British Columbia

Through the murk: An underwater cinematographer sheds light on B.C.'s sea life

John Roney has turned two years of scuba diving off Vancouver Island into a two-minute video that highlights some of the fascinating creatures of the northern Pacific Ocean.

John Roney wants to give British Columbians a sense of pride when it comes to our oceans

John Roney started diving more during the pandemic and is now sharing a selection of what he filmed during the past two years. (Submitted by John Roney)

A Vancouver Island-based cinematographer is trying to raise awareness about the "vibrant and colourful" life in the waters off British Columbia with a new mini documentary that showcases the variety and beauty of the creatures below the water's surface. 

John Roney has been spending more time underwater since the pandemic hit and he has been sharing what he finds through videos and pictures on his website

"I want Vancouver Islanders and people from British Columbia to have the same pride that they have for marine life here as they do for the mountains and the old-growth forests," he said.

Roney's two-minute video, called Beneath the Pacific Northwest, is an edited version of what he captured over a two-year period from areas near Parksville, Victoria and Northern Vancouver Island.

WATCH | John Roney's two-minute video of B.C.'s coastal sea life

"I feel like it's an ecosystem that's really overlooked, just considering how few people know what's down there, so my goal with this video was to really just raise awareness for the lesser known life in our waters because if people are going to fight to protect something they have to know it's down there," he told CBC's All Points West.

Roney thinks a lot of people are unfamiliar with B.C.'s waters because of their cold and murkiness. 

"I've been on dives on occasion where you can barely see past your own hand," he said. 

He added that sometimes it's a two-hour event just to get all his gear on and off and he's only in the water for roughly an hour.

One of Roney's favourite creatures is the giant Pacific octopus. (Submitted by John Roney)

But it's worth it when Roney comes across creatures such as the giant Pacific octopus.

"Every time I encounter one of those I'm pretty stoked," he said.

Roney, who works for the B.C.-based environmental protection organization SeaLegacy, hopes that more mini documentaries will be coming to help share and educate British Columbians about the creatures in our own backyard.

With files from All Points West


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