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Aquatic but Non-Marine Life
Vancouver Island, B.C.
Scuba Diving Pictures from China Creek near Port Alberni [about 25 minutes south], B.C. Canada
These are medium quality jpegs. But I have the RAW images as well.
Email tjfidler@telus.net
Directions to the Dive Site are located at the bottom of the page.
Number of dives I've done at this scuba diving site: 3, one of them a night dive
Additional notes: Lifeforms I saw here that I did not get a picture of or the quality was too poor: 1 Lingcod, 2 Grunt Sculpins and several Black Rockfish.
Wrecks: The wrecks were about 20 feet from the wall. A 12 foot "row boat", and a logging tug boat. At about a depth of 40 feet, and beside each other.
Type of dive: shore dive / boat dive

Rating for this dive site:  6/10 [It would have been 7/10, but with no current there is a lot of silt at the wall., and it can be easily disturbed. Making the water cloudy and that I found lasted for a couple hours.]
Parking: 7/10 as the catch is you might be able to park for free, but more likely you will be camping here and need a camping spot.
Bathroom/Washroom/Toilet: Yes, there are washrooms at the campground here. Although the hot water is not working as of May 2009.
Boat ramp: Yes, near the main office of the campground/marina.
Ease of entry: 9/10, just the odd log in the way. And this beach consistes of pebbles which is a good thing.  [Wheel chair access: Yes, but will need help.]
Abundance of life: 7/10
Accommodations: There are camping spots and RV hookups at this Marina/Campground.
Attractions: Lots of Glassy Tunicates, and with no current you can dive any time. Just don't disturb the silt.
Bottom and depth: The wall meets a sandy and silt covered bottom.
Facilities: There are some facilities here at the Marina/Campground, but for a store you will have to travel to Port Alberni. ~30 minutes north.
Hazards/Obstacles: Boats are the only realy hazard here. I suggest you use your dive flag as I did.
Sensitivity to tide/current: No detectable current here, and that makes sense given the silt next to the wall.
Terrain: solid rock wall, meeting a sandy bottom. The beach consists of pebbles which is great for walking on and suiting up on.
Tides, transportation and weather: Fisheries and Oceans Canada Tide Page., BC Ferries Schedule and Sailings. , The Weather Network

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The following images are thumbnails. If you click on them a larger image will open up and the picture will take up most of your screen. Again these are medium quality jpegs. Higher quality images can be purchased directly from me via paypal using my email address tjfidler@telus.net And many of these photos can be found for sale on Cafepress through the Calendar link and Photo CD link. As well some of these can be found as posters via Cafepress, and some of these ocean life photographs are available as widescreen backgrounds via the widescreen link immediately below some of the photographs.

A few people have already asked me about "What is that pink stuff on the rocks in some of the pictures?" Well, they're usually Pink Rock Crust (aka Encrusting Coralline Algae) or in some cases might even be Encrusting Hydrocorals. The algae are eaten by a variety of animals - apparently as a good source of calcium.

The wall above the water at China Creek - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
The beach at China Creek - right of the wall
A picture of me standing on the beach at China Creek Marina & Campground,
with the wall or cliffs to the left of me in this image. Behind me in the water is my
dive flag float.
The opposite view but a couple hours later, which is why the water is higher in this
photograph. The marina portion of this campground is at the end of the beach in
this direciton.
China Creek Campground map
China Creek Camping Spot 50
You can click on this image for a better view of the map they hand out for the China
Creek Marina & Campground. I've hand drawn in the wall and the location of the
wrecks. There is no float for the wrecks, and there is no need as they are only about
20 feet from the wall. The map is up side down in this image, but the orientation then
matches the view in the above image with me standing on the beach.
Camping spot number 50 is the spot where we stayed. There was no fire pit here for
people to have a fire, but there is a communal covered fire pit. Also at the main
bathroom, the hot water tank was not working, so only cold showers. The wash-
room was at least clean. This is more of an RV and Boat Launch campground. With
just a few spots for people with tents, but quite a few for full campers.

Links to the various groups of organisms:
Cephalopods, Crustaceans, Fish, Mollusks, Nudibranchs, Sea Anemones, Sea Cucumbers & Echinoderms, Sponges, Tunicates, Worms, Miscellaneous

Cephalopods

Pacific Giant Octopus - juvenile
Pacific Giant Octopus
Pacific Giant Octopus ~ 4 inches [10 cm] head/mantle length. Making this a young
octopus. This was my first view of it as I was headed down the slope of the wall.
Same Octopus. But now its beside me, and I've tried to zoom in a bit be for it
moves again.
PGO pacific giant octopus cephalopod  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
PGO octopus
Same Octopus. Walking away from me.
Same Octopus. Crawling in the other direction now. I would not normally include
such pictures, but I'm not likely to be coming back here for a while. Some one
might like this other profile of it.


