Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's it like...

...out there on the Farallones? Well, not many of the former buildings remain. Except for two former lighthouse-keeper's residences, a powerhouse and a carpenter shop, the rest were knocked down to allow the tens of thousands of sea birds more space for breeding.

This is a map of the Southeast Farallon Island and West End, the adjacent island that is separated from SEFI by a 15-foot gap called the Jordan Channel. All the island's 'hot spots' for elephant seals are highlighted in pink. The main colony is found on Sandflat, Mirounga Beach and the Marine Terrace above Sandflat, a convenient 2 minute walk from our residence. As you can see there are also elephant seals on West End. Because of the fragile nature of West End ecology (many Common Murres and the endangered Steller sea lions can be found there) we keep the visits to this place to a minimum, only going there once every 10 days.

These two houses are the living quarters for PRBO and Fish & Wildlife personel. Although they were built in the 1870's they have since been remodeled and now offer all the comforts of the modern world such as hot showers, indoor plumbing (including our very own sewage system) and internet access.

And then of course on top of Lighthouse Hill (elevation 330 feet) is the Farallon lighthouse, the first lighthouse to be errected in California because the Farallones proved to be such a hazard to shipping traffic.

Here's a view from the lighthouse towards West End showing the residences at the bottom of Lighthouse Hill.

When this picture was taken in early December the rainy season had just started and the vegetation was just starting to recover from the drought of summer and fall. When we post more pictures of the island during the season you will notice the Farallon flora exploding with life.

This is one of my favourite spots on the island, Fisherman's Bay with it's impressive rock arch (incidently called 'Arch Rock') and the so called 'Sugar Loaf' on the right. You can also see one of the more recent island improvements, the newly errected North Landing crane, our back-up plan should the conditions at East Landing not allow a landing there.
Posted by: Danny

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