Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grand Manan

My project is progressing forward, albeit slowly. Damon and I had concerns about my sample size, which is 2 for each treatment (2 racks in each low, high, and no current) and not 16 (since each rack has 8 plates). So I've been feverishly making some "rapid" assessment plates - basically I've just placed two plates on a length of line and made 30 of them. My goal is to only count species on these plates, and only check them once in September or October. This will prevent me from spending too much time checking plates every week. In order to anchor these lines, I've had to make rock anchors using zip ties which is a maddening task, especially when I have to carry 10 or so 15lb rocks to each site. But I can happily say that all of these extra plates are out in the water and I can forget about them until later this summer. Of course, since the plates are only anchored with rocks, there is a potential for them to be swept away, especially on the southern end which is exposed to some extremely strong surf. I just have to cross my fingers and hope at least 5 are left at each site.

We reached the halfway point of our time on Kent Island yesterday, which is sobering for many of us as we realize our time here is much more limited than we realized. There is still reams of data to collect, but at least we still have a month left. Almost in celebration of this halfway point, we have several off-island activities this week. Two days ago we went on a lobstering trip with a local lobsterman and his son who gather mail for us and serve as our Grand Manan contacts. We got to size and band lobsters as they came out of the traps, no doubt slowing down the normally extremely efficient operation. Aside from some unfortunate sea sickness brought about by a rather hurriedly eaten protein bar breakfast, the fishing trip was a success. We got to bring back a few lobsters for ourselves - pretty much the only option for locavore food on Kent Island. We also got to take a quick jaunt onto Grand Manan, the first time in a month any of us had set foot off Kent Island. Ice Cream and fried food was duly purchased in alarming quantities, and showers were taken (in someone's house and not in a bucket for once!). Tomorrow we head back to Grand Manan to participate in Canada Day festivities, to once again stuff ourselves with food and attempt the Greasy Pole competition (pictures will be forthcoming!).
Looking south through the fog


The keepers house at Swallowtail lighthouse, Grand Manan

Swallowtail Lighthouse

Half the Kent Islanders - the other half are recovering from waking up at 4AM by napping

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