08 February 2014 (Saturday)
Up at 0730. Batteries are at 24.4, a welcome surprise. I realize that it is because the heater is off. When I turn it on they drop to 23.6. Full sunshine this morning so I let the system ride and make coffee without the generator and it is all fine. The batteries will creep right back up.
Kathy claims the GoPro has actually run correctly all night. She and Kerry gear up and set it out once again. They are hoping to get video and stills of ice building up on the western cove spire over the course of a week. There is just about a week left in the project.
Tanya endeavors to make cinnamon rolls this morning and is successful.
I spend much of the morning trying to track down a way to monitor the Rock battery array from shore. For the weather station we will have the laptop running here at all times, and have installed software called TeamViewer which allows us to access the laptop remotely. If the MiFi internet card stays connected we are in good shape. The Outback inverter claims to have ways of being monitored by a PC, and I find several software options. I download one called WattPlot and give it a try. The remote display for the Outback, called a “Mate”, plugs into the computer through RS232 serial cable. There should be an option to output the inverter data through this, but I cannot find it. What I have worked out is that the “Mate” we have is out of date, vintage 2002, and the firmware needs an upgrade. I try a variety of other things but have no luck. We will have to assume the 80w of solar panels will run the computer when we leave and I will install a battery monitor in the spring or summer.
Tanya counts a lot of gray seals here today, just over 400. 80 of those are adult females that are gathered on the south side of the island. I am confident that some of these seals are pregnant based on past years data, but I think we all assumed there would be more pupping by now. If nothing happens in the next week I hope there can be return trips in the next month.
Tanya and I do an afternoon survey from the island but find nothing out of the ordinary. The sea state is reminiscent of summer, but the short daylight and snow are constant
reminders otherwise. When we return we find Kathy making largish snow balls and placing them on a rock near the Coast Guard solar array. We inquire if she is testing them for salinity…nope, just passing the time! She was thinking of making a snow man but it is not the right consistency. This is what happens when you are on a desolate island trying to capture sea spray in light and variable winds. You need to find ways to bide the time. There was a spot to the south where I thought we might be able to build a snow fort and spend the night. But after digging I found rock, the snow not as deep as I had hoped, and not really worthy.
Returning to the house I find the batteries at 23.2, well time to start the generator. It starts but dies quickly and shows the oil light. This one is also due for a change. I bring it inside to the radio room and check the manual for instructions. This one you just tip and pour the oil out. I forget to close the gas line and spill a little, but all in all an OK process. Back outside it starts and dies again, but I assume it is still adjusting to new oil. Another pull and all is well. It seems to have no issue charging our battery array. It’s peak output is 2000w, and if it carrying that load should only run for 30 minutes. It’s continuous safe output is 1600w. I read 1400w being pulled by the inverter, so feel
like we are operating quite efficiently. I am happy to not be wasting the 8000w that the big generator produces.
Tanya makes water for pre-dinner dishes and I offer to do them. This is always a good practice but has not been carried out as often as it should.
Tanya makes shepherd’s pie, one veggie, one beef for dinner
Bed by 2200.