Last day for the student

Weather 

On Saturday:West wind 6 knots at 8:00 was light the whole week end,overcast to sunny, visibility over 15 miles,pretty cold days :3degree celsius.sea calm.On Sunday:15 to 25 knots,North East wind,Sea:calm,Visibility over 13 miles,Air temperature:2 degrees celsius and water temperature  around 6.5.Cold week end.

Ecological

For the first time the Elephant Seal pup went closed to the water and spend part of the Saturday at the top of the railway and the 2 other males were around ;the young one very closed and the adult one in the water at the jetty…

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Vessels

We had a boat very closed to the rocks which was evidently.fishing .We saw him coming so he didn’t stay long . He saw the big camera and heard the Air horn! It left quickly towards Esquimalt…The other picture shows a watching boat way too closed!Many recreational fishing boats around east Sooke and on Sunday a RCMP boats spend half an hour doing exercises of navigation closed on south sideDSC_0065 DSC_0824

Students on the Island

Weather

Windy day above 20 knots from West on Wednesday and Friday but the rest of the time light wind and calm sea, overcast to rainy mainly grey days

Ecological

The geese at least 3 couples and the oyster catchers (3 couples too) are already going by 2.Chunk is not back and the 3 elephant Seals:Boss,the younger male and the last pup are around.The pigeons guillemots (around 30 )have been seen again but not even one when we did the census…The population situation is very different from one day to the other

Work with students

The plan was to make them paint the desalinisaton house but there was too much moisture  and we have to let it dry before any painting job . So they helped us with the wood : stalking and splitting and  cleaning around the jetty. Guy explained them all the systems involved on Race Rocks( electricity stockage,desalinisation…) and I did the census 2 times in 2 groups. We can tell that during their stay we didn’t use so much water Thanks to them ;they really understood the challenge of the place! One of them  had a look at our emergency supply.

Maintenance

End of the month reports. Jetty cleaning with the high pressure washer

Vessels and flights

2,3 watching boats at the most, a Canadian Frigate coming back towards Esquilmalt, a big fishing boat heading to the ocean and an helicopter closed

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Census day

Weather

Calm day with a west wind 5 knots,overcast,cold:2.1 degrees Celsius. The wind picked up in the evening and reached 40 knots around midnight.

Ecological 

We put back to the sea the dead pup. Guy used the crane . One student help,ready to cut the line ( It was not necessary)and the others watchedDSC_0310DSC_0287DSC_0290DSC_0294DSC_0307It is amazing to see how big in only one month this elephant seal pup became!

Census

The census was done with the students

Gulls:134

Harbour seals:37

Steller’s Sea lions : 21

Californian Sea lions:92

Cormorants: 64

geese:5

Elephant seals:3 – 1 adult male , 1 pup , another one on Middle island but which one ?

Oystercatchers :6

Harlequin Ducks :24

Black Turnstones:10

Pigeons -Guillemot:0

Eagles :4

Maintenance

200 liters of oil transferred in the eco guardians house

Vessels

2 Canadian navy boats no 706 and 710 making their way slowly towards Esquimalt at 6:00PM

Other

Guy made a tour with some students and explain all the process for the stockage of energy and desalination of the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beecher Bay Chief’s visit and Students on the rocks for Spring break

Weather

North East light wind,10 knots at 8:00 AM.calm and overcast. In the afternoon we got some flurries and a some light snow…and fog came from vancouver Island but became dispersed quickly …just enough to have the fog horn on.

Visitors 

Kyle brought the chief of our local First Nation People. He had a meeting with some College Directors and earlier in the morning 5 Students with a volunteer came to stay on the rock for a week: So now 8 countries ( We have 2 nationalities)  are represented in our little world :Canada,China,Finland,France,Israel,Italy,Germany,Japan.

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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.

Pearson College Rocks.

Weather and Sea Conditions

Winds: Up to 30 knots, west-northwest

Sky: Clear with patches of heavy fog in the morning.

Visibility: Mostly good 15 nm, except in fog.

Barometer: 101.5 falling Wednesday evening

Forecast: Wind dropping tonight and then switching and increasing to east 10 to 20 late overnight and to west 20 to 30 knots Friday afternoon. Rain overnight and Friday morning. Chance of showers Friday evening. Strong wind warning in effect.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve

Whale watching vessels: Two were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER) both moving carefully in the fog. No other commercial operators, noted in ER today.

Sport fishing vessels: Two noted in Reserve today: one observed fishing in ER and the other sped through ER not slowing even through Middle Channel where there were hundreds of animals in the water.

Ecology  The islands within the ER are receiving enormous amounts of biogenic material daily from resting pinnipeds and birds. Although the guano accumulated in the summer drought has been partially washed away by recent rains, nitrogen loading is significant in this biological hot-spot along with accumulation of sea lion hair and gull feathers from the moulting animals. There are also daily additions to the hard remnants from predation events, which include shell, bone, teeth, scales and exoskeletons. Vegetation in the sea lion haul-out areas has been removed by trampling now and levels of faeces and urine are very ‘high’.

The waters around the ER continue to support feeding Humpback Whales daily and large multi-species feeding flocks. Three Humpback Whales were observed today on the west and south sides in and adjacent to ER. Most of the big flocks close to the islands are multiple species of gulls, dominated by Glaucous-winged Gulls.

