Weather and Sea Conditions
It was another day dominated by the west wind, starting in thick fog and then partially clearing. Wind strength was significant, ranging from 20 – 25 knots in the morning then rising to gale strength with strong gusts over 42 knots by mid-afternoon. It was still blowing 35 – 40 knots at 18:30. Sea conditions were rough with breaking waves, dense streaks of foam and lots of salt spray in the air.
It turned out to be fairly sunny and the UV index was moderate, reaching 4 by mid-afternoon. Barometric pressure dropped slowly to 1008 hPa by early evening. The forecast calls for moderate easterly breezes by tomorrow morning, rising again to west 10 – 15 by Saturday evening.
Vessel Observations in the Protected Area
Two whale-watching vessels were observed working in the protected area today. I took a photo of the first one to show it as being exemplary in not approaching the South Rocks haul-outs closer than 100m but the exemplary part was completely blown out of the water when the operator sped off diagonally across the reserve.
I felt sorry for the passengers, it was an open boat and the people in the bow looked miserable, were soaked and had their heads down before he started speeding into the wind and seas. Gusts were over 42 knots at the time, the current was running against them at four knots and they were doing about 20 knots in the boat. Add those speeds together and it converts into their passengers taking salty slaps in the face at well over 100 km/hour. I took a few more photos through the window to keep the salt spray off this camera, document the alleged infraction and give the company, Orca Spirit Adventure an opportunity to change its ways. It says it is a green company, so no doubt it will take this seriously.
It is worth noting that many of the pinnipeds normally hauled-out ashore, were in the water today due to the high winds. I hope the speeding vessel didn’t strike any of them with this reckless driving. I know that visibility in that sort of wind and spray warrants slower travel, not faster. From a safety perspective, add log hazards into the mix they should consider themselves lucky to come back healthy and whole. Last seen heading west.
There was one low overflight this morning but it was moving quickly and I did not get an image.
Ecological and General Observations
Two young male Northern Elephant Seals came ashore after the females left yesterday and they returned this morning with two more. They have been asleep, lounging in the garden all day. The few birds left on the island today were hunkered down trying to not be blown away by the furious westerly. (I have included some photos from yesterday in today’s gallery in order to save the camera.)
Sustainability, Chores, Visitors
Sunlight levels were high enough to generate lots of electricity, in spite of morning fog and afternoon high overcast.
Chores were routine. There were no visitors.