"Look out your window at the ocean."
"Do you see it? The water's changing color...it's the beginning of the herring run!!!"
"The sea lions, seals and eagles are all going crazy. You should get down to the beach and take some pictures."
"I will! Thanks for the call!"
It was our first B.C. Herring Run. You can bet I was excited. This was something we had been told and told about - but we had waited almost all of March for it to happen, and nothing! I had given up on it being here in our little bay. We heard the run had happened earlier in March, behind a nearby island, and that there were so many fish that all the fishing boats had gotten their quota. I was disappointed. But then it happened, and when it did come into our little bay, it was all wildlife to see and hear, and no fishing boats.
The Herring Run is when the 3 - 4 year old herring come to this area to spawn. The female releases her eggs into the water, and the male releases his sperm, and the water changes color because of the roe. The sea lions, eagles, and seals gorge themselves on the fish while the seagulls and other birds eat the eggs in the water, as well as those that wash up onto the shore. The water was this color of Aquamarine Green from Parksville to Qualicum Beach. I cannot imagine how many fish it would take to make a color difference in the water over at least 16 kms. of shoreline!!!
And yes...there is a very distinctive odour that accompanies the Herring Run. It was very strong when the sun was shining on the water and heating everything up. When it was cloudy or raining, it was not as strong, but still noticeable for the first 3 - 4 days. Today, Sunday, the water has returned to its normal color. The fish are gone for this year. The smell is gone for this year. But what a great "wonder" to witness. We are indeed blessed to have experienced this event first hand. Here are some photos for you to enjoy:
|As the herring came in, so did about 50 sea lions and 5 seals|
|Here you can see the roe floating on top of the water|
|As the roe washes up on the shore, it looks like foaming soap suds|
|There were huge amounts of roe on all the beaches we went to|
|You can see the difference in the water color|
|It was difficult to get photos of the fish in the waves - but here is one|
|This is the beach where we do the "Sea Stairs" during our morning run|
|That's all roe beside Syd|
|And here is the Herring Run in full sunshine, taken from our windows|