Update: Canon Canada contacted me and has offered to replace their 'severely weathered' Rebel XS - free of charge. SanDisk has also contacted me and will be providing us both with new SD imaging cards. My thanks to both for the kind gesture!
The photographs, having spent 440 days on the ocean floor, have been reunited with the photographer and the family. I am very happy to have facilitated the journey back to where the photographs belong! I certainly didn't anticipate the attention this created, any photographer finding my camera would do the same, right? Thanks again for the great help that came from all of you - the Google+ community. I received an email from the recipient of your help this morning:
"Again thank you so much!!! Seeing the pictures brings tears as we really had forgotten what we were missing by not having them."
I love Google+, it's brilliant!
Previous Update: Thank you to everyone who responded with ideas (some listed below) - proof that the google+ hive-mind can be utilized to complete a simple gesture like returning someones photos :) Did I mention that I love Google+?
three pics were posted in the album from the SD card (photos aren't mine, so the child remained anonymous).
exif data was examined.
Kamloops Fire Rescue and Firefit were contacted.
Canon Canada was contacted re: camera serial number (reply received - no record of the serial number).
photos were dropped into google search and specific websites mentioned in the comments (no luck - nothing matching the exif serial online).
camera serial - canon eos rebel xs: 0520213746
SD card (for those who inquired): Sandisk Extreme III 20mb/s 2GB (it's not uncommon for SD cards to survive underwater - regardless of brand).
an interesting comparison: I posted this on facebook early this morning to try my luck there - it received one 'like' - that's it (there's a reason I left).
Media: please feel free to use the information posted here. I will not be providing interviews or contact information. to those who inquired re: use of my photographs and the story, and provided credit - thank you.
For Sale: Canon EOS 1000D
Description: only used underwater once, in the Pacific Ocean, for approximately one year.
Actual story: found off the end of a wharf in Deep Bay, BC while I was diving (completing a biological survey) in the harbour. I removed the SD card, cleaned it up, stuck it in a card reader and after being underwater in a corroding camera since August 2010 - it works! Approximately 50 pictures on the card from a family vacation. If you know a fire fighter from British Columbia whose team won the Pacific Regional Firefit competition, has a lovely wife and (now) 2 year old daughter - let me know. I would love to get them their vacation photos :)
There are other clues on/within the pictures - I think we should be able to track them down (not sure they'll want the camera back tho).