Check up for the whaler

Weather

West lo southwest light winds under 20 knots have been on  almost all the time since last week. We got some fog and the fog horn running the whole night between Sunday and Monday to a stop at 8:30 in the morning.The rest of the day was sunny with a flat sea…DSC_0191

Ecological

At low tide the water was pretty far discovering an interesting world of rocks covered with fresh algae. We could count only 4 sea lions (Steelers) around and 60 chickens seen from the front window. If we compare with last year we had 110 sea lions and 87 chickens from the front window .What a different situation.Last year the first one on the jetty came on the 23rd.We will see …the usual 4 elephant seals are most of the time sleeping on Main Rock and the babies are growing fast. Not so much drama I guess because they have enough space but the gulls closed to the path are still defensive and this night a new one was born with 2 more coming (the last ones )so it’s going to be even more difficult to go the jetty! No new dead birds.(only 3 to now ) On Sunday we could count more than 16 whale watching vessels  way beyond the green boyd because of a long pod of orcas.DSC_0217DSC_0220

Maintenance

Guy changed the boat pump for a more efficient one.It was 360 GPM and now it’s 750. He left in the fog early on Monday because of an appointment with a Yamaha specialist. At the college they took the whaler off the water and put it on a trailer.We took the zodiac until the trailer is ready. Camera 3 has been stoppedDSC_0194

Other

3 times this week we had a plane above. Watching boats like usual.

 

 

July 17 to 19th : A calm week-end

It has been 3 beautiful and sunny days .The wind was light at the most 20 knots in daytime and 30 knots on Sunday night .The North wind from the morning became West in the afternoon. The water temperature was still around 12 degrees Celsius. The water salinity stayed around 31.5 and the air at 5 OOAM 10 degrees. The barometric pressure was 903.1 HPa and 1001.8 HPa the day after.
We had no visitors and around the Rocks around 15 whale watchers.
Now we can count around 25 chicks from the front window. Some are already half size of the adults one but a few one have been born only a week ago. At date we found just one body and a half broken egg with the dead chick inside.
We did a few maintenance jobs like the cleaning of the students’ house windows and tidying up the basement in the eco-guardians place. Guy took off the ladder at the jetty, which has to be repaired, or changed .He sanded part of the trailer boat and begin repainting it with some rust paint.

Nursery Island

Nursery island

It was still 20 knots when we awake but the rest of the day was pretty calm from 15 knots to 22 at the most. What a change! We could see very far that day…

After so much wind we were not alone outside enjoying a normal summer day. ..We could call the rock “Nursing Island “because chicks are really everywhere and the gulls are pretty nervous never stopping between feeding the young one and watching out for danger. No way to go around without your yellow helmet like a big bill on the top of the head! Those birds hit you once but not two times and it hurts! You remember!

We had another show from Chunk and the young female in the water. She really wanted to please him! Even after weeks we are still amazed by those attaching animals. They have lost a lot of weight and are now pretty active spending a lot of time in shallow water and each time going back and forth from water to a grassy spot.

 

Desalinator and generator have been on for a few hours. Everything is working perfectly.

Storm

Storm conditions late in the evening
Here is the evolution of the wind coming from West through out the day

5:20 AM: 30 knots
6:05 AM: 32 knots
7:22 PM: 36 knots
8:07PM: 39.1knots
9:38PM: 45.8 knots
9:50PM: 44 knots
22:10: 43.3knots
22:30: 47.7knots
22:47: 50.6Knots

Reminder
6 force= 22-27 knots =39-49 kms/h = Strong breeze
7 force =28-33 knots=50-61 kms/h= Near gale
8 force=34-40 knots=62-74 km/h=Gale
9 force=41-47 knots=75-88 km/h=Strong gale
10 force=48-55 knots=89-102 km/h=Storm

It has been something to see the wind raising but as soon as it has been dark we couldn’t appreciate how big was the sea around the rocks …so we went to sleep.

During that day around 12 whale watchers came and we observed that the smallest gosling in the family of 5 was not swimming with the rest of the family but was wandering on the island limping a little bit (left leg)…later he manage to get accepted by the parents but stayed always behind the group of siblings (4). It is very difficult to spot those little oystercatchers … so I was pleased.

Chores done as usual

July 7th Chicks everywhere

July 7th Tuesday: Chicks everywhere

No more rescue boats around anymore but a tourist plane flew by the island once.

Moderate West wind was between 14 knots to a maximum of 20 knots. No fog and still a little bit of a yellow haze in the sky.
We saw Floyd and Chunk swimming closed to the South islands

From the front window of the main house we could count around 20 chicks mainly under the parent’s wings but they grow pretty fast. The adults behavior is changing they become very active doing their job, protecting each other and the chicks feeding the young ones and going fishing. They are getting aggressive. We have to wear a helmet all the time but they know us and now they just make us know that they are ready to attack. There are still a few eggs not yet hatched but not so many.

July 1st to 3rd : Summer time

July 1ST to 3rd: Summer time is here

If on the last day of June the wind was blowing up to 38.9 around 7:00 the 1st of July and the following days we had some light westerly wind increasing to 25 knots at the most in late afternoon. Water temperature has been steady above 12 Celsius and in Race Rocks no heavy hot days just the best …a light breeze above the houses.

The first of the month (Our Canada flag prouder than ever) has been a very busy day around Race Rocks. Fishing boats and whales watchers were attracted by a pod of orcas heading from ocean to Victoria and we could see them a mere half mile away from the rock on the South West side. All the boats were around and quickly disappeared following the whales.

