November 29th


  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  15-25 NE
  • Sky: cloudy for the most part, bit of sun came through
  • Water: a bit choppy today


  • Had a couple boats cruise by


  • same amount of sea lions
  • one large male elephant seal
  • a couple eagles
  • there were also maybe 3 humpbacks and about 4 orcas around


  • it does still look like there are quite a few sea lions around, will do the census tomorrow

Beautiful Sunrise, DND Blasting today


  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind: 0.6 SE this morning at 5:30am but has since picked up to 20 SW
  • Sky: few clouds in the more and more came rolling in later in the day
  • Water: calm


  • Some ecotours today
  • Saw a lot of boats in surrounding waters, not within the ecological reserve boundaries, was a nice day for fishing out there


  • 11 elephant seals counted today however there is one I did not see that is usually around so I know she is around here somewhere making the count 12


  • there was some DND blasting across the water today

April Ends Now


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 25-30 knots West
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: 2′ chop


  • The same eight elephant seals on Great Race today.


  • Added 55 gallons of diesel to the tidy tank.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • Started work on the month end report.


  • Saw four stationary whale watching boats to the west of the reserve.
  • I suspect they had found some whales, although it was too far for me to spy anything.
  • Some of them passed by the reserve afterwards.

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

Gale warning and snow again


At 8:00 AM the wind was already at 25 knots from North East with a choppy sea. The visibility early was at 15 miles but during the day we had little to no all just enough to see the rocks and the jetty.The wind got up to 30 knots and stayed at 30 almost all day long and even after sunset. A lot of snow for a while but not like the other day:no accumulation.DSC_0877


The male has been steady mating  those 2 last days so no problem for a next generation…and always closed to the female and her pup and he even doesn’t go fishing very often. She is still feeding the pup ,born 23 days ago…so logically a few days more… We are very curious to see what will happen shortly. A few geese are still there…


3 watchers zodiacs around 1:00PM with the swell, the wind and the snow falling….Big memories for the people aboard! they got as much as possible for the price they ‘re payingDSC_0859DSC_0863

DND activity again : 4 blasts

Watchers back


12 knots North East wind at 8:00,Cloudy,Visibility:13miles,Calm day, Air Temperature :6 degrees Celsius.


Between 5 and 9 eagles steady on the Rocks. Lovely Harlequin Ducks.


Worked on the old generator . all the parts are now loose; Ready to be hauled out soon.


Helicopter closed and a plane far above.

2 watcher boats in the passage.

Fog ‘n Whales


  • Visibility: ranging between 0 and 15+ miles today.
  • Wind: 0-5 knots, at various times from the N, S, or W.
  • Sky: cloudy and often very foggy.
  • Water: calm.


  • At least 3 orcas swam along the edge of the reserve from West Rock towards the North Rocks this afternoon.
  • They were followed by several boats.
  • Noticed a few elephant seals mingling with the sea lions near the energy building and on the ramp.


  • Reset the electric fence in the morning.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • The usual stuff like toilet maintenance, sea water sample, and generator.


  • When it wasn’t foggy there were several ecotours in the reserve today.
  • Several times there were three boats quite close together viewing the sea lions.
  • At times I wondered if perhaps some of the ecotours were both technically in the reserve (not allowed when whales are present) and too close to the whales (see above photos).


  • Three pairs of DND blasting today.
  • 11:47 and 11:49.
  • 1:28 and 1:30.
  • 2:24 and 2:26.
  • The Fog Horn was active much of the night and often throughout the day.

Beautiful Day to Remember


End of Shift.  Tomorrow Riley will arrive for his shift and we will be off. All the best, Riley, for your stay in this amazing hotspot of living activity and tidal rushes. The people of BC are lucky to have Race Rocks protected under BC Parks’ highest level of protection as an Ecological Reserve. It was a pleasure working with the classes of biology and marine science students this week and a treat to be in this special place.

Weather and Sea Conditions  Winds: Light and variable;  Sky: Morning low overcast slight mist cleared to sunny in afternoon;  Visibility: Mostly good ~10 – 15 nm;  The accumulated solar radiation today was 250 Langleys, the equivalent of a little over 2900 Watts per square meter. The UV Index was high at 7.4;  Barometer: 102.7 kPa and falling Sunday evening;  Forecast: Wind easterly 5 to 15 knots becoming light Monday afternoon then increasing to west 20 to 25 Monday evening. Strong wind warning in effect.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve   Whale watching vessels: 12 were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER). All were professional, providing a good model for other boaters transiting the ER.

Sport fishing vessels: A total of 11 sport fishing vessels were observed in the ER today. Three were noted speeding in the ER and two vessels were observed fishing for hours, in the closed to fishing, Rockfish Conservation Area. Photos were taken, processed and filed. There were approximately 70 sports fishing vessels fishing to the west and then drifting by to the east, all but five appeared to follow rules.

Ecology  The first three Harlequin Ducks of the season were spotted today, one male and two females. They have returned from their alpine summer breeding habitat for a coastal winter. A Great Blue Heron was observed fishing, standing on a dense raft of Bull Kelp. A thorough search for the Sea Otter turned up nothing. Enormous mixed species feeding flocks were observed in Race Passage in the afternoon. There are fewer sea lions ashore during the day right now and there have been dietary shifts visible in their feces, which are hard to miss. One animal was observed feeding on what appeared to be a Coho close to a kelp bed on the west side of Great Race.

Visitors  None.

Sustainability  Although it was gray in the morning by 14:00 there was enough sunlight that we made fresh water with solar energy powering the de-salinator.

