What Travel Writers Say

Snorkeling with Salmon

By Mathieu Lamarre
  It's not your average vacation excursion-an afternoon riding the brisk current of British Columbia's Campbell River, watching out for jagged rocky patches in shallow water and snorkeling surrounded by 80,000 silvery salmon in full-throttle migration.

     For some 50 years, local anglers clad in full-body wetsuits have braved the cold rushing waters to recover lures and artificial flies lost in the riverbed. Catherine Temple and Jamie Turko hit on the idea of making this activity into an eco-tour. In 1997, they started Paradise Found Adventure Tours in the tranquil beach community (on Vancouver Island's east side) of Campbell River. Paradise is just one of a few outfitters of its kind in the world. Snorkeling with sea lions in the Strait of Georgia may be next.
     "We work with inspectors at Fisheries and Oceans Canada to make sure our presence doesn't affect the natural spawning process," Turko says.
     Adds Temple: "But the sport has been so successful, we're thinking about adding our own limits on the number of participants. We've also started offering related activities, like trekking and whale-watching."
     Spawning season, which runs from July to late October, draws five salmon species and two trout species to Vancouver Island rivers. You attempt to follow the frenetic course charted by the spawning fish (up to 1 m long) heading in the opposite direction. The water at the bottom few kilometres of the river is a chilly 14-degrees C. And while it's generally slow moving, when you're underwater the current along the rocky riverbed can seem impressively fast. Periodically, you find yourself waving at fishermen on the riverbank who have no way of knowing, as you do, just how many salmon and trout are streaming past right under their noses.


     The only tricky part: getting souvenir snapshots of yourself among the churning fish because it calls for holding still. To the fish, the unidentified floating objects travelling past overhead are of no interest-unless, that is, someone has ignored the advice to remove all rings and earrings, which are surprisingly attractive lures to salmon.

Mathieu Lamarre, a Montréal, QC-based freelance photojournalist since 1989, specializes in outdoor activities, adventure tourism and recreational sports. He's a long-time contributor to Quebec's Géo Plein Air magazine. Lamarre's photographs and bilingual articles have appeared in Canada and abroad.

Photo Credits
Paradise Found Adventure Tours

If you go
This Destination
as seen on
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell_River,_British_Columbia

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
Click for Campbell River, British Columbia Forecast



"We welcome our readers' input and personal travel tips. To share feedback on this article, please click below."
Others have made submissions which you may find of interest:
View Article Comments

Tell a friend
this page

Click SEND Below
Meet Great Writers On These Pages

Search For Travel Articles

only search whattravelwriterssay.com

Informative articles organized
by your favourite writers.

Destination Index by Author

Previously published articles by objective, professional travel writers

Copyright © ~ What Travel Writers Say ~ All Rights Reserved.
Contact WTWS