Busy Weekend for the watching boats


On Friday the morning was calm ,the wind coming from West picked up only late in the afternoon at 25 knots at the most.The visibility was over 15 miles and air felt like 16 degrees celsius at 5:00 AM.Te water temperature was 12 degrees and the barometric pressure 101.4 KPA.Sunrise at 5.44 and sunset at 20:54. On Saturday it has been really calm especially around  noon where it was 0.26 knots and the flag looked like dead. On Sunday very calm in the morning and very windy in the afternoon to midnight around 35 knots;a North East wind becoming West later. July has been a pretty windy month !

Maintenance and other

On Friday, Aziz recorded more videos :by example the whaler in action and we brought him back to Pearson College before noon. We came back just in time around 5:00 because at 7:00 the wind was around 28 knots and reached 30 knots at 10:00PM. We had a plane above like usual at the end of the week. On Saturday Guy disassembled the derrick shed door that need to be changed.The seawater pump was on for a few hours .  On Saturday I sent the end of the month report and the Seawater datas


We had a parade of watching boats without interruption  the whole day on Saturday!!! and some divers spent a long time on South Rocks ! they could stand up! I wished we had an horn!

Transect Peg Locations on Great Race Rocks

Expand this map of Great Race Rocks in order to see the numbered pegs in red around the shoreline. Some of these pegs were intended as intertidal locators, and some as subtidal tethering pegs. The ones with question marks still need to be located to be sure.

Some of the  pegs were established pre-1980 and some were established after 2000.

Peg 1: off west side of jetty end- subtidal
Peg 2: off point of bay west of jetty–subtidal
peg 3: further along north side– subtidal
peg 4: off base of cliff– subtidal (proved impractical because of high current)
peg 5: inter and subtidal
peg 5a:later installation- inter and subtidal
peg 5b: later installation-inter and subtidal
peg 6: for tidepool locator and intertidal and subtidal
peg 7: for subtidal minimal use
peg 8: for subtidal not used
peg 9: for subtidal not used
peg 9 : for subtidal not used
peg 10: for subtidal not used
peg 11: subtidal not used as too close to old outfall.
peg 12 inter and subtidal
peg 13: used for annual intertidal algae stratification lab exercise.
peg 14: subtidal- outer extreme North East corner.
peg 14b: inter and subtidal concrete mound with stainless steel hole for peg – inter and subtidal
peg 15: large boat mooring post — used for intertidal lab exercises
peg 15a: inter and subtidal concrete mound with stainless steel hole for peg – inter and subtidal

To be added later: links to webpages with data from these pegs:

CBC Visits Race Rocks

It was an absolutely stunning day at Race Rocks, with light winds (<5kts) from the southeast and a clear sky until dusk (it has now clouded over). The barometer fell further today, to ~1010hPA. The forecast is for increasing westerly winds (10 to 20 knots near midnight) then light by Saturday morning, with a chance of rain.

It was a busy day in the reserve, with nine whale watching boats stopping by. One of the operators was even flying a drone around the island. No doubt, collecting promotional footage. Seven pleasure craft passed through going slowly, mostly. It is important to remember the speed limit in the reserve is <7kts.

We continued our training today. Learning more about the systems that keep this place running as sustainably as practicable. Don dropped Anne and Alex off at Pearson College in the afternoon, while Nina showed a CBC film crew the lighthouse. Students came out to the island at lunch for a field trip, and another group went diving off the jetty later in the day.

Golden Day at Race Rocks.

This morning dawn came with a mostly overcast sky and fog distant. It cleared by late morning and stayed sunny, only clouding over in the early evening. The wind was light, less than 10 knots and easterly all day. The barometer was up to 2022 earlier and is falling now. The forecast includes a strong wind warning for tonight. Thursday is expected to be sunny with a few clouds.

Four whale watching vessels were observed working in the protected area today. Several sport fishers passed through. The salmon gillnet fleet and packers passed through Race Passage heading east. There was a big swell during the morning and early afternoon.

Second Nature brought one of the Pearson College student dive teams today and the students who got into the water had a fantastic dive. Not only were they able to observe and film the incredible richness of this biodiversity hotspot, they were also visited underwater by curious sea lions.

Several new sea lion brands were noted today including Californians U20, U503, U363 and U844. One of the California Sea Lions made it right up to camera #5 today. By the time I got outside with the blog camera, he was already descending.

I noted the other day that I hadn’t noticed cookie Cutter Shark scars on the Steller’s Sea Lions. Well since I made that remark I am seeing theme everywhere, so take that back.

