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Friday May 1st 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future.  

Months slip past quickly.  It's May already! 

From here on out, the beekeeping season in South Central Alberta accelerates from fiddling around waiting for build-up into rushing around trying to keep ahead of developments.

Up until now, not much has been happening.  Bee colonies have been getting more active as the days lengthen and the cold snaps are fewer, but most colonies have been decreasing in size or staying about the same. 

Beekeeping has been mostly a matter of picking up deadouts, cleaning up the yards, feeding patties, checking for queens and making sure the colonies have enough feed. 

Now those who wrap hives can unwap (With EPS boxes, I've almost forgotten what that job is like) and consider splitting.  Queen rearing starts about now or any time in the next two weeks.

Today looks perfect for opening colonies and starting on splitting.  Acquiring queens has changed my plans 180 degrees.

I'm feeling much better, so much better that I was up until after midnight last night instead of being in bed early as I was all this past week.

Before bed last night, I had reserved a flight to the Coast to spend some time on my boat next week, then realised that I have an eye appointment during that time and had to cancel or change the dates.  I needed to be sure to do that in the 24-hour fee-free window immediately after reserving.

I phoned Westjet, but was stuck in a twenty-minute queue (at 2100 hours? Go figure), so I decided to watch the last few episodes of Veronica Mars. 

Westjet streams ads while waiting and I turned down the sound on the phone.  I either missed noticing when an agent came on or they dropped my call.  At any rate, I had to dial back and queue up again.  Finally, I got through and cancelled the trip. I'll make new reservations.

I finished watching all the Veronica Mars episodes on Netflix now.  I hate to think how much time that represents.  As the series progressed, the character of the show changed, but I found it watchable, unlike much of the video offered these days.

*   *   *   *   *

It's 0811 right now.  The temperature is already up to plus 8.4į C, but the wind is building already.

It is time to get suited up and get a plan of action.

Plastic separator sheetsMy plan is to get out my excluders and the plastic sheets I use to isolate splits from the colony below (right), then make up splits by gently shaking most of the bees off two or three frames with brood and two feed frames, (to make sure the queen stays below) and placing them in a standard EPS box.  Then I'll place the split above an excluder on top of the parent hive to allow the nurse bees to come back up.

The next day, I'll remove the excluder, insert the plastic, and introduce a queen. 

Leaving the split on top keeps it warm, and also avoids having to find another floor, lid and location in the yard for each split until later.  I can leave the splits there for weeks if I like.  I can even put two splits on top of any parent (or other) hive.

The splits need not be on the same colony from which they was made , and splits can be made with brood from several colonies where necessary.

Since I use auger holes in all brood boxes, I don't need special divider boards or any other entrance.

I can also divert flying bees between the parent colony and the divides by opening and closing auger holes.

In the meantime, I'll keep the queens in their cages with attendants in a dark kitchen cupboard and give them a drop of water occasionally, making sure I don't give too much.  That would make the candy runny and gum up or drown the bees.

I went out and got to work.  As always, the first hour was devoted to sorting items on the truck and getting things ready. 

Beekeeping is as much about materials handing as it is about actual in-hive work.  I think a commercial beekeeper is lucky if he and his crew spend one third of their labour actually in the bee yards.  One quarter is more like it. Loading and unloading and driving probably consume just as much time, and then there are all the other tasks.

Once organized, I worked through two hives. The first made two splits, with two frames with brood each.  The second made three, with three frames each.  I found the queen right off in the first hive, but not the second.

Finding the queen makes the job much easier as I can introduce a queen right away and not use the excluder. Otherwise, I have to go back and look again. I did not shake bees off since I was lucky with the first hive, but maybe I will have to revert to my original plan.

I did not find the queen in the second second and in three boxes, I will either have to go through again looking, or shaking.

I am still getting into the swing of splitting.  I have to open a few hives before I get a real feel for things.  For one thing, I am glad I scraped the top and bottom bars earlier.  Otherwise this job would be messy.

