The mercury hit 11C today (which is over 50F!) so you know it was a warm day.
Spent 30 minutes in the morning chasing the Canada Geese off the island. I did so by walking around the perimeter of the island, and every time I completed a loop the original pair would have returned, necessitating a further loop to invariably chase away some other returned pair.
Eventually I only had to walk about once per hour to scare off any geese that had returned. By the evening there only remained one persistent pair near the Students’ House.
As Anne has noted, there are lots of gulls and they take to the sky at the slightest swoop of an eagle.
It looked to me as though there were 4 elephant seals hauled out on Middle Rock.
Several times today the sea lions seemed agitated by the boats that perhaps got a bit too close. They generally chose to bark rather than stampede though.
I saw the river otter in the afternoon, my favourite Race Rocks character. It’s good to be back. Thornton W. Burgess should write a book about him/her.
Oft’ agitated Sea Lions
Cleaned the solar panels.
Settled back in to the house for my short stay.
As befits a beautiful statutory holiday, there were many boats about today.
Anne dropped me off in the Whaler in the morning.
Five eco-tours came through the reserve to look at the sea lions.
The Prince of Whales came by two times. The first time they appeared to be speeding through the SW part of the reserve to join up with the catamaran.
The large Eagle Wings catamaran came by twice.
An unidentified black eco-tour came by in the late afternoon.
One pleasure craft with a family on board passed through the South Channel, which is definitely too close to the sea lions.
Two fishing boats came by. The first one seemed too close to the sea lions. The second one appeared to be going too fast.
The Pacific Scout pilot vessel passed to the north of the reserve.
The Sir Wilfred Laurier patrol vessel passed to the south of the reserve.
Got a phone call from a wrong number; someone asking for Mike. That seems rather unusual.
Two whale watching boats were seen in the ecological reserve.
Today was the shift change that saw Alex depart after being on for three months and Virginie for a month. It was a calm and glorious day to ferry the supplies and people back and forth to Race Rocks. Thank you Alex for all the great work you have done and the great shape you have left the place. I will be here until the end of March.
A gull attempts to eat an urchin
The elephant seal 5086 is still hanging out on the grass between the Ecoguardian’s house and the jetty
The wind blew from the northeast between 17 and 27 knots. At 15:00, the wind died down a bit, blowing between 12 and 14 knots for several hours. The barometer dropped from 1014 hPa to 1008 hPa. The sky was clear, with some clouds in the south. Whitecaps rolled in from the northeast, calming down in the early afternoon. The temperature reached a high of 6.7oC at 15:00.
There was one whale watching boat seen in the reserve.
The winds, swell and tides combined to allow me to stay another day on the Rock. Between my time mopping the floors and tidying up inside the buildings, I observed sea lions through the binoculars. There were no branded or entangled sea lions observed. They all appear healthy. Many have moved on from Race Rocks, probably to go further up the west coast of Vancouver Island. It will be interesting to see how many are still here. We will have to wait until tomorrow’s census to find out.
A cuddle puddle of steller sea lions on South Seal Rocks.
There might be something tasty in the water for those gulls.
The wind blew from the northeast at 13-26 knots. A small swell with whitecaps blew in from the northeast. The barometer dropped from 1024 hPa to 1015 hPa. The temperature reached a high of 5oC at 15:00.
There were no boats seen within the reserve today.
Everyday there appears to be fewer gulls and sea lions in the reserve. An official count will happen on Thursday with the census. There are still a lot of cormorants congregating on the shores of Great Race, as well as Turbine Rock and North Rocks. The harbour seals are hauling out at low tides on various rocky ledges close to the shoreline.
Today was filled with cleaning and wrapping up some tasks that I’ve been doing while here for the past five weeks: construction in the basement of the Marine Science Centre, sorting out photos, and cutting up firewood that was collected at the shore and piled up by the tank house to get the salt rinsed off by the rain. Tomorrow is a shift change that will see Alex arrive for the winter shift. I’ve had a great time as the Ecoguardian, learning lots from the species and history of this beautiful piece of land and sea.
The HMCS Nanaimo, a coastal defence vessel, heads eastward 1.5km from South Island, where a group of sea lions bask in the sun.
A fish bone that has been picked clean lies near a succulent plant called sedum, which covers some of the rock near the lighthouse.
This cannon was taken in 1987 from the ballast of a the Swordfish, which sank near Race Rocks in 1877. The cannon now sits at the base of the lighthouse. Mt. Baker can be seen in the background.
The low tide in the afternoon exposed some thatched barnacles to the air.
The Davis Weather Station with the moon in the background.
The wind blew at about 15 knots from the northeast for the daylight hours. A swell with small whitecaps from the northeast died down at noon. The barometer dropped slightly from 1031 to 1029 hPa. The sky was clear all day.
There were six whale watching boats seen in the reserve today. The only other boat was the Race Rocks boat making a round trip to Pedder Bay at noon, for an Ecoguardian switchover.
Over the weekend, Jeff completed the installation of the new composting toilet in the Ecoguardian’s house. It’s a big step up from the humanure system that was in place before. The new waterless system has a unit in the basement, directly below the toilet, that decomposes the human waste and only needs to be emptied once a year. An identical unit is going to be installed in the Marine Science Centre, once some minor wall demolition happens to accommodate unit in the basement.
The bio-drum and collection chamber of the new Centrex 3000 composting toilet in the Ecoguardian’s House.
At 14:00, there were two or three humpback whales within a few hundred metres of the northeast of Great Race Rocks. They made their way to the south, diving for five minutes at a time and then resurfacing. Two whale watching boats remained with them for about 45 minutes, sometimes very close to the whales.
The fluke of a humpback whale, with the shoreline of Esquimalt in the background
The spray can be seen from two humpback whales between two whale watching boats. Mt. Baker is in the background.
The fluke of a humpback whale a few hundred metres off of the northeast of Race Rocks