Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meaningful Memories by Mat Janeway ~ Bluewater Mate

The cloudless blue sky reflected off the calm pacific around us, and the gentle breeze was matched by an easy, almost lazy swell.   The Island Roamer was steaming west, out to the continental shelf, and we couldn’t have asked for fairer weather. Suddenly, a yell from the wheelhouse:

And there it was, a Black Footed Albatross, Phoebastria nigripes, sedately bobbing on the surface of the water. With a spread of its wings, and three long beats, it was airborne.  The jaw dropping, 6 foot wingspan carried it just above the surface, gliding easily over the waves. The massive bird gently turned to cross our bow, and presented us a view of its entire body; the perfect photo opportunity.

Hardly 5 minutes had passed, when a second yell from the wheel house was heard, louder this time.
"Sperm whale!"

The Long black body, hanging almost motionless in the water, had just surfaced 200 yards from us and was drifting slowly forward, across our path. The blow hole, the dorsal fin, the long deep back furrows, we could see it all.  And it was big. For a full minute, we watched in awe, as this mysterious, graceful creature hyperventilated before diving below the surface once again. We were all left with that funny feeling, a mix of disbelief, wonder, and serendipity.

It is moments like these that make each day, week and season with Bluewater Adventures memorable.  This year was no exception.
My season as mate for Bluewater Adventures began in late May, in the remote and wild archipelago of islands called Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Island). These islands are widely known for their rich cultural history and abundant wildlife, but that’s a bit of an understatement.  They offer an experience unlike any other, presenting your senses with unique sights, sounds, smells, and textures. Some of these experiences can happen again and again, and yet others are over before you know it.

One thing you can almost always count on in the spring are humpback whales. Returning from their winter breeding grounds in Hawaii and Mexico, they arrive with only one thing in mind; food. Sometimes it may be just be a few whales within sight, but this season saw scores of hungry humpbacks, all frothing the water in a feeding frenzy. Lunging, lobbing, breaching, and breathing, all day and all night. 

And then there were the Velella velella, the strange and beautiful Hydrozoan that sails the pacific, who washed ashore in their millions, littering the beaches with a deep indigo blanket. But
these curious little creatures didn’t arrive alone, they brought all sorts of exotic flotsam and jetsam with them, all carried in the same ocean currents to be washed onto the pristine shorelines.

And what shorelines! Home to a squishy, oozy, and slippery assortment of unusual forms from the intertidal zone, they are absolutely abound with life. Scarlet sea stars, carmine cucumbers, aqua algae and crimson crustaceans. Enough to fill your wildest dreams—and memory cards.
And yet, season after season, it’s always the people that surprise most. The new, young, and passionate generation of Haida, practicing age old traditions; the kind and generous passengers, with unwavering enthusiasm; and of course, the crew, with their lively company and quiet competence.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Bluewater Adventures is Excited to Announce a Unique Travel Opportunity in the Great Bear Rainforest!

  “The Great Bear Rainforest Allies Expedition”

– Bluewater Adventures Partners with Raincoast Conservation Foundation 

Photo: Sherry Kirkvold

Bluewater Adventures is excited to announce a unique opportunity to explore the Great Bear Rainforest like never before. Along with one of nature’s greatest allies, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Bluewater presents an expedition focusing on the work that goes into understanding and conserving this very special area and why its preservation is of the utmost importance. 

Photo: Rachel Elliott
Led by Raincoast’s Captain Brian Falconer and Dr. Caroline Fox, this voyage will introduce guests to the Great Bear Rainforest and Sea on a very intimate level. We will observe research techniques and learn about the biology behind a thriving ecosystem. We will learn how scientific practices are enriched by First Nations’ traditional ecological knowledge and discover the importance of current conservation campaigns on the British Columbia coast...All while being immersed in one of the largest unspoiled tracts of coastal temperate rainforests in the World.

Photo: Sherry Kirkvold

This is a “first time experience” offered to travelers in the Great Bear Rainforest. A small group of people will have the unique opportunity to share a passion for nature with those who make understanding and protecting it their life’s work.

