Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts from the ‘Video/Slideshows’ category

Submerge . . .

Come away with me . . . spend 3 minutes submerged in the shallows of the eastern North Pacific, photographing jelly species.

There is no place I’d rather be than here, learning about the richness and wonder of life in these cold waters.

With huge gratitude to Roger McDonell – underwater videographer and dive buddy supreme – for having taken this video.




Video taken during our weekly dive as the Top Island Econauts Dive Club.

The Reason You Can’t See to the Bottom . . . .

The 1.5 minute video below is my attempt to bring the astounding biodiversity of the cold, rich waters of the NE Pacific Ocean to the surface.

If there is one thing I hope to achieve with my photography, it is to shatter the perception that — because you can’t see to the bottom — there must not be much life in these waters.

The opposite it true.

The reason you can’t see to the bottom is because there is SO much life.

Please feel free to share the video widely. Hopefully it will enhance people feeling a connection to the ocean, wanting to undertake further conservation, and understanding what is at stake with high risk projects that worship short term-economic gain at the cost of long-term environmental devastation — like increasing tanker traffic along British Columbia’s precious coast.



Infinite thanks to Hunter Molnar Stanton for her expertise in refining this video (and yes, there is a big typo 😉 ).

Giant Pacific Octopus – Video

Giant Pacific Octopus subtly changing colour and texture. Video by Erika Grebeldinger.

Remarkable video of a Giant Pacific Octopus juvenile subtly changing texture and colour to better match its surroundings.

When full grown, this species can be over 7 m from arm tip to arm tip and over 73 kg = the biggest species of octopus in the world.

The video was taken by fellow Top Island Econauts Dive Club diver Erika Grebeldinger during one of our dives last month. It is testament to the calibre of her diving and concern for the environment that she was able to “capture” such natural behaviour. It the octopus had been agitated, s/he would have flashed red, postured and/or inked.

Having previously posted this video on Facebook, I love Will Soltau’s observation of how the octopus leaves no footprint and what a different world it would be if we humans were more like octopus in this respect.

Thank you so much for sharing Erika!

Video below added on November 25th, 2011 from You Tube – Octopus walking on land in California at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.


Two Dive Day

August 7, 2011

It seemed appropriate that, to relay the remarkable diversity of the two dives, I should let images speak louder than words. 

The most exceptional find was a baby grunt sculpin – no bigger than my finger tip.

Come underwater with me, just for 3 minutes to share in the awe.

Extraordinary Privilege – From on high to down deep.

Humpback whale BCY0768 viewed lunge feeding from 700+ feet above the whale. Telephoto and cropped. Photo: Hildering

Do you have 2.5 minutes?

I’ve compressed the highlights of my marine adventures of  that last 24+ hours into a little slide show. What an extraordinary privilege it has been.

Yesterday, while in a helicopter some 1,000 feet above them, I watched humpback whales lunge feed. 

Today, on the way to our weekly dive, there was a bit of a diversion . . . 3 matrilines (family groups) of fish-eating killer whales needed to pass before we could proceed.

While getting into our dive gear, in the sunshine, a few Pacific white-sided dolphins swam by. 

Then . . . there was the dive with so much more beauty and bounty.

Sometimes, I feel like I might explode with the wonder and privilege of it all. 

Thankfully, I have avenues like this to share and to feel like I might be able to make these adventures count; to enhance understanding and conservation for all this beauty and biodiversity.

Please share in the wonder with me.

Click this link to go from high above the northeast Pacific, into her depths.

(Last video in the gallery at this link). 

Diamondback nudibranch (sea slug) among red soft coral, sponge and brooding anemones. This specimen only about 5 cm long. Photo: Hildering

Kaouk – The Steller Sea Lion That Flew

Kaouk at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Photo: Hildering

Below, please find a link to a slide show update on Kaouk, the juvenile male Steller sea lion that walked into the Port Alice (BC, Canada) trailer park on December 16th, 2010.

I had the privilege of visiting Kaouk at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on January 20th and was amazed at the improvement in his health.  A decision will soon be made about his return to the wild.

