All in the name of science, a local marine biologist took the plunge into the frigid waters of English Bay last month.
Melanie Knight is a marine wildlife educator and CEO of Ocean to Eye Level Consulting who in late January took a brief dip into the frigid waters around the now-famous English Bay Barge to see what creatures call the area home. Knight documented her findings in a YouTube video and reported what she saw largely in real time, all while under the watchful eye of nearby security guards.
While Knight wasn’t able to go exactly under the beached barge she selected an area close to the rocks the barge sits upon.
“Any shell you're seeing that means that that animal lives nearby,” Knight said, waist deep in the 6° C water. “So if you're seeing clam shells, mussel shells, which we are, that means that they live down here.
“I want to go out and get closer to it. But honestly, I'm freezing.”
Once Knight returned home to review the footage she admitted her GoPro wasn’t able to pick up much other than seaweed, barnacles, mollusks, and amphipods.
“The representative site that I was able to access is probably very similar to what it looks like underneath the barge,” Knight said. “And even deeper there might even be more like small fish. Maybe even seals might be cruising around there.”
Knight explained the apparent lack of wildlife along the beach can be partially explained by the virtue of it being so commonly used by locals.
“For that reason there's not a whole bunch of life there but it is still an important habitat for animals that do use it like the birds and the clams and the worms,” Knight said.
Knight is also a coordinator for the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation Program at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.