When we first decided to use concrete blocks to weigh down the carboy spore-dispersal systems, we were not sure if 60 pound blocks would work in rough weather. I am delighted to report that it does indeed work, and the past day of rough seas has not moved anything.
This morning members of Help of Kelp took advantage of surprisingly good weather and calm seas to do a second round of bull kelp "planting" using our new "carboy protocol" to disperse thousands of spores in the waters in front of the Surf Lodge.
On Saturday, team members Michele and Michael harvested several ripe sori from bull kelp on the south end of the island. They were dried for 36 hours so that when re-introduced to the water, spores would drop almost immediately to the sea floor. Here's what the drying area looked like.
The team was delighted to welcome newest volunteers Bill Beedie (from Gabriola Automotive) and Tony, as well as to have along with us journalist Tamara Cunningham from the Nanaimo News Bulletin. Tamara documented the process, and an article is coming out this Thursday.
The assistance of Bill and Tony is greatly appreciated. We were able to use Bill's boat as a staging area for repacking the carboys with new sori, and of course for pulling the heavy concrete blocks back up. Below are some photos of today's adventure with brief descriptions.
Here's Bill's beautiful wooden boat dating to the 1930s.
Bill's boat worked in tandem with our research boat "Kelpie" to retrieve and re-position the carboys once packed with fresh sori. You'll see on the inflatable boat kelpers Paul O'Sullivan and Michael Mehta.
Here's how the heavy concrete blocks that held the carboys in place were pulled up. The skill and patience of Bill and Tony came in very handy for this task. Once on-board the larger boat, team member Michele carefully stuffed dozens of sori cuttings into each carboy.
The repacked carboys and concrete block systems were then hoisted back onto "Kelpie" for placement in the new area with depths ranging between 15-22'
This morning Help the Kelp volunteers loaded the carboys with sori (spore patches) that we harvested on Saturday. By slightly drying them out, the sori are expected to immediately release their spores when put back in the water. Here team members Michele and Victor show how it's done.
Later in the afternoon... Before deploying the carboys in the Clark Bay area near the Surf Lodge, team member Nancy confers with Michael about where to inspect the bottom for suitable substrate. Bull kelp grow in rocky areas best.
We based our deployment on GPS mapping of kelp done earlier in the summer, and you'll see here a hole in the system (right hand side of map) that we'll try filling with new kelp.
Here's a photo of Nancy snorkelling in Clark Bay and a photo of the bottom structure that she took.
Michele and Victor documented the process too and we'll have some video to share at some point. Here's Michele ready to capture more action.
After ascertaining that Clark Bay is a good place to start replanting, the team loaded up our small research vessel "Kelpie" and began the process of dropping the weighted carboys in water between 15-22'.
Here's a photo of what they look like once placed, and in a few days we'll need to harvest new sori, pull up the carboy systems, reload, and redeploy somewhere else on the island.
Today was a very busy and rewarding day for volunteers working with Help the Kelp. This morning team members assembled five carboy delivery systems that look like this.
We also managed to harvest more than 200 sori from a wide range of Bull Kelp in the False Narrows area.
And tested one of the carboys - and it worked like a charm!
Here's what the harvest looks like right now. It is being dried out for about 36 hours, and some of the sori were pre-treated with iodine.
On Monday the team will deploy these devices in the Clark Bay area pending a successful survey of the bottom structure. Approximately 40 sori - a mix of treated and untreated - will be stuffed into each carboy. The theory here is that when put back in the water, the sori will release spores and hopefully build a rich canopy next year.
A BIG THANKS TO THE VOLUNTEERS AND TO THOSE WHO DONATED MATERIAL.
Help the Kelp will try replanting bull kelp in the next week or two using what we call the carboy protocol.
GIRO donated a small plastic wine carboy to experiment with and Gabriolan Claire Dineen kindly donated several floats. We still need rope, cinder blocks, smaller floats, and several more plastic carboys.
Kelper Michele Fire-River Heart, my spouse Kathy Edwards, and I reviewed the kelp on the south end of the island on the weekend and we're pleased to report that sori (the reproductive patches) are almost ripe and ready for selective harvesting.
Here's what a blade looks like with sori intact and after it has naturally dropped off.
We hope to harvest sori this weekend and prep them prior to redeployment in other areas using the carboy technique. Sori will be placed in carboys in the following way. This drawing was done by Michele.