At 8:00:10 North East wind ,calm and overcast .Rain in the morning and no wind at all around 10AM .The usual calm weather before a storm and around 6:00PM to 11:00, The wind from West raised steadily from 20 to 40 knots . We noticed that the darkness is coming only after 6H30
Vessel and aeroplans
The morning was really calm so it was easy for me to notice that something was wrong…like a chainsaw running somewhere and looking by the window all around the rock you could see a small grey zodiac, full speed creating a panic all around!!! Finally It headed to Pedder Bay…End of the story. I Coast guard’s helicopter
Eagles :2 but 5 on Sunday
Steller Sea Lions :22
Californian Sea Lion:60
Elephant Seals:2 juvenile males and 1 pup
Geese :8 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday!
Pigeons- Guillemots :around 35
Oystercatchers:8 on Saturday but 18 on Sunday
It is interesting to notice that on Saturday with the coming storm the Island was not as busy as on Sunday where we could see more animals especially birds around.
On Wednesday: It has been a calm day with a light west wind ,cloudy and some rain in the afternoon and pretty cold around 4 degrees in the morning. On Thursday: North east wind light in the morning but a warning of gale expected for the night. Grey and low sky and rain later in the day at 5pm the wind was already above 20 knots. In the night it raised slowly but at 3 in the morning we had gusts above 30 knots and at 7h00 AM between 38 and 42 knots. on Friday it blowed to 3 PM but it was sunny and that gave a beautiful scenery …The sunrise is now at 6:36 and the sunset at 6:11 Pm so really longer days…the atmospheric pressure was 101.2 KPA on Friday.
On Thursday we had a new young male on the rock so that makes 5 Elephants seals around . The pup is very active now and if Chunk doesn’t come back he could survive and now it is really time for the birds : first the geese they are all around and can be spoted in very surprising place . Because of the rain lately we had nice pools and they enjoyed long bathing sessions and feathers cleaning .Delicious to look at… but at the same time they are very dirty and we have to clean again the alleys every day. We count 5 couples and a lonely limping one . The second major group of birds are the gulls and today for the first time we had a Summer feeling : they were getting noisy and were scattered all around at their own precise spot. We even saw some picking herbs and branches and observed the first fights .With the rain and the rising wind we noticed that all the Sea lions were gone . They came back at the end of the day (Friday)
East wind ,9 knots calm . Despite the quiet atmosphere the current has been very strong with a big swell coming from East . It would have been impossible to land Today and it has been a grey day cloudy with a low sky .It has been foggy on Sooke and Vancouver Island You could feel the change of weather and the gale expected for the night. At 7:30 PM the wind was already between 29 and 34 knots.and 42 at 9:00PM and 43 at 10PM
The colony of Guillemots is back(around 70) around the jetty like usual fishing in the strong currents of the outgoing tide.There were still some Stellers Sea Lions but not more than 15 but very closed on the rocks under the yellow tanks. The geese were getting so busy and noisy . You could see them on the most surprising spots of the island. We had to clean the alleys again . they put so much mess..dropping everywhere.
For those 2 first days of the week the weather has been very calm,with still East to North East winds. We don’t have a steady West wind yet but Spring is definitively at the corner and most of all, days are really longer.On Monday we had an incredible good visibility. What a fun to see so well Victoria and to follow a few sail boats…Recreational fishing are coming back around East Sooke too. Tuesday was a very calm day too but overcast and no wind at all …a before storm feeling.
We have now a new young male Elephant seal around in the water mainly but he came ashore for the first time on Sunday. Chunk was pretty quiet and stayed behind the students house. His scares on the back were pretty bad for a while but they are looking better now .One pup, always the same ,was on and off the Rocks,depending and stayed apart from the other one. This other one was always at the same spot ,not far from the crane .The big male named Boss was around them all the time and when the second born one made noise he got closer to him
Guy cleaned the water sampling shed and it is shining now!!! He cleaned the boat too and the bench and the panel explaining Race Rocks above it.He changed the winch and belt of the trailer. The winch gets rusty pretty quick because it had been already changed in Summer.
At 8h00it was pretty calm:6 knots North East wind, Overcast and 6.3 degrees (Air) , a very high tide with the coming Full Moon. Even calmer at 10:00 with 4knots and at 11:00 the wind and swell got inverted and increased to 40.7Knots at 12:00 . Wild and quick! It went to 42 and 48 at 13:30 and stayed strong around 30 to 48 knots the whole afternoon . It was sunny and beautiful. At 8:00PM it slowed down to 28knots
4 elephant seals the same 2 male adults and 2 pups. Sea Water warmer around 7 degrees
1 nuclear submarine with 3 ships (a big ,a middle size one and a small one ) The hull was outside of water heading to the ocean… very impressive scenery
At 8:00 AM North East light wind,calm ,forecast,grey sky . heavy rain between 9:30 and Noon.temperature :3.3 ,very high tide (actually the highest since the beginning of our stay). At 1:30 PM the wind totally stopped and the flag was down like a stick.Southwest early in the afternoon:30 knots at 4:40PM and 27 to 37 full South around 6PM. Early in the evening it steady picked up with a gust at 51 knots! At 9:15 PM we still had 40 knots .The air temperature was pretty high too at 9.1 degrees celsius
The last adult female elephant seal left in the night so 2 lonely pup now but the male stayed around the whole day and Chunk came back and went on its own,With the melting snow and the rain we got a large pool on the lawn so it was a cleaning and washing time for everyone:geese and elephants and birds…it was not dark at 7:50
We kept the fresh water tank full ,filing up every two days . The generator is working everyday for around 6 hours.
