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 January  2016 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Anchored in False Creek - Vancouver, B.C.

Wednesday January 20th 2016

 

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches dissipating near noon. High minus 9.
Tonight Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries this evening then partly cloudy. Low minus 18.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up before dawn, had breakfast, and got ready to depart at first light.

I have forty-five miles to go today.  That will take at least seven hours and there are only about nine hours of daylight here at this time of year. Timing the passes is not an issue since the currents are expected to be slight and Active Pass will be in flood until afternoon.

Where am I going?  I have not decided for sure.  Maybe Granville Island, maybe Bowen Island.

*   *   *   *

I found a little wind along the way, but once I entered Active Pass, the wind was either against me or too weak to sail, so I motored as I headed due north from  the Pass towards Vancouver.

When I reached the north Fraser River mouth, I was tired, so I pulled onto the shallows, found seven metres depth and threw over the hook, then lay down for a nap.

When I awoke, the wind had picked up and I made it to the entrance of the Queen Charlotte Channel on a close reach, topping 7.5 knots at times.

As always, one has to stay alert.  Large logs, like the one at right float around the Strait, and ferries and freighters sometimes come into sight and pass by in a matter of minutes.

As I reached the line between Point Atkinson and Bowen Island, the wind shifted onto the nose and I had to fight upwind in gusty conditions to make Snug Cove.

Katabatic winds come down this Channel from the mountains at the head of Howe Sound and I should have known that the wind shifts here.  If I had taken a course closer to Point Atkinson, I would have avoided tacking.

I arrived at Snug Cove just at dusk and tied up.  I had Doc Morgan's on my mind for supper and a beer, but when I walked up, I found a sign, "Closed for January," on the door, and wandered up the street to another eatery, had a Stella, and returned to Cassiopeia. 

I had a light supper of an orange and mixed nuts and went to bed early. 

Counter to what one would expect, on days when I am physically active, my appetite seems to be muted compared to less active days.

Several winters ago, my shoulders were quite sore and objected to winching. This year, they don't seem to mind at all, but my back is bothering me a bit.  I can't figure out this body of mine at all.

The expected rarely occurs and never in the expected manner.
Vernon A. Walters

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Thursday January 21st 2016

 

Today Increasing cloudiness early this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High minus 4. Wind chill minus 25 this morning.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light after midnight. Temperature rising to zero by morning.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Rain fell all night and the boat rocked gently at the dock.   I slept soundly.  

As the day brightens, the wind on the Strait is blowing hard, judging by the motion of my boat here in the farthest corner of Snug Cove. Gusts from the Channel are even making it all the way in here.

I'll be leaving here and sailing/motoring over to Vancouver sometime today, I figure.  I have yet to check the forecasts and see what they have for me in the way of a place to tie up

I'll have a shower before I go and things should calm down by noon. 

Here is the marine forecast.  Hmmm.

Today Tonight and Friday  Gale warning in effect.
Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 20 to 25 this morning and to southerly 10 to 15 this evening. Wind becoming variable 5 to 15 late overnight.

And which direction do I have to go?  Southeast.  The wind and swells will be right on the nose.  Not at all nice.

Windguru offers three forecasts and although all show east and southeast winds, none show anything over thirty knots in gusts, so no worries.

I have no rigid schedule.  The Boat Show is on until Sunday and this is Thursday.  I had thought to go this afternoon and evening, but I may decide to delay a bit.

I decided to leave around noon and motored out of the cove and into the Channel in pouring rain.  The wind out there gusted from the north at two knots to fifteen and soon I was moving downwind at eight knots, on just the genoa.  So much for the forecast SE winds.

At Point Atkinson, the wind died and the fog settled in, but I could see the far shore and the ships anchored in English Bay, and I started the engine and the rest of the trip was uneventful except for a pain in my back and side.  The wind picked up as I approached my destination, but was easterly and too much on the nose and I was in no mood to tack, so I continued to motor the rest of the way.

When I arrived, Cooper had no place for me, other than a $75 slip on the far side of the channel, so I anchored in False Creek.

By then, I was too tired to want to go to the boat show and rain was pouring non-stop, meaning I would get wet mounting the outboard and travelling in and back, so I made a vegetable stew and had  a nap.  Rainy days are made for sleeping.