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Crustaceans

Black Eyed Hermit Crab
Black Eyed Hermit Crab crustacean  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Black Eyed Hermit Crab ~ 1.5 inches [3.75 cm] across the snail shell that it is
wearing. The little hermit crabs did not stay around for very long. So, I was not able
to get a better image of the small ones.
Black Eyed Hermit Crab ~ 5 inches [12.5 cm] wide across its legs. It actually
stayed still while I took several pictures of it. However, for some reason my lighting
was not working out very well.
Coonstriped Shrimp crustacean  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Decorator Crab
Coonstriped Shrimp ~ 6 inches [15 cm] long. There were several of these animals
at this dive site. Which would also explain the number of traps around here.
Decorator Crab ~ 5 inches [12.5 cm] wide across the legs. It is crawling along the
side of one of the wrecks located near the wall.
Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab ~ 9 inches [12.5 cm] across the shell. I encountered several of
these crabs during my scuba dives here, but they usually ran away before I could
take a picture of them.
Dungeness Crab ~ 10 inches [25 cm] wide across the shell. Here you can clearly
see its back legs.
Hairy Spined Crab
Hairy Spined Crab crustacean  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
A juvenile Hairy Spined Crab ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] wide. This one was climbing up
side down on a over hang on the wall. I rarely see this type of crustacean, but at
this dive spot I saw three of them.
Hairy Spined Crab ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide across the legs. Some what larger than
the one in the image to the left of this one.
Longhorn Decorator Crab crustacean  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Squat Lobster
Longhorn Decorator Crab [?] ~ 9 inches [22.5 cm] wide across the legs. I did see
around 4 of these between the 3 dives.
Squat Lobster ~ 2 inches [5 cm] wide across the arm tips. Not that many here.
Pacific Prawn

Pacific Prawn ~ 8 inches [20 cm] long. It appeared to be feeding on a dead crab.
I only spotted about 4 of these. The coonstripe shrimp were much more common.


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Fish

Great Sculpin - a fish - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Black Eyed Goby - a fish
Great Sculpin ~ 12 inches [30 cm] long. This was the only specimen of this type of
fish that I spotted here.
Black Eyed Goby ~ 5 inches [12.5 cm] long. This fish did not stay still for a better
close-up.
Buffalo Sculpin - a fish - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Buffalo Sculpin - a fish
Buffalo Sculpin ~ 9 inches [22.5 cm] long. This fish has quite a distended or fat
stomach, but I do not know if that is from over eating, or that it is full of eggs.
Buffalo Sculpin ~ 12 inches [30 cm] long. I actually spotted four of these fish during
my dives here.
Copper Rockfish
Copper Rockfish - pregnant?
Copper Rockfish ~ 16 inches [40 cm] long. I spotted a few more of these, but
only two stayed still long enough to have their picture taken.
Copper Rockfish ~ 18 inches [45 cm] long. Note that the belly on this fish sticks
out a lot more than the fish in the image to the left of this one. Is it pregnant? Or at
least full of eggs?
C-Sole - a fish - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
English Sole - a fish
C-Sole ~ 12 inches [30 cm] long. I spotted about 4 of these fish during my three
dives at this wall. They actually moved towards me, and did not move away from
me at all. I left them after taking a few pictures.
English Sole ~ 14 inches [35 cm] long. There were several of these fish at this dive
site.
Kelp Greenling - a fish - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Pacific Snake Prickleback - a fish
Kelp Greenling ~ 18 inches [45 cm] long. This fish is a female. During the day I was
not able to get close to these fish.
Pacific Snake Prickleback ~ 16 inches [40 cm] long. This is only the second time I
have ever seen one of these fish. And both times it was this year.
Northern Spearnose Poacher - a fish
Northern Spearnose Poacher - a fish
Northern Spearnose Poacher ~ 8 inches [20 cm] long. This fish can be difficulte to
spot - depending upon what type of surface it is lying on.
Northern Spearnose Poacher ~ 9 inches [22.5 cm] long. Much easier to see these
fish when they are on a background that does not hide them so well.
Yellowtail Rockfish
Ratfish aka Chimaera - a fish ghost shark  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Yellowtail Rockfish ~ 14 inches [35 cm] long. There was plenty of these fish at the
dive site here, but they would quickly swim by me, not allowing me to take a photo.
Chimaera [aka Ratfish] ~ 3 feet [1 m] long. This fish came to me during the night
dive, and did not seem to be afraid of me, but the water quality from me having
disturbed the silt that is everywhere here, meant that most of the pictures did not
turn out. This was the only whole body shot of these relatives of sharks, that turned
out ok. [1 of 3 images]
Ratfish or Chimaera or Ghost Shark fishes  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Ratfish
Chimaera [aka Ratfish] ~ 3 feet [1 m] long. [2 of 3 images] Chimaera [aka Ratfish] ~ 3 feet [1 m] long. [3 of 3 images]


