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Holland Park bluff walk

Fairly often, I’ll take this walk along the outer edge of Holland Park in Victoria, BC (Wikipedia link). There are a couple of routes, but the best is what I call the lung buster. About half way through, there’s a quick climb up from sea level to the top of the bluff via a mix of stairs and path (about 15-20m elevation). Feels good when you’ve finished and you’ve caught your breath again.

Anyway, the view is always changing. These shots are from the top of the bluff looking south-east on a winter morning.

Bright sky on a cloudy day

And a few minutes later,

Hint of sun above the clouds

There is always a bright spot

Bright spot
No matter how low the clouds get, there’s always a bright spot somewhere.

Juan de Fuca Strait had kind of a dark mood this morning. The cloud deck was low and threatening, but still, there was a bit of light catching the edges here and there.

Calm between the storms. We had a ton of rain yesterday and more is expected tonight and tomorrow.

But, there’s always the bright spot, right?

Salmon run

Spawning salmon
A salmon run is quite an event, and worth a visit if you get a chance.

The chum salmon are running in the Goldstream River right now. They are not as colourful as the sockeye and chinook, but the run is impressive none the less.

The fish in the photo are close to 2 feet long and are working their way up the river from an estuary at the end of Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island. The run continues through mid December.

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.

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.