The global significance of the coastal waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia was formally recognized by the United Nations' Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program on May, 5, 2000 by the creation of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. The marine coastal ecosystem of this reserve totals approximately 84,242 hectares. The inherent optical properties of these waters were measured during a fifteen day, 21 station cruise in the summer of 2004 and were synchronized with the daily MODIS Aqua satellite over flights. The depth of maximum backscatter were compared to the ratio of absorption of particulate and color dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and related to remotely sensed estimates of Chl-a. The relationships of these parameters are compared between stations within the Clayoquot Sound and off the coast. This investigation highlights the contribution of the functional proportion of particulate and CDOM in over estimates of Chl-a from satellite remote sensing. The spatial correlation of this functional relationship is however linked to observed patterns of coastal ocean color.