4th e-seal pup this season


  • The female elephant seal that hauled out yesterday onto Great Race gave birth overnight on the lawn between the science centre and the desalinator bunker.  The pup looks big and healthy.  Several birds have been sneaking in to snack on the placenta and umbilical cord.  Also the amniotic sac was visible on the lawn nearby.  The mother has what appears to be a pale green flipper tag with very worn out ID numbers.
  • Determined that the mother of pup has a pale greenish- tag # 5928 on her: This is quite significant as it is the first female to give birth on Great Race Island which has been tagged as a pup in California. More details later..mother-el-sealtag5928-20160207

  • Chunk was more interested in mating than in checking out the new pup.
  • A west wind picked up over the day up to 40 knots in the evening gusting close to 50 knots with heavy rain.



  • E-seal-5928-Mar-30-2013-RR1-300x198

    E-seal-5928- Mar-30-2013





  • Month end reporting
  • Cleaning, packing, tidying for shift end.

pup deceased


  • In the morning on Feb 3rd the second pup that had been born on Great Race (on Jan 27) was motionless.  The pup had previously seemed a bit weak and slow compared to others, since mating began there has been a lot more commotion in the area and the pup was often unable to get out of the way.  It is likely that it was either crushed or suffocated under the weight of the adult elephant seals.  The mother stayed close to the body and was pushing and prodding it with her nose throughout the day.
  • A third female e-seal was hauled out onto Great Race in the morning yesterday.  While not as large as the others were before giving birth she is behaving like the other pregnant females.

Vessels: I returned in the afternoon, there was one eco tour after I got back.


  • Brought the whaler in on Tuesday, Feb 2nd and sent it to a mechanic to work on electrical problems.  There was a problem with the grounding connection and a few of the wiring connections (GPS, vhf and nav lights have been failing) which have been fixed.
  • picked up some “U” bolts from Slegg for a camera mount attachment
  • started month-end records and reporting.

January Seawater

Date Time Sea Jar Hydro- meter     No. Observed Density YSI Salinity YSI Temp °C
Temp. Temp.
°C °C
1 8:50         32.2 8.3
2 9:30         32.2 8.2
3 9:26         32.1 8.2
4 9:47         31.9 8.1
5 10:06         31.9 8.0
6 9:05         32.0 8.2
7 9:30         32.0 8.2
8 10:06         32.2 8.3
9 11:45         32.1 8.4
10 13:10         32.4 8.4
11 13:00         32.4 8.3
12 13:30         32.5 8.6
13 14:30         32.5 8.5
14 15:40         32.7 8.5
15 7:25 8.6 8 10,802 248 32.9 8.5
16 8:00         32.7 8.5
17 8:30         32.6 8.6
18 9:15         32.5 8.5
19 10:10         32.4 8.5
20 9:24         32.3 8.4
21 11:15         32.1 8.6
22 11:30         32.3 8.7
23 13:00         32.3 8.6
24 13:00         32.4 8.6
25 13:15         32.4 8.6
26 14:25         32.4 8.6
27 15:00         32.3 8.5
28 16:00         32.2 8.7
29 8:00         32.2 8.7
30 9:10 8.6 8.5   237 32.4 8.5
31 9:00         32.1 8.5

Orcas, Penis, Helicopter


  • Elephant seals: Chunk has appeared to be trying to mate since before the pups were born but today it was the first time I have observed successful copulation with the mother of first pup.  In the photos he seemed keen to go again but she didn’t seem very interested.
  • Orcas: what appeared to be a family of 4 orcas passed through race passage in the morning heading East.  A “Whale Research” vessel can be seen in the photo following them.
  • Fishing: several sports fishing boats with buoys were around the reserve today,  a sure sign that the halibut fishery has reopened for the season.


  • took measurements for camera mounting housing and hardware
  • Coast Guard Helicopter pilot Captain David Ferguson paid a visit to Race Rocks with 2 crew to do routine maintenance on the light and fog signal.  They came in one of the Coast Guard’s new, shiny Bell 429 machines, which apparently cost about 8.3 Million dollars apiece.

battery maintenance


  • wind south 10-15 becoming south west 15-20
  • Chuckles came back onto the main island overnight, Chunk keeps him away from the females and pups.

Vessels: 4 eco tour. One appeared to be getting too close to sealions on the South rocks and harbour seals on West rock.  We went off island for a couple hours and returned in the afternoon.


  • topped up deionized water in battery bank, cleaned batteries and started applying anti-oxidation compound.
  • ongoing training of new guardian on island systems and procedures.

Third elephant seal born on Middle Rocks

Alex noted in his last log that he had heard another pup out on middle island and was able to see it from the tower. Today we have a clear shot at it from camera 1 . The pup seems quite lively. The unfortunate thing is that every year there has been a pup born out there, the next big storm washes it off, so as far as we know there has never in the past 8 years been a surviving pup from the middle island.  Here’s hoping for no storms for the next few weeks??? not likely..







  • Wind 25-30 knots East shifting to West gusting over 50 knots after noon with periods of heavy rain.
  • elephant seals and pups huddled together in the weather, doing fine.

Vessels: I went off island mid afternoon to pick up visitor.

Other: training new guardian, Riley, over weekend.



3 e-seal pups


  • Wind west 20-25 knots, periods of rain.
  • I returned to Race Rocks this afternoon to a new e-seal pup on the lawn by the path. I could also hear the distinct sound of a third pup and mother on Middle Rock, confirmed with spotting scope from tower.  Chuckles was out on Middle Rock as well close to the mother and pup.

Vessels: I returned early afternoon +1 ecotour.


  • very heavy blasting at Christopher Point throughout the day with a west wind to carry the impact this way.  On my way back the ecotour operator said he had seen one blast cause a sealion stampede.
  • Received call from Coast Guard re someone open channeling on their vhf radio on channel 83 Alpha for the past 5 days in this vicinity. Checked all VHF radios on station.