Field Research Station

The Field Station

Our field station is located in Ahousat, on Flores Island, about a 40 minute boat ride from Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. We are headquartered in a turn of the century house that provides shared sleeping accommodation, and spacious kitchen and living space as well as fully functional plumbing and a shower! The house is on the grounds of the Ahousat General Store which supplies all manner of things from snacks to obscure boat parts and is part of the assemblage of docks, marine ways, boat repair facilities, store restaurant, motel and fuel dock owned and operated by our host Hugh Clarke, a veteran of more than 50 years of residence here. We are situated about 20 minutes from our primary data collection site and we leave every morning, weather permitting, to points around the island for various data collection work. At the station,the MRIP provides 3 meals a day and general access to the kitchen and supplies; other snacks and munchies (available at the food store) are your own responsibility.

Field Working Conditions

Research staff and interns form a team to work on research projects. Do expect to work hard alongside researchers - in the field and later on back at the house doing data entry and other tasks. There are few dull moments, but we still find plenty of time for sitting on the porch when required. Work hours are variable and depend on weather!!!! When the weather is good, we rise early in the morning, work long days in the boat gathering data, and have late evening dinners. When the wind blows and the rain pelts down, we have to stay ashore. This regime requires patience, flexibility, and a good attitude. Make sure you come prepared for this work schedule!

Everyone works together at the field station in every aspect of daily life. Research interns are expected to share in the cooking, housekeeping, boat maintenance and other chores. When the team stands down for rest and relaxation we enjoy taking the interns on a voyage of discovery to some of the coolest places imaginable Internships are not a vacation or a guided tour. Rather it is an introduction to the real world of marine research. You will be tired, but you also will sleep well and have a strong sense of satisfaction that you have contributed to important projects! There is lots of fun to be had along the way.

Field Station Conditions

The field station is not quite a four star hotel, but it is a very comfortable and charming home base. The facilities of the field station are a little limited in use; laundry, hot and cold water and showers are always there but need to be used co-operatively. There is a TV/DVD Player but no cable. A CD/tape deck does exist at the station with an iPod hook-up, so bring your music! We do have a telephone, bring a calling card for chats with home, there is no internet access. Sleeping rooms are dorm style with beds for 5 to 6 in each large room. You can expect to share one of these rooms with other Interns and crew. Individual bunks are provided but bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. So, if you join the program your stay will require co-operation in the kitchen and probably a few line-ups for the shower.

Once on the water you will be in the hands of experienced field staff running our research skiffs. On the boat you will have full safety gear that will keep you dry and warm as well as meet all requirements for flotation. On the dock there are only a few occasions when you wont be helping shoulder the gear that we trek in and out with to accomplish our data collection. This may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to work alongside marine ecologists in a fantastic natural setting, amidst some of the Earth's most majestic creatures. This experience may spark your interest in a lifelong pursuit of marine biology! At the very least it will definitely remain a unique educational experience you will remember forever. You will have gained new knowledge, learned new skills, experienced rare opportunities, contributed to important ecological research, all the while soaking up Canada’s wild west coast!

Just a note about medical facilities, they are limited on the island. The hospital is a 40 minute boat ride to Tofino. A clinic does exist in Ahousaht, and a doctor is available 2 days a week. So, if you have a medical issues you should discuss with the MRIP CO-ordinator. Bring prescriptions (and your epi-pen if required) with you, the nearest pharmacy is in Tofino. We do a medical screening at the time of acceptance just to be on the safe side.