At four, I roused, tidied the cockpit and brought in anything I was afraid might disappear during the night and locked the dinghy.  Before I did that, though, I bailed out four or five inches of water that accumulated since I left Sidney a seeming eternity ago.  They don't call this the Wet Coast for nothing. That's my day and it was a good one.

I realise that not everyone enjoys a day in the wet and cold, sitting on a boat heaved up and down by swells from an aft quarter, and it may grow old for me, too.  In fact, I wondered about that on the way in. 

It is now three years since I bought this boat and in that three years I have learned a lot, and a lot has happened. My sister died, my wife died, my cat died.  I had a heart attack, but I  am still here and in those three years, I've come to know these waters well.

Next, I'll sleep, watch some video, and sleep some more.  I'll eat some vegetable stew and maybe some fruit, but I am not hungry and will likely end the day with another 1,500 calorie deficit.

His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy.
Woody Allen

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Friday January 22nd 2016

 

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 early this morning. High plus 4.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low minus 10.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I spent a quiet night at anchor. It rained all night on and off again and the dinghy had several inches of water again in the morning. 

At home, the day looks dull also, but warmer than the recent week.  That is a good thing, since I worry that cold weather would burn more coal and make more ashes than I expected.

I had breakfast, waited for the rain to stop, then put the outboard onto the dinghy and motored over to Granville Island.  Some friends happened to be in the office so we had a reunion, then I went over and looked at a Jeanneau 36 with Aaron. 

Then I met up with my brother, Ron, and we had lunch at the sandwich shop.  After he left, I rode over to the Dome with Colin and spent the rest of the day in sessions and looking at boat equipment.  My plotter is acting up again, so I am looking at new electronics.

At eight, I caught a ride back to the office with Colin and Samantha, found my dinghy and returned to Cassiopeia.

Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
Frank Lloyd Wright

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Saturday January 23rd 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 early this morning. High plus 4.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low minus 10.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I spent another quiet night at anchor. I see that Cassiopeia moved around the anchor with the tides and breezes, but looking out, I see we kept our distance from neighbouring boats.

I checked my furnace first thing (right) and see that the auger did not start and that the lower auger is bare.  Oh, oh!

I called Carolyn and she will be going over to check.

She did and she started the auger, looked into the firebox, and confirmed the fire was lit and the ashes are still low.  All is well.

After that panic was over, I motored over to Granville Island in  the dinghy, stopping to look at the Jeanneau with Aaron again. 

Aaron wants me to buy that boat, but I am not so sure I am interested.  I'm being polite, I suppose, if being polite means not just saying, "No".

I am a little interested and when I told him what I really think the boat is worth, I was not far off what others had bid.  The thing is that it has a conventional main, no enclosure, and the electronics are likely to start acting up.  They are Raymarine units of the same vintage as mine.

Why would I be interested at all?  The boat has a good record in charter and the company would like it to stay in the fleet.  Would it make money for me?  I think it might, but I need numbers.

After that, I maneuvered in behind all the docks and tied up out of the traffic, but right near the office.  In my dinghy, I am invisible and come and go as I please.

Everyone was busy there, so I motored east, back down False Creek to the Dome, tied up on the back of the SeaBus dock, walked up the ramp past the half-hour long lineup of people waiting to catch the jitney to Granville Island, and entered by the exhibitors' entrance, flashing my borrowed company ID.

I took in a presentation about running rigging and wandered the exhibits, interviewing various competing exhibitors about furnaces, chart plotters and radar.  Sometimes I talked to the same people and they told me a different story.  Hmmm.  I'm not sure I am much the wiser. 

I bought another boat hook -- seems that the staff 'borrow' them or the clients lose them -- and a dinghy emergency kit and by seven, I was getting weary.  One hour to go, and the exhibitors were looking really tired, so I found my way back down to the dock. 

By then, the crowds were gone. I motored back to Cassiopeia in the semi-darkness of nighttime in a city and climbed aboard my private castle on the water and started the engine to charge batteries.  The furnace uses battery power, so that is a daily necessity.  I get hot water as a bonus.

Next, I checked for anchor drag (none) and then noted the depth. 

From the charts, I may be close to touching bottom at low tide.  We have not had a really low tide yet during my stay, but tonight, we will.

