At 9 pm on Saturday night I came up over the cliff at East Point and saw a large group of Islanders gathered near the Fog Alarm Building (FAB) for the Perseid Meteor Shower event. I was excited to see art projected on the FAB and, of course, to see some meteors streak across the sky, but I’m not going to lie, I went straight for the hot chocolate (featuring homemade mint marshmallows) and cookies.
With delicious provisions in hand I took my seat on the helicopter pad facing the west wall of the iconic white and red building. I didn’t stay seated for long though, the artist, Allison Moore, encouraged us to experience her piece from different vantage points to achieve the full effect of the art combined with the natural landscape. The sounds of the old foghorn, the waves crashing, the kids playing, it all felt quintessentially Saturna.
I’ve worked at the FAB for two and a half months now as a summer student and you can believe me when I say that this is one of the most photographed buildings in the Gulf Islands. But I think these photos of the FAB lit up with footage of waves, tafoni, deer, and psychedelic jellyfish against a backdrop of stars, will probably be iconic in their own right.
After the 25-minute long show, Joan Hoskinson told us about the night sky that stretched out above us, our eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness. We tracked the International Space Station as it moved past Mars and Venus. We identified the Northern Star and learned about the wobble of the Earth on its tilted axis. We collectively cursed the moon which was so beautiful but so bright, as we waited for it to sink lower on the horizon so we might catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower.
I think I saw in total about five meteors that night. The shower had peaked on Friday morning, when Joan told us that an average of 50 meteors an hour could be seen. I still feel lucky to have seen even a few pieces of comet rubble hurtling through our atmosphere. Here we were, surrounded by community, on a point jutting into the ocean, on a planet travelling slowly through the wreckage of outer space (and don’t forget about the hot chocolate, it was amazing).
Reporting by Sofie Osborne. Photos from Mairead Boland.
SEATALKS | Saturna Environmental Awareness Talks presented by Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society | SIMRES