October 22nd

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 Miles
  • Wind:  15-30 NW
  • Sky: cloudy but there was some sunshine today
  • Water: pretty rough with wind and waves

Boats/Visitors

  • Had some ecotours go by

Ecological

  • plenty of sea lions around along with the 5 female elephant seals

Big Waves

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 Miles
  • Wind:  0-15 SE
  • Sky: cloudy all day
  • Water: The swells were more than a metre today

Boats/Visitors

  • Had some ecotours brave the waves

Ecological

  • Sea lions seem to be multiplying still and getting closer to the house
  • Saw a couple humpbacks out there again today

Notes

  • Had to the run generator for quite a while today but couldn’t run the desalinator because the sea lions would not move

0-5 S

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  0-5 S
  • Sky: some clouds but a lot of sunlight today
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • some ecotours came by and I believe a coast guard boat

Ecological

  • plenty of sea lions around and those 3 female elephant seals

Notes

  • Looks like Coast Guard was doing something with the green buoy to the south of me

Census Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  10-20 NE
  • Sky: clear all day
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had some visitors come by from Eagle Wing Tours

Ecological

  • The 3 female elephant seals are still here
  • Spotted some California Gulls today too

Notes

  • There was another sea lion with a band stuck around his neck, will alert DFO so they can come out here and help out the sea lion, the last pictures are of this sea lion
  • It was pointed out to me that I have not been including the sea otter in my census, I admit I have a hard time spotting him from here so I often forget about him

Census

  • stellar sea lions – 42
  • california sea lions – 286
  • gulls – 324
  • oyster catchers – 8
  • black turnstones – 18
  • sparrows – 32
  • harbour seals – 87
  • sea otter – 1

A Little More Rain

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  5-15 W
  • Sky: cloudy all day with little breaks of sunshine
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had quite a few ecotours cruise by today

Ecological

  • nothing new, approximately 300 sea lions on island, maybe more

Notes

  • Finally now that it has rained a bit more I can start pressure washing pathways and buildings, clean things up a bit

Census day and find “6 Spots” the harbour Seal!

Weather

Another calm day with 9 knots,North East wind at 8:00AM ,Calm sea,Cloudy to some sunny periods,Visibility over 13 miles. Sea water :7.1 degrees Celsius

Ecological

I thought to have seen the famous seal on Turbine Rock this morning. there was a beautiful spotted Seal and actually the first one like that I ever saw…but when I went to do the census I discovered 7 or 8 spotted ones all together on South Island so…I am not sure anymore …Is “6 spots “around or not?…I let Pam to be the expert and the judge . Again Chunk :he spend the afternoon closed to Guy working at the cleaning of the railway (drifting wood again).A lot of activity for the gulls on the fish banks. In the night I have been awaken by the Sea Lions for the first time in those Winter months

Vessels

3 Watchers  and a police boats going towards Esquilmalt..some small fishing boats closed to Pedder Bay.

Census

Gulls:520

Cormorants :90

Harbour Seals :17

Elephants Seals:6 (2 pups,2 females ,2 males)

Eagles:8

Harlequin Ducks :8 seen this week

Geese:6 seen this week

Black Turnstones: a few

Sea lions : 200

 

A Subdued Day on the Rock

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.

 

 

Sea Spray and Flying Foam

Update at 17:40

Since writing the log the wind turned to west, southwest and came up even stronger. We have sustained gusts up to 62.7 knots. Seas are coming over the helipad and the tank-shed and boat shed roofs are being stripped off and are flying past the house. Yikes.

Sustained east, southeast winds of 30 to 40 knots, gusting to over 50, pushed seas up into breaking whitecaps this morning. Large breakers rolled down the jetty and rose up around the derrick base making seawater sampling impossible. Under heavy skies, waves crashed against the eastern face of Great Race and flying sheets of salt spray dominated the small landscape here. There was even a pocket of sea foam building up on the boulder beach and foam was flying right across the island.

Barometric pressure dropped overnight and kept going down in the morning, reaching 982 HPa by early afternoon. The highest gusts were observed late morning 53.4 knots on the Lighthouse system which we can monitor in the kitchen. Gale warnings continue and the forecast is calling for a turn to strong westerlies in the afternoon, diminishing to southwest 15 to 20 overnight. As this log is posted at ~15:00, there is no sign of it letting up and the rain has started.

It was not a day for small vessels to be out and none were seen. Pan pans on the VHF radio included an overturned Junior Flyer with a father and son (a child), clinging to the hull of the overturned vessel. Their call originated in Puget Sound and the US Coast Guard rescued them. What was that man thinking?

There is obviously a great deal of mixing going on in the sea, with all the wind and wave energy churning things. That means spring phytoplankton blooms are still some time away and early herring spawns may produce larvae that go hungry. Stratification (stable layering of the water) becomes possible when less dense surface waters (warmer, less salty, or both), float on top of denser seawater (saltier, colder or both). That layering in surface waters gives some stability for growth of photosynthetic plankton that drive the food chain and rely on light. Light levels are returning, there are lots of nutrients, so as soon as it calms down for a while there should be a plankton ‘bloom’.

On the bottom, microscopic Bull Kelp ‘plants’ are starting to grow now. They will be full size by July after phenomenal  growth fuelled by sunlight and nutrients. A few ‘old growth’ Bull Kelp were visible today, silhouetted through the waves on breaking reefs; for brief seconds as the waves crested, they stretched out fully vertical. Bull Kelp clings with tenuous holdfasts anchored through storms and calm. They are considered to be an annual species and don’t generally last much more than a year so the ones still here are very hardy.

The wild goose chase continued today as if the weather wasn’t enough to ward them off. It was too windy for the eagles and the gulls were hunkered down in nooks and hollows head into the wind in order to stand their ground against the wind. A few of the larger sea lions managed to haul out mid day. It looked too difficult (and dangerous) for the smaller animals that were seen cavorting in the waves. Again there was no sign of seals or guillemots.

Landing would have been impossible today. Even at low tide, big breakers were sweeping the jetty. Chores were routine as wind and spray permitted.

Like the farm of the same name 'Wind Whipped'.

Like the farm of the same name ‘Wind Whipped’.

 

 

 

Canada Geese

Ecological

  • Wind 15-20 knots NE increasing to 25-30 overnight. Sky partly clear.
  • First flock of Canada Geese on the island since I arrived, they didnt stay very long.

Vessels

  • pleasure craft-31 pleasure craft, appearing to travel over speed limit in reserve
  • On Dec 30 an incident was recorded involving an eco tour vessel passing through the narrow channel between south islands and great race. We received an email from the captain Dec 31.  I replied to his email Jan 2.

Maintenance

  • cleared boat ramp
  • cleaned battery terminals and contacts on derrick engine
  • cut and chopped firewood