I had seven metres under the keel when I came in and I have 3.4 under the keel now, but by midnight the tide will drop to zero, another 1.7 metres.  That leaves me a scant two metres or so under the keel, and that applies only to where I am now, not necessarily where I may be at midnight.  I drift constantly around the anchor, pulled by wind and changing currents.  I could be anywhere inside a 200-foot circle, and the shallows begin just beyond the outer edge. 

I think I am fine.  Worst case, I'll touch bottom at midnight, then float back off the bottom by morn. It is a soft bottom, so I'll not hear a thing. If I miscalculated, though, I could be on a slant for a while.

Since the furnace at home seems to be okay, the ashes are low, and Carolyn waters the plants as needed, I am thinking I should stay longer.  I do have business to do that cannot be done in the confusion of the Boat Show.  I need to have some quiet talks with various players before too long, so maybe I should extend my visit.  I'll be exchanging some beautiful weather in Alberta, for rain in British Columbia by the looks of things, though.

Swalwell

Vancouver

We are the universe contemplating itself
Carl Sagan

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Sunday January 24th 2016

 

Today Snow ending late this afternoon then cloudy. Amount 5 to 10 cm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High zero.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Low minus 13.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Overnight, rain came and went, tides rose and fell, and breezes blew from all points of the compass.  I slept well and felt no bumps in the night. 

We all moved around a lot last night. Looking out, I was closer to my neighbour than before and I see that two nearby boats made close friends during the night. At left are my night tracks recorded during my False Creek stay.

I checked things at home and the weather is warm.  The furnace has coal and the temperatures in the house are steady.  I'm wondering if I should stay on a few extra days.

Today is the last day of the Boat Show. I have some planning to do and I'm deciding if I want to go over there for more than a few hours.  Everything closes at five, anyhow, and by then everyone is worn out, some exhibitors have left, and the exhibits are being packed up.

I have noticed lately that the cockpit speakers were tinny and weak, so I popped a speaker grille to take  a peek.  Uh-oh.  Time for new speakers.  The stereo on the boat is fairly new, but has no iPod connection or Bluetooth, and that is what clients want, so I figured it is time to go shopping.

I dinghied over to the Dome and tied up again, then found and bought a new stereo for the boat and some other small items. 

Dawn was going home to Sidney tonight and was wanting to catch the five o'clock ferry to Nanaimo, where she had left her car.  She asked me to drive her to Horseshoe Bay, so we took the company van and off we went.

I got back just as the show closed, so I waited for Max and Murphy at the van, gave them the keys, recovered my dinghy and motored back to Cassiopeia.

While I waited for the guys, I called Carolyn and asked her to check the ashes in the morning.  I am definitely thinking I need to stay another day or two.

When I got back, I lay down for a short nap, then opened the boxes of stereo parts.  I began changing speakers, but the terminals did not match and darkness was falling, so I had supper and watched video.

I started on The Third Man, a 1949 classic, but after a while decided to take a break.  I checked my phone which was on charge at the time and found I had missed messages from Colin suggesting supper, then, later, breakfast tomorrow. 

He also suggested I take a ride down to Seattle tomorrow with him in Acquila, the new power cat, leaving at ten. If I do that, I'll have to shuffle things around -- fast.

It is 130 nautical miles and the boat goes seventeen knots, so the trip will take about eight hours, minimum.

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness.
Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness.
Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.
Sun Tzu

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Monday January 25th 2016
Eleven months until Christmas

Today Fog dissipating this morning then mainly sunny. High minus 5.
Tonight Clear. Low minus 16.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

A reader suggested that being out in the cold might account for some of my rapid weight loss when I go out skiing and snowkiting. Here is a doctor who agrees: Cold Weather May Help You Lose Weight

I was up at four, ate, then lay down again and slept until seven. 

I'm tired today.  Do I want to go to Seattle?   I do and I don't. I really don't know.

Carolyn called and the furnace is fine. Colin texted. He is on the Sky Train on his way in.  Says to bring the big boat in, but does not know where yet.  I'm not going to lift the anchor until I know where to go.  I'm happy here, anchored in False Creek.

Meantime I am undecided what to do.  The trip to Seattle looks like two days, at least. I have a day's work and meetings to do here.

My flight is at four this afternoon. Cancel?  Don't cancel? Probably cancel regardless.  I don't have to go home.  The furnace is fine and the dog is okay at the Mill.

