About this Camera
In this part of the Great Bear Rainforest, the open Pacific Ocean and the mainland are separated by a thin band of islands. The small rocky islet that this camera is on is about twenty kilometres offshore from these islands. The large ocean swells that wash over it in the winter prevent vegetation from taking hold, leaving the rocks barren and unforgiving.
There is no shortage of life, however. It is a sea lion rookery, where hundreds of Steller sea lions haul out and give birth to their pups. Seals and sea otters are often seen swimming by as well. The intertidal is rich with anemones, mussels, gooseneck barnacles and sea stars that cling to this rock in spite of the powerful swells. There is kelp here so old and thick it feels like wood. In the spring, sea gulls and oystercatchers lay their eggs in nests made of grass and sea shells, meanwhile bald eagles come to prey on them and also on the occasional sea lion pup that does not survive.
This spot is an obvious feeding ground for mammal-eating transient killer whales. They frequently visit to prey on the seals and sea lions that thrive here. Resident killer whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins also pass by taking advantage of this rich area. We have a hydrophone at this location and are often alerted to the presence of these cetaceans when we hear their vocalizations come in over our live hydrophone feed.
This summer we are conducting a six week whale survery with this camera ending in mid-August. We are researching how often the cetaceans that pass by are actually vocalizing, as well as studying their behaviour and distribution along the coast. The camera itself is enclosed in a weather-proof dome that spins against a wiper that is washed by a sprayer attached a reservoir inside the enclosure. There is so much salt spray at this location that sometimes we clean the dome every fifteen seconds.