Astronomical phenomena abound! As I write this, Mayne Island is enjoying a partial solar eclipse (around 90%), with a full eclipse occurring further south in the USA. I enjoyed a short peek, thanks to a stranger on the dock who offered me a view through her special eclipse sunglasses. Without those you can cause permanent damage to your eyesight—the usual results of staring at our star.
Another astronomical event was occurring in our skies just over a week ago; the Perseid meteor shower. Unfortunately, the meteors were hidden by the first rainclouds we had seen in months. Despite changes in venue and the cloudy skies, our non-meteor event on August 12th was a great success. More than 50 people gathered at the Dinner Bay Pavilion to enjoy a lively demonstration of how the universe works given by Scott Mairs of the Victoria Royal Astronomical Society. We learned how to use just a few clearly visible stars to recognize the constellations and much more.
Also related to astronomical happenings, our team of marine surveyors have been out mapping and monitoring bull kelp. Surveys occur at only the lowest tides (determined by the position of the moon and earth relative to the sun), and so our team is out now during the eclipse, mapping the distribution of kelp along the south shore of Active Pass. Annual surveys for kelp and eelgrass allow us to better understand and observe changes in these important nearshore ecosystems.