Never a dull moment. Season to season. The beauty of nature and the environment around us. And, all out our ‘back door’.
The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels of over 300 tons, plus all passenger vessels. An onboard transponder broadcasts information such as vessel name, position, speed and course plus information such as dimensions and the details of the current voyage. The AIS transmitter includes GPS capability for very accurate positioning. Increasingly many pleasure craft and smaller vessels can also be seen via the AIS systems as the owners are fitting low cost transponders.
We overlook a highly active waterway, frequented by commercial marine traffic, pleasure boaters of all stripes, and the occasional waterborne craft that we have no clue about! Located at the nexus of HaroStrait and Baynes Channel, we are optimally placed for observing traffic to/from Victoria, as well as international traffic to/from Vancouver following the main shipping channels entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Our waters exhibit a strong tidal flow, with maximum currents exceeding 7 knots during monthly spring (strongest) tides, and rarely falling below 4 knots for neap (weakest) tides. An underwater wall lays 30 metres off shore, and provides a natural up-welling of nutrient-rich cold water. These fertile waters attract a wide variety of marine fauna that come to feed. Marine mammals, fish, and a wide variety of water fowl drop by for a snack.
With Eastern exposure over Haro Strait, we are only 12 miles from San Juan Island in the United States. Snow-covered Mt. Baker, in western Washington, appears almost next door. And weather is always an integral part of our environment, offering continous variety to our experience…