This announcement coincides with CREST's recently released report comparing two outdoor recreational activities within the Great Bear Rainforest – bear hunting and bear viewing. The outcomes largely support bear “viewing” as being the most economically valuable. Bluewater welcomes guests to join this research and conservation-based expedition to get an “on the front lines” perspective.

Part of the proceeds of this expedition goes to supporting the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

August 28 – September 4, 2014
Aboard SV Island Odyssey

$5407.50 per person*

*Includes 5% GST and a $300 contribution supporting the Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Contact us for more information 
TEL: 604-980-3800/ 888-877-1770

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bluewater Adventures wins Sustainable Tourism Award



Media Contact:
Erin Boyle
Tel: 604-980-3800

Bluewater Adventures wins Sustainable Tourism Award


Introducing the World to Some of the Last Truly Wild Places on the Planet

Photo: Sherry Kirkvold

Photo: Hubert Kang/ CTC

Photo: Rachel Elliott


North Vancouver, BC, Canada. December 3, 2013 – Bluewater Adventures made a commitment from the beginning to adhere to the principals of ecotourism by supporting local communities, promoting conservation, ensuring their practices are low impact, and by providing their guests with world-class knowledge about the BC coast, the wildlife and First Nations culture.

When Bluewater Adventures’ Managing Director and Owner, Randy Burke, purchased the company almost 28 years ago he knew that he wanted to introduce people from all over the world to the remote and wild corners of the BC coast; he believed that by sharing his knowledge and passion for this part of the world with his guests he could foster deep and lasting connections that would inspire others to care as much as he did.
“One of the most important aspects of conservation is giving people the opportunity to discover and care about vulnerable places. It’s impossible to experience these places in such an intimate way and not feel invested in their future.”- Randy Burke
The issues around conservation, both locally and globally, have changed dramatically over the last 28 years. Canada, a country once known for its pristine wilderness, is now the focus of extreme criticism, globally, as a result of questionable environmental policies that have left many wondering if Canadians do in fact care about the health of the planet. 

Canadians do care and Bluewater Adventures is just one example of this; having demonstrated a commitment to conservation through numerous ongoing conservation initiatives and partnerships which include:

·         Signing protocol agreements with local First Nations

·         Becoming Carbon Neutral

·         Joining1% for the Planet

·         Completing the Green Tourism Canada Assessment– Gold Award

·         Achieving Ocean Wise Certification

·         Purchasing Bullfrog Power

Most recently, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada has acknowledged these commitments and presented Bluewater Adventures with the – Transat AT Sustainable Tourism Award (Dec 3, 2013).

Since 1974, Bluewater Adventures’ reputation has brought respected groups and people from around the world to enjoy multi-day, live-aboard trips exploring the remote wilderness of coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. Aboard the 21-metre expedition yachts, guests and crew keep watch for whales and other marine mammals, coastal birds, bears, old-growth forests, and ancient native villages. Experienced Biologists, renowned resource people, and professional crew engage guests on these unique learning journeys. Trips specialize in wildlife, coastal ecology and conservation, and history of the west coast.

For more information and reservations, contact Bluewater Adventures at (888) 877-1770, or visit their website:





Friday, June 14, 2013

Naturalist, Lindsay Janes, on Bear Viewing with Bluewater Adventures

In a few short days, I’ll be heading up to the Khutzeymateen Inlet for some prime bear viewing. Am I excited? You could say that... Why am I excited? Bear with me…

The Khutzeymateen Valley is a large conservation area that is infamous for the large number of grizzly bears - not to mention black bears - that make this sanctuary their home. My hope is that we’ll get to see a few of these residents as they go about their spring routine… that is, eating delicious sedges.

Actually, when they’re not sleeping, eating is pretty much a bear’s main focus. Along with the sedges, a coastal bear’s annual menu includes fresh greens – and root vegetables for grizzly bears, who are known for their digging abilities – berries, and finally salmon in the fall, with some intertidal invertebrates as appetizers. (I would order this 5 course meal any day, hold the sedges).