Thayer’s Gulls arrived late today and a large flock was observed preening and resting on the southwest side of the island at sunset. These Thayer’s gulls have flown in to winter on the Pacific coast, from Canada’s high arctic where they nest.

A single male Killer Whale was observed during the early evening feeding in the mouth of Pedder Bay near the Navy Buoy.

Sustainability   Inverter frames re-screwed.

Visitors   A first year biology class from Pearson College visited today with their teacher Emily and conducted inter-tidal population studies in tidal pools. Two Pearson College volunteers also came along. Kyle transported everyone in two trips on Second Nature.

Maintenance and Operations  Both fences repaired. Discussed temporary roof patches (March) on storm damaged roofs, (boat shed, tank shed and derrick house) with Kyle. Noted foghorn not operating consistently during fog events.

 

Race Rocks Welcomes Pearson College Biology Students.

 

Weather and Sea Conditions

Winds: 5 – 15 knots, variable (North-northeast to South-southwest)

Sky: Partially overcast, sunny afternoon

Visibility: Good 15 nm

Barometer: 101.8 kPa  rising Tuesday evening

Forecast: Wind light becoming westerly 5 to 15 knots Wednesday afternoon. Mainly sunny. UV Index 4 predicted.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve

Whale watching vessels: Six observed working in Ecological Reserve.

No other commercial operators, noted in Reserve today.

Sport fishing vessels: Eight noted in Reserve today. Two sped through Ecological Reserve (ER) north of Rosedale. One person in vessel in, or very close to edge of ER observed fishing.

Second Nature: Ferrying biology students to and from Pearson College.

Ecology

Two very large Humpback Whales observed feeding and travelling on north and west side of ER. Dall’s Porpoise feeding and travelling just outside of ER to north and into Pedder Bay.

Three Northern Elephant Seals at the Jetty.

First Heerman’s Gull of the shift observed.

Sustainability

Compost care.

Visitors

Emily and first year biology students. Comparative tidal pool population studies linked to mapped pegs.

Maintenance and Operations

Regular chores completed

Safety tape put up around failing concrete stairs at Science house before students arrived

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Received much appreciated fresh apples and onions from Luke via Kyle. Thank you both!

 

 

Spontaneous Whale Watching!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Mt. Baker visible at times today.
  • Wind: 10-15 knots West
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • We spied three eagles on Turbine Rock this morning.
  • 14 elephant seals on Great Race today, including both Chunk and Chuckles.
  • As Second Nature was departing Race Rocks sometime after 9:00, Kyle spied several whale watching boats following a pod of orcas outside the reserve.
  • I hopped aboard (sans camera) and we went off to join the fleet.
  • Over the next half hour or so, we watched 5 or 6 orcas as they repeatedly surfaced on their southerly course.
  • Christine (Guy’s wife) took several photographs; perhaps she will share them with us soon.
  • Pam Birley discovered a Black Oystercatcher nest today via webcam. That makes 3 known nests.
  • As Pam noted, it is “not a good spot to nest because the Otter likes to sunbathe in that spot on the rocks.”

Maintenance

  • I did some yellow paint touch up on the jetty.
  • Sprayed more algicide on the students’ house.
  • Shut-down the students’ house.

Boats

  • Second Nature arrived around 9:00, and properly departed around 10:00 after our unexpected whale watching trip!
  • Many eco-tours came by today.
  • A few of them appeared to be too close to the sea lions.

Visitors

  • Kyle, Guy, Christine, and their daughter arrived at 9:00.
  • Guy and Christine were dropping off some gear for their upcoming shift.
  • Maya, Tazi, and Ali departed on Second Nature.

Tazi, Maya, Ali

Ali, Maya, Tazi, Mt. Baker

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.

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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.

The Grand Sailboat Regatta

Weather

  • Visibility: 8 miles in the early morning, 15 later on
  • Wind: 15-20 knots East, then North, then West
  • Sky: foggy and overcast, then sunny, then overcast
  • Scattered raindrops throughout the day
  • Water: mostly calm, with swells in the afternoon

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Ecological

  • Maya and Tazi conducted 4 intertidal transects today.
  • Studying an intertidal transect involves measuring out a certain distance from a peg, and then documenting the different species found every 0.5 metre.
  • In some transects the 0.5 metres are measured by water elevation; in others simply by distance.
  • By comparing the species found in every zone of the transect with transect data from previous decades, you can see the change in intertidal ecosystems due to climate change.
  • We saw a California Sea Lion with the brand U374 and another with a tracker.
  • While most of the gull eggs all look the same, one particular egg is quite different.

Maintenance

  • Maya and I ran the fire pump in the morning.
  • This added a few inches to the cistern.
  • We removed the old Canadian flag and hoisted a fresh one.
  • Tazi and I removed some algae.
  • Ali whacked away at the thistles.
  • We cleaned the solar panels.

Boats

  • Over 150 sailboats from Victoria passed by Race Rocks in the late morning on their way towards the Western horizon.
  • Some of them started to return as late as 22:30.
  • The colours of their sales included: red, blue, white, fluorescent yellow, green, purple, black, orange, and many combinations of all of the above.
  • Some standouts included the Miles Davis sail and the Union Jack.
  • I couldn’t stop taking photos and ended up with dozens. Below is a selection of the best.
  • One coastguard zodiac and a search and rescue boat appeared to be accompanying the sailboats.
  • Several eco-tours came by, including one Eagle Wings tour that drove through the South Channel.
  • Passing through the South Channel is prohibited as the width is too narrow.