Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cousteau arrives..... via North Landing

Today was an extraordinary day, first, because Fabien Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society and his film crew came on the island to film part of a special on National Marine Sancuaries, and second because they did not arrive as is usual via East Landing.
As we told you in an earlier entry, Farallon equipment only functions properly in the marine environment for so long before the Farallon Factor renders it unusable. So it came as no great surprise when our previously trustworthy Honda 50 outboard motor on the SAFE boat quit working yesterday. We were unable to fix it on such short notice, so without a functioning SAFE boat we could not use the East Landing.

Because of the importance of always having functioning landing facilities, the island has not just East Landing, but a second landing on the North side of SEFI.
When Superfish tied up on the North Landing buoy this morning with captain Mick Menigoz at the helm, we were poised and waiting with the zodiac to take Cousteau and his crew aboard. Mick is a valuable member of the Farallon Patrol, the volunteer group of skippers who donate their time and vessels to keep the Farallon Science Program fed and resupplied year-around. We always need more help in resupplying the island, so if you are interested in joining the Farallon Patrol, please contact us.

Here are Sandy and Michelle securing the boat while the equipment is unloaded. Landings are always difficult procedures on the Farallones, and due to the rough seas that predominate many landings are cancelled or postponed. Today's landing went well, but the weather is deteriorating for North Landing, and it looks like the film crew might be staying a few days longer than expected.
After the landing was successfully completed all we had to do is hook on the zodiac to the new jib crane and pull it up to the landing platform 15 feet above (this time using human instead of diesel power). The boat then gets stowed away in the boathouse until the next time when weather or the Farallon Factor make North Landing the more suitable landing site.
In the meantime, Cousteau and his film crew are filming our precious and fragile biological resources. Public access to the Farallones is severely restricted, so the Ocean Futures Society film crew are bringing the island to the public through their HDTV programs. Los Farallones blog is also bringing the island to the public, so you all can see and appreciate the magnificence of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, and understand the hard work and perseverance necessary from PRBO Conservation Science biologists when we study the island's seabirds and seals in order to understand the ocean's workings. If you like what you see, please support PRBO Conservation Science's Farallon Program.

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