Maintenance and Operations  Regular chores and clean-up.


Recreational Rush Hour

Weather and Sea Conditions

Winds: Light and variable; Sky: Morning periods of fog, afternoon low overcast, evening periods of rain; Visibility: Mostly good ~10 nm, except in fog; Barometer: 102.8 kPa and dropping Saturday evening; Forecast: Wind light becoming easterly 5 to 15 knots Sunday morning.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve

Whale watching vessels: 20 visits were observed in Ecological Reserve (ER).

One commercial dive operator was noted in ER today. This vessel was within 10 meters (or less) from hauled out sea lions, had divers in the water in Middle Channel when there was a lot of traffic including speeding sports fishing charter boats, recreational boaters who had to be waved off and whale watching vessels. The dive flags wre both located low and on the side away from other traffic. The dive operator was also observed speeding through the ER, on departure.

Sport fishing vessels: Total 13 observed in ER. Seven of these were observed speeding through the ER in areas with high concentrations of animals (and human divers) in the water. Three charter vessels were noted in the ER today, one was speeding. Another 10 recreational vessels were noted including three rental boats speeding and three others speeding through the ER. One rental vessel was reported (to the owners) as fishing in the closed area which is a Rockfish Conservation Area. Photos were taken, processed and filed.

Ecology  Humpback Whales were observed feeding about 1nm south of the ER today. Resident Killer Whales were also reported feeding in Central Juan de Fuca today, further out. Biggs (Transient) Killer Whales were active in Race Passage and environs today. They were not observed in the ER but entered Eemdyk Passage and reportedly made a kill at the eastern entrance. Whale watching vessels that crowded in, were observed backing out ihastily as the whales came out and around Rocky Point. More Sea Lion brands were photo-documented (see gallery). This information feeds into research done by Dr. Pat Gearin of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric (NOAA) research on the population abundance and trends, and the distribution and movement of both species of sea lions.

Visitors  None.

Maintenance and Operations  Regular chores.Made three boxes of kindling. Adjusted screen door.  Ace status achieved quickly on fly patrol.


Pearson Students Have a Whale of a Time

Weather and Sea Conditions Winds: Winds were variable swinging all the way around the compass starting with east-southeast at 10 -15 knots in the early morning. It backed through northeast and northwest then to light west southwest by early afternoon. By late afternoon it had passed through southeast again still turning counterclockwise to northeast. Sky: Heavy overcast with showers in the morning then partially clearing. Afternoon sunny. Visibility: Mostly good 15 nm, except in fog. Barometer: 101.4 kPa rising Friday afternoon Forecast: Winds westerly 10 to 20 late this afternoon then diminishing to light after midnight. Periods of rain ending this evening.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve Whale watching vessels: Fourteen were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER). One of the whale watchers sped into the ER while there were Killer Whales in Middle Channel. Contact was made by VHF radio and they left slowly without responding on the VHF. Later three whale watching vessels were “herding” the killer whales around and inside Rosedale. By rushing ahead of the whales and placing themselves in their path and by “squeezing” the whales in towards the shore of the ER, two of the vessels put themselves into positions where they were observed backing in reverse into the wind and waves and away from the killer whales. After this, we noted that one adult male killer whale was breaching very close to the two zodiacs. Two much larger whale watching vessels were observed using a similar tactic with a Humpback Whale mid afternoon. No other commercial operators, noted in ER today. Sport fishing vessels: Two noted in ER today travelling reasonably slowly through Middle Channel.

Ecology: Six to seven Killer Whales graced Race Rocks Ecological Reserve with their presence today. The group was made up of one large male, one slightly smaller male with a nick on his dorsal fin about a third of the way up, one small and one very small individual and two or three females, one with a nick on her dorsal fin. Photos are out with a query to confirm their identification. These animals swam over directly from Church Point late morning and came in and out of the ER at least three times. They were also observed going into the entrance of Pedder Bay and through Eemdyk Passage behind Bentink Island.  Two Humpback Whales, one large and one small were observed feeding about one mile south of the ER and one Humpback was “chased” into the ER by whale watching boats. Five young Northern Elephant Seals came ashore and spent the afternoon sleeping over by the energy building. Two adult Bald Eagles were seen in the ER today, causing the gulls to flock off with every pass. A high abundance of Moon Jellies was observed in the plankton over the last few days and sea surface temperature has dropped to ~10oC with fairly high (for here) salinity of 32.2 ppt.

Sustainability: Sustainability is not just about washing the windows with an eco-friendly product, it also means engaging young people with the natural environment and in particular with the ocean. The ocean has been called the blue elephant in the classroom, as it is a very large presence on our blue planet that is not included well in curriculum. Pearson College is making a difference to ocean literacy with their Marine Science programming and today new marine scientists were inspired to care for the ocean for future generations.

Visitors: Laura Verhegge and two Marine Science classes came on learning field trips to Race Rocks today. Kyle transported everyone aboard Second Nature including distinguished guest, Felix Butschek. Felix is on a yearlong tour around the world as a Rolex Scholar with the Our World – Underwater Scholarship Society in Europe. Felix is a Pearson College alumnus who studied Marine Science with Laura, was active in the Pearson diving program and is now a promising young marine scientist with a serious passion for remote polar seas. It was nice to welcome Felix back to Race Rocks and see him inspiring the first year students during their fun biodiversity explorations and observations. The second class enjoyed observing Killer Whales swim right in front of us as we stood on the rock watching.

Maintenance and Operations: Regular chores. Both fences repaired. Windows washed in Eco-guardian house.