Archive for October, 2013

From D.C. to B.C. Part III

by Loren Clark-Moe

Hi everyone! October in the Great Bear Rainforest continues to be amazing!

One of the first things I heard about Pacific Wild was their Great Bear LIVE program, and in particular, their camera along a riverbed where we can watch live footage of wolves and their pups feeding on salmon. It’s amazing footage, but this camera has a unique challenge: just like their domesticated distant cousins, wolf pups love finding things to chew on, and they keep finding the cable that runs from the Great Bear LIVE camera to the power supply. The cable can’t hurt the wolf pups, but the wolf pups can definitely cut out the camera feed!

We awoke on Wednesday to find that the pups had once again found the cable, so Rob and I took the boat out to the riverbed to make some repairs. Rob knows everything about cables and wiring, but it’s slightly different when the cable you want to work on has been knawed through in the middle of a river. So, while standing in knee-deep water, I held all the wires out of the water while Rob meticulously wound and sealed them all back together. We checked the systems and the camera was back up, so all we needed now was for the wolves to come visit again!

Loren investigating the cable that connects the remote camera to its' power supply.  It turns out that wolf pups had gnawed right through the cable!

Loren investigating the cable that connects the remote camera to its’ power supply. It turns out that wolf pups had gnawed right through the cable!

On Thursday morning, I heard a happy yell from Diana, announcing that the wolves were back on camera! We spent the morning watching 5 wolves lounging, eating and playing together; I hope you got to see it too! If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for Pacific Wild’s Great Bear LIVE Alerts so you’ll know when we’ve caught something on camera. We were all really happy to be able to watch these beautiful animals for such a long time; even Diana’s puppy Clay was excited!

Clay the dog, intently watching a pack of wolf pups on the live camera feed.

Clay the dog, intently watching a pack of wolf pups on the live camera feed.

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From D.C. to B.C. Part II

By Loren Clark-Moe

Hello again! This is Loren, back again to share some of my experiences up here with Pacific Wild. So far, so great!

Day 4: Well today was the first day where I officially got very wet, and very cold! Last night the team agreed to meet on the dock at 8am to try to get to a camera station that wasn’t working properly, but the weather had other ideas and I was quickly informed that it was way too rough to go out there today. Instead, we changed course and went to check in on another radio receiver that seemed to have some power issues overnight.

Once again, there was no shore to pull up to for the boat, so we were jumping on to the little island but instead of riding a wave into a big rock we were pretty much faced with a large rock face that went straight up. But we all managed and Max and Rob were able to fix the power and signal issues pretty quickly. So, all around good news and I assumed we were headed back to the lab.

Pictographs in Heiltsuk traditional territory.

Pictographs in Heiltsuk traditional territory.

But then, Max mentioned that there were some amazing pictographs close by. So we jumped in the boat, took a few turns and then approached another little island with huge rock faces jutting up. We could spot amazing red paintings along the cliffs with beautifully clear pictures of some traditional symbols, a pod of killer whales, jelly fish and figures we lovingly referred to as “little lizard dudes”. These spectacular images were a powerful reminder that humans have been here and have loved, respected and depended upon this amazing region for a long long time.

As we were walking along a ledge (with extreme caution and good sense, Mom, I promise) to get a good view of another image, the wind and rain picked up quite a bit and it was definitely time to head back. Of course, the problem with cold, wet weather is that you want to get out of it as fast as possible. But the faster the boat goes, the colder and wetter you become. So it was quite the ride back, bouncing around, getting pelted with rain and I reconsidered my earlier assertion that this was “perfect” weather but still, it wasn’t terrible!

Max and Rob are headed out later this afternoon to work on a windmill on another island, so they’ve only got a few minutes

to spend by the fire. I, on the other hand, have some writing to do, so I’m now curled up by the fire, appreciating the warm indoors.

Until next time!

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From D.C. to B.C.

By Loren Clark-Moe

My name is Loren and I first met Ian and Karen McAllister, the founders of Pacific Wild, in September and absolutely fell in love with the Great Bear Rainforest and the work Pacific Wild is doing to protect it. But one visit up here is never long enough, and in a bizarre turn of events, I’ve gotten the chance to come back to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Loren learning to drive the boat!

Loren learning to drive the boat!

I’m a federal employee of the U.S. government, which means, I am not allowed to work until our Congress passes a budget.  As I sat at home on the first day of the U.S. government shutdown I realized that I’d go crazy without something to do, so I sent a note to the Pacific Wild team asking if I could come work with them for a bit and they said yes!

Now… let’s be clear: I have no experience in the field when it comes to conservation work, so I’ve been crossing my fingers and hoping that I can add some value of my own while also doing whatever heavy lifting, errand running, or being the extra set of hands the team needs! I’ll be keeping a running blog while I’m here with Pacific Wild, working on whatever needs work!  I hope you enjoy it!

Day 1: I arrived at Bella Bella around 10am after spending the night in the Vancouver airport.  It was exactly the weather I was told to expect: 45 degrees and raining!  I think most would consider this bad weather, but I was just so excited to see an non-tourist perspective of this area and Pacific Wild, that I thought the weather was perfect!  It was wonderful to hug everyone again that I had met only 4 weeks ago and we wasted no time jumping into a discussion of some projects I could work on while I was here. I started learning all about Pacific Wild’s non-invasive camera network and some of their plans to expand the initiative for all of our viewing pleasures!  Securing funding for the advanced equipment is essential and I started working on a draft video fundraising pitch that will be published onto Indiegogo!  More on that in a bit…

Day 2:  After finding a cup of coffee, I linked back up with the Pacific Wild team at Diana, Rob and Max’s house to finish the script for the fundraising video.  After we finalized the script, it was time for some fieldwork.  One of the hydrophones that you can listen to on Pacific Wild’s website wasn’t functioning correctly, so Diana, Max, Rob and I all loaded up the boat and took off to try to fix the problem. I had two goals for the day: 1) don’t make their jobs harder (ie: don’t get in their way or break any of the equipment) and 2) try not to fall into the very chilly water.

Adjusting a transmitter, a vital part of of the Great Bear LIVE technology

Adjusting a transmitter, a vital part of of the Great Bear LIVE technology

My goals became quite relevant almost immediately as we couldn’t actually pull the boat up to the shore because the shoreline was all jagged rocks!  This meant we had to quickly pass equipment off the boat on to the rock and then jump out of the boat ourselves.  Though I played a very limited role, I am pleased to say that the team was able to get the hydrophone system back up and running!  It took a bit of doing, as the radio receiver was out of position to line up with the signal on the neighboring mountain, so we had to reposition it on a higher point of the island.  In addition, the solar panel also had to be disassembled and remounted higher up the island, as it kept getting hit by waves.

In a moment of instant gratification, as we docked back at Pacific Wild’s floating lab, the computers started playing live killer whale vocalizations from the hydrophone that we had just repaired!  That, I’ll have you know, made my day!  Well, that, and the fact that they let me drive the boat all the way back to Pacific Wild!

That’s it for now, I’ll check in again soon!

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