Day Twenty-Three: Rockin’ Robin

07 February 2014 (Friday)

Wake up at 0700.

Batteries are at 23.4. The big heater is not on when I get to the kitchen and nothing is plugged in. No sign of Kathy and Kerry. Did they sleep in? I head out and am filling the generator with fuel when they appear around the IMG_7963corner. They were up early to reset the GoPro again. This camera has taken up an inordinate amount of time on this project. I really hope that it is all worth it in the end. Kathy and Kerry are relentless when it comes to figuring things out, and I suppose this trait makes them the successful scientists that they are.

The generator dies once but runs fine after a re-start. I make coffee and have shredded wheat for breakfast. A light north breeze is blowing so there is light chop but it is still very relaxed for this time of year. A lobster boat is working several miles to the east. After breakfast I do a bucket run and shut down the generator. We’ve got a lot of sun and by 0830 the panels are charging batteries nicely.

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Barbara Beblowski has emailed us this morning warning that COA is cracking down on parking on campus without a sticker. None of us have stickers on our three vehicles parked there now. I email Millard Dority, the head of buildings and grounds on campus, to explain the situation. Tanya remembers her license plate numbers but Kathy and I make something up that is close. I’m sure it will be OK.

At 0930 Kathy and Kerry gear up for a kite run. This time they will use Kathy’s Canon point and shoot. The camera will go up with a slight tilt this time around to try and capture a slight horizontal plane.

Tanya comes down from a seal count and thinks that she has seen two pups from the tower. She’s taken some pictures. After closer analysis, and a few more pictures from Becca, we decide it is one gray seal pup and a small harbor seal. No sign of our second seal pup.

Robin on MDR!

Robin on MDR!

While I’m on the phone with Dan Dendanto talking about the next logistics run I see a small bird of prey swoop by on the north side of the island. I’m guessing it is a Merlin, but too quick to really tell. Tanya gears up to go for a search and does not find it. However she does find a red-breasted robin, and comes back in announcing that spring has arrived.

NOAA maintains a weather station here, but since winter storm ‘Nemo’, which hit last year in February, the station is out of commission. Kathy’s attempts to get the station repaired were fruitless, and the government shut down of fall 2013 did not help. I decided today to email Kathy’s contacts at the National Buoy Data Center, under NOAA, to ask if they would like access to the new weather station data. As we are trying to remedy the display issue, the NBDC site would be the most visible site. I am waiting to hear back now.


I have been communicating with Tim Harrison from the Lighthouse Digest magazine over the last few weeks regarding our trip. He has been giving us some great positive feedback and has also shared some wonderful stories from their archive of days past here at the Rock. He has also put is in touch with a film crew that is focusing on isolated locations and is likely going to visit us next weekend. We are looking forward to this addition to our winter season. I hope that Tim will continue working with us in the future.

I notice the batteries getting low and see that Kathy is about to prepare her slides. This entails heating up a single electric burner to melt vaseline, IMG_8184which then collects water droplets. I have decided to use the small Honda generator to charge the batteries to disturb the seals less. However if the house electrical system is under a large load the Honda will not keep up, it simply does not output enough kW power. On a whim I run it before Kathy runs her burner, and when she turns it on, sure enough it trips the breaker on the generator. Our new plan will be to charge with the Honda when the load on the system is low.

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Before dinner Kathy and Kerry have run into yet another issue with the GoPro software. It has shut down once again when it was supposed to be running out on the secondary weather station tower.

The Sochi olympics begin today. It’s unlikely we will be able to watch any here, but we are getting all of the updates online about pretty poor housing conditions in Sochi. Should be an interesting couple of weeks.

For dinner Tanya makes pasta and salad with sauteed sausage on the side. Kerry and I, and Kathy and Tanya, play separate games of cribbage. Later Tanya teaches Becca how to play. Kathy has consistently done the dishes every other night here, it is very helpful. It is also the best way to clean your hands.

Bed by 2130.


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