I am also finding he patties a real nuisance when stacking the boxes back up and have to figure how to manage them better.  I have patties on top bars at multiple levels in the hives and they interfere with working frame by frame and inserting plastic.

Too much feed in combs is a problem in some hives, so I have to find empty combs to insert in their place.  Ideally, a split should have two full frames of feed and some partials, all in brown comb, plus empty brood combs so the queen can expand the nest.

The temperature dropped a bit and the wind picked up so I came in for lunch.  Once I was inside, wind gusted and rain pelted the windows for a few moments. Then the sun returned. minute to minute, the weather is very changeable at this time of year.

While inside and resting, I booked new flights to Sidney for next week.  I decided on five days instead of seven as originally planned.  That should be plenty of time.  Afterwards I was too sleepy to do much, so I had a nap.

I slept ten or fifteen minutes and was roused by the chime of my phone.  It was just an inconsequential email.  I should remember to set it to "Priority Alerts Only".

Elijah is coming to work after school and Maddy may come to help with bees, so I should make sure I save some energy for then.

As I say, I have to do a few hives before I get into the swing again.  Once I get going and can determine what the bees are telling me, who knows?  Maybe I'll want more queens, especially since Saskatraz queens are readily available. 

I sure can change my mind in a moment when circumstances change.

I went out again and my bee truck ran out of gas.  It is a longstanding problem.  One tank is full, but the other ran dry and the valve to switch tanks gets stuck. 

I had queens to put in, so I walked over and put in three queens.  Then the wind got so bad it blew my smoker off a hive.  I quit and went in for supper. 

Again, I found I was tired and had another nap, then got up and watched Safety Not Guaranteed, a charming movie, and LOL hilarious.

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
Hitchens's razor

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Saturday May 2nd 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

More wind is predicted today, and cooler weather with rain showers.  That is what always happens when I have queens waiting to go into hives.

I decided to meet Fen, Maddy, Betty, and Max at Rick's at 0830 for breakfast and  drove over.  Breakfast lasted until 1000, then I dropped in on Mike and Liz who now live one mile from Rick and about three miles from The Mill and had coffee.

I returned home just before noon, had lunch, and am about to see what I can do with the bees today.  It is 10 degrees now, with a chilly thirteen MPH wind from the WNW.

Karen posted this in the forum: Time lapse of a honeybee from egg to adult.  It's amazing.

I tried to get the bee truck running and failed. I need better gas line fittings and was unable to find any in Three Hills or Linden this morning.

My heart is really not in mechanical work, but I need either a forklift or a truck -- or both -- to get much bee work done, and my Diesel 4X4, as nice as it is, has a pickup box.  I always said that if I ever had to work bees out of a standard fleetsides pickup again, I'd quit bees.

I might just be quitting bees.  I sold a lot of hives.

Also, I woke up today realizing that I have boxes of comb sitting around that have not been in use since 2005, and that is a decade ago.   A decade does not seem long, but...

I took a lot of orders this year.  Last year I couldn't sell all the hives I wanted to and this year I sold right out, with hopefully enough left so I have some hives at least.  I guess I charged too much last year and too little this year.

Of course I am conflicted.  If I drop below fifty hives, I feel impoverished and when I reach seventy, I feel overwhelmed.

Why am I not on my boat or the cottage or spending time with Mom. She is not getting any younger and neither am I.

I could use the red van and low trailer, I suppose, but I would have to take everything off the truck and load the trailer.  Easier to fix the truck, I think.  I have to sooner or later.

While working outside, I discovered , though, that it is far too cold to be bothering the bees today.  I was chilled in jumpsuit with a shirt under it.


Today (left) looks to be a wasted day.  Tomorrow (right) looks better.

Well, I believed the forecast and quit for the day.  Around 1730, the wind died unexpectedly about the time I expected the worst gusts, and the remainder of the day was okay for bee work.  By then, however,  I had decided the day was over.  I suppose I could have gone out, but I do need to relax now and then.

Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

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Sunday May 3rd 2015

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 15. UV index 5 or moderate.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

The wind predicted today looks tolerable, so I'll be outdoors.  I have lots to do.  Maddy is coming over to help and Elijah will be here, too.  Job One is to get the bee truck running again before they arrive.

I have to remember that these cold and dull mornings at this time of year can turn into perfect bee weather in the late afternoon.  That is usually when it is warmest.

Yesterday turned nice right at quitting time.  over the years, I have found that the hours between four and eight in the afternoon and evening are consistently some of the best bee-working hours of spring days.

That said, at 0800, I see that we still are right at freezing and that the wind is picking up already from the SSW, not NE, and above predicted speed (above).

Although predictions are for plus fifteen, that does not mean the entire day, or even most of it, will be that warm, and rain showers are expected this afternoon.

I'll get a bit of deskwork done while waiting for the day to warm up, and, of course, do my daily housework and hope the day gets better.

I fixed the truck.  It was challenging.  I had to drive to town and get some gas.  Apparently all this time, it was out of fuel and the gauge said almost full!  I did clean the fuel filter, though, in the process of troubleshooting and that makes a difference. 

I have known that the fuel filter needed cleaning for about a year now, and was restricting performance on startup, but just did not do it.  The filter was almost completely blocked and  turned out to be quite restrictive.  I did not have a replacement, but blew it out with compressed air and that will do for now.

Maddy came over after lunch and we worked a steady four hours and now have homes for all the queens.  Maddy is a great help and catches on fast.  In fact she caught a few of my oversights.

We finished at 1630 and I was tired.  I made stew and relaxed a bit.  The weather is perfect and I may go back out.  Some of the splits were made by shaking the bees out and placing the splits above excluders when the queens did not show up on the first pass through.  I need to pull the excluders and put in plastic dividers.

I also have grass to cut.

The trouble is that once I sit down, I am not too inclined to get back up. 

Coffee, that is the answer.

I had a cup of coffee and went back out, pulled the excluders we had put in a few hours earlier in the Quonset yard, and put in plastic sheets and queens.

Then I went to the South of the Hedge yard and pulled apart the strongest hive there, one I had marked.  It turned out to have bees wall to wall on the top bars of all four boxes, so I looked for a queen.  I would have loved to show that hive here, but I had left my phone inside.

Looking for a queen is not easy in a hive of that size, specially since some queens are dark, so when I failed to find her, I was faced with either putting the hive back together and leaving it for another day or shaking the bees out of the top boxes into the lower boxes and making splits.

I glanced at the sun, now sinking in the sky, and wondered if I had time to finish. 

At a certain point late in the day, the bees suddenly stop flying and start crawling., and some hives get quite nasty -- especially some big hives.  Even if they don't get nasty, crawling bees get to be a bit much after a while.

I decided to take a chance and made two splits on top of the mother.  For the number of bees, there was not as much brood as I would have liked, but there was enough.

I finished up and went in.  It was 2020.

I watched some video and then went to bed. 

Even if you do learn to speak correct English,
whom are you going to speak it to?
Clarence Darrow

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Monday May 4th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

The splits are done for now, at least as far as finding homes for the queens is concerned, so I don't care much about the weather today for my own comfort, but the warm day and night predicted will assist with build-up.

I am realizing that I have been stressing about the bees and need to relax a bit.  My main concern is to have enough bees for the sales I have made, so that means getting good splits made early.  That is why I decided to take some mated queens when the opportunity came up.  That decision was reinforced by the fact that these are Saskatraz queens.

I am now thinking that the way to deal with purchased queens on arrival is to install them immediately into three-frame standard nucs containing a patch of emerging brood and some young bees, rather than keeping them sitting around.  The sooner queens are installed the better, and when installing into small nucs with young bees, queen acceptance is almost guaranteed.

These nucs can then be carried around and the three frames used to make splits later when convenient.