Because bears are focused on food, we are able to visit estuaries during the summer and fall with this intention of viewing grizzly and black bears. Food is so important that these bears are willing to tolerate humans watching, as long as they are able to continue eating. Researchers like Dr. Barrie Gilbert – a naturalist with Bluewater Adventures – theorize that in some places bear viewing has actually helped increase the population of bears, since the older males are less likely to frequent areas that humans visit, therefore making it safer for mothers with cubs to feed.

Bear viewing isn’t just about getting great photographs – for guides it’s about finding that balance between being close enough to enjoy these magnificent animals, while still giving bears the space they need to feel comfortable in their activities. How much space? Well, as Grant MacHutchon – a commercial bear viewing facilitator and also a naturalist with Bluewater – says, “It depends…”

Is the bear giving signs that it he or she is stressed? Are there other bears in the area? Is the food source limited? Are you watching a mother bear with new cubs? These variables to consider while bear viewing was just one of many discussion topics that arose at the 2013 bear viewing guide training. This year it took place in Knight Inlet and when we weren’t discussing bears, we were out in the estuary watching them. Pretty rough, I know.

Growing up in BC, I’ve had many interactions with bears, and no two of them were the same. My experiences echoed the main theme of this course: each interaction that we have with bears is unique. Just like a person’s mood which changes daily (if not hourly), with many factors contributing to their overall state of mind, a bear’s tolerance of people watching them also changes. You might have been able to get fairly close to a mother bear and her cubs one day, but find the next morning that she is giving signs of stress at a much greater distance. And we may never know the backstory of why this is the case. Perhaps a new male moved into the area and threatened her cubs. Perhaps a wolf pack drove her from her feeding area. Regardless of the reason, a big part of bear viewing is understanding bear behaviour and reacting accordingly to their tolerance level at that specific moment. As well, although bears are highly adaptable creatures, we often watch from consistent areas - such as bear stands - to allow bears to predict where we will be, and give them the choice to feed in proximity if they feel comfortable.

Ultimately we want to ensure bears can go about their normal activity while still offering the best bear viewing experience for our guests. Keeping these guidelines - and other guidelines suggested by the Commercial Bear Viewing Association - in mind greatly increases our chances of incredible encounters with bears.

I’m excited that my – and Bluewater’s – season of bear viewing will begin in the Khutzeymateen, and I’m also excited that it will continue through to Alaska, Knight Inlet, and then into Great Bear Rainforest. The areas we visit are known for high bear concentrations and I look forward to comparing these experiences to each other and to previous years with a new lens of understanding bear tolerance.

Now… speaking of berries… I should probably go taste-test that salmonberry patch again…

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Northern Gateway Hearing in Vancouver, BC

Randy Burke, Owner and Director Of Bluewater Adventures signed up to speak at the Northern GatewayPipeline hearings that are currently being held in Vancouver, BC. He spoke on the morning of Tuesday, January 15th, 2013, presenting to 4 panel members.
This project aims to run pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands, across a vast mountain range to the terminus port in Kitimat, British Columbia. From here, supertankers loaded with diluted bitumen, will set sail through the winding waters of the Great Bear Rainforest, into perilous Hecate Strait with their destination being foreign markets. Thousands have raised their voices in opposition to this project and continue to do so...