DND blasts :12 blasts in a few hours and 2 pretty strong ones. We counted 7 seconds between the time you see some smoke and the bang.
At 8:00 AM the wind was already at 25 knots from North East with a choppy sea. The visibility early was at 15 miles but during the day we had little to no visibility.at all just enough to see the rocks and the jetty.The wind got up to 30 knots and stayed at 30 almost all day long and even after sunset. A lot of snow for a while but not like the other day:no accumulation.
The male has been steady mating those 2 last days so no problem for a next generation…and always closed to the female and her pup and he even doesn’t go fishing very often. She is still feeding the pup ,born 23 days ago…so logically a few days more… We are very curious to see what will happen shortly. A few geese are still there…
3 watchers zodiacs around 1:00PM with the swell, the wind and the snow falling….Big memories for the people aboard! they got as much as possible for the price they ‘re paying
End of Shift. Tomorrow Riley will arrive for his shift and we will be off. All the best, Riley, for your stay in this amazing hotspot of living activity and tidal rushes. The people of BC are lucky to have Race Rocks protected under BC Parks’ highest level of protection as an Ecological Reserve. It was a pleasure working with the classes of biology and marine science students this week and a treat to be in this special place.
Weather and Sea Conditions Winds: Light and variable; Sky: Morning low overcast slight mist cleared to sunny in afternoon; Visibility: Mostly good ~10 – 15 nm; The accumulated solar radiation today was 250 Langleys, the equivalent of a little over 2900 Watts per square meter. The UV Index was high at 7.4; Barometer: 102.7 kPa and falling Sunday evening; Forecast: Wind easterly 5 to 15 knots becoming light Monday afternoon then increasing to west 20 to 25 Monday evening. Strong wind warning in effect.
Vessels in Ecological Reserve Whale watching vessels: 12 were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER). All were professional, providing a good model for other boaters transiting the ER.
Sport fishing vessels: A total of 11 sport fishing vessels were observed in the ER today. Three were noted speeding in the ER and two vessels were observed fishing for hours, in the closed to fishing, Rockfish Conservation Area. Photos were taken, processed and filed. There were approximately 70 sports fishing vessels fishing to the west and then drifting by to the east, all but five appeared to follow rules.
Ecology The first three Harlequin Ducks of the season were spotted today, one male and two females. They have returned from their alpine summer breeding habitat for a coastal winter. A Great Blue Heron was observed fishing, standing on a dense raft of Bull Kelp. A thorough search for the Sea Otter turned up nothing. Enormous mixed species feeding flocks were observed in Race Passage in the afternoon. There are fewer sea lions ashore during the day right now and there have been dietary shifts visible in their feces, which are hard to miss. One animal was observed feeding on what appeared to be a Coho close to a kelp bed on the west side of Great Race.
Sustainability Although it was gray in the morning by 14:00 there was enough sunlight that we made fresh water with solar energy powering the de-salinator.
Maintenance and Operations Regular chores and clean-up.
Branded California Sea Lion 8852 left
Branded California Sea Lion 9403 left
Branded California Sea Lion X 530
Branded California Sea Lion X 530
Branded California Sea Lion X 530
Branded California Sea Lion U937
Branded California Sea Lion X 49
Branded California Sea Lion with tag U391
Snoozing juvenile male Northern Elephant Seal
Snoozing juvenile male Northern Elephant Seal
Big young male Steller’s Sea Lions playing king of the rock. The winner takes the rock and then dives off backwards.
Winds: Light and variable; Sky: Morning periods of fog, afternoon low overcast, evening periods of rain; Visibility: Mostly good ~10 nm, except in fog; Barometer: 102.8 kPa and dropping Saturday evening; Forecast: Wind light becoming easterly 5 to 15 knots Sunday morning.
Vessels in Ecological Reserve
Whale watching vessels: 20 visits were observed in Ecological Reserve (ER).
One commercial dive operator was noted in ER today. This vessel was within 10 meters (or less) from hauled out sea lions, had divers in the water in Middle Channel when there was a lot of traffic including speeding sports fishing charter boats, recreational boaters who had to be waved off and whale watching vessels. The dive flags wre both located low and on the side away from other traffic. The dive operator was also observed speeding through the ER, on departure.
Sport fishing vessels: Total 13 observed in ER. Seven of these were observed speeding through the ER in areas with high concentrations of animals (and human divers) in the water. Three charter vessels were noted in the ER today, one was speeding. Another 10 recreational vessels were noted including three rental boats speeding and three others speeding through the ER. One rental vessel was reported (to the owners) as fishing in the closed area which is a Rockfish Conservation Area. Photos were taken, processed and filed.
Ecology Humpback Whaleswere observed feeding about 1nm south of the ER today. Resident Killer Whales were also reported feeding in Central Juan de Fuca today, further out. Biggs (Transient) Killer Whales were active in Race Passage and environs today. They were not observed in the ER but entered Eemdyk Passage and reportedly made a kill at the eastern entrance. Whale watching vessels that crowded in, were observed backing out ihastily as the whales came out and around Rocky Point. More Sea Lion brands were photo-documented (see gallery). This information feeds into research done by Dr. Pat Gearin of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric (NOAA) research on the population abundance and trends, and the distribution and movement of both species of sea lions.
Maintenance and Operations Regular chores.Made three boxes of kindling. Adjusted screen door. Ace status achieved quickly on fly patrol.
A fiesty, healthy young male, Steller’s Sea lion has a scratch.
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.