Whale Sighting!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots West, later 5 knots South, then 5-10 West
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Shortly before 15:30 as I was counting shorebirds, I heard a loud noise to my right. Glancing over, I was thrilled to see a whale surfacing in the South Channel. I managed to get some photos as it resurfaced farther south-west.
  1. California Sea Lions: 79
  2. Harbour Seals: 69
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 33
  4. Elephant Seals: 3, all on Great Race, 2 young males, 1 weaner
  5. Whale: 1 (I think it was an Orca)
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 269
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 45
  8. Cormorants unspecified: 30
  9. Double Crested Cormorants: 9
  10. Surfbirds: 37
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 27 (15 males and 12 females)
  12. Canada Geese: 24
  13. Black Turnstones: 20
  14. Bald Eagles: 20 (4 adults, 16 immature)
  15. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  16. Rock Sandpipers: 4
  17. Crows: 3

Boats

  • A few eco-tours passed by today.
  • Second Nature came out with food supplies for me.
  • A large navy sailboat passed by north of the reserve.

Visitors

  • Kyle and Jeff came out in Second Nature.

Other

  • One helicopter flew just south of the reserve in the morning.

Ecoguardian Changeover

Weather

  • Guy et Christine’s 8am weather report.
  • Visibility: 13 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots West
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

03-13 Waves

Ecological

  • The elephant seal weaner was back on the grass between the buildings.
  • One juvenile male spent the day sleeping by the tower.
  • A second young male appeared in the afternoon and pestered the weaner.
  • I was pleased to spy several oystercatchers, a pair of harlequin ducks, two bald eagles, and a raven, amongst the usual seagulls, cormorants, and black turnstones.

03-13 Weaner and male

Maintenance

  • Guy, Christine, and Kyle gave me a tour of the facilities.
  • Various little changes here and there, but overall no massive differences.
  • Unpacked and settled in to the house.

Boats

  • Kyle and Second Nature brought me out around 12:30.
  • They departed at 1:20 with Guy et Christine.
  • 3 eco-tours came by in the afternoon.

03-13 Eco-tour 1 03-13 Eco-tour 2

Visitors

  • Kyle

Other

  • I am excited to be starting my fourth lengthy shift out at Race Rocks.
  • This is Riley Strother signing off and wishing you a goodnight!

The Accreditation Team

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10 knots N
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • Fresh snow on the Olympic Mountains.

fresh-snow-olympics-11-11

Ecological

  • 4 elephant seals on Great Race

grrrrrr-11-11

Maintenance

  • Stacked some fire wood.
  • Did some electric fence re-organizing.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.

fire-11-11

Boats

  • Kyle came out in Second Nature.
  • One pleasure craft came through the Middle Channel.
  • A few eco-tours came by.

Visitors

  • Kyle brought the accreditation team out for an hour long tour.
  • Three men: an Austrian, a Colombian, and a British via Tanzania.

Military Blasting

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots NW
  • Sky: mix of blue and clouds
  • Water: calm

evening-appoaches-11

Ecological

  • A gaggle of 19 Canada Geese arrived on Great Race today.
  • The birds and sea lions weren’t too pleased with all the DND blasting.

Maintenance

  • The usual chores.
  • Took some ash out of the wood stove.

Boats

  • Kyle came by in Second Nature to pick up Natasha.
  • A couple of eco-tours came by.

Visitors

  • Natasha left today.

tasha-says-goodbye-8-11

Other

  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • Small, medium, and large blasts.
  • 10:59, 11:16, 11:18, 12:01, 12:04, 12:51, 1:07.

boom-8-11

Donor Visit

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 miles, then down to 5, up to 15.
  • Wind: 5-10 knots NE, E, and NW.
  • Sky: overcast, then foggy, then sunny, then rain.
  • Water: calm
  • Beautiful evening.

as-evening-rolls-in-21-10

Ecological

  • The cackling goose was gone today.
  • 7 elephant seals on the grass near the students’ house.

Maintenance

  • Added one 55 gallon barrel of diesel to the tidy tank.

Boats

  • Kyle came out with a group of 4 donors.
  • We gave them a tour of the island and buildings.

Visitors

  • 4 donors from Toronto Ontario/London England came out with Kyle.

Back Online

Saturday evening as the storm was subsiding, the communication lines went dead out here at Race Rocks. After trying all the normal fixes on my side, I was informed via cellphone that the problem lay at Pearson College. The College had lost power from some internal breakdown, and so no internet or phone line was being sent my way over the air. Once things were up and running again this morning, I was able to reestablish connection to the internet and phone lines.

Rather than submitting a log entry for each missed day, I will simply provide a summary of each day’s main events. And pictures as always!

