Monday, February 13, 2012

Ahoy There!

Boat landing days are great and we are extremely thankful to all of those involved.

Outer Limits as the fog descends
Firstly we would like to thank the skippers for volunteering to bring their boats laden with our supplies whatever the weather.
Thanks to the boat ‘Sari Ann’ and her skippers Warren Sankey and Alan Weaver, John Wade and his boat 'Starbuck' and Jim Bewley on his boat ‘Another Girl’, Rob MacFarlane on ‘Tiger Beetle,' ‘Salty Lady’ and her captain Roger Thomas and to 'Outer Limits' and 'Kitty Kat.'

Crane girls
Photo: Jason Jones
Next we wish to thank all those who have volunteered to do the grocery shop for us. Shopping for two weeks-worth of food for four hungry islanders, packing it up and carting it onto the boat in the small hours of the morning, all before sailing to the Island in occasionally pretty knarly weather is no easy feat we can assure you! We thank you Andrew Ihlenfeldt, Bryan White, Luke Musher, Cory Ritter, Katherine Taylor, Partick Taylor, Nick DiRienzo, Russ Bradley and Ryan Berger.

Bringing our supplies onto the island
Photo: Jason Jones

Not only do we have delightful, tasty fresh food delivered to us and the possibility of parcels from home, but boat landing days also seem to bring about the best of the wildlife.
 Of course we are so preoccupied with organizing ourselves and our gear for the landing that often enough we realize that not one of us has a camera. This happened two weeks ago as we were welcoming back Ryan our winter biologist and saying so long to Russ Bradley and Nick DiRienzo.
Right in front of our very eyes a brown pelican swooped down from the sky and perched near to the crane wires a mere 15 feet away! We were all amazed and as we gathered around to get a better look, the pelican was quite unperturbed. But alas, we couldn’t stand around all day gawking at the magnificent bird and so we got back to lifting the boat full of our supplies.
 The pelican then flew within a few meters of us and the boat landing! Each time the safety boat was deployed to get our supplies from the yacht ‘Another Girl’, it would follow the boat and then return as the boat returned.

Every morning as we carry out our dawn gull count, we count the pelicans on Sugarloaf Island, a small pinnacle of an island. Often we see in excess of one hundred of them roosting, and despite them being the smallest of all the eight species of pelican, they are still an impressive 106 to 137cm long, with a 1.85 to 2.5 meter wing span! Although we did not capture this friendly brown pelican on camera, we were all thrilled to have experienced such a special moment.

Brown Pelican
Photo: Jane Khudyakov

Photo: Kerry Froud

This is not the only spectacle witnessed during a boat landing however. We often see huge rafts of eared grebes, shy harbor seals peeking up out of the water, curious elephant seals, the occasional cassins and rhinoceros auklet bobbing at the surface, pacific loons ducking and diving, porpoising California sea lions and grey whales that come exceedingly close to land.

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