Visit from Cheanuh First Nations


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots SW, later 5-10 West
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: 1′ chop


  • A new female elephant seal appeared this afternoon.
  • The weaner moved about 3 feet all day, snoozing on top of the cistern.
  • Watched some geese engage in battle.
  • Some nice flowers.


  • Month end report data collection.
  • Stacked some firewood.
  • Did some goose work.


  • Kyle came out in Second Nature with some visitors from the local First Nations Reserve.
  • While presumably checking out the harbour seals, they came across a boat with some of their friends in it.


  • The chief from Cheanuh, his wife, and their two children came out with Kyle and Guy.

Sunny Day


  • Visibility: 15+ miles, Mt. Baker visible in the late afternoon
  • Wind: 0-5 knots North, later up to 10-15 North
  • Sky: clear and sunny
  • Water: rippled


  • Still only the weaner on Great Race.
  • Very cute!


  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • Various daily and bi-daily tasks.


  • At least 4 eco-tours came by today.
  • One of them was likely too close to the sea lions on the South Islands, as there was a stampede.
  • One boat was definitely fishing within the Rockfish Conservation Area, but I was unable to identify any numbers on the boat, and I suspect they were First Nations, which would make it none of my concern.
  • One sailboat wandered through in the early afternoon.

Census Day and fishing activity in the ecological reserve


Calm Summer day


Where are gone so many gulls and why?


6 kayakers between Vancouver Island shore and Race Rocks (half distance )with a  rescue Zodiac in case.4 First nations big canoes 2 under sails and one with oars between East Sooke and the States with  some rescue power boats. 1st watching vessels at 9:30AM .In the afternoon around 3:30PM ,3 people in a small power boat were fishing in the ecological reserve.From south rocks to the middle passage ,with the engine in  neutral position,they went through  the passage 2 times .The guy was fishing with a short rod and we saw one of the women with a mackerel size fish in her hand . It took them 15min to go through  . Because of the aggressive gulls all around we couldn’t go but we took all the references and phoned to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.They left in the Victoria direction and pretty soon to Pedder Bay at full speed.

DND activity

Extensive activity for the DND Today; 14 blasts and the 4 last one were huge .


Elephant seals :2

Gulls: 390 mainly adults glaucous winged gulls, a few Heermann’s gulls only

Harbour seal:s 70 + many swimming newborns ones

Harlequin ducks:1



Cormorants :0

River otters:0

Gull chicks:50 to 60 from the front window.

geese :0

Seashore birds : 4

Orcas: around 10 (seen close enough)






Calm and beautiful week-end


Saturday at 5H30
Wind: East wind,4 knots to 0.4 later
Sky :clear
Visibility:+10 miles
Sea like a mirror


The same 3 geese on the main lawn.
The old or sick elephant seal finally went to the water. at 10:00 .It took her a long time but she managed…

Gulls are getting more aggressive ; Proof:one tried to poop on me ! The whole day was hot and the elephants spent the day in the water…The old /sick one came back to her favorite spot.In the evening we had 13elephant seals on Great Race Rocks.


No eco – tour boats to 1:00PM because of the tide I guess…3 cruising ships in a row   going out slowly from Victoria in the sunset…That means that around 5000 people could have looked at The Rocks at the same time…scary!


Guy took out the boat for a checking . We did a short trip to the college . Everything OK but the spark plugs need to be changed so a kit has been ordered.
At 5:30: Wind :North 6 knots,Sky :clear ,Visibility:over 10 miles,Sea like a mirror. Around 7PM the wind got stronger to 30 knots at 9:30 PM.It was expected.The direction changed to Southwest/West.

Many  recreational fishing boats at the entrance of Pedder Bay and between East Sooke and the First Nations territories.Again cruising boats closed to the american coast leaving.

Small plane above at 9:45 AM.


