Gannet Rock lies about 20 km south of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and 30 km west of West Pubnico where I live and dock my boat. A landing there can only be achieved when the winds and seas are relatively calm. There is no beach nor any great landing area on this island. An inflatable landing craft makes the procedure safer and easier and often the only way to get there at all.
Upon landing, we attach a grapnel to the rock with a line running to the boat (my Royalsea-23), eventhough the boat is already anchored with one or two anchors. The current is always strong and we use the grapnel line to get the inflatable back and forth rather than the oars.
I generally have no problem finding volunteers for my crew.
Marine Chart of Lobster Bay
|Gannet Rock from the air - (photo - Ted D'Eon)|
April 22, 2002 - 50 decoys were glued and tied to the rock. The sound system, on loan from Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), was also installed. Crew: Rémi d'Entremont, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont, Israel d'Entremont, Basile d'Entremont and Franklyn d'Entremont. We saw 10 migrating Gannets while we were on or near Gannet Rock. All went well
|Gannet decoys inside the boat|
|Israel d'Entremont glueing a Gannet decoy|
|Route (in red) taken to go up and down the rock.|
|Rémi and Jean-Bernard|
|Tne Crew: Basile, Rémi, Franklyn, moi, Jean-Bernard and Israel|
|The departure from Gannet Rock - April 22, 2002|
May 18, 2002 - Failed attempt to land on Gannet Rock.
The weather had not been suitable to get to Gannet Rock for quite a while. This morning it looked like it might be a possibility.
|Rémi and Alix - unsuccessful landing|
We had no problen getting to the rock and we anchored the Royalsea. Rémi and Alix gave the landing a try with the Zodiac. However, there was too much swell, the Zodiac took on water, and we had to abandon the idea for this time.
Upon arrival to Gannet Rock, one Peregrine falcon was seen taking off from a ledge. We saw numerous Black Guillemots in the water and on the rock, and one Arctic Tern high above in the air.
June 19, 2002 - A beautiful morning. We reached Gannet Rock with no problem. We even saw a few Harbour Porpoises on the way.
Once on the rock, we replaced the battery for the sound system and it started working again.
Some of the decoys had become unglued and were re-attached. A few of the foam-filled ones had been damaged by pecking and were taken back home for repairs.
We found a few Black Guillemot nests containing eggs and there were a couple of Atctic Terns flying above with fish-in-bill, however, no tern nests nor chicks were located.
We then continued a few kilometers north to Green Rock (a.k.a. Green Island). Before our arrival there, we passed by a flock of about 50 Sooty Shearwaters. A single Manx Shearwater was with them. A little closer to Green Rock, a single Razorbill circled the boat a few times.
At Green Rock were about 30 Puffins, some Double-crested Cormorants and Black Guillemots nesting. Among the Puffins coming out from some boulders was one Razorbill. After this, we noticed two Razorbills circling the boat. This means the probability of Razorbills nesting here is quite high. This is new! I have seen no recent records of Razorbills nesting in south west Nova Scotia.
At Green Rock there were also many Common Eiders and seals on the southern rocks of the island.
On our way back home we saw 4 Gannets flying by. We stopped for a short visit on Big Tusket Island.
|The crew - Pauline, Dolores-Anne, Rémi, and Israel|
My crew today: Rémi and Israel with Pauline (à Viat) d'Entremont and Dolores-Anne d'Entremont.
We had a great boat trip.
August 1, 2002 - Battery change on Gannet Rock. All went well.
Lots of Gray Seals. At least two Black Guillemot chicks in their nesting crevices.
Six Arctic Terns were above Gannet Rock. One had a fish in its bill. We could not locate any chicks.
|Me holding a fledgeling Black Guillemot|
My crew: The Surettes of Chalk River, Ontario, with Jean-Paul d'Entremont, and my brother, Roland. Roland was visiting from Hong Kong where he teaches school.
|The crew: Jean-Paul d'Entremont, Richard, Bernard, Christian and Gabriel Surette, Jonathan Surette, me, Andrew Surette, and Roland D'Eon|
October 11, 2002 - THE CROSSROADS HAVE BEEN REACHED! I have decided this is the last time I will remove the Gannet decoys from Gannet Rock. After nine years, the experiment is over.
|Rémi with the last of the decoys|
|Ronny carrying a load of decoys down the Rock|
My crew for this historic trip to the Rock for decoy removal were Rémi and Ronny d'Entremont, with Milton and Nigel D'Eon. All went well except that I lost one of the boat's anchors.
We even saw 7 mature Gannets in the area of Gannet Rock. They were all headed southeast.
|Rémi, Nigel and Ronny with Milton aboard the boat|
|Rémi in the Zodiac and Milton aboard the Royalsea|
It has been an adventure after adventure, each time I have visited Gannet Rock over the past nine seasons. Even though I will no longer be placing decoys there, I expect to keep visiting Gannet Rock several times a year to keep an eye on the goings on out there.
It has been a wonderful experiment. And as they say, "You won't know if you don't try". Well, at least I tried.
Perhaps the highlight of the project was the 1999 season when an actual mature Gannet was seen among the decoys over a period of about two months. This was also the first year we used the sound system on the Rock. Below are a few photos from 1999.
Now I will have to write a report. Stay tuned!
Ted C. D'Eon
P.O. Box 100 West Pubnico Nova Scotia B0W 3S0 Canada phone (home)1-902-762-2097 (work)1-902-762-2793 (FAX) 1-902-762-2885