I hear there is an awful lot of snow at home. Weather is mild, too.  I'm missing skiing and kiting.

Colin texted that I can tie at the Sea Bus dock at the market so I tied Cassiopeia up and we had breakfast.  I ate eggs when I got up at 0430, but had a three-egg ham and cheese omelet with potatoes and toast now.  That is not exactly on my diet, but what the hey? Hope it lasts the day.

On the way to the dock, I passed a plastic bag in the water and it reminded me of a conversation in the forum some time back.  I seldom, ever see plastic shopping bags in the water, but today I did. 

Not only are they unsightly and perhaps a hazard to wildlife, but I know a person whose boat engine was destroyed when a bag like this was sucked into the cooling water intake.

I still don't think an occasional bag in the sea justifies banning plastic shopping bags any more than the stray logs floating around the area and threatening boats are reason to ban wood products -- or paper bags (as long as I can choose not to use paper bags).

I decided not to go to  Seattle.  I have things to do here and will extend my stay a day or two, but motoring south all day, even in a brand-new power cat, does not especially excite me and the prospect of figuring how to get back by bus or train sounds tiring.  As I said earlier, I am already tired today and I have things to do.

After breakfast, Colin and I wandered back to the office and met up with an electronics guy who turned out to be a boat designer and we wound up discussing his drawings of a boat Cooper is planning to build.

I went to the docks and asked Dave if a slip had opened up. Nope, our docks are still plugged up with display boats from the Boat Show, so at the moment I am back on Cassiopeia, waiting for a slip to open up and installing the stereo and speakers.  I'm thinking also of having a nap. I have yet to reschedule my flight.

I did cancel the flight.  A slip opened up, so I took the outboard off the dinghy in preparation for lifting the dinghy onto the deck, motored over to G22, and docked neatly beside Corus.  I tied up, lifted the dinghy, and got to work on the stereo again. 

I don't know where the day went, though, I was still installing speakers at 1700.  The original speaker holes were the wrong size -- slightly small -- and had to be rasped larger and the mounting screws did not match up.  New holes had to be drilled.

I am developing a new appreciation for what the Cooper dock crew has to deal with daily.  Without exception, though, they are positive and friendly.  I don't know how they do it.

Finding the correct drill bit took several trips up the dock to the shop and on one of those trips, I got volunteered to help drag in a stalled boat and there went a half-hour or more.  Interestingly, we used the boat that Aaron had been trying to sell me as a tow boat since it was handy, having been brought in earlier.

The big second breakfast omelet did last me until supper and for supper, I just had soup and canned salmon.  Fatsecret tells me every day that I am eating a thousand or less calories than I am burning so I'll be interested to see what I weigh when I get home.  I don't have high hopes, since my weight bounces around, but would not mind a pleasant surprise. I do feel smaller.

My last weigh-in was January 17th at 222.4 and my target for the month is 220. So far I have a calculated calorie deficit of 34959 calories or roughly ten pounds worth of theoretical fat loss.

I weighed 229.8 on December 30th, so according to theory, I should be at 220 now.  However, that is only theory.  The scale is truth.

By 1800, the speakers were installed.  Considering that they are the premium speakers in that line, I expected them to sound better.  Maybe I am just not turning up the volume enough.  They look like good speakers, with big magnets.

By then, I was done for the day.  I did dishes and tidied and quit.  I'll go to bed early and sleep in tomorrow if I can.

It is good to be tied up here at Granville Island, but when I look for entertainment, it seems that nothing is happening here on Monday nights, especially in January.

I finished watching The Third Man (IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes). The plot was nothing special, but the camera work was amazing.  Black and white.  1949.  Rated as a thriller.  I found it to be a drama.  If you liked Casablanca, highly recommended.

Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical
Yogi Berra

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Tuesday January 26th 2016

Today Fog dissipating this morning then mainly sunny. High minus 5.
Tonight Clear. Low minus 16.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up today to the sound of rain on the Cassiopeia's coachroof.  I'm tied up at Granville Island, slip G22.

If we can believe the weather guessers, today will be all rain, all day.  This being Vancouver in winter, one does not have to be prescient to make that forecast, or naive to believe it.  Umbrellas and raingear are the fashion call for the day.

