North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island












Your guide to the natural world of North Vancouver Island.



































The North Island Explorer is a publication guiding outdoor enthusiasts to the natural world of North Vancouver Island. From rain forest to kelp forest, we explore the diverse environments that make up the region from the Comox Glacier at mid island to Cape Scott at the northern tip.


Recent Articles

Paper Clams from the Late Triassic:

There are pockets of fossiliferous rock from the Triassic Period scattered about North Vancouver Island. Paper clams are an abundant and easily idenitfiable fossil in these rock formations.


The Marten Mars Answers the Call:

As West Coast fires rage throughout the summer months, the thunder of the Marten Mars' engines overhead can be heard as they decend on the regions lakes to pick up their payload of water to deliver to the burining timber stands.


The Western Black-legged Tick:

Ticks have been a recognized threat on Vancouver Island for many years, but, recently, I have seen an increase in bites among family members and pets. Whethor this is a coincidence or not, beware! The Western Black-legged Tick is out there and can potentially spread serious disease.


Guide to Marine Life on Vancouver Island:

The North Island Explorer has starting grouping its collection of photos of Vancouver Island marine life under a new section. This will be an ongoing project where new species are added as they are photographed throughout the year.


Shelter Point Reef: (Photo 1. A mossy chiton from Shelter Point)

The reef at Shelter Point is an unassuming piece of geography that at first glance seems no different than any other piece of shoreline between Campbell River and Oyster River. However, a walk out at low tide reveals sedimentary shale strewn with boulders and teeming with life. The number of different species encountered here on a casual stroll is astounding.


Kayaking Buttle Lake: (Photo 2. A kayak beached on Buttle Lake)

Buttle lake is the longest freshwater body on Vancouver Island. It presents kayakers with a long stretch of calm water nestled in snow-capped mountains to hone their skills on a brisk winter morning. Oddly, I am the only kayaker I've ever seen there in the winter months.

















Vancouver Island Cretaceous: (Photo 3. An ammonite from the Trent River) About 80 million years ago, much of the rock that now forms Eastern Vancouver Island between Nanaimo and Campbell River was submerged under warm shallow cretaceous seas. These seas supported abundant marine life that was deposited in the mud and sand, compacted, fossilized, and eventually brought to the surface as Wrangellia collided with the continent.


Trout Fishing at the Mouth of Wolf River:

In the spring, starting in April and picking up in May, the trout fishing at the mouth of the Wolf River is fantastic. Pristine waters and gorgeous surroundings make this an ideal spring get away.


Wildlife Shoot in the Memekay River Valley:

What started out as a trip to film the famous Jurassic Ammonites of the Memekay River Valley, ended up as a wildlife shoot of some of the largest Vancouver Island mammals.



Feature Animals:

California Sea Lion:

Smaller than the Steller Sea Lion, the California Sea Lion is still an impressive site on the west coast of Vancouver Island.


Pacific Tree Frog:

This distinctive frog is one of several amphibians found in the rain forests of Vancouver Island.


Western Floater:

This freshwater mussel is abundant on Vancouver Island. It depends on resident freshwater fish species for getting around.



In Review:

West Coast Fossils by Rolf Ludvigsen and Graham Beard

West Coast Fossils is the essential guide for anybody interested in collecting fossils on Vancouver Island. If you've never found so much as a clamshell, this book is for you. And if you are a seasoned vet, then you already know the value of this truly unique book.


Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest by Andy Lamb and Bernard P. Hanby

Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest is an amazing collection of photos of marine palnts and animals, most of which can be found around Vancouver Island. This book with its crystal clear images makes identification of species an easy task.















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