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Mollusks

hk
Blue Lined Mussels Chiton
Blue Lined Mussels. ~ 1.5 inches [3.75 cm] long. More mussels at this dive site
than I've ever seen before.
Chiton ~ 2 inches [5 cm] long. I'm not able to get a better close-up due to the limits
of my camera, lighting and position of this animal on the wall.
Swimming Scallop mollusk  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
North Pacific Cockle - a mollusk
Swimming Scallop ~ 4 inches [10 cm] wide. Not that many here. Only spotted 3.
North Pacific Cockle ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] wide. Only spotted this one.

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Nudibranchs [or Sea Slugs] & Snails

Giant White Dorid

Giant White Dorid ~ 7 inches [17.5 cm] long. This nudibranch retracted its gills
before I could take a picture of them. I spotted 3 of these animals this day. Only
one other type of nudibrach was seen by me this day, but I do not have a photo of
it that was worth showing. The animal was a Red Flabellina or something similar.






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Sea Anemones ( Cnidarians )

Swimming Anemone cnidarian  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Swimming Anemone
Swimming Anemone ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide. Not that common here. I only
spotted about 3 specimens of this species.
Swimming Anemone ~ 10 inches [25 cm] tall.
Anemone
Tube Dwelling Anemone
Not sure but I think this is an odd coloured Swimming Anemeone. ~ 4 inches [10
cm] wide. I wonder if this could be an albino swimming anemone.
Tube Dwelling Anemone ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide. Not that common here. I only
spotted about six of them here. In fact there were not many anemones of any kind.
Perhaps due to the lack of current here. It did not seem to matter at what point I
dove in the tide cycle, I felt no current here at all during my 3 dives this day.

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 Sea Cucumbers & Starfish ( Echinoderms )

Blood Starfish
California Sea Cucumber
Blood Star ~ 8 inches [20 cm] wide. Note the worm on the left side of this image
that starts below and goes past the top of this photograph.
California Sea Cucumber ~ 2 feet [60 cm] long. Quite common at this dive site.
Creeping Petal Sea Cucumber echinoderm  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Fat Blood Starfish
Creeping Petal Sea Cucumber ~ 4 inches [10 cm] wide. Note that it has one of its
arms in its mouth. Very common at this dive site.
Fat Blood Star ~ 10 inches [25 cm] tall. I only spotted a couple of these during my
three dives here on the weekend.
Giant Red Sea Cucumber
Leather Starfish
A juvenile Giant Red Sea Cucumber ~ 12 inches [30 cm] long. There were many
of these animals at this dive site.
Leather Star ~ 12 inches [30 cm] wide. I spotted a few of these, but most were in
the shallow water which was a bit too cloudy for photography.
Long-ray Starfish
Sunflower Starfish
Long-Ray Star ~ 3 feet [1 m] wide. There were a few of different sizes here, and
in different colours. Another name for this starfish is Velcro Star.
A large Sunflower Star ~ 2 feet [60 cm] across. Note the crab on the lower left of
this image, and next to it the obvious presence of a Spaghetti Worm.
Mottled Starfish
Purple Sea Urchin
Mottled Stars ~ 12 inches [30 cm] wide. I only spotted about 4 of these starfish at
this dive site between the 3 dives I completed here.
Purple Sea Urchin ~ 16 inches [40 cm] wide. Not that many at this dive site. The
Red Sea Urchin was more common. But not that many urchins here over all.
Painted Starfish echinoderm  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Rainbow Starfish
Painted Star ~ 2 feet [60 cm] wide. There were a few of these starfish at this site.
Painted Star (aka Rainbow Star) ~ 2 feet [60 cm] wide. If you look closely at the
larger version of this animal you will see that this starfishes fleshy coverings of its
spines.
Red Sea Urchin
Red Sea Cucumber and tiny shrimp
Red Sea Urchin ~ 12 inches [30 cm] wide. Not very common at this dive site. I
only spotted about six of them.
A juvenile Giant Red Sea Cucumber ~ 6 inches [15 cm] long. What really caught
my eye after inspecting this image, was the tiny shrimp that at below and to the right
of the sea cucumber.
Sunflower Starfish on the wall
Sunflower Starfish - closeup echinoderm  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Sunflower Stars ~ 2 feet [60 cm] in diameter. There were several of theses starfish
in the shallow areas at the wall. Rarely do I get such good clarity like this to see
this far and have the strobe not cause backscatter with the particles in the water.
Sunflower Star ~ 2.5 feet [75 cm] wide. I like this picture of this starfish because its
colors stand out so well in this image.
Sunflower Starfish
Velcro Starfish
Sunflwer Stars ~ 2 feet [66 cm] wide. I'm not sure why they are posed like this.
Velcro Star [aka Long-rayed Star] ~ 2.5 feet [85 cm] wide. This dive site had
more specimens of this type than I have ever seen before. I spotted about 12 of
them at this dive site. Where previously the most I had seen at one dive site was
about 2.
Velcro Starfish echinoderm  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Velcro Starfish
Velcro Star [aka Long-rayed Star] ~ 3 feet [1 m] along its longest axis. Note that
this starfish has a Spiny Tunicate between two of its arms.
Velcro Star [aka Long-rayed Star] ~ 18 inches [45 cm] along its longest set of
arms. Note that two of its arms are being regrown. But what ate those two other
arms?
Vermilion Starfish echinoderm  - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Vermilion Starfish
Vermilion Star ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide. This starfish is approaching a couple of
Orange Rough Ball Sponges.
Vermilion Star ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide.
White Sea Urchin

