I had never visited Hornby Island but decided last week to take a quick day trip to scout landscape photography possibilities. This island is just north of Qaulicum Beach and a little over an hour's drive on the new freeway from Nanaimo where I live. You start at Buckley Bay and take a ferry to beautiful Denman Island, drive to the other side and take a another ferry to Hornby:
In the short time I had I decided to explore Helliwell Provincial Park at the east end of Hornby. A circle on the map marks the spot.
The annual herring run is in full gear and create a food chain feeding frenzy. The herring lay millions of eggs on shore rocks and seagulls arrive by the thousands to feed:
There were many sea lions feisting on the herring. You could hear their barks everywhere. I didn't see any Ocra (killer whales) but a local man told me on the ferry that he had seen them the day before throwing sea lions around and right up into the air before eating them. I was a wee bit sceptical about tossing sea lions into the air as they are very heavy. However, the video below shows otherwise.
Just as the sea lions work in groups to corral the herring the Ocra do the same thing to the sea lions. Here's an example, from National Geographic footage, of what they can do:
In closing, I just scratched the surface of the many things to see on Hornby Island. I'll be going back soon. Following are more photos to give you a sense of this park's scenery. Every image can be viewed enlarged by clicking on it.