At 8:00 East light wind:5knots, overcast with sunshine around noon. In the afternoon the wing changed to West and got pretty strong in the afternoon. It has not been announced by Weather Canada but evident if you looked on Windyty. We got some gust of 33 to 40 knots. The change between the 2 types of Weather condition was very quick.
Chunk keeps coming every day never farthest than the boat shed.He spent a part of the day in the water closed to the jetty, the other one watching! The pups are really bigger and they are just 15 days old!
2 military zodiacs came in the beginning of the afternoon. Some divers went in water and spend an hour closed to the underwater camera spot. We were watching but when they decided to land Guy went to speak with them and explained what was the purpose of the place . They actually knew almost nothing about RaceRocks excepted that it was a great diving spot. They came from Edmonton locating the area for a bigger group coming latter so we asked them to get in touch with the college as soon as possible.They were not used to dive in ocean waters only in lacks so we informed then about the strong currents around the Rocks and the potential danger. The wind coming we advised them to leave the place before it got too strong and they did.
Weather and Sea Conditions Winds: Winds were variable swinging all the way around the compass starting with east-southeast at 10 -15 knots in the early morning. It backed through northeast and northwest then to light west southwest by early afternoon. By late afternoon it had passed through southeast again still turning counterclockwise to northeast. Sky: Heavy overcast with showers in the morning then partially clearing. Afternoon sunny. Visibility: Mostly good 15 nm, except in fog. Barometer: 101.4 kPa rising Friday afternoon Forecast: Winds westerly 10 to 20 late this afternoon then diminishing to light after midnight. Periods of rain ending this evening.
Vessels in Ecological Reserve Whale watching vessels: Fourteen were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER). One of the whale watchers sped into the ER while there were Killer Whales in Middle Channel. Contact was made by VHF radio and they left slowly without responding on the VHF. Later three whale watching vessels were “herding” the killer whales around and inside Rosedale. By rushing ahead of the whales and placing themselves in their path and by “squeezing” the whales in towards the shore of the ER, two of the vessels put themselves into positions where they were observed backing in reverse into the wind and waves and away from the killer whales. After this, we noted that one adult male killer whale was breaching very close to the two zodiacs. Two much larger whale watching vessels were observed using a similar tactic with a Humpback Whale mid afternoon. No other commercial operators, noted in ER today. Sport fishing vessels: Two noted in ER today travelling reasonably slowly through Middle Channel.
Ecology: Six to seven Killer Whales graced Race Rocks Ecological Reserve with their presence today. The group was made up of one large male, one slightly smaller male with a nick on his dorsal fin about a third of the way up, one small and one very small individual and two or three females, one with a nick on her dorsal fin. Photos are out with a query to confirm their identification. These animals swam over directly from Church Point late morning and came in and out of the ER at least three times. They were also observed going into the entrance of Pedder Bay and through Eemdyk Passage behind Bentink Island. Two Humpback Whales, one large and one small were observed feeding about one mile south of the ER and one Humpback was “chased” into the ER by whale watching boats. Five young Northern Elephant Seals came ashore and spent the afternoon sleeping over by the energy building. Two adult Bald Eagles were seen in the ER today, causing the gulls to flock off with every pass. A high abundance of Moon Jellies was observed in the plankton over the last few days and sea surface temperature has dropped to ~10oC with fairly high (for here) salinity of 32.2 ppt.
Sustainability: Sustainability is not just about washing the windows with an eco-friendly product, it also means engaging young people with the natural environment and in particular with the ocean. The ocean has been called the blue elephant in the classroom, as it is a very large presence on our blue planet that is not included well in curriculum. Pearson College is making a difference to ocean literacy with their Marine Science programming and todaynew marine scientists were inspired to care for the ocean for future generations.
Visitors: Laura Verhegge and two Marine Science classes came on learning field trips to Race Rocks today. Kyle transported everyone aboard Second Nature including distinguished guest, Felix Butschek. Felix is on a yearlong tour around the world as a Rolex Scholar with the Our World – Underwater Scholarship Society in Europe. Felix is a Pearson College alumnus who studied Marine Science with Laura, was active in the Pearson diving program and is now a promising young marine scientist with a serious passion for remote polar seas. It was nice to welcome Felix back to Race Rocks and see him inspiring the first year students during their fun biodiversity explorations and observations. The second class enjoyed observing Killer Whales swim right in front of us as we stood on the rock watching.