These nucs do not have to be very strong.  They can be reduced to a tiny entrance and even taken inside a warm room at night if the weather turns foul.

There goes my trusty rusty old red van, off to a new life with new friends.  I feel a bit nostalgic seeing her go out the drive, but I know she will be fixed up and go many more kilometers.

That van served me well, taking Zippy and me to Ontario and back, and making many trips around Alberta and to the mountains and back.

The outside is showing some rust, but the interior is like-new, and it has the overhead console and an eight-way power driver's seat.   Nice ride.

I drove to Three Hills and registered the 2009 van and bought a few groceries.  Zippy seems very happy today and I think she likes the new van.  I doubt the leather seats impress her, but I think she likes the magic key fob controlled electric sliding doors.  Hard to tell exactly what has her smiling, but she definitely is.

Flying the drone.After supper, I went out and flew my AR.Drone for a while, then went in and watched Men in Black 3.

I have been feeling stressed lately and I tried to relax today.   I think that I am putting myself under pressure to go places and do things, which is silly because I don't have much to do that really matters.  Does anyone, really, though?

I mostly succeeded at doing nothing.   My main accomplishments were doing the breakfast dishes, registering the van, getting an appointment to have a trailer hitch installed, writing an article promoting the three summer Bluewater Cruising Association (BCA) rendezvous (the plural of 'rendezvous' is 'rendezvous') for the Currents magazine, organizing the to-do list for Cassiopeia, and communicating with the dock staff so the boat will be ready to go Friday.

Where will I go when I leave the dock in Sidney?  Any way the wind blows, in theory at least.  I have four days.  The outer edge of the circle on the map at left represents the direct distance covered in a six-hour straight-line cruise. Days are now fourteen hours long, but six hours is a long day for casual sailing.

 I see that I will have a very low tide on Friday just about exactly when I get to the boat.  Getting out of the marina might have to wait an hour or two.  That's okay.  I have to do a little grocery shopping before I leave anyhow.  I'll have low tides with ranges up to ten feet for my entire cruise.

I have always gone north and not gone south from Sidney more than a few miles yet so that may be a plan.  I am also thinking I may go down into the San Juan Islands.  In Sidney, I am just six miles from the US border, but border crossings involve checking in and checking out during the hours the authorities are open.

We'll see when I get there.  I'll probably sail alone since whenever I have people on board, I have to deal with their schedules coming and going and their preferences for food and destinations and hours.  Maybe I am just too accommodating.  Some people are easier than others, and but much of the time I like my own company best.

Ride the horse in the direction it's going.
Werner Erhard

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Tuesday May 5th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

This evening, I have to be deep inside Calgary for a supper meeting at 1700, so will leave mid-afternoon to avoid the rush hour, and do a little shopping when I get there.

At 0810, I have the door open and am enjoying the morning.  It is only plus six, but the sun is shining and the breeze is light.

The weather predicted for the next several days looks ideal for yard and bee work.  I have grass to cut and should check more hives. 

I have not looked at the North Yard for about two weeks, and a lot can happen in two weeks at this time of year.  Colonies can double and triple in size in two weeks, and at least one swarm is certain when there are seventy hives in a yard.

These hives have plenty of space, though, and that tends to delay swarming.  Some have as many as five standard boxes and the smallest hives have two.

Bees are not the only bugs swarming at this time of year. I am seeing lots of bugs in the sky these days, doing all sorts of interesting things. When I flew the drone last night, I could see bugs of various sizes approaching it and some were following it around.

And, most of the birds are finally back.  Robins, blackbirds, and crows are around, but for some reason, I am not seeing magpies.   Something is pecking at any pollen patties I happen to leave on top of a hive, though.  I always figured it was them.

Of course, the ducks have been here for a while, and geese come and go.

I looked at the most recent splits this afternoon and checked for queen release.  I saw one was out and did not want to disturb the rest.  I had to add a second to some splits.