Please read the transcript of Randy's Presentation below:

Northern Gateway - National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel – January 15, 2013

Submission by: Captain Randy Burke - Managing Director, Bluewater Adventures Ltd
                                                        - Director, Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association
                                                        - Director, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC
Panel members: Sheila Leggett, Kenneth Bateman and Hans Matthews

Recognition: This meeting is happening in the traditional territory of the Coast Salish.
I have been a professional mariner and Captain for the last 30 years along the British Columbia coast and since 1988 been the owner of Bluewater Adventures Ltd. Bluewater Adventures is an award-winning nature cruise company, based in North Vancouver. Founded in 1974, we are one of the first ecotourism companies in BC. I have 8 year round employees and an additional 20 seasonal employees. Bluewater Adventures sells the “Super Natural BC” coast, and relies upon intact wildlife populations, the protection of wildlife habitat, and dynamic Coastal First Nations communities for our business to survive and flourish. I believe this coast provides the finest tourism experience in the world – it equals the beauty of New Zealand and Norway, and no where else do you find whales in such abundance, and wilderness dependent species like grizzly bears and wolves to watch.
Great Bear Rainforest:
·      One of our main destinations is the Great Bear Rainforest; and lower Douglas Channel is critical to our operations.
·      Researchers at Cetacea Lab estimate there are 100 humpback whales regularly in the lower Douglas Channel area. It is recognized as critical habitat for northern resident orcas, and one of the only places on the coast where fin whales – the second largest whale on the planet - come inshore to feed.
·      In 2012, we found there were more whales in the lower Douglas Channel area than anywhere else on the coast.
·       Northern Gateway puts a superhighway right through the living room of these whales. The sounds from these ships will impede whales from communicating, feeding and destroy this critical habitat. Collisions with big ships have already been reported, with two cruise ships entering Vancouver with dead fin whales wrapped around their bows.
·      The industrialization of this area is in direct opposition to the wilderness product I provide.
·      Bluewater Adventures’ Great Bear Rainforest trip was named one of 50 Canadian Signature Experiences by the Canadian Tourism Commission. They designated a visit to the Great Bear Rainforest as iconic of Canada; one of the truly unique experiences Canada has to offer visitors from around the world.
·      The January, 2013 edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine names the Great Bear Rainforest one of “20 must-see places”.
·      Bluewater Adventures has signed First Nation protocol agreements with the Gitga’at of Hartley Bay, the Haisla in Kitimat, and Kitasoo / Xaixais in Klemtu recognizing their inherent rights and traditional territories. We operate with their permission and stand with Coastal First Nations in opposition to this project.
-      Northern Gateway and specifically, tankers transiting from Kitimat, through Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance, risks the very existence of my business.
Why are the risks too great?
Inappropriate accounting of the risks of weather
In their submission Enbridge uses averages for weather and wave height that grossly underestimate the risks of high winds and high waves. In particular, the submission does not address the risks if winds, waves, currents or poor visibility are combined.
Environment Canada employees at Cape St James reported 100 foot waves just offshore. These occurrences are not mentioned in the averages submitted by Enbridge. As a mariner who has spent the last 25 years sailing Hecate Strait, I can assure you it is not the placid ocean depicted in Enbridge’s submission. Hecate Strait has been described as one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world.
Carriage of oil by third party carriers. Enbridge presents a misleading picture as IF they are responsible for all of the transportation of bitumen and condensate. In reality, they would buy and sell from the Kitimat terminal and have no responsibility after that point. The carriage of the bitumen and condensate would be arranged using foreign ships, mostly operating under “flags of convenience”. It is the ship owner who is responsible, not the product owner in the event of an oil spill. In many cases, the ship owner is merely a holding company and when a major liability arises each individual ship can be written off bringing into question who is accountable for costs of cleanup. (Major Marine Vessel Casualty Risk and Response Preparedness in British Columbia EnviroEmerg Consulting for Living Oceans).
The legal limit of liability in Canada combined with available international funds for oil spills amounts to just $500 million. When we have examples of both the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon spills costing billions, if we had a major spill in Canada the citizens of Canada would be responsible for the clean-up. It is entirely irresponsible for Canadian citizens to be taking the risks for the profit making efforts of Enbridge.
No Details on what would happen in the event of an oil spill
Enbridge does not detail the effect of an oil spill, only the likelihood of its occurrence. Again the use of averages in the submission distorts the picture so it appears so unlikely, it is hardly worth worrying about. Yet as pointed out in the combined submission of Raincoast Conservation and partners, who quote Anderson & Labelle in Spill Science Technology Bulletin, “Enbridge Gateway would be expected to experience 7 spills from tankers or port operations over 1,000 barrels during it’s 30 year life”.
Before this project can be considered for approval I want Enbridge to show how it would clean up a major spill and what effect it would have on the BC coast. 20 years after the Exxon Valdez, oil is still just under the surface on the beaches, some wildlife populations have never recovered; what exactly did the expenditure of billions of dollars in clean-up efforts achieve? 
Oil spill clean-up technology ineffective on bitumen
Almost all the clean-up technology on the BC coast is designed for surface clean-up and containment of crude oil. Yet bitumen is likely to sink. How can the Joint Review Panel approve a project without viable, mitigation clean-up technology? It is not acceptable to have 10% or 30% recovery and call that success. And Deepwater Horizon demonstrated the use of dispersants is dangerous, with many unknown effects, particularly on human health (WWF Canada).   

Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association:
-      The purpose of the Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association is to represent the interests of visitors and tour operators to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. There are 20 member companies in the Association.
-      National Geographic rated Gwaii Haanas the number 1 national park in North America. 
-      My company's Gwaii Haanas tour was rated “One of 50 of the Worlds Best Tours”.
-      The southern tanker route would come right past Gwaii Haanas and an oil spill that affected Gwaii Haanas would ruin a world-class gem.
-      I note the southern tip of Gwaii Haanas, Cape St. James has the distinction of having the “highest average winds of any light station in Canada”.
-      The Association opposes Northern Gateway
Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC:
The Association was formed to promote sustainable bear viewing and the protection of wild bears and their ecosystems.
-      Bear viewing is demonstrating tremendous growth and interest from around the world. The British Columbia coast is not only one of the last remaining places in the world where you can view grizzly bears, but it is home to the unique, Kermode or Spirit bear (Ursus Americanus Kermodei). This all-white bear is a black bear created by the prevalence of specific recessive genes in one small area of the BC Coast.
-      The area with the highest concentration of Kermode bears is right on the tanker route down Douglas Channel.
-      The Kermode bear is the provincial mammal of BC, yet Enbridge’s submission does not recognize this animal, provides no evidence how their proposal would affect these animals or how they would mitigate negative effects from increased shipping or an oil spill.
-      The value of Kermode bear viewing alone is estimated at $1.5 million in 2012. 
Reputation of the BC Coast:   
-      Our reputation is paramount. It is very difficult to put a figure on the value of a good reputation, or the cost of losing it. What we are proposing here is risking the very reputation that British Columbia has spent decades and millions of tourism dollars promoting – namely a beautiful British Columbia coast, full of wildlife.
-      I was in business when the Exxon Valdez spill happened over 700 km away. I received several concerned calls asking what effect the spill would have on our tours and whether we were going to cancel any tours. People do not understand regional geography.
-      After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, how do you feel about spending your holiday on the Alabama coast. Hesitant? Do you know if all the oil has been cleaned up? How many years does it take before we let go of that fear, or is it spoiled in our minds forever?
-      After this process, any oil spill on the BC coast is going to get tremendous media  attention. Any significant spill will “tar” the reputation of the BC Coast for decades to come.
-      And the effect will be well-beyond its geographical boundaries. It won’t matter that the spill may be near Hartley Bay, people will cancel their holidays to Gwaii Haanas and northern Vancouver Island.
-      I can assure you a major oil spill in the Great Bear Rainforest will reduce our business by an estimated 20-30%, and that is enough to put us out of business. Not just Bluewater Adventures, but the 20 members of the Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association and the majority of the members of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association.
The precautionary principle says this project should not be approved. There are greater risks than the proponent has recognized, and specific ones that cannot be mitigated effectively. When one industry’s proposal jeopardizes thousands of tourism jobs, simply to create a few hundred mostly short term jobs it does not make sense. When the risks of this proposal can ruin coastal tourism for decades, it does not make sense. Coastal ecotourism cannot co-exist with Northern Gateway. I urge you to turn down the application.   
I appreciate this opportunity in democracy. I trust that my voice and the voices of British Columbians will be heard, respected and acted upon. 

