Oolichan Experience

Oolichan are a smelt-like fish that are very important to the Nisga’a because of their high grease content. It is well deserving of the name “candlefish” because they can be made to burn like a candle. For the Nisga’a, the Oolichan was a “saviour” fish, due to it being the first fresh food source after the long north coast winter. Oolichan are an anadromous species that spend most of their life in the ocean and like salmon, they return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn and die. As they struggle upstream, oolichan can be easily caught in traps or nets. From time immemorial, the Nisga’a have processed the oolichan in a variety of different ways andcontinue to carry out this tradition today.  This tour is scheduled to be delivered  in March 2016 in the Nass Valley.

The bins are starting to fill after the first pull of the Oolichan nets
Can you tell which is the male and female oolichan?
The crew from Walter’s camp check the Oolichan nets on a rainy Nass River

Anyox Powerhouse No.1

Constructed in 1911, Powerhouse No. 1 was the heart of the mining and community operations, providing electricity for the smelter, machine shops and other mining operations, as well as the town, until the mine closed in 1936. Secondary powerhouses and substations in the mine site produced electricity for the ore-haulage railway trolleys and other equipment. Constructed of brick and steel, 50 feet wide by 180 feet long, the building’s concrete foundations are laid on solid rock. Brick for the Powerhouse was originally imported from Sidney Island. Later brick, for refurbishing the building, was likely produced at the brickworks on the Anyox site. The building is a massive, elegant structure with an unobstructed interior volume. Ten bays with curved window openings and clerestory windows along both sides of the upper portion of the roof contribute to an impressive facade. A 15-ton crane, used to move the machinery, runs the entire length of the interior of the building.


Here are a before and after photo.  Participants on the Ghost Towns Tour will have an opportunity to photograph and explore this iconic building.

Anyox Powerhouse No 1
The Anyox Powerhouse Today

UNBC Jet Boat Photography Tour makes the BC Magazine “Super 7” Tours list

The recently released British Columbia Magazine features the “Super 7” Top BC Tours.  The UNBC Photography Tour made the list.  The Spring 2015  issue is on newstands now!

Here area  few photos of the magazine and the article.

Spring 2015 British Columbia Magazine
Jet Boat Photography Tour makes the Super 7 list
Photo is from the Port Essington day
Jet Boat cruising through Kitselas Canyon
British Columbia Magazine article

Estuary Rice Roots

Northern Rice-Root or Fritillaria camschatcensis is a small lily that grows in the coastal estuaries of northwest BC. The plant is nutritionally similar to the potato, which displaced traditional root vegetables in Aboriginal diets after being introduced by European settlers. Grizzly bears find them tasty and will dig them where possible.  The small rice kernels that make up the bulb will scatter when dug up by the bears then spread to another site where another plant will grow.  We will see the Rice Root on our Coastal Estuary Day of the Jet Boat Photography Tour and see the evidence of dug up roots by the local grizzly bears.

Rice Root Flower
Our guide holding the rice root
Close up of the rice root bulb


Kitselas Canyon

The Skeena River is a photographers dream as it can be sunny and beautiful out or misty with cloud draped mountains.  One of the days on the tour we explore the  Skeena River above Terrace and the mighty Kitselas Canyon and home of the Kitselas First Nation.  The canyon was has one of the most difficult parts of the river for the paddle wheelers to navigate  as they did not have the power or maneuverability to get through it.  They used large ringbolts that were bolted into the an island in the middle of the canyon to winch themselves through the canyon.  We will explore ringbolt island and view the petroglyphs on the top of the island.  Another highlight of the day will be a tour of the historic totem poles and long houses of the Kitselas Historic site.  This day will be  another amazing experience!

The Jet Boats anchored on the edge of Ringbolt Island while the participants explore it!
Kitselas Canyon Totem Poles
Ringbolts on “Ringbolt Island”

Unique Places and Getting there!

With the Jet Boat Photography Tour we try to bring new and unique photo opportunities to the participants that they would not otherwise have.  Unless you have a jet boat and you are very familiar with the rivers and ocean of Northwest BC then  these locations would be inaccessible.  We utilize two jet boats for the tour with upto 5 people in each boat which still leaves room for all the camera equipment and personal gear.   If you have not been on a jet boat before it is an amazing experience as the boats allow us to reach remote and untouched locations.  The rivers we navigate are picture perfect with a new surprise and photographic opportunity around each corner.

Cruising up the river in search of new photo opportunities
Participants spreading out in a remote meadow and photographing a variety of things. Wild flowers that they have never seen, cascading waterfalls, snow capped peaks, Mtn Goats on the cliffs or just taking a break and relaxing
As mentioned we utilize two jet boats to explore the rivers and ocean in northwest BC.

Alice Arm Schoolhouse

Alice Arm is another of our stops on the Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour.  It is home to the historic  Dolly Varden mine which  operated from 1919 to 1940 and the North Star mine which ran  from 1919 to 1921, and the Torbrit mine from 1949 to 1959.  We will cruise along Observatory in our chartered yacht and begin exploring this eerie community.  The Alice Arm Schoolhouse is one of the structures still standing and it is full of stories from the past.   The names of the kids still remain above each coat hook where they were to hang up their jackets.  Hundreds of old textbooks from the 30’s scatter the shelves and remnants of the past can be found everywhere.

The Alice Arm schoolhouse still remains from the early 1900’s
Old Chests in the attic of the schoolhouse

Port Essington Photo Opportunities

Port Essington is another stop on our Jet Boat Photography and Ghost Towns of Northwest BC programs.  It is a remote historic that is difficult to access and coordinate.  It is located on the lower Skeena River which is impacted by 16ft tides  which makes the launching of boats and planning of activities very important.  The jet boat ride on the lower Skeena River is amazing though as we cruise past the remnants of many old canneries as this was the centre of the canneries on the Skeena River. We will explore the cannery site and the view what is left before it all disappears.  The highlights are the old boardwalk and the objects that line the forest just up from the beach.

The Pilings at Port Essington at Low tide
The Port Essington Boardwalk which runs along the shore of Port Essington