Tag Archives: star fish

Sea Kayaking in Cowichan Bay

Silently skimming along the surface of the ocean and periodically being visited by creatures from beneath is the best way to start your day!

We woke up early on August 8th as we were excited for the plans we had made that day. At 7:30am we were meeting our guide at the seashore for a kayaking tour of beautiful Cowichan Bay.

Sea KayaksIt was a beautifully sunny and calm morning as we slipped into the water in our kayaks. We paddled across the bay and our guide pointed out various sights along the way.

cowichan bay from kayak

We headed across the bay to the log jams near the paper mill and suddenly the seals were everywhere. They would pop up in front of us to take a peek then disappear below the surface only to resurface a few feet to the side or behind. Always curious, always watching.

seal

Cowichan Bay is also home to a large number of both Trumpeter and Mute Swans. Although they did not let us get close enough for a good photo we enjoyed tailing them across the bay.

swans from kayak

The warfs in Cow Bay are covered in sea life. The most exotic to me being, of course, the star fish. We don’t have star fish in Ontario and I have only ever seen one before I moved here. Our guide was kind enough to pull one off a post so that we could get a closer look. They are very strange creatures!

I did a little research on these unique echinoderms and learned that they are very bizarre critters indeed!

Starfish (recently renamed Sea Stars as they are not actually fish) have no brain and no blood. Their blood is actually filtered sea water. They can live up to 35 years. They have a few special skills which aid them in their quest for a long lifespan. Sea stars have bony, calcified skin which protects them from predators.

StarfishThere are over 2000 species of starfish ranging in a wide variety of colours which either help camouflage them or scare predators away. On top of these common self-preservation tactics, Sea Stars have a special super-power. Not only can they regenerate lost limbs but some can re-grow their entire bodies from just a portion of a severed limb! Now that’s what I call a “will to live”!

Sea stars eat crustaceans like clams and oysters by prying them open with their suction cupped feet and then putting their stomach inside the clam or oyster to digest it there. Once they are done eating they put their stomach back inside their body. That, I would say, is the true definition of “eating out”!

cowichan bay from kayak

We paddled around in sheer delight at our proximity to our surroundings. I love how low in the water you are in a kayak and it was a special treat to be able to join the sea life in the water rather than always observing from the shore.

It was certainly a treat to enjoy such a beautiful morning in this way. :-)