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.

Last day for the student


On Saturday:West wind 6 knots at 8:00 was light the whole week end,overcast to sunny, visibility over 15 miles,pretty cold days :3degree celsius.sea calm.On Sunday:15 to 25 knots,North East wind,Sea:calm,Visibility over 13 miles,Air temperature:2 degrees celsius and water temperature  around 6.5.Cold week end.


For the first time the Elephant Seal pup went closed to the water and spend part of the Saturday at the top of the railway and the 2 other males were around ;the young one very closed and the adult one in the water at the jetty…



We had a boat very closed to the rocks which was .We saw him coming so he didn’t stay long . He saw the big camera and heard the Air horn! It left quickly towards Esquimalt…The other picture shows a watching boat way too closed!Many recreational fishing boats around east Sooke and on Sunday a RCMP boats spend half an hour doing exercises of navigation closed on south sideDSC_0065 DSC_0824

Illegal Fishing


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-15 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm



  • Noted two branded California Sea Lions.
  • U503 and U400.
  • Saw many others with brands but unable to view complete brand.


  • Fixed the electric fence near the energy building which had been ripped apart again.
  • Reorganized some diesel barrels.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • The usual chores.


  • It was neat to watch more than fifteen fishing boats head through Race Passage at 7:15 in the partial darkness of sunrise.
  • Two boats were fishing in the Rockfish Conservation Area, mostly between the Rosedale Rock and the South Islands for several hours today.
  • I identified them as best I could, and reported them to the DFO.
  • At times there were other boats nearby, but they seemed to be making a conscious effort to anchor outside the boundary.
  • The two offending boats made no such effort, drifting about all over the southern part of the reserve.
  • Several ecotours came by today.
  • In the evening one small aluminium boat ripped through the reserve well above the speed limit. Presumably he was late for supper?


  • From about 11:50 until 13:00 I felt a series of unidentifiable booming shakes.
  • I can only assume it was DND blasting, although I saw no smoke, and it was Sunday.
Levitating boat optical illusion.

Levitating boat optical illusion.

Quiet Saturday on the Rock


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-15 knots North
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm


  • Saw a California Sea Lion branded with 8465.



  • Reset the electric fence.
  • Removed ash from the wood stove for the season’s first light.



  • Observed one rental boat that appeared to be fishing within the reserve.
  • Contacted Pedder Bay Marina to let them know.


Pearson Students and Brands


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots NE, later West
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm


  • Saw two branded California sea lions.
  • U400 and U714.
  • Discovered a couple of recently deceased juvenile sea gulls.
  • Cause of death unknown.


  • The usual chores.


  • Lots of ecotours today.
  • One appeared to be going over the speed limit within the edge of the reserve.
  • Several times there were at least 3 in the Middle Channel.
  • Kyle brought two loads of students out in Second Nature.
  • One small boat was observed fishing illegally within the Rockfish Conservation area.
  • They were reported to the DFO.


  • Kyle, Laura, 14 Pearson students, and 3 filmmakers came out.
  • The students were supposed to be doing wind and wave measurements, but Race Rocks was providing very little in that department today.


  • Six pair of small DND blastings today.
  • They took place early in the hour, every hour, from the 10th until the 15th.

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)






Proficient Pearson Painters


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots West
  • Sky: overcast, then sunny, then overcast
  • Water: 2′ chop


  • Much frenetic elephant seal activity throughout the island and surrounding waters.
  • The speed with which they go from slow motion sparring to sleeping side by side is adorable.
  • One seal was even snoozing on the ramp with his head under water.
  • Between 11 and 15 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • We discovered several seagull nests with eggs in them. First ones of the year!


  • The four of us engaged in much painting.
  • The boathouse floor was finished, along with the derrick room floor, and the yellow on the jetty.
  • In the afternoon we used the shorefront pressure washer to remove algae from several walls.
  • As is customary out here, we cleaned off the solar panels.


  • Kyle and Guy brought out the pressure washer and various other items at 8:10.
  • One rental boat was caught fishing illegally within the reserve.
  • I called Pedder Bay Marina to inform them.
  • One coast guard boat passed through the reserve today.
  • Also a few eco-tours.


  • Kyle and Guy briefly to drop off items.
  • In the late afternoon, Maya, Tazi, and Ali came over to the eco-guardians house for tea, cookies, and the American version of Rubber Soul.