Census and an Unexpected Trip


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots West
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Sky: partly cloudy


  • Conducted a census.
  1. Harbour Seals: 126
  2. California Sea Lions: 27
  3. Northern Sea Lions: 27
  4. Elephant Seals: 17 (12 on Great Race, 5 on Middle Rock)
  5. River Otter: 1
  6. Seagulls: 563
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 54
  8. Black Turnstones: 51
  9. Canada Geese: 21
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 14
  11. Savannah Sparrows: 6
  12. Bald Eagles: 5 (4 immature, 1 adult)
  13. Rock Sandpipers: 4
  14. Cormorant: 2
  15. Surfbird: 1


  • Canada Goose themed work.


  • One eco-tour came by today.
  • Had a phone call from Kyle this morning to let me know that he would be picking me up around 13:00 for a First Nations cultural sensitivity workshop at Pearson College.
  • This was a surprise to me, but nice to get off the island for a few hours.
  • Always good to be reminded and educated on past and present issues.

POW and Middle Rock E-seals


  • When Kyle arrived to pick me up he came ashore to take a look at a few things, and then admire the elephant seals.


  • Two loud DND blasts around 12:50.

One50Canada Photo Shoot


  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots N
  • Sky: sunny
  • Water: calm

The Sunset


  • Seagulls woke me up at 6:00, something that never happened in February.
  • Had an easier time shooing away the Canada Geese today.
  • The river otter was out exploring and rolling around. It delighted the visitors.

A pair of seagulls


  • I helped Chris and Kyle install the new wifi “distributor” at the top of the tower.
  • Later I tidied up the extra cord, searched for outdoor rated Cat5 (unsuccessfully) and measured out the distance required for the future permanent cord. Twenty-five feet if you’re interested!
  • Cleaned the solar panels.


  • Two eco-tours came by at around 11:00.
  • Second Nature docked on the jetty at 11:00 and departed at 13:00.


  • Chris came by in Second Nature with Kyle (a new dock hand) and a group of three from the One50Canada project.
  • Their names are Martin Gregus, Martin Gregus Jr. and Elena Gregusova.
  • The two Martin’s are trying to make the largest documented collection of photos and information about what Canada is like in the years around 2017, her 150th year of independence. The final project will include a massive coffee table book.
  • They were interested in all aspects of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
  • They took photographs of and asked questions about the mammals, birds, lighthouse, other buildings, vintage Coast Guard equipment, First Nations rock formations, etc.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the One50Canada Society, check out their website at:

The One50Canada family

Gorgeous Day.

What a gorgeous day. It started and ended on equally lovely notes and was nice in between. It was clear all day and light breezes from the east, eventually swung around to the west. The barometer was fairly steady, not doing much and the forecast is for those westerlies to come up tonight and tomorrow.

It is incredibly beautiful here right now with the flowers blooming everywhere, a legacy from light-keepers with gardens. Tulips, daffs, bluebells, grape hyacinth, snapdragon, phlox and calendula are everywhere, reminders the long history of the place going back to when light-keeping happened here at Race Rocks, before Canada was a country. The stone cairns bear witness to people using this place long before it was a light station and a worry today is that the Canada Geese are over-grazing and trampling these iconic and ancient cairns.

I was off-station today, my first trip since arriving twelve days ago. Everything worked well including the winch, marine railway, carriage and the Boston Whaler with its Yahama engine. Alex (my husband) came back with me and will spend a few days here.

Emil, one of the Pearson College students here over the weekend sent me this photo to include in the blog. You can see that they were enjoying being theatrical and generally had a great time on the rock.

whats the point

Esquimalt First Nation Traditional land (and water) use areas.

In August, 2014, the Trans Mountain Pipeline consultant Tera submitted a “Supplemental Traditional Marine Resource Transportation Technical Report. 

In it, a chart is presented with areas of traditional use by the Esquimalt First Nations is presented. This is the first time this kind of map has appeared, and it is rather interesting since the Esquimalt FN remained uninvolved throughout the Race Rocks MPA Advisory Board meetings .


