A B.C. underwater cinematographer is hoping to raise awareness about the diversity of local marine life, saying its colours and vibrancy rival what’s seen in more tropical climates.
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to border closures and travel restrictions, local diver John Roney decided to take the opportunity to highlight B.C.’s marine life.
“Diving was already a passion for me, but once the pandemic began, it was one of the few things I could really do all the time with everything shut down,” he told CTV News Vancouver in an interview on Saturday.
“I realized I really had an opportunity to sort of hone in on the local marine life and start filming everything that’s just in our backyard.”
Roney said locals may be surprised by just how colourful the waters are.
“Most people have this idea that the waters off B.C. are dark and murky, which, the visibility isn’t great, but once you get down there, the amount of colour is just incredible,” he said.
“There’s these vibrant pinks and purples and yellows, sponges, everywhere you look it’s just so vibrant. It rivals even what you’d see in the tropics.”
Roney said he hopes he can encourage people to have the same passion and pride for B.C.’s waters as they do for the mountains and old-growth forests.
“If people are going to fight to protect our ecosystem, they’re going to want to know what’s actually down there,” he said.
“Everybody knows about the incredible orcas and salmon, but there’s also these bizarre and really fascinating creatures that only live here … I really wanted to show the animals that don’t get the limelight as much.”
For example, the West Coast is home to the largest octopus in the world, the giant Pacific octopus. The enormous creature is one of Roney’s favourites, but not just for its size.
“Really, it’s its intelligence. When you look into the eyes of the giant Pacific octopus, you can see an intelligent creature looking back at you and they’re just so fascinating,” he said. “When you see them out and about and billowing out it’s just incredible.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim