Monday, October 12, 2015

Something’s Fishy on the island.

Our time in the Powell River area of the BC coast was not to be as long as planned.

Something fishy was going on over on Vancouver Island, and we wanted to check it out ourselves.  Some things are always fishy on the island, but this is the fall season when the salmon are running!

Salmon_8And we wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to assist in a count of Pink Salmon spawning in the Tsolum river.  A friend and fellow former Park Warden was involved in the count, and invited me along.  The friends also provided a good spot to camp for a couple nights and some island hospitality.Salmon_4

We headed out in the morning and met others at the designated location, donned chest waders, acquired long sturdy walking sticks, and began to slosh our way down the designated section of the river, noting carefully the numbers of spawning and dead fish along the way.


I also had my trusty GoPro camera mounted on the end of a small walking stick and used it to get some good close up footage of the fishy subjects.


A rather large black bear was also fishing in the area, and started to follow us downstream.  Then he caught sight of us and rapidly retreated into the bushes until we were clear of his dining room!


From there, our wandering route took us northward on the island through Campbell River, and eventually we pulled off the main route north to have a look at the coastal community of Sayward.  Clearly logging is a major industry in the area, and this was evident on the waterfront.  Countless log booms were floating in the harbour area, and I thought I could see where the logs were being removed from the water to continue their journey to the mill on truck or train.  But it was not long before I realized that the opposite was in fact occurring.  Logs were arriving on the waterfront on trucks, which were unloaded, sorted, tied, then dumped into the water and formed into log booms to be moved by boat.

A huge loader would pick an entire load from a semi truck in one lift!


Logs were sorted, and in some cases, measured by hand …IMG_0049

Then other loaders would stack them with similar size/quality logs on temporary racks at the edge of the water.IMG_0051

Another machine would then come by and automatically wrap and tie the pile of logs with cables.


Then one of the machines would come by and push the tied logs down a ramp into the ocean with a mighty splash.


Then the fun began!  Tiny, but powerful log boats would push, pull, organize these bundles into neat log booms, and eventually wrap even more cables around the whole thing to keep it together.  They were fun to watch, and I spent a long time taking photos of them – looking like they were ready to tip or sink at any moment.  Clearly they do not, but they sure look like it!

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The harbour where the booms are formed is protected by a group of old WWII ships that were anchored and sunk at the entrance. Descriptions of the ships histories are posted on nearby plaques.


I wanted to get a better view of the whole thing, so I fired up the helicopter and went up for a look and some more photos.



  1. We spent a similar interesting hour watching a tiny tug push logs around near Kamloops, about 30 years ago when we took the kids out west camping! Nice pictures from the helicopter!

  2. What an operation....amazing! Love the helicopter shots.

  3. Anything with "fish" in the title will get my attention! What a cool experience to go on the fish count, I love the underwater pictures!

  4. Wow great pictures, we looked for property in the Sayward area, love watching the little tugs.