- Visibility: 15+ miles
- Wind: 0-10 knots N
- Sky: sunny
- Water: calm
- 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.
- 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: http://www.one50canada.ca/index.html
Courtney providing the transportation, along with Garry Fletcher took two sets of lighthouse keeper’s family members, the Robert Lundy Family and a branch of the (first light keeper ) George N.Davies family for a prearranged visit to Race Rocks today. They left archival documents and photos; and are sending more to add to the web pages;
High clouds settled in today and there were even a few minute raindrops for a short time in the late morning and early evening. Hazy marine air was evident along the coast to Victoria while across on the American side, it looked like it might really be raining in the Elwha Valley, Olympic National Park. The barometer continues its slow slide, which started last Thursday. The westerly wind is forecast again for tomorrow and it has already started.
A Humpback Whale feeding and resting to the south of the rocks and Killer Whales to the west, continued to draw whale–watching boats from Victoria and a total of 22 were noted in the Ecological Reserve today, mostly observing pinnipeds (Steller’s and California Sea Lions, Harbour and Elephant Seals). One commercial, charter, fishing boat also stopped by to watch the sea lions.
One of the Brown Pelicans came back today and some members of the Victoria Historical Society group saw it on their way out to the island. Three groups of twelve people each had historical tours of Race Rocks today.
The historians were very interested in Garry Fletcher’s on-site presentations about the history of Great Race Island, the 500 year-old plus, indigenous rock cairns and the 154 year history of the Lighthouse. Race Rocks is designated as a heritage site but that only means it is registered in Ottawa, not offered any conservation protection. The Race Rocks Ecological Reserve protects Race Rocks’ biodiversity and natural history and is part of BC Parks, but it does not include human history.
Federal law passed specifically three years ago to protect historical lighthouses does not apply to the six original Imperial Lighthouses, of which this is one. Race Rocks light-tower pre-dates the confederation of Canada and it is the only stone-constructed light tower and one of a handful of standing stone structures this old, in western Canada. It needs protection. You can learn more about its’ fascinating history through this web-site under history. There is even historical video footage of the demolition of the historic, granite, light-keeper’s house in the 1960s by bulldozer and explosives. Fisgard Light which was completed six weeks before Race Rocks is a much less impressive brick tower and is endowed with full heritage protection by Parks Canada.
With 37 visitors to attend to, I did not spend much time making ecological observations today. I did a few maintenance chores before they arrived, washing windows, sweeping the main walk-way with an historical broom and weed-eating around the fly wheels of an old Fairbanks-Morse engine from the turn of the last century, with an historical weed-eater from late in the last century. There are quite a few pieces of old Fairbanks-Morse machinery lying around that could be of historical interest. Here is a YouTube link to a similar 1906 Fairbanks-Morse engine, running. What a beast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTiK2B88EJs
My last tasks of the day are to move deionized water, delivered with the guests by Courtney on MV Second Nature, up to the energy building, and to make fresh water with the desalinator, while the historic Lister generator tops up the batteries which are powered mostly by solar panels.
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:
On May 22 I took Treo Anderson, former lightkeeper at Race Rocks to the BC Maritime Museum to see if we could find the artifacts he had donated back in the 1960s. The museum staff welcomed us and after an interview they recorded with Trev, they took us back into the storeroom to see if we could find the original Race Rocks Barometer. The telescope was displayed in a case so was easier to come across.
Trev was pleased that the artifacts he had rescued from disposal at Race Rocks still had safe storage at the BC Maritime Museum.
See the other posts on the Andersons
Congratulations from all of Lester Pearson College goes out to the first lightkeepers to welcome us to Race Rocks when the college opened in the 1970s. They now live in Victoria and are both in their 90’s. Today Helen and Garry Fletcher attended the 70th wedding Anniversary of Trev and Flo Anderson in Victoria. Trev and Flo were the lightkeepers at Race Rocks from 1966-1982.
This link to Trev and Flo Anderson provides other posts
on their work at Race Rocks
In the 1921 Canadian Census, Andrew Ritchie (21) is listed as living in West Vancouver with his parents David and Christina, and two sisters, Helen (15) and Annie (23) . They had migrated from Scotland in 1911 as passengers aboard the *”Saturnia”. On November 11 of 1931 Andrew married Mary Kathleen Neave in West Vancouver. They had no children.
In January 2014 I received a letter from Mark Knudson, a great nephew of the Ritchies. He said: “Andrew was my mother’s Uncle and was a lighthouse keeper.
She used to visit him in summer. I have attached a photo from about 1948 showing her in front of the foghorn tower at East Point (Saturna Island.)
Andrew Ritchie and his wife moved to Saturna Island in the fall of 1940, after being at Race Rocks Light station for 7 years. They retired on Saturna Island and were still living there as of the 1963 voters list.
Also attached is a photo of Andrew Ritchie as a 12 year old. He was born in Scotland in 1900 and immigrated with his family around 1911 . He was married to Mary Kathleen Neeve, He died in Saanichton (Victoria) Aug.26, 1988.
During the Second World War, Andrew and Mary Kathleen Ritchie (on the left) were photographed by Francis Clements at Race Rocks with some visitors from Vancouver Island (perhaps parents? ) .
I received the following letter and the pictures from Francis Clements of Calgary, Alberta in about 2003. Francis tells of his posting to Race Rocks in 1939 when he was stationed with five other sailors at the “War Signal Station”. Our sincere thanks to Francis for this wonderful piece of history! Click on his pictures below.
This ship was built by Charles Connell & Company, Glasgow, Scotland, 1910. 8611 gross tons; 456 (bp) feet long; 55 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 14 knots. 1250 passengers ( 50 first class, 1200 third class ).
Built for Donaldson Line, British flag, in 1910 and named Saturnia. Glasgow-Montreal service. Scrapped in Italy in 1928.
Trial Island Lighthouse (link) has been put forward for protection under federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The deadline for submissions for support for this nomination is may 29th 2015.
There is now a facebook page (link) that has been setup by a friend of mine who is volunteering fro the Oak Bay Heritage Foundation. They are collecting information to justify the nomination of Trial Island Lighthouse for heritage protection.
So if you are an avid supporter of Canadian maritime history, and appreciate lighthouses then help spread the word about Trial Island.