Tom Shermer Imagery

Photojournal - 7 & 8 October 2017


For the long Thanksgiving weekend, Dorothy, her mom Rebecca, and I headed out to Tofino for a little peace and quiet. We arrived late Friday night.

On Saturday, we went out for a little walk on Middle Beach. The first thing we found was a big tangle of bull kelp stalks.

At first I thought that humans had collected the kelp together, but then I realized that it was too big for a human to move. Anyhow, I like the forms in tangled masses like this one, so I moved in for closer shots. I'll show you four of those, which may seem like a lot but really is quite a tiny fraction of what I shot.  
Meanwhile, Dorothy had found some tidepools and was examining specimens therefrom. Here's a snail known as a Black Turban. He's got some barnacles growing on him. You know you're slow-moving when barnacles grow on you.  

Even worse than Vancouver, Tofino is in the middle of a housing crisis. Businesses can't find places for their employees to stay in town, and many Tofino workers have to live 40 minutes away in Ucluelet. That's longer than my commute in the big city.

Dorothy's next find shows just how bad its gotten—even the Hermit Crabs are living in spaces that are way too small for them.


I've read that Hermit Crabs will queue up by size if they find a shell that is too large for them. They wait for a bigger Hermit Crab to come by and take the large shell. When it does, it abandons its previous shell, which is smaller, and perhaps it fits the largest crab in the queue. If so, then that crab leaves its previous shell, which maybe fits the next largest crab, etc.

Dorothy's next specimen had a good-sized and attractive home.

As near as we can tell, this home used to belong to a Brown Turban. The parts at the base and bottom of the cone were smooth and had good color, while the eroded upper parts had interesting trail-like channels etched into them.  
As we turned to head back to our truck, a young Bald Eagle swooped above us a few times.  
Dorothy found a mess of fishing tackle tangled up with the vegetation and sea life on some of the rocks. She brought it back so we could throw it out.  

Sinkers and hooks and monofilament are not welcome additions to the coastline.

On Sunday the 8th, while the turkey was getting ready for us, we went out to walk the trail from Wickaninnish Beach to South Beach. The trail starts near a restaurant, and right there we found some Savannah Sparrows hopping around in the mud.

We proceeded along the trail. Here Dorothy and Rebecca have stopped to look at some insects on a flower. Little did they know that there was a rainbow just ahead of them.  

That rainbow was an interesting bit of the lens flare that I got there. Lens flare happens when the sun (or other bright light) is facing the lens.

Further out yet, this mushroom and leaf made an interesting couple.

In short order, we had reached South Beach, which is a small pebbly beach. The trail leading onwards beckoned to me, but the others were for turning around, so we headed back.  
On a near part of the boardwalk we found this fellow, a big beautiful BC Banana Slug. He was making good time across the plank. Well, good time for a slug, at least.  
We stopped and looked at the insects on a bunch of Giant Hogweed. The three here are two Flower Flies (a.k.a. Hoverflies) and one "regular" fly that I can't further classify. The Flower Flies are the ones that look like bees.  
Nearby in the grass and fallen leaves, another Banana Slug caught our attention. This one lacked the black spots that the other one had developed.  

And the prize of the day was found by Rebecca. It's another slug, known as the Yellow-bordered Taildropper. It's the first time I've ever seen one, and furthermore the first Taildropper I've ever seen. Taildroppers are like many lizards in that they can self-amputate and drop their tail if they are in danger, in the hopes that a predator will be satisfied with the tail and leave the animal alone. Later, the slug regenerates the tail.

Here's the wee beastie—quite the good-looking slug.


That was exciting, because I knew I'd never seen a slug like that before. I had to wait until I was back in Vancouver to figure out what he was, though.

We were nearing the beginning of the trail, and we got a reminder that everybody thinks salmon is yummy.



I took some shots of a sweaty shelf mushroom growing on the side of a tree. I'm not sure why a mushroom exudes water like this.

As I said, at the start of the trail there is a restaurant. It's currently closed and under renovation. It looks out over Wickaninnish Beach.  
We stopped by the beach on the other side of the restaurant and I got a few beachscapes. The first shows some rocks just offshore,  
and the second shows all the wood in the driftwood zone.  

Parking for beach access is at the end of Wick Road, which leads off the main highway from Tofino to Ucluelet. Also on Wick Road is a part of the park that is a coastal bog. I had expressed a desire to get to the bog to take shots of the wonderful gnarly windswept trees there, so we made the stop and walked the Bog Trail.

Here's one typical type of bog tree, with only partial spheres of green where non-bog trees might have fully-developed ones.


And here's a close view of a snag, showing how the bark twists as it goes up the tree.


In many places, a shrub-height ground covering is broken sporadically by tall trees, with nice jagged branching.


And since I'm writing this near Hallowe'en, I figured I'd leave you with a couple of black-and-whites. The first I find more desolate,

and the second more spooky.  

I hope you enjoyed my little trip.

Call me Ichabod,