls out of a full garbage bin on Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, July 24, 2012. According to New York City environmental protection commissioner, there is a chance that trash laying in the city’s streets could end up on New York’s beaches. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)



June 12, 2012 – Five Global Companies Pledge Cooperation on Bioplastic 


June 12, 2012 – Kaisei sets sail for Steveston’s Ships to Shore festival Kaisei, a Japanese name roughly interpreted as “Ocean Planet,” has served as the iconic vessel behind research expeditions of Project Kaisei, a group that formed in 2008 to stem the flow of plastic and marine debris into the Pacific Ocean.

June 09, 2012 – Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is A Bigger Threat Than Tsunami Debris

June 05, 2012 – If the Sea Was a Child: In Honor of World Oceans Day

May 28, 2012 – Canada’s mass firing of ocean scientists brings ‘silent summer’

May 23, 2012 UVic PhD student shocked by fisheries job cuts in North Saanich

May 23, 2012 – Help with first wave of tsunami debris

May 22, 2012 – Research Finds World’s Oceans ‘Plasticized’

May 17, 2012 – Microplastics endanger ocean health

  – Big rise in North Pacific plastic waste

May 28, 2012Canada’s mass firing of ocean scientists brings ‘silent summer’

Canada is dismantling the nation’s entire ocean contaminants program as part of massive layoffs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. 

 Many scientists say the purpose of the move by the Canadian government is not just cost-cutting but to eliminate environmental rules and protect the oil and gas industry. 


May 23, 2012 – UVic PhD student shocked by fisheries job cuts in North Saanich

The 29-year-old student is still in shock that her mentor, Canada’s only marine mammal toxicologist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Vancouver Island, is losing his job as the federal government cuts almost all employees who monitor ocean pollution across Canada.

May 23, 2012 – Help with first wave of tsunami debris

Although the Japan Tsunami has created unprecedented amounts of ocean trash, marine debris from foreign and domestic sources has been washing up on the Alaskan coast for a long time. Most of this debris is caused by human choices. The solution to the global problem of marine debris is changing our habits and the way we dispose of our waste, and the first step towards that solution is creating an awareness of the problem. 

May 22, 2012 – Research Finds World’s Oceans ‘Plasticized’

A marine expedition of environmentalists has confirmed the bad news it feared — the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” extends even further than previously known.

May 17, 2012Microplastics endanger ocean health

Tiny pieces of plastic contaminate almost every sea in the world. Now scientists have found that marine creatures like fish and birds are eating this microscopic waste, which may be harming their health.

May 09, 2012 – Big rise in North Pacific plastic waste

The quantity of small plastic fragments floating in the north-east Pacific Ocean has increased a hundred fold over the past 40 years.



Related Websites (in no particular order):

A Mermaid’s Tear

The Daily Galaxy

Coastal Care

Rise Above Plastics



Risking it All – Oil on Our Coast


Risking it All – Oil on our Coast is a short film that outlines the plans for the pipeline and tanker route and what it means for our beautiful coast. It is produced by Twyla Roscovich in association with Hartley Bay & Gitga’at Nation, Oil on our Coast is meant to inspire, empower and help fuel the battle to save what sustains us. – Twyla Roscovitch

Risking it All – Oil on our Coast from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo. Continue reading

The Wise Raven

The following video came in an email today and it brought back memories of the ravens that lived near my old lighthouse at McInnes Island. Ravens are very intelligent!


Orion constellation (south)

I was on the early morning shift for most of my time there. I loved it! Every morning very early (about 03:00) I walked from the house up through the trees in the dark with coffee cup in hand for the first weather report of the morning. It was such a delight if the sky was clear to see the constellations I recognized. One could almost tell the time by their position in the sky, especially with Orion, the hunter. Continue reading

I Saw a Sunfish

One of 19 photos from the NDR website - three short videos are also there

Last night I saw a documentary on the German TV channel NDR about searching for Sunfish (Mola mola) – Mondfische in the German language which means Moonfish – off the California Coast and off the Italian island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea.

Now, this is a website about lighthouses – why would I be writing about Sunfish?


Small sunfish in the water - photo Paul Howells

Well one year warm California currents moved north – as far north as Prince Rupert, BC. I am not too sure of the exact year but judging from the years with warmest sea surface temperatures 1 I would guess it to be about 1984 as I remember an assistant 2 named Roger Mogg on station at the time. Continue reading

Cougars on the Doorstep

Back on February 15th 2011 I received an email from a friend. It was labeled “Why my wife refuses to start my truck in the morning.”

Yes, those are cougars. The email stated they were photographed outside of Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada. This is on Vancouver Island, a large island off the coast of British Columbia. There are deer on Vancouver Island – lots of deer. And where there are deer there are cougars – lots of cougars! I found this out when I moved to Kains Island lighthouse which is just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, as the next story will show you. Continue reading

Bear! Attack!

’Bear between houses

’Bear between houses

After all the recent newspaper articles about bear attacks in British Columbia [2011], I thought it fitting to air this article. This happened on Addenbroke Island lighthouse April 2006 and below is the story as told to me by the lighthouse keeper in his own words:


– from Dennis Rose (present Principal Keeper on Addenbroke Island

This was the first bear I have ever run into that didn’t know what a gun was. He did start to come up the steps to the house one time and that’s when I started trying to chase him off. I tried to scare him off with a few rounds from my shotgun but that just made him curious.


I was busy building crates and getting ready to move and couldn’t stay indoors like Coast Guard wanted me to do. He would come over every time I would start up a Skill saw or a drill. Continue reading