Author: donsca

A dabbler in photography, writing and science.

Coastal Pilot

Pilot returning to harbour
There are two of these yellow pilot craft that dock beside the Ogden Point breakwater in Victoria. Their job is to ferry coastal pilots out to foreign vessels entering Canadian waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They also pick up the pilots when the boats are ready to leave our waters.

The pilots have local knowledge about the coast. They take charge of vessel navigation, to ensure they stay in safe channels on their way in and out of ports along the inner coast.

Sounds like a great job, meeting new folks, sailing on all kinds of vessels, and spending your day travelling our beautiful coast.

Still, cranky skippers could be a pain in the a**, I guess.

Frustration strikes

How frustrating. I was out at a local park taking photos for an hour or so. When I got home, in over 30 shots, there were only one or two that weren’t blurry.

I’m use to a few garbage shots when I get back. That’s the nature of the beast, but holy cow, it was like the image stabilization system had turned off.

OK, perhaps it was just too much coffee.

Better luck tomorrow.

(Note to self: cut back on the coffee, my friend)


Beach house near Ogden Point

This ‘beach house’ appeared one day, on the beach off Dallas Rd in Victoria. It had a side door, a picture window facing out to the sea, and two rooms. Clearly the labour of love for someone.

Or maybe they were just having fun. It was gone the next day, scattered out along the beach, and there was absolutely no hint of it left after a recent storm.

I hope it served its purpose…


Remembrance Day eve

Old guns stand guard

These preserved guns, and other older canon installations at Ft Rodd Hill Park in Esquimalt BC, are a reminder that the west coast of North America has faced it share of wartime threats.

In the second world war, for instance, these guns were used in combination with submarine nets to regulate traffic in and out of Esquimalt harbour. The nets went from about the Fisgard Lighthouse (seen in the upper right) across to another fortified installation.

For a while, Japanese submarines plied the west coast, looking to disrupt shipping. In fact, there are reports of at least one submarine (I-26) attacking a west coast lighthouse at Estevan Pt. on Vancouver Island.

There was never the death and destruction felt elsewhere during the war(s), but men and women still had to be there to stand on guard.

I’m thinking about this now, because my dad was one of those people. He flew the east and west coast of Canada in a Canso aircraft as gunner/observer, looking for submarines and other enemy shipping. Luckily, he said that on the west coast, most of the time they were just spotting whales.

Just remembering my dad on this Remembrance Day eve.

Silhouette on the hill

Silhouette on the hill

This deer was on a grassy berm last October, in one of the gun batteries at the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in Esquimalt BC. There was a small herd running around. Not surprising, given the number of deer on south Vancouver Island. They are everywhere.

The fort was an interesting place. It, and other batteries and forts in various forms protected the Esquimalt and Victoria harbours until the 1950’s. Here’s a short description from the Parks Canada website:

Fort Rodd Hill NHS commemorates the national significance of the Victoria-Esquimalt coast artillery fortress in the defence of Victoria and the naval base at Esquimalt harbour, as part of the larger defence strategy of the British Empire and Canada, 1878 to 1956.

It also holds Canada’s first west coast lighthouse, the Fisgard Lighthouse, built in 1860.

We don’t have a long history in Canada, so it’s nice to see them protecting and preserving some of it.

A beautiful, windy day on the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Waves captured just east of the Ogden Pt breakwater.

Waves captured just east of the Ogden Pt breakwater.

The wind picked up this afternoon and whipped the Strait into a mild frenzy.

Quite a few cars along Dallas Rd got completely soaked. I can’t believe people would park there, when the salty waves were washing onto the street; but there ya go.

Some folks walking along the sidewalk and out on the breakwater got pretty much drenched too. Quite a surprise, I expect. You run to miss one wave just to meet another, as it crashes over you head-on. I stuck to the high ground, but still got misted once or twice. Even though you think you’re invincible, nature will get you one way or another 😉

I’ve seen pictures of Dallas Rd. in a windstorm before, but I don’t think I’ve actually been down there during one. Quite exciting.

Definitely had to wipe the spray off my camera when I got home today.