Deciding how much candy to use and how big a nail hole to make is always a judgment call.  I suspect I could have used more candy or a smaller hole in this case.  The queen was out in two days.

I also noticed red ants in this yard and they were running around on two hives (right).  I routinely move the hive bases over a bit when working through hives to place them on fresh ground to reduce rot and to reduce ant problems, but I see the ants are doing just fine here. Red ants are pretty nasty and can weaken a colony.  Ant invasion can also make the bees in a disturbed colony very defensive.  My only solution is to put ant poison under the hives. 

I did see a magpie in the yard today.

At 1530, Zippy and I drove to Calgary where I had supper with twelve other Bluewater Cruising Association organizers at the Himalaya Restaurant and then attended the monthly meeting featuring an excellent presentation by a member who had participated in the Clipper Round The World Race.

The meeting and presentation was over at 2100 and I was home in bed by 2245.  Driving the new van makes the trip much more pleasant than it is in the old red van.  The seventy-five miles is still a grind, regardless.  I had intended to shop in Airdrie on the way back, but when I was passing through, I encountered a thunderstorm and downpour and thought better of the idea.

 Besides, I think the Wal-Mart there closes at 2200, and I would have had to rush.

Today was the Alberta Provincial election. The Conservatives were our government for forty-four years, always with a comfortable majority, but today they were swept from power by a New Democrat majority.  The Conservative leader promptly resigned.  Tomorrow will be a new day.

Don't let life discourage you;
everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard L. Evans

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Wednesday May 6th 2015

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 9. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low zero.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Can't trust those weather-guessers.  I unplugged some auger hole plugs yesterday and increased the space for some splits, only to come home last night to howling north winds and find today to be cold and windy.  I'm glad I put on entrance reducers.

I was up in the middle of the night for a while I was up I smelled a skunk.  That will be a problem eventually, unless the coyotes get her, and I have not heard them around for a long time.

Skunks can have big litters and multiply quickly.  I had nineteen skunks one fall and they were really bothering hives. 

At right are two examples of skunk damage to EPS boxes. These are the only two examples of any serious damage that have occurred over the past ten+ years and what amounts to hundreds of hive-years. Such damage seldom occurs, and it is my fault for letting the skunks go on scratching at hives far too long.

I'll know if this skunk becomes a problem if I find reducers pulled off.  Until then, a skunk can be useful keeping mice down and cleaning up scraps.

In the afternoon I drove to Calgary again to meet with fellow Calgary BCA organizers to discuss the BCA website.  I stopped along the way to buy some slacks at Marks Work Warehouse.  

I hate buying clothes and when i find some I like, I tend to buy more of the same.  Actually, that applies to anything I buy and find that I like.  I tend to stock up since it seems that the same items may not be available for long.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm enjoying road trips more with this van than with my older vans.  Driving is a pleasure again.  The ride is smooth and the road noise is subdued compared to my older red van.

I was home again by midnight. 

The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.
Oprah Winfrey

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Thursday May 7th 2015

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this morning. High 13. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of showers overnight. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 overnight. Low plus 3.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Today is sunny and calm -- so far.

I have decided to stop worrying about my bees, relax, and get ready to go west.

I've let my bees get me worried.  I've committed to sales and now have to make sure I have enough for the orders.  Worrying won't help, and I just have to wait for the bees to build up.

I'll have the Usual Suspects over for supper tonight and probably make a run to Three Hills for groceries.  I'd just make spaghetti, but some of the group are avoiding starches.

*   *   *   *   *

Cancel that.  Fen called.  Maddy is in Victoria, and Fen has a salmon to eat, so I am going there.  I have things to do here, and am not in the mood for cooking tonight anyhow.

I have a sore rib today for no apparent reason and have been feeling 'off' for the past two weeks so I went to see the doctor today.

I had called Ruth earlier to see if she can take care of Zippy and she called back to say she is in the hospital.  She fell and broke a hip Saturday.  A surgeon had operated and said she would be walking in four hours, but that was days ago and she is in pain and they are looking at her leg again.