See this link for the 3 minute slide show (available in two sizes for ease of viewing).

See this link for a background story in the North Island Gazette.

Kelp Greenling Colour and Courtship

While diving this morning, I came across a kelp greenling couple while they were courting (Hexagrammos decagrammus to 60 cm).

In addition to being fascinated by the courtship behaviour, I was struck by the intense colouration, especially of the courting male.

Male kelp greenling. Normal colouration. ©2013 Jackie Hildering

Male kelp greenling. Normal colouration. ©Jackie Hildering

Mature male and female kelp greenlings look very different but I had never fully realized how the males’ gender specific colour intensifies during courtship.
Their bodies become much paler while the heads remain dark blue.

Courting male on left (note how much lighter the body is than the head); female on the right. © 2013 Jackie Hildering

Courting male on left (note how much lighter the body is than the head); female on the right. ©Jackie Hildering

My 1.5 minute video below shows the courtship behaviour. After that there is a photo of eyed kelp greenling eggs.

Kelp greenling eggs in a giant barnacle shell. See the eyes?! © 2013 Jackie Hildering

Kelp greenling eggs in a giant barnacle shell. See the eyes?! ©Jackie Hildering

Popcorn for Thanksgiving

I spent Canadian Thanksgiving this week as naturalist aboard the 92-foot schooner Maple Leaf in my own marine backyard, the Broughton / Blackfish Archipelago (Northern Vancouver Island, BC, CANADA).



The exceptionally talented ship’s chef served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Certainly no popcorn there!

But, Nature dished out “pop-corning” Pacific White-Sided Dolphins.

“Pop-corning” is the jargon given to the behaviour when this highly acrobatic species explodes into the air; popping up again and again.

There were some 500 of them, playing in the wind and waves with Steller Sea Lions leaping amongst them. It is difficult for me to express just how exhilarating this was; just how awe-inspiring. With mouth agape, I tried to take photos to capture what we witnessed.



We had already seen so much. In less than 48 hours in a 16 kilometre stretch in this area, we also saw:

  • Repeat sightings of eight lunge feeding humpbacks. This included seeing three of them lunging for the same mass of small schooling fish; one of them (BCY0728, aka “Conger”) tail slapping at Steller sea lions and; sighting an individual that has never been recorded in the area before (BCY0310, aka “Dragonfly”).
  • Large numbers of Steller Sea Lions with some choosing to inquisitively circle and surface right beside the boat. This was one of the best opportunities I have ever had to photograph Stellers.
  • And . . . some 32 fish-eating “Resident Orca” – the A12 and A36; A34, A30 and I15 matrilines. They were travelling slowly, vocalizing intently. Some were foraging while calves played and others had Pacific White-Sided Dolphins leaping around them.

So much to be thankful for. And very worth sharing with you so that together we can work to ensure that this beauty and biodiversity is here for all future generations to give thanks for.



I have put together the 3-minute slideshow below, hoping it provides a sense of how amazing it was to have pop-corning dolphins (and so much more) for Thanksgiving.






Come Away With Me

Come on. You know you want to, just for 3 minutes.

Come on the dives I did today.

The little slide show I have put together, is a testimony to the grand, jaw-dropping biodiversity of this area (Northern Vancouver Island, B,C., CANADA).

The Minke whale we saw, the fish using a sponge as a hammock, the bald eagle chick that took one of its first flights – all these are animals that I have learned from by knowing a small part of the world’s ocean well enough to be able to recognize individual animals.

Such a privilege and such a joy to share with you.

Come away with me . . . . click here.

The Case of the Killer Plankton

This week’s case is the result of Stacey Hrushowy bringing a unique jelly-like marine creature to my attention.

Forgive the sensationalist blog title but truly, this animal is like the stuff of science fiction.

It’s a 15 cm pulsing, translucent, rainbow-flashing blob that has a fascinating diet!

Mystery creature (15 cm). Photo by Stacey Hrushowy.

I’ve narrated a slideshow with video to share this with you. Please see below.

I would not have been able to identify this species without Dave Wrobel and his site .