Day Twenty-Two: Island Dimensions

06 February 2014 (Thursday)

Up at 0730. We unplugged everything overnight so batteries were at 23.8. Also the sun is out this morning, so we will get some help from solar. However there’s not enough battery to cover the coffee maker and all of the CRREL computers, so on comes the generator.

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When I am starting the generator Kerry comes along from the south side. They are talking to the GoPro camera over WiFi to get information but this morning it is not talking back. Kerry ends up out on the island with his laptop trying to get a signal. The housing has it’s own solar panel but it does not seem to be doing the job.

Tanya is immediately out taking pictures. It is fourteen degrees here so theIMG_7700 sea smoke is rising off the ocean. This is the type of weather we came out for. It is still blowing 20 kts.

As I sit at the table in front of the big heater I notice it going cold. It seems like it is too early for the propane to be out but checking my notes it has indeed been 5.5 days since it was changed. Time is moving by quickly here. I head out to make the change. I label the empty bottles with duct tape to reduce confusion.

Becca and her advisor had the idea of measuring certain landmarks on the island near where seals are hauled out. This will give them some reference IMG_7685points to potentially measure lengths of seals nearby. Seal size may give some insight into the age of the seals staying at MDR. She and Tanya gear up and head out with a tape measure and a 12 ft 2×4 to do some calculations.

Kathy and Kerry reconfigure the GoPro for better power efficiency and set it back out again. They also have slides set out on the lower lighthouse catwalk and foghorn platform. As it turns out they did not turn on the big auxiliary battery for the camera, so it died right away. This time everything should be set correctly.

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In the late afternoon I ascend the lighthouse to do a tower watch. It is another calm, beautiful evening, perfect conditions for sighting whales, IMG_7887sharks, or dolphins. Once again I see nothing but birds and seals. There are two very large rafts of eider ducks sitting over Columbia Ledge, .5nm south of the Rock. This has been the site of feeding commotion from time to time this winter. But not this evening. The birds sit motionless in their large groups and gently ride the swell.

Just before I began my tower watch I started the generator, and when I got IMG_7908to the top I notice some seals are missing. I’m concerned that the noise is disturbing them and may have to move the generator elsewhere. In particular there has been one female seal that looks like it is trying to get up high on the island and has turned back several times. Is it trying to find a pupping site? We need to be cautious.

It looks like we will have some more visitors at the end of next week, so some of the day is spent coordinating that effort. I IMG_7947will need to get in touch with Chris Candage and see if he is able to make two more visits here. The weather this week has been very stable and I do not imagine it will last well into next week and weekend. As always we will just have to wait and see.

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For dinner Kerry makes Rice-a-Roni with ground beef on the side. He also makes lemon pudding for dessert.

Bed by 2130.

-Chris

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