Saturday 15 October 2016-Fierce Storm

  • Day began at 7:00 with winds of 15-20 knots NE.
  • 9:45 30 knots East
  • 13:00 35 knots East
  • 13:30 45 knots East
  • 14:30 50~ knots East!
  • 15:20 45 knots East, communications down.
  • 16:50 communications returned.
  • 17:00 30 knots East
  • Around 18:30 communications down for good.
  • 19:00 15 knots West
  • 20:30 30 knots South-West
  • One month remaining in my shift.

Sunday 16 October 2016-Pelican

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Saw a single brown pelican today!
  • Failed to get a picture though.
  • Branded California sea lion 8465.
  • 8 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • A small group of California sea lions began sleeping on top of the e-seals.
  • To my surprise the elephant seals don’t seem to mind.

Monday 17 October 2016-Peregrine Falcon!

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 5 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • In the early evening a pigeon flew into a window, presumably breaking its neck.
  • Immediately a Peregrine falcon swooped down to inspect its prey.
  • I assume the falcon was the reason the pigeon hit the window at such a speed.
  • The falcon then flew way up into the sky, before returning to make off with the meal.

Tuesday 18 October 2016-Bio-mimicry Visitors (and Alex!)

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0 knots
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm
  • A rainstorm appeared from about 10:00-12:00.
  • A rather sunny afternoon!
  • Kyle came out with Alex Fletcher and a biology group.
  • The 6 visitors were studying bio-mimicry.
  • How can humans improve our technology by copying successful animals?
  • The organization that they are involved with is one of our donors.
  • They were very interested in the sea lions, seals, and birds.
  • 11 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • Saw 3 brown pelicans; this time got a photo!

Pearson Students and Brands

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots NE, later West
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • Saw two branded California sea lions.
  • U400 and U714.
  • Discovered a couple of recently deceased juvenile sea gulls.
  • Cause of death unknown.

Maintenance

  • The usual chores.

Boats

  • Lots of ecotours today.
  • One appeared to be going over the speed limit within the edge of the reserve.
  • Several times there were at least 3 in the Middle Channel.
  • Kyle brought two loads of students out in Second Nature.
  • One small boat was observed fishing illegally within the Rockfish Conservation area.
  • They were reported to the DFO.

Visitors

  • Kyle, Laura, 14 Pearson students, and 3 filmmakers came out.
  • The students were supposed to be doing wind and wave measurements, but Race Rocks was providing very little in that department today.

Other

  • Six pair of small DND blastings today.
  • They took place early in the hour, every hour, from the 10th until the 15th.

A Return To Race Rocks

Ahoy, Riley Strother here. I have returned for another stint as eco-guardian here at Race Rocks!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: up to 35 knots NW in the evening.
  • Sky: mostly clear
  • Water: small waves

gorgeous-sunset-26-9

Ecological

  • The sea lions continue to roam about the island like a herd of cats.
  • Sea lion moulting time is a new experience for me.
  • I observed at least 4 elephant seals.

Maintenance

  • When I arrived Anne was running the desalinator. I shut it off later.
  • I was given a tour of the various changes to certain systems by Anne/Kyle.
  • Spent a few hours unpacking and settling back into the house.

Boats

  • At least 20 ecotours came by today. None of them seemed to cause any problems, though some were perhaps too close?
  • I overheard what sounded like a rather heated exchange on the radio, but the boats in question were outside the reserve.
  • Kyle came out in Second Nature to drop me off, pick up Anne and Alex, and to transport the chimney sweep fellows.

boat-1-26-9 boat-2-and-3-26-9

Visitors

  • Kyle.
  • Two chimney sweepers came to sweep the chimneys in each house, as well as inspect and change the filters in the furnaces.

Kayak Symposium Visitors

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots West
  • Sky: clear and sunshine!
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • What a wonderful last full day on the island for the students!

Ecological

  • The elephant seals put on a show for our visitors.

DSC_6467

DSC_6466

Maintenance

  • The four of us ran the derrick to make sure the thing is still operating smoothly.
  • Tazi and Maya cleaned the solar panels.
  • I did some algae removal.

Boats

  • Kyle came out in Second Nature with two groups of kayak people.
  • Several sailboats were still returning past Race Rocks this morning and even into the afternoon.
  • Apparently they were participating in the 73rd annual Swiftsure International Yacht Race. What a wonderful activity!
  • The distance of the race is 159 miles, and as of right now (Sunday evening) there are still a few boats making their way back towards Race Rocks.

Visitors

  • Two groups of folks from the kayak symposium came out to Race Rocks (about 16 in total).
  • Maya played us some guitar from the roof of the desalinator bunker.

No Boats Go

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-30 knots West
  • Sky: overcast in the morning, cleared up later
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • 15 elephant seals on Great Race

Maintenance

  • Cleaned the solar panels
  • Started applying algicide to the building walls during a brief lull in the wind.
  • Didn’t go so well when the wind picked up again.
  • Scrubbed the walls after. Moderate improvement.

Boats

  • No boats in the reserve today.
  • A group of students were supposed to come out here, but Second Nature isn’t back from overhauls yet, and it was too windy for the smaller boats.