Thursday, May 14, 2015

5/14 Humpback, Shell drill, BC LNG, Vic sewer, geoduck, Orcas Wild, peregrine falcon

(Heather MacIntyre/Nature's Keeper Photography)
If you like to watch: Rare B.C. humpback encounter leaves whale watchers in awe
A group of whale watchers off B.C. Saturna Island were in awe when a humpback whale known to locals as Windy came within reach of their boat last weekend. "In about 20 years of watching these whales, I've never seen anything like this," said Heather MacIntyre of Legacy Charters. MacIntyre captured the encounter, in Haro Strait between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island, and off East Point near Patos Island, Wash... Bal Brach reports. (CBC)

Shell oil rig arriving Thursday is just the start of Arctic drilling fleet
The Polar Pioneer oil rig expected to arrive in Seattle on Thursday afternoon is the biggest piece of a muscular fleet Shell Oil has mustered in the Pacific Northwest to resume its controversial high-stakes oil-exploration effort in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s North Slope. The company will have 25 vessels in and out of the Pacific Northwest in preparation for the season, according to spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh, but Shell has been tight-lipped about detailing its plans. The Peninsula Daily News reported the Polar Pioneer began moving out of Port Angeles at about 1:40 a.m. Thursday for the approximate 12-hour trip to Seattle. Coral Garnick and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

B.C. First Nations group rejects $1-billion offer for LNG venture
Lax Kw’alaams members voting in the final of three meetings have unanimously rejected a $1-billion cash offer from Pacific NorthWest LNG, declining to give aboriginal consent sought by the project while creating uncertainty for plans to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia’s north coast. The lure of the money, which would be spread over 40 years, is being overshadowed by what the native group views as excessive environmental risks. The Lax Kw’alaams fear the Pacific NorthWest LNG project led by Malaysia’s Petronas will harm juvenile salmon habitat in Flora Bank, located next to the proposed export terminal site on Lelu Island. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

CRD to reconsider advance levy for sewage treatment
The Capital Regional District will take a second look at how much it is collecting in taxes for sewage treatment until it has a better handle on what it plans to build…. Projecting that eventual debt and operating costs for sewage treatment would total about $35 million a year, the CRD decided in February 2013 to begin collecting taxes in advance to soften the blow to taxpayers once it was built. The idea was to have annual increases of $5 million, ramping up to the total projected $35-million annual cost at program completion. But those estimates were for a single regional treatment plant to be built at McLoughlin Point. That plan went off the rails last year, when Esquimalt refused to rezone the site and the province declined to overturn the decision. Now the search is on for one or more sites for treatment that can be approved by June. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Geoduck farming takes off as demand for clams grows in Asia
John King plunges his arm up to his shoulder into the mudflats of Puget Sound, roots around and soon pulls from the muck the world's largest burrowing clam. The mollusk squirts water from its long obscene-looking neck. King dodges the spray, already using a water hose to loosen sand and harvest the next one. Within hours, the geoduck (pronounced gooey duck) is packed live on ice at nearby Taylor Shellfish Farms — on its way to be served raw as sashimi or added to hot-pot dishes to satisfy a growing appetite for the unique Pacific Northwest delicacy…. Last year, the U.S. exported $74 million, or about 11 million pounds, worth of live wild and farmed geoduck, mostly to China and Hong Kong. That's double the volume and value exported in 2008. An average clam weighs about 2 pounds and can fetch up to $100 per pound overseas. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Orcas Wild Interpretative Center opens in Eastsound
Orcas Wild, a new interpretive wildlife center, is opening in Eastsound across from the Episcopal Church on Main Street. Demi Gary, a naturalist, boat captain and executive director of Orcas Wild, said the center is a place for “learning and discovering.” It will be open to the public on May 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Watch the Sounder for information about the grand opening on June 9. Visitors to Orcas Wild will find installments of visual posters by local naturalists. There will also be interactive elements to the center like a video area for screening of films donated by the Center for Whale Research and iPads equipped with whale sounds to show the diversity of each animal’s “voice.” Cali Bagby reports. (Islands Sounder)

Peregrine falcon named as Vancouver’s bird of the year
The peregrine falcon doesn’t nest in Vancouver but certainly likes to eat here, according to Rob Butler, one of the experts who chose the bird as Vancouver’s Bird of the Year…. They come to the city to dine out — usually on pigeons. Gerry Bellett reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU MAY 14 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE
 EVENING.
--
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