Blue Sky Grey Sky

It was a blue-sky day at Race Rocks for most of the day, as the wind switched from west to northeast and then finally greyed over. The wind started light in the morning and rose to 36 knots NE, by late afternoon. The barometer climbed out its early morning hole of 993 hPA and dove back in as night fell. As I post the log it is falling past 989. The forecast is calling for the wind to drop and switch to southwest 15 to 25 knots Sunday afternoon and to light Sunday evening.

Four whale watching vessels were observed in the Protected Area today. They seemed to be travelling out to the west probably in search of migrating Gray Whales. They were a little more cautious on the south side, a trend, which tends towards sustainability.

The “sporty” halibut fleet was out fishing today. They anchor for the slackest part of the tide, spaced out like a beads on a necklace around the Ecological Reserve. Not all of them know about (or they choose to ignore) the ‘no go’ and ‘go slow’ limits of the Protected Area .

The reasons for speed limits in the Protected Area are the high density of marine mammals and birds and the location’s inherent dangers. Going slow protects the wildlife from boat strikes and reduces disturbance if boats stay far enough away. The no go areas also extend that protection to human life. I am not sure how many people have died in the waters around Race Rocks, but if it were a road intersection, it would have one of those high crash scene signs, combined with a wildlife crossing sign. I look forward to the day when boaters know and respect the rules. The quickest way for that to happen is by word of mouth and peer pressure. So if you boat in the area, please feel free to give others a friendly ‘reminder’ about the rules You might save their life. For the professional mariners, it is a very important part of being professional.

Chunk, the only remaining Northern Elephant Seal continues to slumber in the same spot. He has completely fried the vegetation where he is stretched out and seems to have lost a lot of mass since I saw him last fall. I guess he has been fairly engrossed with breeding, killing pups and fighting with other males. It must soon be time for him to head off and bulk up in the depths. He has massive “stretch marks” from slimming down to what looks like about 50% of his portly, fall physique.

There were a dozen Bald Eagles here today and the cormorants roosted on Great Race so it was possible to see the subtleties of the neon blue under the Brandt’s Cormorants’ chins and their whiskery white feathers.

The numbers of Canada Geese have risen rapidly, going from six, the day I arrived, to twenty by this afternoon. Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Regulations, however, they can wreck havoc on a tiny islet like Great Race, which is also used by other species that cannot easily, (unlike Canada Geese), nest elsewhere successfully. Like some people, they are loud, pushy and tend towards aggression, not making the best neighbours for nesting Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Although the status of all three of these nesting species, is ‘Least Concern’ as listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), we are hoping to keep them that way and discourage geese from staying (under strict permit from Environment Canada).

Other than wild goose chases, chores were routine today including camera and computer care.

Sleepy sea lion


Light cloud cover this morning and mostly sunny in the afternoon. Wind was variable – light in the early morning picking up towards the afternoon to as high as 16kts @ 17:00. Barometer was up a little to ~1012hPA. Forecast is for winds steadying between 10-15kts, and a chance of showers this evening and Sunday.

Boats in the reserve

15 Pleasure vessels, one of which was fishing in the reserve. After failed attempts to make contact on VHF16, DFO will be notified. There were also 3 tour boats and trawler activity around the reserve.

Ecological happenings

  • New Californian Sea Lion tag sighted (C733) – no photo yet
  • Two gulls spotted with broken wings
  • Harbour seal hanging out close to RR docks

No visitors today.

Blues Skies.

The weather at Race Rocks was good for generating solar power today with clear skies overhead and a gentle west wind. At the same time, massive cloud formations were building over the Olympic Mountains to the south and the Coastal Ranges to the east. The barometer stayed up at about 1015 hPa today and the forecast is calling summer-like winds with a gale warning posted for tonight and Saturday. It is supposed to be sunny tomorrow and then return to rain for a few days.

Two whale watching boats were observed visiting the Ecological Reserve today and there might have been more. At least three sports fishing boats were in to look at all the animals in the water and on the rocks. One vessel was actively fishing in the Race Rocks Rockfish Conservation Area.

Ecologically, the transition into autumn seems to be happening with more migratory birds passing through and stopping by. The Savannah Sparrow count jumped up to ~ 15 birds today and Surfbirds to 25. Northern Phalaropes were observed feeding in the tide slicks near the reserve boundaries and more gulls in post-breeding migration, like Heerman’s Gulls and California Gulls seem to be arriving daily. See gallery below for more photos.

The weather, sea conditions and currents were also excellent for launching the whaler and doing a test run. I went ashore today and picked up Alex after doing most of the regular maintenance in the morning and finishing on return. The underwater Camera (2) mysteriously came back on-line today after unplugging and plugging back in everything Max and I could think of, to jump start it. When I checked today it wasn’t working.