She has not been able to reach Dave on the phone, and was worried as he is diabetic, so I drove over and checked.  He was not there, but everything looks fine.  The animals have water and the house was open.  A dog was lying on the bed.  Dave was gone, but apparently everything is OK.

I drove on down to Drum, figuring he would be in his usual haunts, but did not see him and drove home.  I used to love to drive around the country looking at things and hiking the badlands. I must get back in the habit.

I had one queen left and needed a home for her, so went out and made up a split.  I picked the hive at the west end of the North Yard and found all four boxes right full of bees. I split it in half and was lucky enough to find the queen right off, so was able to install the new queen right away.  The first split was so strong that I added a third box.



I then did a walk-away split on the next hive east which was similarly strong and went on east, adding patties, but finding the hives were progressively weaker as I went up the line.   I did not do more splitting, choosing instead to wait a week.  I was running out of time, had no queens and figure the hives will be stronger then.  I don't like to make weak splits.

Elijah came over and we went to the Quonset and cleaned up a bit where a windstorm had damaged the frame and the cover a few weeks back when I was last on the coast. 

I trimmed some of the tarp and drove the bee truck onto the loose end to hold it down while I am gone, and then we drove to The Mill for supper.  I'll have to do a fair bit of work on the quonset and have not had the ambition yet.

Fen offered to keep Zippy for me and that seemed like the best plan, so Zip will stay at The Mill until I get back.

Elijah and I drove back to Swalwell around 2030 and I plan to go to bed early.  I have a big day tomorrow and need some rest.  I am still feeling a bit odd.

Donít look back.
Something might be gaining on you.
Satchel Paige

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Friday May 8th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

My alarm woke me from a deep sleep at 0400.  I contemplated sleeping another hour, but moments later, I found myself on my feet.

I had decided last night to rise at 0400, and set an alarm.  In fact, I set two separate devices with a series of alarms beginning at 0400 when I went to bed at 2215 last night.  I was on autopilot this morning.

We think we know when and why we make decisions, but after years of observing myself, I doubt that the reasons and explanations we give are anything but rationalization for things we do not understand decided deep beneath the surface of consciousness.

When I have watched snatches of "reality TV" I, always found the earnest narratives and explanations expressed to be disingenuous and unconvincing without exception.  Maybe that is why people watch such nonsense: to watch others try to explain themselves.

I knew last night that I have been tired lately and that my wake up time -- 0400 was under the six-hour minimum for a good night's sleep.  I also know that I am conditioned to wake up at 0300 on travel days and if I am at all worried about an early departure, I may wake up a few times previous just to be sure.

I wanted to be sure of a restful sleep and absolute certainty of waking in time to have four and a half hours before I lock the door and drive away.  I also know that sometimes devices unexpectedly lose battery and shut down, so I used a belt-and-suspenders -- two devices and multiple alarms, then slept soundly.

Today, I drive to Calgary to have a trailer hitch installed on the Chrysler van, and then catch my flight to YYJ, leaving at 1300.  I should be on Cassiopeia by 1400 hours, and expect to sleep at anchor tonight somewhere on the Salish Sea. My destination this weekend is Friday Harbour, WA, USA.  The weather predictions there look ideal, mostly sun, warm days and warm nights.

It is now 0500.  I just killed an hour with breakfast and writing.  I now have three and a half to water plants, pack, and tidy up before leaving.

I left on time, but got lost on the way and arrived twenty minutes late for my hitch installation appointment.  That did not seem to matter. They were not sitting around waiting and had to hunt around to figure out who I am and if they actually had the hitch.  It is after eleven now and I am waiting.  I have to be at the airport in fifty minutes.

I just set the GPS and started driving without reviewing the route.  That is always a mistake.  Sometimes a GPS will take a roundabout route or the instructions conflict with what I think I know. This time, both happened and I had to stop and review where I was, before proceeding.