On the bird front, we had a little female American Goldfinch visit today. It landed on the thistles right in front of me over by the tower. Also on the bird front a suspected Brandt’s Cormorant with two leg tags was spotted today; yellow on the left leg and white on the right leg. There was also a strange bird amongst the Brandt’s Cormorants that I was hoping would be the Brown Booby that has been floating around out here.


Chores were routine and in preparation for the new eco-guardian crew coming out tomorrow. There were nine people on board Second Nature.


Very busy those rocks!


Forecast of gale warning going to 35 knots late in the afternoon. Choppy sea. Very foggy to 9:30AM.I think that we never had so much traffic around as today: More than 30 whale watching boats, 2 diving boats with 6 divers each time, 2 kayaks and a plane over and you could see a big number of fishing boats especially around Sooke .Guy changed the winch handle of the boat trailer and he went on filling up the seawater cistern for 5 hours.We were almost cold! Hard to believe that it was so warm off island when we went a day ago.The last elephant seal is still here sleeping or swimming around.


March 18 – Divers Clean the Underwater Camera

Wind: SW 5-14 knots in the morning, NE 5-9 knots in the late morning to afternoon, calm in the evening
Air Temperature: Low 7.8°C, High 10.7°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8°C

Nine students came this afternoon with Courtney, Laura and Nazim to dive from the jetty. The seven divers were in groups of two and three for 30 minute dives. The others provided support from above.

Bader and Sean dove together and followed the cable out to the underwater camera, which lies at a depth of 12m of water out from the end of the jetty. They cleaned the plastic dome, which had become dirty with diatoms. See the photos below.

The divers mentioned seeing lots of vivid colours and amazing species including: urchin, anemone, rockfish, greenling, rose star and bull kelp.

Up on land, there was lots of vitamin D to soak up today while doing outdoor tasks: chopping firewood, stacking firewood, sweeping and tending to compost.

There was one fishing boat seen passing through the reserve today.

March 10 – Juncos and a Robin

Cloudy, with fog in the morning
Wind: 0 – 16 knots from the W then NE in the morning, switching to SE in the afternoon
Air Temperature: High 10°C, Low 7°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.9°C

This morning, the Pearson students here for Project Week helped stack firewood in the cupboards outside of the Engine Building.

Four oregon juncos and a robin were seen flying around the southern part of Great Race.

This afternoon, four students took part in rescue diving scenarios with Chris. Afterwards a few of them went snorkelling around the jetty to check out the sea stars, a sea slug and other species.

Chunk continues to hang out near the Marine Science Centre.

Three ecotour boats came into the ecological reserve to share the sights, sounds and smells of the marine mammals and birds with their customers.

Jan 27-29

Jan 27:  NE wind 5-15 knots switching to west in the afternoon, 20 to 30 knots. Courtney brought Max out in the morning to check on connections for camera 5 and the underwater camera.  I went off island in the afternoon to pick up Jeff and bring him out for a visit.

Jan 28: Cloudy in morning, cleared up in the afternoon.  Wind East 10 to 15 knots. Brought Jeff back to college in the morning. On the way we went by West rock to look for the elephant seal pup but couldn’t see or hear it.  Picked up deionized water, a UPS for the underwater camera, laser measurer for measuring crane height.  Cleared a large piece of red cedar out of the jetty bay and roped a long piece of hemlock.  Cut and chopped firewood in the sun.  Latter that afternoon I could hear and see the pup again.

Jan 29: mostly clear sky, wind NE 10 to 15 knots.  Two pleasure craft in reserve.  Worked on guest house toilet renovation: shortening platform, adding insulation, fitting, fastening and sealing poop chute. 


Underwater Cam2 sealions .

Today Pam Birley from the UK sent these images she captured from Camera 2 at Race Rocks . This shpws what rewards one can get by having patience ! Click for full size.

 See other pictures taken remotely by Pam Birley

4 DND blasts

Fog on and off today. West winds picking up this afternoon to 35 knots. Clear skies most of the day. Barometric pressure peaking at midday for the last three days. Winds supposed to reach 30 knots tomorrow.

9 whale watching boats (although maybe more I couldn’t see through the fog)

4 blasts from DND in the first half of the day.

There are 5 elephant seals here now. They like to spend lots of time on the ramp and sleep on top of each other. The seal with the bloody mouth seems to be doing much better. The blood looked like it was coming from the gum.

We had a crew come out today and replace a number of windows in the keeper’s residence and the science centre. Chris and I went diving to retrieve the underwater video camera for its annual maintenance.