Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random facts we have learned

We haven't been good at keeping up our blog the last few days. Too much beach-playing, rainforest-hiking and driving. So here are some things we have learned on Vancouver Island.

- Sea stars can grow to be hundreds of years old
- If you split a sea star in half, it will regenerate into two new sea stars
- We saw a two-footed sea star called the "west coast boomerang"
- There are many bald eagles here - like hawks in Waterloo
- If you get caught in a rip tide, you end up in Japan. (We have NOT done research on this. We stayed away from the 10 foot tides)
- Trees grow to over 60 metres tall and can be 1000 years old and have a circumference bigger than we could reach around
- Don't walk through old growth forests on windy days because the trees can fall without notice.
- There are three ways clams can get away from predators: digging into the sand, swimming away or sticking out a "foot" muscle to run away.
- The top predator at the seashore is the sea star because nothing tries to eat it because it is too hard.
- Sea stars eat clams and oysters and smaller sea stars - anything slow enough for them to catch.
- Nanaimo bars are hard to find in Nanaimo and they actually aren't as good in Nanaimo. Sad but true.
- Sea stars can survive out of the water for 6-8 hours so that throwing the sea stars back in the water ("for this one it makes a difference") apparently is not based on truth.
- Slugs are humungous - about 15 cm long - and gross but they have an important job: decomposing.
- You can hear tree frogs but they're hard to spot.
- We found cougar footprints and scat on a trail where a cougar had been seen.
- Humpback and grey whales migrate to and past this area for the summer. They eat krill, herring and sea lice.
- Orcas are also here. There are three kinds: offshore, ones that migrate and ones that live here year round.
- Sea anemones squish when you sit on them. Do not ask how we know this.

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