At 5h00 in the morning, one after the other Floyd and Chunk, the 2 belching and dripping water Elephants Seals, came back from sea ready for a long sleepy day…but we were surprised, in the middle afternoon they gave us a real show. The 3 of them spent more than an hour playing like crazy in the shallow waters by the the jetty for the pleasure of a big whale watchers boat a little too close …but it was such a nice show! Some friends of us at the camera took pictures of the whole thing!

Divers came too and this time very closed to the shore maybe 15 meters! Some were snorkeling and 2 had bottles. They stayed not for long I would say 30mn.

Chicks are now everywhere to be seen…and the island get very noisy .
It ‘s just amazing to see how well protected those new ones are by the whole community. Even the eagles fly away.

Today for the first time in a week the generator has been on for a few hours

Guy had to look at the quantity of oil on the island, that is to say in the 2 houses (175 and 154 liters) the 3 drums (208 liters each), the 2 tanks –the big one (1120 liters) and the new smaller one (200 liters).

Yesterday, July 3rd. It was time for some groceries to buy. We have been surprised to see how hot it was in town and even at the college only a few miles away…We were really happy to come back a few hours later. We had a calm weather condition for the whole day, west winds from 0.11 knots to 23 knots in the end afternoon, very good visibility 10 miles at least.

Foggy day

Friday 26th

Around 11pm between Thursday and Friday the foghorn began its song. Thanks to my wax plugs set .It did the job! For Guy no problem he was already asleep and never wake up…so. Anyway in the morning a fog curtain was lingering over the States coast but was getting closer every minute after sunset. At 5h30 the foghorn went on again. We were in a cottony atmosphere and it was like that in and out for the rest of the day.

In the morning it was so nice to watch from the window the geese family waking up one bird after the other.

Later we had to put the desalinator on and the filter was changed (every 15 days) the generator those days are working with the sun power: Nice!

Boats around: In the morning a zodiac came with 5 to 8 people…apparently nobody had a life jacket! Because of the foggy day we had a lot less whale watchers than usual. Actually a pretty foggy day and not a hot day on Race Rocks! The horn? We are getting used to

This morning we saw the first 2 seagull chicks; easy enough from our window close to the stairs. As usual pictures time  today is anytime: can you imagine chicks fed on small and long fish like smelts. Those birds are common but so interesting to observe. Right now males bring back straw to their nest again: maybe to make them stronger and bigger to welcome the babies…

As chores: I did an inventory in the pharmacy box and kitchen to get rid of out of date products.

Photos

Newly hatched oystercatchers on the south side of the main island last

Newly hatched oystercatchers on the south side of the main island last

Rain gutters pre-cleaning

Rain gutters pre-cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whale watchers near Middle Rock

Whale watchers near Middle Rock

Branded sea lion #8595

Branded California sealion #B101

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning the cable for underwater camera 2

Cleaning the cable for underwater camera 2

Young male elephant seal with bloody mouth

Young male elephant seal with bloody mouth

Orca dorsal fin and onlookers

Orca dorsal fin and onlookers

DSC_0574

Branded California sea lion #8595

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead gulls. Seems to be a high number this year.

Dead gulls. Seems to be a high number this year.

Black Oystercatcher near the jetty

Black Oystercatcher near the jetty

Juvenile Black Oystercatcher on the north side of the main island

Juvenile Black Oystercatcher on the north side of the main island

 

Strong Wind, DND, Coast Guard, Elephant seals, and Oystercatchers

30 knot winds at North Race

30 knot winds at North Race

The wind since Sunday evening has been very strong and even reached over 50 knots on Monday just before midnight. The photo shows North Race during a 30 knot wind. As the wind carries the water in the photo, it also sprayed the house windows which now are in sorely need of a clean.

 

During the winds, the Coast Guard paid a vist.

Coast Guard Helicopter passing by

Coast Guard helicopter passing by a quick visit to the island, hovering over the helicopter pad for several seconds without landing and then taking off again. It looked like it was having trouble with its stability in the wind.

Another noise-maker for the past two weeks have been the blasts on DND. There have been as many as 5 or 6 per day on severals days since my arrival June 24.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juvenile female elephant seal

Juvenile female elephant seal

A new female visitor came to the island Wednesday night. I noticed a juvenile elephant seal

Tuesday evening resting near the fire hose box. She was gone the following day but returned at around 22:30 when I ran into her with Chunk and Misery in the shallow water near the jetty while taking a water sample. Something that has been interesting upon her arrival is that Chunk and Misery have both changed their regular resting spots. Possibly just a coincidence, Misery has always been the one closest to the female.

Parent oystercatcher with chick

Parent oystercatcher with chick

On a bird note, the new oystercatchers have left the nest. The two have been exploring the jetty and surrounding area accompanied by two adults who become very vocal when any danger is in sight. The eggs on the opposite side of the island have yet to hatch.

 

The fog is lifting!

 

View looking to North Race

Today was my first view of the mainland for the past couple of days excluding a few glimpses here and there.The past week has brought constant fog and winds of 20-40 knots which means boat traffic has been minimal. (At least as far as I can see!)

 

Newborn Black Oystercatcher

Today though, the sun has come out and with that yet another newborn. The Black Oystercatchers  (Haematopus bachmani) are hatching. These birds live mainly in the intertidal zone. Where the chick is shown in the photo below is where it just hatched and effectively camouflages itself. Quite a difference from its nest to that of the gulls’.

On another note, the elephant seals are spending more time wading in the water and are holding their breath for longer periods. I was startled the other day when I looked near the jetty to see one limp underwater only to realize it was snoozing and would come up for air every few minutes.

Glaucous-winged gull juvenile

 

And finally, an updated picture of one of the three infant gulls in past posts. It has become more difficult to get pictures of all three because they are more mobile now.