Maintenance and Operations: Regular chores. Both fences repaired. Windows washed in Eco-guardian house.
Kyle and Laura with Marine Science students having fun learning about other life forms and marine ecosystems at Race Rocks. Ichiban priority – fun.
Both species of sea lions rest and sleep next to and on top of each other.
Light northeasterly winds and grey skies made for a subdued day. The barometric pressure dropped a little, from 1020 to 1010 hPa. The forecasters are calling for a westerly gale starting after midnight, with showers and a risk of a thunderstorm.
Five whale-watching vessels were observed working in the protected area today and there were lots of sports fishing boats in the area, not fishing in the Fisheries and Oceans conservation area.
The usual Saturday dive charter was operating in the protected area and had his divers in the water on the ebb tide. They were picked up over by Turbine Rock.
Ecologically, more migrants are passing through each day. More Dunlin were spotted today, all with two legs. There were larger numbers of Black Turnstone and Surfbirds today as well. California Sea Lions are hauling out on Great Race again now, a little too close to the house for a quiet night. Geese are starting to arrive in the middle of the night too and they always do a lot of honking on touch down.
Work was mostly cleaning up and packing for a few days away. If the weather cooperates, I will head home tomorrow and Riley will take over until March 31st. I look forward to reading Riley’s blog.
Beulah is in fine form.
Her eyebrow vibrissae will be moulted along with all of her other hair, during what is called a radical moult.
California Sea Lions are noisy neighbours.
The tide is coming up, it will soon be time to go fishing.
This old male River Otter was rolling and rubbing in a huge dirty pile of sea lion hair.
The boat was sighted overturned, approximately 300 meters south of the main island. 9 divers were clinging onto their boat for over an hour. Victoria Coast Guard responded promptly as did a tour boat in the area (Springtide). Eventually the 9 were reached to safety, with one in hypothermic state.
Rough sea conditions and winds up to 31 kts. Swells of up to 8ft @ Jordan River
One tour boat (Springtide) and one dive boat. Eventually the tour boat was involved in the rescue of the dive boat and its 9 divers.
9 passengers from the tour boat Springtide were offloaded at RR docks, to make room for Springtide’s rescue attempt. The passengers were on the island for approximately 1 hour before returning to the boat.
Winds of between 11-18 kts from the ENE. The barometer dropped to 101.2. kPa Winds tonight to 15kts, chance of showers. Strong currents in the reserve.
Four tour boats, one speeding in the reserve.
Three fishing boats.
One dive boat.
Humpback whales spotted to the East.
Bald eagles still at North Rocks.
Very active salmon feeding in the reserve.
Plumbing featured heavily in today’s activities. We seem to have stopped the leak in the student’s house, but the system is now out of action as we had to remove the in-line filter for use in the keeper’s house.
The day has been pretty warm, heavy with no wind at all and a little bit later it changed, coming from South.
Even if we are washing the solar panels everyday it became worse with sea gull droppings and now we need at least 2 full buckets of fresh water.
Around 9:30 I would say, we saw, as did everybody in Southern B.C., that eerie sky but I can tell you that it was like a Hitchcock movie here with the shouting birds all around.
Pretty sad day and what was to come was even sadder. We first saw a boat with divers close to Turbine and West rocks, followed by a Coast Guard zodiac and later a helicopter from Rescue Canada…So a serious matter was unfolding. A diver had not returned after his dive…Late into the night they continued searching. The helicopter flew by the island many times and birds were getting crazy. We even saw a Canadian Frigate, a Canadair plane and another plane too.
In the middle of all this traffic at one point we spotted 2 orcas on the way. It was the only comforting sight of the day.
In total all kinds of boats have been around today: 3 kayaks, 3 or 4 whale watchers, 1 sailboat and 1 small fishing boat in the middle of the passage playing in the current, 1 submarine, 1 diving boat,1 rescue boat,1 navy boat and above a helicopter and 2 planes . What a busy day.