Thank you

Monday, April 25, 2011

Please Help to Stop the Trophy Hunt

Photo Credit (left): Andy Wright

Each year, hundreds of these animals are killed by Trophy Hunters. Those bears that you saw playing in a stream during your adventure may have already been killed by the time you returned home from your adventure.

In 2007 a record 430 grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia, 363 of them by sport hunters. This alarming statistic raises serious questions about government policy towards these bears. The science used to estimate grizzly populations, and therefore set harvest quotas, is weak.

Government grossly undervalues grizzly bear viewing as an economic generator while overestimating the importance of trophy hunting, revealing its bias toward the hunting sector. In addition, given the grizzly’s vast habitat requirements, the health of this species will be a measure of our ability to make sound landscape-based decisions around forestry, mining and other extractive industries.

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation latest campaign to stop the trophy hunt on coastal BC is aiming to raise the funds required to buy out commercial hunting territories.

To date, Raincoast has raised approximately $200,000. The deadline is fast approaching. Please help to reach their goal of $370,000 by May 31, 2011. Learn more on how you can help here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good News for the Holidays!

In the past 24 hours there have been two victories for British Columbia's coastal waters!
1) MP's in the House of Commons voted in favour of a motion to ban oil tankers on BC's north coast.

This ban would prevent bulk oil tanker traffic in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It's just the beginning - continual support is needed as this motion now moves to become legislation - but it's a hopeful start. It means that Parliament is listening to British Columbians, whose majority do not want oil tanker traffic on their coast.

As a company that has sailed in these areas for over 35 years, Bluewater knows how important this motion is. Oil tanker traffic in these ecologically sensitive waters - waters that are also some of the most volatile in BC - just doesn't make sense. Enbridge claimed in a desperate advertisement yesterday - an ad that mentions (short-term) job creation for First Nation communities, but fails to mention how many of them don't want those jobs - that 1500 tankers have safely travelled in our waters.

We know it only takes one to mess that up.

Read more about the motion to ban oil tankers on our coast here.

2) Yesterday, the Sierra Club of BC and other conservation groups won a landmark federal court decision aimed at protecting endangered orca whales.

In June 2010 Ecojustice, representing the Sierra Club of BC and other interested groups, made the argument to federal courts that by failing to protect important aspects of northern and southern resident orca habitat - such as salmon prey availability and unpolluted water - the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) was failing to protect these species at risk.

This court case win means that "the government must now take immediate action to ensure that DFO obeys the law" (Susan Howatt, Sierra Club BC campaign director) and makes steps toward protecting not only the orca, but also their habitat.

Bluewater guests often have the opportunity to view the southern and northern resident orca on many of our trips, especially around Northern Vancouver Island. We know how important a healthy habitat is and we are thrilled with this victory.

That being said, this victory is not just a victory for orca - it is a triumph for other species that've also been listed as At-Risk, many of who we see on Bluewater trips, such as sea otters, fin whales, humpback whales, grizzly bears, ancient murrelets and great blue heron.

Read more about the courts decision here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Salmon are Sacred...

One of the hot topics in BC this past week has been pacific salmon, specifically Fraser River sockeye salmon.

With the Fraser River run being so large this year - estimates range between 34 and 36 million sockeye salmon returned to their home rivers - it's easy to forget that the 2009 run was one of the worst Fraser River sockeye returns remembered; only 1.5 million salmon returned, versus the 11 million expected.
Lucky for us who worry about the future of our Pacific Salmon, Alexandra Morten will not forget.

This past Sunday, October 24 2010, Alexandra and a group of paddlers and rafters paddled from Musqeum to Vanier Park, the final leg of a long journey down the Fraser River from Hell's Gate. The Island Odyssey was there to support this final leg, even bringing some of the younger paddlers aboard during a particular tough section.

