Toxic Algae

One aspect of our adventure was taking algae samples along our route. Ideally we would document and update our activities on this blog, but real-time updates were not an option. After the fact though, here are some photos and descriptions. Thank you to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, for connecting us with Nicki Haight and the Harmful Algae Monitoring Program at Vancouver Island University.

Tracy taking an algae sample

Tracy managed to take over a dozen algae samples in our 840 miles of paddling, and I documented a few on film.

Labeling algae samples

Tracy diligently sampled and labeled the small blooms we encountered.  We were both pleased that our algae encounters were rare as well as few and far between.

Algae Bloom

Weeks into the journey, we had really seen only a few tiny blooms. Once we crossed back into the US though, this all changed.

Algae or Campbell’s Tomato Soup?

Holy cow, this just never seemed to end! This bloom started at Nakat Bay, about five miles before Cape Fox, and extended all the way north to Foggy Bay. From our small craft we couldn’t tell how far out from shore the bloom extended, but we passed through waves and bands of orange for over twenty miles. Was this due to the location? Time of year? Weather and temperature? We are just observers, documenting what we encountered.

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One Response to Toxic Algae

  1. Nicky Haigh says:

    Thanks for your sample collection, T2! Your big bloom was Noctiluca scintillans, which is a non-harmful dinoflagellate that makes these amazing fluorescent orange surface blooms. Other notable samples: Heterosigma akashiwo (a fish-killer) in northern Georgia Strait in early July, and a super-thick diatom bloom while you were still in Puget Sound. It’s been great to have an extra set of eyes on the water, and so glad you had such a grand adventure.

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