Marine Traffic and Blasting

Marine traffic in the reserve has increased over the last 2 weeks with vessels in the reserve almost on a daily basis now.  For the most part they respect the DFO’s requested speed limit of less than 7 knots within 400 meters of the rocks.  It appears that the requested marine mammal viewing distance of at least 100 meters generally does not hold much weight, though it is sometimes challenging to judge distances.   There aren’t very many sea lions yet so less incentive to get very close.  While there is a juvenile elephant seal learning to swim in the reserve we are being extra cautious about boat traffic.

Personal Watercrafts in the reserve

Saturday, March 24: 4 vessels including 1 private, 1 ecotour and 2 personal water crafts (PWCs).  The PWCs came into the reserve around 1600 well in excess of the 7 knot speed limit creating a lot of noise and causing the sea lion on the South islands to exit the rocks for the water.  These vessels generally do not carry radios (or if they do they wouldn’t be able to hear them anyway), their ID is next to impossible to see, and they likely are not aware of DFO guidelines.

Monday, appear to be within 100 meters of elephant seals on middle rock

Sunday, March 25: 3 vessels including 2 eco tour, 1 private.  The ecotour vessel Constance operated by Prince of Whales exited the reserve Sunday afternoon from the South side of the island.  They appeared to accelerate beyond 7 knots within 400 meters of Great Race.  I established radio contact with them on marine VHF channel 79 to let them know and request that they follow the DFO’s guidelines.  The vessel operator believed he been beyond 400 m, I appreciated their cooperation.

Monday, March 26: 5 ecotour vessels.

Tuesday, March 27: Strong E wind and swell, no vessels.  DND raised their red flags to signal blasting.  I went off island to take the station whaler in for maintenance and repairs so did not record any blasts.

Thursday, again, appear to be within 100 meters of elephant seals on middle rock

Wednesday, March 28: 3 ecotour vessels including one I haven’t seen before, the King Salmon operated by Great Pacific Adventures.  This was the loudest and most polluting diesel vessel i have seen in the reserve, I could smell it on Great Race and it left a haze behind it.  DND blasts recorded at 1004 (heavy), 1009 (medium), 1018 (light).

Thursday, March 29: 2 ecotour vessels.

Friday, March 30: 3 ecotour vessels including one called the Jin Jang I haven’t seen before.