Sundials are pretty in a garden & all, but do they actually work? How accurate are they? And honestly – what’s the point?
The other day I happened across an interactive sundial.
It’s enormous – – spanning a broad intersection of pathways at the Ogden Point Breakwater. The interaction occurs when a person stands in one particular spot on the giant clock. From that spot, a shadow is cast across the clock. The numbers around the edge identify the time.
Yup, it works! And go figure – throughout the year it keeps time, varying 15 minutes at the most.
Now I can time my walks along the breakwater, start to finish, without looking at my watch.
It’s fun & functional public art. 🙂
(Kudos go out to the BC Capital Commission, the Victoria Harbour Authority, and artist Andrei Golovkine for getting this BC 150 Legacy Project done.)
I remember being quite freaked out walking out on the Ogden Point Breakwater for the first time.
Once past the entrance gate, there are no protective railings. It’s just a sidewalk reaching out a kilometer into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Yikes!
But it promised views of the city that only sailors otherwise experience.
The drop off along the edges made me nervous. There was plenty of space for me – even enough to easily pass by other walkers. It wasn’t a rational fear.
But there was a lighthouse at the far end!
Being from the prairies, I’d never been up close to a real lighthouse. I HAD to go. Fear was not an option.
I’m glad my sense of adventure overwhelmed the fear factor.
Out on the breakwater the sea air seemed more invigorating than it was on shore. Or was that the fear induced adrenalin kicking in?
It was lovely looking back at the distant city.
And, of course, the lighthouse really was cool.
In year’s since, Ogden Point Breakwater has become my go-to destination for a bit of exercise (and for testing the metal of visiting prairie relatives).
I like to watch the Pilot Boats come & go. All hours of the day they meet up with any of the ships, tankers, or barges hoping to travel through the straits. I feel quite a bit more comfortable knowing that a Canadian Pilot boards each vessel and maneuvers it through our waters.
A few years ago, yellow lines were painted along the edges of the top of the breakwater. I don’t know exactly how or why it works, but those lines do make me feel less likely to step over the edge & plummet to an untimely death. That may seem like a bit of an exaggerated ending, but I suppose that’s what adrenaline does to a person. I like the yellow lines.
When I’m feeling like less of a scaredy-cat, and when the tide is going out, I like to walk along one of the lower steps. It’s a good place to chat with the fellow dangling a fishing line into the water.
Things got exciting in 2012 when a local woman looked down from the main walkway at a seagull standing on one of the steps. While she watched, the arm of an octopus reached out & grabbed the bird! Seriously. A tug of war ensued with the seagull losing the battle. I wouldn’t have believed if the woman hadn’t shot photos.
Even knowing the harsher elements of nature, I’m still fascinated with the world that the Ogden Point Breakwater brings me closer to.
An evening stroll is treasured too. When I’m lucky, I can spot scuba divers exploring the underwater steps. Their lights illuminating the area & casting funky shadows. One of the divers told me that for kicks around Halloween they have underwater pumpkin carving contests. Perhaps that should go on my bucket list.
Recently a mural was added to the inside wall of the breakwater. It’s called the Unity Wall, a land and sea bridge between first nations and non-aboriginals. I’m looking forward to seeing it developed even further. The plans are for it to become the world’s longest mural.
Now there are plans in the works to put handrails along the top edges of the breakwater. I’m a little sad about loosing that little bit of adrenaline rush during my strolls.
On the other hand, rails will mean there will be no need for that big entry gate that only bipeds can get through. When I’m ancient & getting around in one of those motorized chairs, it’ll be fun to still be able to get out there & feel the wind in my hair. Those scooters are pretty zippy, you know. I could terrorize the young folk. That would bring the fear factor back to the breakwater. 🙂