“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY An Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment was completed by TERA, a CH2M HILL Company,and was submitted as part of the Application to the National Energy Board (NEB) in December 2013 for the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project (referred to as TMEP or the Project). The NEB will conduct a detailed review and hold a Public Hearing to determine if it is in the public interest to recommend a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for construction and operation of the Project. Pending regulatory approval, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain) plans to begin construction in 2016 and go into service in 2017.Trans Mountain will continue to engage Aboriginal communities through all phases of the Project. Traditional Marine Resource Use (TMRU) information received from participating communities will be reviewed in order to confirm literature results and mitigation measures. Additional issues of concern, TMRU sites or features identified through ongoing engagement with Aboriginal communities will be considered for incorporation into Project planning under the guidance of existing marine transport regulations and mitigation recommendations. The results of these ongoing engagement efforts will be provided to the NEBin future supplemental filings. Further information is provided in Technical Report (TR) 8B-5 in Volume 8B,  Traditional Marine Resource Use Technical Report of the Application. ”

This report contained a map of the traditional use areas of Esquimalt First Nations which shows use of the  Race Rocks Area as well as the adjacent coastline. It is shown in this link:

esquimalttraditionallanduse area

Click for large version

Race Rocks: Legislative Gaps in Protecting Inshore Marine Protected Areas : Ken Dunham

Ken Dunham, a graduate of Pearson College UWC,  now enrolled in a Law program at the University of Ottawa has submitted the following as a class assignment in Natural Resources Law, CML 1105H for Professor Stewart Elgie.

See the complete paper in this PDF: Race Rocks Legal Analysis-1


Canada is a country of incredible natural beauty and ecological diversity, a significant portion of which has been protected under a system of national and provincial parks and other reserves. One might think that it would be a straightforward matter to similarly protect another unique ecological zone. Especially if it was small, located in a relatively remote location, and there was no suggestion that it should be used for anything else.

This paper explores why this is not so simple in the context of inshore marine areas. Canada’s constitutional / legal framework creates several gaps and overlaps with respect to the environment. The broader issue is not with any particular piece of legislation, but rather the sometimes-narrow context in which each was devised. This is further complicated by how the various statutory pieces fit together (or not) under the division of powers outlined in Canada’s constitution.

These issues can frustrate even the most straightforward project that attempts to carve out a little bit of nature for the benefit of future generations, as exemplified by Race Rocks.



From a legal and constitutional perspective, the most comprehensive protection for Race Rocks would involve the Province of British Columbia transferring the islets and neighboring seabed to the federal government, followed by designation of Race Rocks as a Marine Conservation area under the CNMCAA.93 This would place stewardship of Race Rocks under one government and one minister.

The alternate approaches all involve significant legislative, constitutional, and ministerial gaps that leave major eco-systems at Race Rocks without complete protection.

An outright fishing ban within the boundaries of the Race Rocks reserve would greatly simplify enforcement and prosecution.

Regardless of the approach taken, continued involvement of the local First Nations is essential, given their Douglas Treaty fishing rights and various Aboriginal claims currently being negotiated. The First Nations perspective is that they should be one of three governments sharing decision-making authority as equals, and not merely labelled as just another stakeholder to be “consulted” (i.e. possibly ignored).

See the complete paper in this PDF: Race Rocks Legal Analysis-1


3 concrete rings

On December 29, 2012 I was looking at the winter erosion effect on the First Nations Burial Cairns. On the largest  Cairn, three concrete rings appeared which have never shown up before, since they have been covered with vegetation.

Here is the 2011 version of the mound:

Burial Cairn in 2011

Burial Cairn in 2011

And below are the concrete rings after heavy geese grazing and erosion has bared the top of the mound: Currently we can only guess that they were added since construction of the lighthouse and were perhaps used as a marker or base for an antenna.