Having only been back at Orcalab less than 24 hours The A34’s and A46 came into the area. What a lovely surprise…Hope you guys enjoy this little snippet of whats in store for us all this summer!
by Megan Hockin-Bennett
An Exciting First Day of Summer at OrcaLab!!-a day in the life of our research assistants
Rain and mist had set in heavily over OrcaLab, and the internet was down. All seemed calm and quiet out at sea so Dr. Paul Spong took us on “June Cove”, the larger of OrcaLab’s two boats, over to Parson Island to try to fix the problem and get OrcaLab back online. The three of us hiked to the top of Parson Island in the rain and perched precariously on a cliff edge to put gas in the generator and check on all the solar panels. After five minutes and some expert twiddling we managed to fix the internet and OrcaLab was back online! Back down at the boat preparing for departure the most amazing thing happened. A humpback whale exploded out of the water beside us and lunge fed right next to the boat! The first lunge came totally by surprise but the second one became obvious as the water came alive and seemed to be almost boiling with little fish being pushed up, followed by the open mouth of the humpback as it broke the surface! Of course none of us on board had their camera but Debs did get a picture on her cellphone!
In the afternoon we travelled with Dr. Spong to another little island across the way, Flower Island, to set up a hydrophone to replace an old one which had finally given up last year, after 30 years’ service under the waves! With the help of a GoPro and fellow researcher Jared Towers we managed to lower it down to the sea floor and position it correctly. With the hydrophone working properly and broadcasting undersea sounds to the Lab and world, we travelled back to OrcaLab for a well earned warm meal that was awaiting us. What an amazing start to what’s sure to be a fantastic summer!
by Isabelle and Debs, June 23, 2016
As our 2015 year ends, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to making it so successful and memorable. It’s a very long list!
Yukusam Heritage Society for permission to use Hanson Island as our operations base, with special thanks to Harry Alfred and Rachel Dalton of the Namgis First Nation.
David and Brittney Cannamore, with their cat Porter and rabbit Penny for looking after Hanson Island last winter through springtime this year. They headed off to Alaska for the summer and returned to Hanson Island to continue caretaking in November. If you check out their blog (raincoastwanderings.com) you’ll get some idea of the effort they’ve put into keeping the Lab systems going. Incredible!
Mark Worthing and Jesse Howardson for caretaking in May and creating a great new garden box that provided us with delicious summer salad greens.
Steve Lacasse and Sun Fun Divers for re-establishing our mooring after winter storms had taken it away.
Telus Services for expediting the installation of our new fiber optic Internet connection in time for summer.
Charlie Weingarten, whose inspiration created explore.org, along with Tom Pollak, Jonathan Silvio and Ann Haggart who manage Explore’s incredible worldwide network of live cameras.
Explore.org’s great technical crew led by Tim Sears for their heroic work on our remote camera network and connecting the cameras live to the Internet.
JStream for continuing to stream live audio from our hydrophone network.
Shun Kuriyama for his help with the orca-live web site.
Anna Spong for technical support.
BC Parks for permits that allow us to operate remote hydrophones and cameras in key orca habitat.
Larry Roy, with Twyla Roscovich, Paul Ross and friends, who moved our new stove from Alert Bay to Hanson Island, bringing it on shore and into our house. Huge job! Thanks also to Dave Towers who figured out how to get the stove from our boat onto Larry’s.
Mike Durban for installing our new kitchen stove, along with numerous carpentry and maintenance jobs at the Lab and our remote sites.
Mark McCallum for installing a new metal roof on our Lab, with special thanks to Bec McGuire for organizing the cleanup. Mark also returned later to do further repairs, helped by his friend Lexie.
Bill and Wendy Thompson for moving 8 huge new batteries to CP.
Lynn Klassen and Darryl Harris (2 Dive 4) for dives on 2 of our hydrophones
Tides Canada and World Wildlife Fund Canada, for funding our new ICListen digital hydrophone, along with Ocean Sonics for assisting with software. Special thanks to Kathy Heise and Hussein Aldina for making it happen.
Tom Dakin, John Joynt and Peter Marshall for configuring the ICListen hydrophone. Special thanks to Roger McDonnell and Jackie Hildering for installing it at Critical Point.
Herve Glotin and Julien Ricard for setting up remote multi channel monitoring of our hydrophone network.
David Howitt and Barbara Bender for coming up to reinstall one of our network radios.
Marty Henschell and Jim Twin for maintaining our boats.
Jim Borrowman and the Gikumi, with Christie McMillan & Marie Fournier (MERS) for coming to the rescue when our main vessel June Cove broke down.
Stubbs Island Charters, Mackay Whalewatching and Seasmoke Whalewatchng for continuous support.
Marie Fournier and her crew for sightings reports and stalwart vigilance on the “Cliff”.
Jared Towers for his keen eye, camera skills and willingness to share his knowledge.
Bill ter Brugge for consultations regarding our remote hydrophones.
Lori Freiburger, Michael Reppy Christine Caruso and Mark Palmer for keeping Corky’s dream of escape from SeaWorld and returning home alive, and Michael Deakin for bringing Corky’s story to his radio audience.
Our summer assistants: Stephanie Chanvalon, Megan Hockin-Bennett, Megan Howes, Momoko Kobayashi, Chelsea Meney, Tomoko Mitsuya, Shari Campbell, Katherine Jefferson, Julien Ricard, Dylan Smyth, Krisztina Balotay.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Born Free Foundation, Earth Island Institute, Earthtrust, Greenpeace, The Annenberg Foundation and everyone who has contributed financially to our work at OrcaLab. We are especially grateful to all those who send us monthly donations.
The board of Pacific Orca Society and our accountants McIntosh Norton Williams.
Thanks also to our many visitors.
We feel so fortunate to be arriving at the last day of this year.
Now, 2016 beckons
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!