Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there cell phone reception at Salmon Coast?

We have cell reception in the lab, where we have two boosters to increase the weak signal.  Bring your own cell phone, or if necessary you can ask to borrow Salmon Coast’s cell phone.

Is there internet service at Salmon Coast?

Salmon Coast has metered internet available. We typically have enough internet data available for all station users to check their email and do their work. If you need to use Skype, streaming, or transferring large files, you can pay for additional usage.

Once I’m there, how do I get around the area?

By boat. There are a few rough trails heading to our neighbours’ houses (one of the trails is about a 20-minute walk), but otherwise all transport in the area is by boat. Researchers and visitors either need to supply their own boat, charter a local boat and/or skipper, or travel with someone who has a boat. Anyone bringing a boat is responsible for complying with all Transport Canada safety regulations.

There are logging roads on Gilford Island and almost all surrounding areas. Some are active, while many are inactive. These can improve access to various parts of the island, but to reach the roads, you will still need a boat. We are in the wilderness, far from medical attention, and there are terrestrial predators such as bears and cougars, which are active in the area.

Can I SCUBA dive up there?

While we do not provide any equipment or services for diving, there are excellent opportunities in the Broughton area, whether for research or recreation. Some locations are close to the station. Since the station is remote, safety is critical. You are responsible for your own safety, and for ensuring that you are certified, that your skills are fresh, and that your gear is in good condition. Once you have ensured your safety, you can enjoy some of BC’s most amazing dive spots, including the famous Booker Lagoon. Air for tanks is only found in Port McNeill. Local Diving Contacts include: Sun Fun Divers and Top Island Econauts Dive Club.

Do I need to bring my own research boat?

Because this is a marine-based community, unless you are prepared to charter others, you must bring your own boat for research. There is a small station moorage fee based on the size of your vessel. All vessels must comply with all Transport Canada safety regulations. This includes having the vessel registration on board, as well as all necessary equipment and charts. Anyone driving your boat, including research assistants and guests, must have a Pleasure Craft Operators Certificate and a Marine Radio Operators Certificate.

How do I receive mail at SCFS?

Mail can be forwarded to:

Salmon Coast Field Station
General Delivery
Simoom Sound, BC
V0P 1S0

There is a Canada Post outlet located at Pierre’s at Echo Bay Resort, a couple of minutes by boat from the station. Mail service comes once a week, every Wednesday. Outgoing mail must be processed by 9:30 am Wednesday or it will miss the mail plane. Postage stamps are available through the resort but it is wise to bring your own, in case they run out. Courier service and more comprehensive mail services are available in Port McNeill.

What clothing should I bring?

The Broughton Archipelago has a typical west-coast temperate rainforest climate. In other words, it is generally on the cool side of mild, and rain is frequent. Good rain gear (jacket, pants, rubber boots) is highly recommended. Pack warm, comfortable clothing, and include a toque (Canadian word for “winter hat”) and gloves, especially during the colder months. The terrain can be rough, as the roads are gravel and the trails are underdeveloped. Bring a pair of sturdy shoes or hiking boots with good ankle support. For more information on what to bring, please see our packing guidelines.

What medical services are available in Echo Bay?

There are no medical services available in the area. VHF channel 16 (the Coast Guard in Port Hardy), is the emergency medical service. There are nearby residents certified to provide upper-level first aid, but persons with severe medical symptoms or injuries will be evacuated by boat, helicopter, or plane to the nearest appropriate medical centre. Anyone with serious medical conditions should be evaluated by their physician before traveling to SCFS. Visitors should bring an adequate supply of prescription medications with them, as the closest pharmacy is located in Port McNeill.

Is there a bank in Echo Bay?

There are no banks or ATMs in Echo Bay. Most of the local stores accept credit cards. We suggest you always keep some cash on hand. The nearest bank is in Port McNeill.

What about pets?

Please check with the station managers. We love pets, but we reserve the right to decline access to pets for any reason.  Some research can be sensitive, some people have allergies, and we’ve had problems with some pets in the past.

Where can I get groceries and other items?

There is a very small general store and fuel dock in Echo Bay, located a couple of minutes by boat from the station. During the field season, we do weekly supply runs into Port McNeill, including a grocery order.