Rest and Recovery: The Lull

Friday and Saturday were both calmer days, with light winds and a mix of cloud and sun. The barometric pressure dropped slowly all day Friday and then wobbled back up today to ~1001 hPa where it holds as this entry is posted at 19:00. There is a warning for central Juan de Fuca Strait, calling for ‘Gale’ force winds of 34 to 47 knots east to southeast. At dusk there were large thunder clouds dropping heavy rain, moving towards Sooke.

With the warning in place and the last storm a fresh memory, there were few small vessels seen on the horizon yesterday and today. Only two vessels were observed within the Ecological Reserve boundaries today. One was a speeding sports-fishing boat heading for Victoria. It passed remarkably close to the small reef that just shows above the surface, west of North Rock. The other was also a sporty boat equipped for salmon and halibut. It passed through Middle Channel very slowly, against the flood.

The Strait was busy with marine traffic including four RoRos, (roll-on, roll-off, car carrying vessels with a capacity of ~6,000 vehicles each), in a steady procession outbound. The cable laying ship was inbound as was the tanker Argent Sunrise amongst many others coming and going.

On Great Race, the Glaucous-winged Gulls are back in force, pairs occupying their favourite spots in shiny new plumage. The gull count today was 340 including ~25% juveniles and an estimated 125 paris of adults. One Western Gull and a few California Gulls were amongst the mix. Every time a bald eagle passes over, all the gulls lift off as though raising their collective hat in respect. The two birds observed killed by eagles, to date, on this shift, were both cormorants. They are not such skilful flyers as the gulls and probably easier to pick off.

Harbour Seals missing in action during the last census; have returned to their haul-outs and today’s count was 97 individuals. The Pigeon Guillemots returned this morning as well (~75) but were all gone by early afternoon.

Remnants of the heritage lighthouse gardens are blooming everywhere right now and the rich green growth is a draw for Canada Geese.

Went ashore yesterday for first time this shift. Picked up Alex and supplies. The visit is timely on many fronts. Chores were much more than routine today and it is really great to have good company.