Day Sixteen: Shark Bite

31 January 2014 (Friday)

Wake up at 0730 and check the batteries. 23.6. Off to start the generator and coffee.

It’s blowing 25-30 and the seas are 8 feet and building. Kathy and Kerry set equipment out at 0700. Slides went up on the fog horn platform and the lower catwalk of the lighthouse. It is a gray day but every once in a while the sun peeks through. It’s not enough to rely on solar.

Waves build over the ledges behind

Waves build over the ledges behind

I talk with Dead River about propane and it’s not a problem to get two more bottles. What is a problem is that no one on shore was planning on moving gear to Northeast Harbor in the afternoon when the bottles arrive. Tom and Barbara are stretched thin but I think will be able to take care of it.

I have a fish tote here filled with things related to electricity. Outlets, wires, connectors, soldering guns, tape, etc. I spend an hour in the morning going through everything, purging unnecessary items, and getting it straightened out.

I notice Kerry is heating up water to take his inaugural Rock shower (pitcher pour) and I feel like it’s time to address the pump. I’m fairly certain that it was just frozen last time. I hook up the system in the living room and the old boat pump moves the water as it should. I’ll try and put the rig back together in a way that it is mobile. That way it can stay thawed in the living room and brought into the head when someone needs it.

Gray Seal Shark Wound_MDR_31jan14

Large wound on female gray seal hauled near the boat ramp

Before lunch Tanya and I move the electric winch out to the ramp. I’ve decided with the light seas tomorrow and heavy propane loads we would benefit from using the winch system to get the boats up the ramp. We move slowly to the ramp to minimize flushing seals. Paying close attention to the seals I notice one that has a large wound on it’s side. It looks very much like a shark bite. I know nothing about this so want to get a photo sent out. Tanya returns to the house and I keep an eye on the female seal. We are able to get some good shots. We wonder now if some of the blood we are seeing on the rocks is due to shark bites rather than seal aggression.

We also notice there are hundreds of birds, mostly gulls, congregating .5nm to the southeast of the rock. It looks just like summer feeding behavior. There must be some type of bait out there but no way to tell from the island. I wish we had a bigger boat.

After lunch we move the battery pack down and return for the sled. The sled is a dolly that rolls up and down the ramp carrying the boat. It is very heavy and we solicit Kathy

Tanya's rower set up in lighthouse tower- a good way to get energy out

Tanya’s rower set up in lighthouse tower- a good way to get energy out

and Kerry to help drag it out of the generator shed. It sits as it should inside the ramp rails and the wheels still roll. Tomorrow I will bring down one more battery for a total of three to run the winch, as well as the battery charger and small Honda generator. That setup should get us through.

The propane has gone out on the big heater. It has been very consistent, 5.5 days of run time on the economy setting. I show Tanya how to change out bottles. This is our last full bottle. Tomorrow we hope to have six more.

I do the lunch dishes to clear the way for dinner. Then I remove an old coast-guard era light fixture from the living room ceiling for rehab. We currently have three four electric lights here. They are in the kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and radio room. The one in the bathroom and radio room have switches, the others are just extension cords I’ve wired into the old fixtures. Historically the whale research program has relied on oil lamps and late summer light. Electric lights are somewhat new. But they are necessary for this project, with minimal sunlight and a lot of computer work to be done.

For dinner we have chicken and root vegetables. Kathy asks if the plan for tomorrow has changed at all, and if their box containing the masonry drill and computers made it onto the boat. Barbara and Tom loaded everything and sent an email but I can’t remember if they mentioned the CRREL box. Babs has already made a second trip to Northeast Harbor this evening to bring the two extra propane bottles, and I cannot bear to ask her to do another one. I call her and she says the box is there. The only thing she could not get for us were chicken and biscuit crackers that Kerry requested. He will need to suffer through.

After dinner we teach Kathy to play cribbage and play four-handed. She and Kerry beat Tanya and I handily.

It was a fairly quiet day here. I look forward to tomorrow’s supply run and digging in for our final two winter weeks at MDR.

Bed by 2200.

-Chris

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