Foggy week and dead gull chicks

Weather

These first days of August were pretty foggy:Everyday the fog was around Race Rocks from 3:00 AM to 9-10 AM and for the 2 last days it was all day long. One day was warm but the others not so much because of the wind. On the 6th the fog around the rock  was just like a thick wall…

Ecological

No more Elephant Seals and slowly the Sea lions are coming back .We saw the first one on the jetty and 2 big stellers on middle were pretty noisy like usual.The 3 last days many dead gull chicks around and gulls are really aggressive (they attack you)…I saw an amazing show:2 eagles and 4 vultures hunting the chicks together (the 2 eagles going to a dive and the vultures staying at the same level in the air). Many pigeons guillemots . 2 beautiful and big cormorants spend a full day on the same rock. and 2 times we had orcas in Race Passage around 11:00 AM followed by so many boats!The second time some were almost on them (10 to 30 meters) …disgusting!

Maintenance

The sea water pump has been repaired and is working well now. Cleaning days before the shift.

Other

Shift over done on the  6th in the afternoon. James got a full tour of the rock and has been introduced.

 

 

Very strong currents

Weather

We have an alternating mode of days with no wind and some very windy days, raising to more than 40 knots (actually 44 knots on the 28th in the evening). Generally speaking the wind gets stronger almost every afternoon. We can also see some very strong currents around 12 knots  with the tides…very impressive even when you are used to… Some fog but not very often .

Ecological

The most interesting fact at the end  of July is the number of harbor seal babies . they are everywhere on the rocks and very nice to look at.Early one morning the number of Pigeons guillemots closed to the jetty, their camp base on the rock,was impressive.The elephants seals are not so numerous now, between 1 and 5 at the most.One huge sea lions(a Steeler) was fishing alone closed to the jetty and the rest of the colony is on Middle rock.

Other

Many, many whale watchers …it ‘s getting a problem when the huge ones with more than 100 people aboard, come very close to the jetty (I would say 30 meters ) and move the waters  to the point that is white everywhere because of the turbines…

4 helicopters came,  all at the same time on the 28th. They stayed for at least 3mn all around the tower. I guess for a control

Maintenance

The solar panels need attention everyday . I have to pump sea water with the high tide and sometimes in the night. The soft water pump broke …needs to be replace quickly.

Visitor

Mr Tyrone Pile came with the Vice – Admiral of the Victoria Naval Base for a short visit

Flying practice time for the first born chicks

Weather

West light winds most of the time but we had some wind coming from North East  for the 1st time this Summer.last Friday I got a lot of fog with no visibility at all and again two nights ago for a few hours.We have some very low tides .

Ecological

I have been attacked by the gulls getting very nasty. I had a helmet!There are chicks everywhere and the eagles and vultures are hunting almost every morning and I found already 3 bodies and 2 of the small ones  had been recently killed. Territory fight! Many oyster catchers(not true last year). Only 4 elephant seals and 12 sea lions on Middle Rocks. Early a morning I found a very small harbor seal on the railway; 50cm not more with a lot of fur!

Maintenance

The solar panels ,the house windows are getting so dirty!The house entrance too… I pumped more sea water for the underground reserve …This week I had a training everyday at Pedder bay (Navigation and radio operator license Training) So I was gone a big part of the days with some challenge for launching the boat (Low tides). I had to do it around 4AM

Vessels

The number of whale watchers around the rocks is insane . On Saturday I counted that at least 1000 people were around ! It’s a number really!

Dangerous time for the chicks

Weather

The Summer pattern is now well established : Pretty calm in the morning and increase of the wind in the afternoon to 30 to 40 knots depending on the day. West wind is predominant.The water temperature is around 12 degrees Celsius.The days are getting shorter and it is chilly in the morning.

Ecological

It is babies time for the seagulls and some of those small chicks got in pretty bad situation:I saw one getting killed by another gull( territory story) and a a huge vulture got another one just under my window.The eagles are very active after dawn. We had not one  Sea lion to Yesterday and like by magic they appeared :30 and more of them, mainly on South rocks. The whole island is getting white and smelly! Yes it ‘s definitively Summer on Race rocks

Maintenance

Usual tasks :solar panels, desalinator on…etc . I will be on training at the college almost the whole week … Also I realized  how it’s tricky to manage  this boat when there is 30 knots and strong current and swell! it is not impossible but be prepare to be totally damp when you arrive!

Vessel

Many ecotourism boats to the end of the afternoon

Windy month to date

Weather

From the 9th to the 13th  the wind was never lower than 20 knots from west and reached 42 knots on the 10th and all the time a gust in the afternoon

Ecological

The usual elephants seals are on the rocks sleeping or playing in the water; that means  at least 6 of them.More chickens every day and  very nervous adults gulls.

Maintenance

Heavy cleaning of the solar panels everyday.Desalinator on and sea water pump too for the sea water underground reserve. New propane tank on and 200 liters more in the main house. Cleaning of the boat and shed.

Vessels

Whale watchers : they stay longer if the elephant seals are there for a show . Kyle went around the rock with people aboard .

Visitors

For 2 days from Monday to Wednesday morning I took a student with me. Ibrahim from Egypt  is working in the kitchen for the whole Summer so it has been a good break for him.

 

Chickens everywhere and very aggressive adults gulls

Weather

If July 5th,on  Wednesday, was calm with a  light  South West wind and a good visibility It was not the same situation for the following days:on Thursday the wind raised to 31knots from West and on Friday the 7th, it was very windy the whole day to almost 40 knots in the afternoon. The barometric pressure is depending the days around 1019/1020MB. The water temperature is 10 to 11.9 degrees Celsius at the most.On Wednesday for 30mn we couldn’t see around the rocks farther than 100 meters.

Ecological

The babies are born now and the parents are very nasty! Difficult  to go across the rock ; if you want to be safe  helmet and coat are not  optional! 7elephant seals like usual this Summer.I saw a river otter wrapped in kelp to stay on  the same spot! they are smart!

Maintenance

The sea water pump has been working a lot this week too, even in night time depending when it’s high enough. I had to repair the handle of the high pressure cleaning tool. and I transfer 150 liters of fuel in the main house tank. Solar panels very dirty

Visitors

Kyle and Jeff came to bring 600 liters of fuel. and we transferred from the big tank on Second nature to 3 barrels .

Visitors on the rocks for the long WE

Weather

If the last days of June were quiet and without wind July began with a gale warning and the wind reached 34 knots and more from West on the 1st …Beautiful scenery with white crests and a sky clear…the 2nd and 3rd the wind was almost all the time around 25 knots

Ecological

Census

Cormorants :5

Sea lions :0

Harbor seals :105

Elephant seals :7

Oyster catchers :10

Pigeon Guillemots :25

Sea gulls :460

Eagle :3

Vessels

Like usual..except we could count on Saturday 1st, 7 cruise ships: 3 in Victoria harbor,1 at anchor,and 3 going out!!!

Maintenance

I got the sea water pump fixed and put in on ..we need more water in the reserve. I changed the filter and put some weight to be sure that it stays in the water. I noticed that the wooden ladder on the light house tower needs to be repaired or changed .

Visitors

Aziz Sonawalla came back for the long Week End . He is right now working for the Summer at the college and with him 2 volunteers Sheryl and Jules came overnight