White Sea Urchin ~ 6 inches [15 cm] wide. Not very common here. I only saw a
couple of these animals here.


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Sponges

Boot Sponge - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Boot Sponges
Boot Sponge ~ 2 feet [60 cm] long. I spotted about 8 of these at this dive site. But
I disturbed the silt near the main out cropping of these, and as a result I have very
few pictures to show of them.
Boot Sponges ~ 3 feet [1 m] long each. There are three in this image.
Orange Rough Ball Sponge
Orange Rough Ball Sponge and Sea Cucumber - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Orange Rough Ball Sponge ~ 4 inches [10 cm] in diameter. Note the very young
Giant Red Sea Cucumber under the sponge, and the white strands belong to
Spaghetti Worms. There were more of these worms at this site than I have ever
seen before. The white strands do Not make up the body of the worm, instead
they look like almost any worm, except that they extend out several of these white
threads out of their bodies for finding food.
Orange Rough Ball Sponge ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] in diameter for the larger one. It
was quite common to find either an adult or juvenile Sea Cucumber against these
sponges. Perhaps they are eating some of the sponge?
Tough Yellow Branching Sponge

Tough Yellow Branching Sponge ~ 4 inches [10 cm] tall. These were very common
at this dive site, but none were very large. This was about the most common size,
and yet they should get much larger.



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Tunicates

Broadbase Sea Squirt
Brooding Transparent Tunicates
Broadbase Sea Squirt (aka Shiny Orange Tunicate) ~ 2 inches [5 cm] across. Not
very common here, like they are at most dive sites.
Brooding Transparent Tunicates ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] long. Although there are quite
a few in this picture there were actually not very many here.
Glassy Tunicate - China Creek near Port Alberni - scuba diving site vancouver island british columbia canada
Stalked Hairy Tunicates
Glassy Tunicate ~ 10 inches [25 cm] tall. Up until this dive site, I had only seen a
few of these animals. But at this dive site I spotted more than 30 of these animals.
However, the camera had a problem focusing automatically on them.
Stalked Hairy Tunicates ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] tall. Normally the stand out better, but
this dive site had a lot of silt here. I could not detect any current during my three
dives this day, and that was bad because silt disturbed stayed in the water for hours.
Pacific Sea Peach - tunicate
Pacific Sea Peach - sea squirt
Pacific Sea Peach ~ 10 inches [25 cm] tall. I took several photos of these but most
for some reason did not turn out. This was the only image that showed its siphons
fully out. A lot of back scatter in this image.
Pacific Sea Peach ~ 10 inches [25 cm] tall. Here it is beginning to retract its
siphons to protect itself from me.
Spiny Sea Squirt
Tunicate or Sea Squirt
Spiny Sea Squirts ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] in diameter. This was the most common type
of sea squirt at this dive site, even though the Glassy Tunicates visibly stand out alot
more than these which are often coated with the silt prevalent at this dive site.
Tunicate of some kind. ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] wide. Based on the color of its siphons
I do not know what type this is. The spiny ones do not have flesh this colour from
what I've seen.


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Worms

White Calcareous Tube Worm

White Calcareous Tubeworm ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] tall with the tube as seen. They
were common at this site, but getting a picure of one out of the tube was hard.


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Miscellaneous

Yellow Sea Weed

Yellow Sea Weed ~ 3 inches [7.5 cm] tall. Common in the shallows near where
the wall entered into the water.


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