As it happened, once the job began, we found that there was fuel line in the way, plus bolts were seized and the mechanic sheared one off.  We could see I would not make my flight if we kept going, so I said I'd come back and left for the airport.  That trip was easy and I arrived fifteen minutes early.

My flight was only slightly delayed and at the moment, I am at 38,900 feet over the Rockies,  going west at 512 MPH.  With any luck, I'll be aboard Cassiopeia in an hour.

I walked out of YYJ into bright sun, caught a cab and a short while later was at the boat.  I went to the market and got groceries, then cast off for Roche Harbor at 1630.

There was almost no wind and I did not bother to raise sail.  At first, I motored north, thinking of overnighting at Portland Island or even going up to Long Harbour to visit Bruce, then decided to head for the San Juans.  The most direct course to Friday Harbor, my ultimate destination, is in magenta and my actual path taken from my GPS is in green at right.

Once I approached the border, I called the US customs office, was redirected to the Nexus number, obtained a clearance number by phone and am now anchored in Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, as the sun goes down.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.
Benjamin Disraeli

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Saturday May 9th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I slept well at anchor here in Reid Harbor.  The night was still and warm, and the day is dawning clear and bright.   At home the forecast is for mild sunny weather.  I hope they have it right this time.

I have no plans today, except to head for Friday Harbor.  I'm not expecting much wind during the day, though (below) and may be motoring again.  At night, I'll want to be sheltered from the southwest.

Strong wind warning in effect. Wind light becoming southwest 5 to 15 knots late this afternoon except southwest 15 to 20 over southern sections tonight and Sunday and southwest 20 to 25 over southern sections Sunday afternoon and evening. Winds Monday southwest 15 to 25 knots becoming southwest 10 to 20 in the morning. Tuesday Wind southerly 5 to 15 knots.

There was no wind all, so it was a good chance to repair the main.  I went to drop it and realised I'd have to pull all the battens, so I just pulled out enough to try the new batten and see if the top of the pocket was okay, hoping that the previous, broken batten had just poked out a few inches down from the top.  If the top was intact, the hole below would not matter if I could push the new batten past it.  I lucked out and it was okay, so I trimmed the batten to length and tucked it in place.

I then decided to motor towards Friday Harbor.  I don't need to be there until Monday, but I figure I might as well head that way.  I motored up Limestone Channel and was surprised at the current there, even though, by the clock, it should have been near slack. I had up to three knots against me.  Once clear of Speiden Island, the current slackened, then turned and carried me down San Juan Channel towards my destination.

I arrived inside Brown Island just after noon and anchored in fifteen metres of water.  I let out all  the chain and some rope, then discovered the holding could be better.  Backing off to set the anchor, I dragged closer to the ferry terminal than I like, so I retrieved the anchor for another try. 

That is when I discovered 1.) this bottom is weedy, and 2.) my gypsy does not grip the rope and also may be worn.  I also discovered that I need a swivel on the rode since the three strand rope spins on its axis when stretched, twisting the chain and causing the chain to jump on the gypsy.

That is why I am out for a cruise.  Unless I actually take the boat out and test all the systems, I'll never know what the clients experience.

I wasted a lot of time while underway and after anchoring trying to get my phone to work with my Roam Mobility SIM.  I can get signal and make calls, but the Internet data does not work reliably.  It works as long as I am on the phone to the help line, but quits shortly after I hang up.  No kidding.

I called the help line eight different times and basically wasted two or three hours with no luck, so I got a refund and went back to using Koodo. Koodo does not give me any data, though, so I am without Internet.

I had a nap, made some bean stew and did various jobs on the boat, removing some varnish drips from when I varnished the dinghy oars last trip, and tightening the life lines.  The dock staff had quit in the middle of the job over a month ago, it seems, and left the task unfinished.

Lacking Internet, I continued to read one of my daughter's books, downloaded on Kindle that I had started on the plane trip to Sidney, then went to bed at 2200.

Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and brighten someone's day.
Richelle E. Goodrich

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