Eclipse, Ft. Rodd Hill, Visiting and HOLY CRAP MY SON’S DRIVING A FERRY

This has turned out to be a fantastic holiday so far. The weather on the coast is sunny and dry, and the neato activities just keep coming. Yesterday was the 21st, and it was the day of the solar eclipse. I’d noted it in our calendar, but hadn’t really made any specific plans for it. Victoria was the best place in Canada to watch it, with about 90% totality. We got up and breakfasted, and then I built a pinhole projector out of cereal boxes. I would rather have had my telescope and solar projector that I used for the Venus transit, but this was better than nothing. We got into the car and headed to the beach. We didn’t need to go to the beach to watch the eclipse, but it was a nice setting and memorable location.

Me looking at the projected image of the sun

The kids at the beach

The effect of the eclipse was more muted than anything. It got a lot dimmer, and the heat disappeared, making the morning cold. It was a success.

On the way back from the Lagoon, I elected to stop in at Fort Rodd Hill. It was on my list of places to visit on this trip, thanks to the Canada 150 celebrations. On the way in, one of the park orienteers handed us a pair of eclipse glasses. They’d been running an eclipse watching event and had glasses left over. The kids enjoyed looking at the sun through them much more than the projector. Then we went around the Lower Battery, Belmont Battery and the Fisgard Lighthouse.

Heading down to the Lower Battery

We retreated to Dad’s for lunch (bringing donuts!) and shared our eclipse experiences. Then we went to visit with Jeff and Sasha and the kids. We didn’t get to see them last summer, because they were in the middle of their move to their new house. This year, they had a new baby, Sonya.

Sasha, Sonya and Tammy

We had a nice steak dinner and a great visit. The kids all played outside, then went to the 7-Eleven for Slurpees. Sonya was good natured, but she didn’t know what to make of me. I did my best to make friends, but she wasn’t having any of it. 🙂 It was sad that we had to end the evening with “We’ll see you next year.”

We couldn’t stay too late, because we wanted to catch the ferry to Pender Island in the morning. There was an 8:30 ferry on the Mayne Queen direct to Pender, or the 9:10 ferry which went to Saturna, Mayne and then Pender. Ian wanted to do some timelapses and Colin and Carol had doctor’s appointments this morning so we took the slow boat.

We moved up to the sun deck right away, with the iPad set up on the stand.

Ian and the iPad

We were partway through our trip to Saturna Island, when a man in a BC Ferries uniform came up and introduced himself and started asking questions about what Ian was doing. He had been thinking about doing a timelapse of the ferry runs and wanted to know where we got the stand, etc. He thanked us for the information and then went away for a bit.

Then he came back when we were nearer to Saturna Island and asked where we were going. We told him Pender Island (which was two stops away) and he invited Ian and I up to the wheelhouse after we docked. “Would you like to come up and see where we drive the boat?” Ian: stunned silence. Me: “There’s only one correct answer to that question, Ian. Yes.”

So we did. Turned out our BC Ferries friend’s name was Malcolm, and he was the Captain. He showed Ian around the controls.

Captain Malcolm and Ian

We were allowed to set up the iPad on the starboard bridge wing, and then, things got crazy.

He got to steer the boat. I will post a video of it later. I can’t compress the video enough to fit under the size limit, but it’s amazing. I will put this picture of him sounding the whistle, though. We spent the entire time from Saturna to almost to Pender in the wheelhouse.

Oh, and we got some great timelapses, too. Let’s just say that this was the best day ever for him.

Ian and I on the flying bridge

And then we got to Pender! We had lunch and told Baba and Grandpa about what had happened. Then we checked into our AirBnB and went for a swim in Magic Lake.

Swimming in the lake

Whew. What a day.


Here’s a link to the video of Ian driving the Queen of Cumberland. It’s big (76 MB).

One thought on “Eclipse, Ft. Rodd Hill, Visiting and HOLY CRAP MY SON’S DRIVING A FERRY

  1. BOY!! can you find a hat big enough to fit on Ians head….. He will have some story to tell his friends because thy don’t normally allow people into the control room. Looks like the swim was a lot of fun.

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