The journey represented a portion of the long journey our sockeye salmon make every year and was timed with the start of the Cohen Commision. On Monday the group marched into town and presented a Salmon Are Sacred scroll to Justice Cohen to show support for his inquiry into the collapse of the 2009 sockeye return.
Yes, it will be hard to ignore the large numbers of salmon that we had this year but some scientists are wondering if there is another explanation for the 2010 anomaly... an Alaskan volcano. Its eruption in 2008 lead to huge blooms of plankton, which in turn would have increased the food resources for Pacific Salmon.

We won't know if the 2011 Fraser River sockeye run will also benefit from this algal bloom or if there will be another collapse. Our hope is that the Cohen Commission will shed light on the reason for the low salmon return numbers in 2009, including the effects of sea lice and disease, thought to originate from open pen salmon farms that litter our coastline.

In the end we can't afford to forget the run of 2009, nor the previous 3 years that also had lower than expected return numbers.

We must be cautious when it comes to managing our pacific salmon, the link to our animals - marine and terrestrial - our forests, and our people.

Our salmon are sacred...period.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Boatloads of Education

One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Bluewater Adventures is that we are actively involved with the education of future generations. Each spring and fall we host secondary students for 4-5 day educational trips in the Canadian Gulf Islands - last spring we hosted over 250 students!

The focus on these trips is to give students an opportunity to explore the incredible biodiversity found in the Canadian Gulf Islands. Another educational component is student participation in the operation of the boat, including environmental stewardship, navigation, sailing, meal preparation and everyday chores. These trips are both a fun adventure for students and a rewarding experience for crew and teachers.

Several of our crew extend this passion - for sharing the BC coastline with youth - into impressive careers in environmental education. Take for example Rod MacVicar, a former Bluewater skipper, who has been educating youth for 40 years. Some of Rod’s most notable achievements are the founding of the Mossom Creek Hatchery in Port Moody and the Reed Point Marine Education Centre. Most recently he was also awarded the 2010 Blanch Hornbeck Award for Excellence in Nature Education by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.

Congratulations Rod! We’ve been fortunate to have your involvement in Bluewater – you’ve been an inspiration to both students and crew.

Read more about Rod’s achievement here.

To learn more about Bluewater school trips, visit our website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

25 year old Moratorium on Whaling Remains!

Our 2010 season has been great for whale sightings – Humpback whales, several species of Porpoises, Orcas and even the 2nd largest animal in the world, the Fin Whale.

It’s hard to imagine but the areas we visit were historically were even greater in numbers, and would be still today, if it were not for the whaling industry which greatly decreased global whale populations, sometimes to critically low numbers.

For example, the global population of Humpback Whales – one of the whales we frequently cross paths with – was reduced to 90% in the 20th century and was put on the endangered species list. In response to these critically low numbers, the International Whaling Commission put a moratorium on hunting them in 1966.
Since then the northern pacific population has risen from 1,400 to almost 20,000 in number!

Another familiar whale to Bluewater is the Fin Whale, an enormous baleen whale, known for its speed relative to its size. This animal was also hunted to near extinction, but hasn’t had the recovery in the same numbers that the humpback has. This may be that despite a moratorium on whaling, a few countries are still hunting fin whales today.

A few weeks ago the International Whaling Commission met in Morocco to revisit the 25 year moratorium on hunting whales. Fortunately there was a huge global outcry and the proposal to lift the moratorium was shut down. Unfortunately, there are still countries that are hunting these whales under the guise of ‘scientific research’ and sometimes regardless of the moratorium.

Luckily for the whales that migrate to – and live around – the waters of coastal BC and SE Alaska, they are safe from the harpoon.
Some researchers even wonder if our waters are becoming the ‘retirement homes’ for whales that no longer need to migrate for breeding purposes.

If location is everything, these whales have chosen a great place to stay, with good food resources and friendly neighbours. We look forward to viewing these whales for years to come – shooting them only with the camera.

To find out how you can join us on a trip to see whales in friendly waters, visit us at our website.