Clear skies. Light North to North-East winds most of the day. Moderate Westerly this evening. Environment Canada beat out NOAA for the correct weather forecast today.
2 tour boats
For the past few days there have been a few recreational fisherman anchored just outside of the reserve boundaries fishing for halibut. You can tell they are fishing for halibut because they are anchored, usually with a scotsman buoy on the chain just off the bow; If they were after salmon they would be trolling. These fisherman are capitalizing on an effect called “spillover” where the high fish populations from a reserve act as a source to seed nearby areas. This effect is recognized as one of the many, valuable benefits protected areas in the marine environment. The recreational halibut fishery opened on February 1st and will remain open until further notice from DFO. The rules this year are as follows:
Maximum length is 126 cm.
The daily limit is 1.
The possession limit is 2, only one of which may be greater than 83cm in length.
The annual limit is 6 halibut per licence holder.
For each halibut retained by the licence holder, the date of capture, the Fisheries Management Area from which it was caught and its length shall be immediately recorded in ink on the 2013-2014 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence.
Area 121 aka Swiftsure Bank is a Closed Area to all finfish capture
Cloudy with scattered showers. Strong West wind in the evening.
4 tour boats
I spent the day with Aileen and her advisee group. Because there were 10 students (with all of their associated electronic equipment) the breaker on the inverter to the science house was tripped last night which resulted in a total electrical shut-down of the Science house where everyone was staying. Our system and these old houses are just not meant for that much of a power draw. Because of that little power outage, the morning was spent showing them about the energy and resource systems on Race Rocks, with a strong emphasis on living within reasonable means, especially when in a remote place like this. My solution to the excessive use of power was to only allow them to use 2 plugs in the house to charge computers and phones. I think (hope) it turned into an unexpected team building exercise where they had to charge things minimally and barter for plug-time. Either way, it meant that we didn’t have any more power issues for the rest of their stay and it is something that I will implement for future groups.
I counted 13 Elephant seals on Middle rock. They return to Race Rocks for a few months in Spring to moult. Although they look absolutely terrible when they are moulting, it is a natural process that they undergo every year.
Shipping in the Strait of Juan de Fuca poses the greatest risk to the ecological integrity of the Race ROcks Ecological reserve. The risk of chronic oil spills increases directly with the Number of vessels in the waters. Chronic oil is a greater risk to marine life around the world than are the disastrous large spills, but the risk from both will increase if tanker traffic is allowed to proliferate in the Strait of Juan de Fuca:
It has always been a concern that Race Rocks is located in a very vulnerable location in the Entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There is a need for regulations preventing the dumping of bilge and sewage from ships, and an emergency plan in the event of disaster from marine shipping.Shipping Problems: The history of shipping in the past in the area is grim evidence that accidents happen. A fuel or chemical spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca would have an untold impact on the biodiversity of the Ecological reserve.
Cruise Ship Problems: See the following reference link on potential problems from Cruise ships and how they can be rated for environmental safety with the Cruise Ship Environmental report card.
Cruise Ship Dump Raises Alarm Louise Dickson, Times Colonist
Thursday, May 08, 2003The accidental dumping of raw sewage into Juan de Fuca Strait has renewed calls for stronger environmental regulations governing cruise ships.Norwegian Cruise Lines has confirmed that its ship, Norwegian Sun, dumped about 62,000 litres of raw sewage into American waters near Port Townsend, southeast of Victoria.
Victoria’s Cruise Ship Industry: Economic Benefits and their Environmental ImpactsBy: Elliot Houlston and Carly Daoust , 2005″Being that a cruise ship functions like a small city, it will pollute like a small city as well. In one week’s time a single cruise ships empties 210,000 gallons of sewage (human waste), 1,000,000 gallons of grey water (water from sinks, bathing and washing), 8 tons of solid waste (paper, plastic, cardboard, food waste) and 25,000 gallons of oily bilge water8. Some hazardous wastes such as photo chemicals and used paint are produced also. These are only the water pollutants created by cruise ships. There are many air pollutants as well.”Dirty Waters: Cashing in on Ocean Pollution 18 January 2010 in DC BureauBy David Rosenfeld
We normally see Buffleheads throughout the winter months feeding in bays and along beaches on the shores of Metchosin. The males are much more obvious from their contrasting black and white plumage. This is the first observation we have had in the Race Rocks waters.
Today was the last day of our recreational fishing count with DFO.
Erik brought out two contractors to measure all the windows that need to be replaced. Most of them are in the Science House. Some of the windows are so bad that there is either a 1-2cm salt crystal garden or a few centimeters of water between the panes.
Moderate West wind, easing in the afternoon. Low West swell. Patchy clouds.
A group of sea scouts came out for a tour today. They left out of Victoria Harbour on a schooner called Passing Cloud (Operated by Outer Shores Expeditions). They spent a couple hours on the island. Learning about the animals, the history of Race Rocks, and taking a look at the world from the top of the lighthouse.
Light variable winds most of the day. Four brief periods of rain, clear skies in between. Very low West swell. Rainbows.
6 tour boats
2 dive boats
I spent some time today trying to learn to use the Nikon DSLR that lives out here at Race Rocks. The zoom on the big lens is awesome, but I still have a few technical issues to work out. My mission was to get a photo of a Pigeon Guillemot flying away from me with its red feet sticking out, but I wasn’t happy with any of my attempts. While wandering around looking for things to photograph I saw 10-15 Turnstones. They are spending most of their time in the middle of Great Race. There was 4 Western Sandpipers, 1 Sanderling, and 2 Dunlins all feeding in the muck-puddles on Great Race.The Elephant seal that has been next to the tank shed left this morning, but there are still two out on Middle Rocks. There are a few monster Steller Sea lions among the group out on South Rocks. There are now three Canada Goose nests, all with eggs in them.