March 21 – Scaffolding and a Turkey Vulture

Light rain and partially cloudy in the early morning; sunny for the rest of the day
Wind: W 6-27 knots
Air Temperature: Low 8.4°C, High 11.4°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8°C

The visiting group of students toured the island and helped run the desalinator. In the afternoon they did a leadership initiative of setting up two levels of scaffolding and scrubbing the algae from the west wall of the Marine Science Centre. They did an amazing job of looking out for everyone’s safety and cleaning the walls.

A turkey vulture was seen in the early afternoon hovering by the Eco-Guardian’s house. It flew north towards Bentinck Island. They are rarely seen here at this time of year. Occasionally they pass through in the fall, on their southern migration routes.

There were two eco tour boat seen in the reserve today.

March 18 – Divers Clean the Underwater Camera

Wind: SW 5-14 knots in the morning, NE 5-9 knots in the late morning to afternoon, calm in the evening
Air Temperature: Low 7.8°C, High 10.7°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8°C

Nine students came this afternoon with Courtney, Laura and Nazim to dive from the jetty. The seven divers were in groups of two and three for 30 minute dives. The others provided support from above.

Bader and Sean dove together and followed the cable out to the underwater camera, which lies at a depth of 12m of water out from the end of the jetty. They cleaned the plastic dome, which had become dirty with diatoms. See the photos below.

The divers mentioned seeing lots of vivid colours and amazing species including: urchin, anemone, rockfish, greenling, rose star and bull kelp.

Up on land, there was lots of vitamin D to soak up today while doing outdoor tasks: chopping firewood, stacking firewood, sweeping and tending to compost.

There was one fishing boat seen passing through the reserve today.

March 17

Sunny, light rain in the late afternoon
Wind: 3-9 knots NE in the morning, 1-6 knots SE in the afternoon, calm at 18:00, 9-15 W in the evening
Air Temperature: Low 7.6°C, High 10.7°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.9°C

The morning was filled with chores: collecting garbage, tidying, cleaning the solar panels and mistaking a swimming seal for a sea otter (three times). The sea otter, which visited the ecological reserve during the winter hasn’t been seen within the past few weeks.

I was off the reserve for a few hours in the afternoon to drop off garbage and pick up gas, groceries, deionized water for the batteries and cleaning supplies. It happened to coincide with Elizabeth May giving a talk at the college.

The sea lions were very active and vocal leading up to the sunset at 19:21.

There were no boats seen in the reserve today.

March 11 – Cleaning, Diving and Nearby Blasting

Overcast with periods of sun and rain
Wind: 1 – 17 knots NE, switching to W in the evening
Air Temperature: Low 9.0°C, High 11.3°C
Ocean Temperature: 9.0°C

In the morning, the visiting students helped with a service project to clean the algae off the exterior walls of the tank room and boat house. Elbow grease, a non toxic de-algae formula, brushes and water were used to tackle the algae. Rain water was pumped from the collection tank at the Ecoguardian’s House, which saves the energy intensive desalinated water for the kitchens and washrooms.

For several hours beginning at 10:30, DND set off explosives on nearby Bentinck Island, which is less than 1km from the ecological reserve. Birds, marine mammals and an Ecoguardian were startled by the blasts.

This afternoon, the four students doing the rescue diving course practiced more scenarios off the jetty with Chris.

Chris brought a volunteer from Pearson to visit for a couple hours. Myriam Guilbert, who is the mother of second year student Chloé, toured around the island snapping photos of the flora, fauna and views. She had heard lots of stories about Race Rocks from her daughter.

There were two eco tour boats, one recreational boat and the Pearson’s Haiku in the reserve today.