On April 29 we had a very calm ocean and a low tide as well. We encountered many sea stars (mainly Ochre and Leather Stars) but also the Giant Plumose Anemone (Metridium farcimen). It is really weird to see them above the waterline; they appear to be hanging balloons full of water. Under the water they form a nice umbrella with many tentacles. Did you know they only have one digestive system; the mouth is also the anus! The tentacles are festooned with millions of cells called cnidocytes, each of which has a tiny, harpoon-like mechanism. Prey capture is a common function of these specialized cells, many of which contain an associated toxin.
The body type of the anemone is called the polyp where there is a ring of tentacles and mouth/anus configuration atop of a columnar body. Cnidarians can also have the medusa type, where the layout is hanging down and free-floating, a jelly is a great example of this.
If you do not have a kayak and you would like to see them up close: check the underside of the docks in the Nanaimo marina's. I bet you will spot them there as well!!
Richard Römer likes to roam around on Vancouver Island and creates exceptional adventures on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Discovery Islands in British Columbia, Canada