Visiting student group from Pearson College departs leaving tin of Maple Syrup behind. Merci beaucoups. Back L to R Hana, me, Chloe, Michael, Sibia, front Malou (L) and Annabelle (photographer).
Fog from overnight burned off in the late morning revealing a beautiful day. Although the barometric pressure continued its gradual decline from yesterday, the winds were less than 10km/hour at ground level until early evening when a gentle westerly started. As the sun is setting, clouds gather in the west making god rays and but no sailor’s delight colours. The forecast is calling for showers and possibly even thunder and lightening on Tuesday afternoon and near gale force winds are expected to the west.
There were eleven Elephant Seals visibly hauled out on Middle Rock today and over 115 Harbour Seals hauled out, scattered on all the islets and rocks. There are many birds on and around the Reserve right now and I look forward to next weeks census. I am trying to persuade the usual gaggle of geese to move on but they are pretty persistent and in some cases quite peevish. While looking for nests, I came across several goose wings so something has been eating them, probably either the otters or the eagles. A total of four tour boats came to the Ecological Reserve to search of that sort of adventure, to view the wildlife in the glorious afternoon sunshine.
That sunshine powered solar panels and batteries so well that the generator run time today was 50% of the daily average over the last two weeks. As day length grows, this will become a continuing trend. The solar panels are a really important piece of the sustainability puzzle on Race Rocks. Over the years Pearson College has done really well in reducing its dependency on fossil fuels on the island and the solar panels are big part of that reduction. Going from eight large oil tanks to one is a big step and of course also helps mitigate spill risk.
The reduction in emissions is not only helpful in reducing greenhouse gas and improving air quality, it is also helpful to the ocean. Ocean acidification, a lowering of pH due to atmospheric carbon dioxide uptake is a serious issue that some people call “the other C02 problem”. Our very close neighbours to the south, in Washington State are taking the threat of ocean acidification very seriously and are mobilizing to address this threat. Their efforts were precipitated by the near collapse of their oyster industry due to ocean acidification. It would be great to add a good pH meter to the kit here in order to monitor that aspect of water quality as ocean water sweeps past Race Rocks and into the inland Salish Sea.
Chores today included seawater sampling, sorting, moving and stacking wood, sweeping walkways, rotating composters, and keeping an eye on activities. The underwater camera is back up and running due to a quick fix and I have started to get to know the computer and its myriad of files again. There were no visitors today and I missed the students who were here on the weekend.