So far this winter the storms have been relentless. The SE winds have blown up everything from strong wind to gale warnings including storm and hurricane force warnings. On average it seems that these systems will move in for 5-7 days with less than 24 hours of reprieve in between. On top of the wind we’ve seen a lot of rain and overcast days, making it difficult for the solar panels to do their job. Between the lack of sun and the choppy seas it has been difficult to make it out to perform maintenance on the hydrophone stations. In late fall, we were able to swap out Flower Island’s 2, 12V batteries a couple of times as well as install a new voltage regulator. Luckily, on New Years Eve the wind dropped and a number of helping hands allowed us to swap out the batteries at Critical Point as they had been dying in the evenings. As I write, it is the only functioning hydrophone and the wind is gusting around 35kts SE. Flower Island makes it through the day, but quits at ‘sunset’.
Thankfully, we were able to purchase 2 new 135W solar panels and 4 new 12V batteries, thanks to donated funds, for the Parson Island radios. This is one of four hubs that allows us to stream the sights and sounds we experience to Internet users around the world. Many Orca-Live listeners have been privy to the previous physical struggle we have had to endure while hiking 12V batteries up and down the Parson hill, as they died and were replaced. We are extremely grateful for the new set up, and think it will last through the winter (fingers crossed).
Steve Lapp and his two kids, Jenny & Tim, were also of GREAT help this past summer, (and previously). They donated and installed 5, 60W solar panels, which have helped reduce our gasoline generator running times. They also worked on streamlining the power loads to make the entire system more efficient. We now also have a solar panel designated for charging batteries that we swap out for dead ones at hydrophone stations and radio hubs.
We are so thankful for all of the help and donations we have received for maintaining and upgrading our systems.
On a personal note, I feel that I have morphed into a solar panel out here on Hanson because I am really looking forward to the sun!!
Update: This was written 2 days ago and since then the wind has dropped and after lugging 10, 12V batteries to and from various locations, Parson Island and CP hydrophones and the radio hubs are all a go!!