I'm in limbo, in the colloquial, not theological sense.  I cancelled my flight, I have things to do.  I have no sense of time except that it is passing quickly, yet, at the same time, slowly...

Most of the necessary procrastination, other than writing this diary entry, is complete and I am unsure whether I'll go home today or stay another day.  I don't want to be under pressure, so I'll just do everything necessary, pack, reserve a flight and catch the Sky Train to YVR. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.  Who knows?  I don't.

I promise myself I won't drink too much coffee today.  Yesterday I was biting my nails off at the elbow.  I only do that when I accidentally overdose on java.

It is hard to predict where the line is on any given day.  Some days I drink four pots and am fine, even to the point that I have a nap in the afternoon.  Some days a few cups gives me the jitters.

I still have to slide the new stereo into place and hope that I don't need to do any more wiring.  I also have to complete the maintenance list for Dave and meet with him. Then I have to get fuel, pump the waste tank, tidy, and pack.

The forward head is full, I discovered last night. There are no alarms on these tanks and that is something I have been trying to get installed for three years now.

The company does not like waste alarms because they tend to be unreliable and false alarms or alarms that won't shut off result in trouble calls from clients.  Without alarms, however, the only indication of a full waste tank is smell and/or a brown line down the boat from the vent.

Failure to notice can result in blowing the cover off the tank, and that is really, really undesirable.  That minor explosion can wreck your whole day.

So, now you know.  You also know why it is very nice to have two heads (toilets) on a boat, especially when one is discovered to be full or clogged in the middle of the night.

It is dull here, but beautiful with periods of rain and a Scotch mist.  I took the boat over to pump the waste tanks and to fuel up.  Looking out into English Bay I was tempted to keep going and spend the night in Snug Cove again, or maybe Gibsons, but duty calls and I returned to the dock to finish my work.

At home, it looks like a Chinook day, judging by the cloud arch.  Kiting will be good and the day warm.

From here in a bay in a damp city in a rainforest my weeks of skiing and kiting a month back are a distant memory, but they were intense experiences at the time. I'll have to get back in the swing of winter when I get home.

Strange as it seems, I am finding winter too short this year.  I'm worrying it will be over before I can get to all the places I want to go and to do all the things I want to do.

Going south is not one of them, but it is in the back of my mind.  There is a boat in La Paz..., and my friends are ripping it up kiting in La Ventana, not far away from there, I really should go to a dentist in Mexico, and of course Frank is in the BVIs on Compass Rose.

It seems the secret to enjoying winter is to enjoy winter: get some good winter clothes, get some good winter toys, find some good winter companions and get out there.

Snow will be melting at home today.  I hear my driveway is pretty well snowed in, but Carolyn has been coming and going and reports that all is well.

I am going to have to give up on Maxthon and move to Chrome.  Maxthon is dragging my computer to a halt too often now. 

At one time, MyIE2 was the best and fullest-featured browser by far, but over time, after the name change to Maxthon and multiple versions, the browser is proving problematic, losing features I counted on and consuming resources.

Changing browsers is never simple, but it seems I must.  The biggest issue is moving bookmarks and passwords and remembering small differences in the interface.

Over the years, I have used many browsers as my main browser -- Lynx, Cello, Mosaic, Netscape, MSIE, Opera, MyIE2, Maxthon, and now Chrome.  There were others, too, but those are the main ones I recall.

A small 2009 car demolishes a 1959 Chevy in a crash test

GWX Control Panel has a new update available.

You must not think me necessarily foolish because I am facetious,
 nor will I consider you necessarily wise because you are grave.
Sydney Smith

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Wednesday January 27th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High plus 5.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low minus 3.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm going home today.  First, I have things to do:

  • Fix the forward shower drain

  • Finish installing the stereo

  • Finish writing up the Cassiopeia "To do" list

  • Measure up the pod and consult regarding electronics

  • Dicker over some boats on offer.

  • Pack

By the Chinook arch in the clouds to the southwest, I see the the Chinook continues and also see that the new snow is melting fast. Heavy rain is predicted here today.  Tomorrow looks like a great day for kiting back home.

*   *   *   *   *

I recommend the podcast linked above.  It is very refreshing to hear rational voices in matters that have become obscured by dogma. 

My eyes roll every time I hear some brainwashed know-nothing speak glibly and confidently about "Greenhouse Gasses" and limiting them.  How many can actually name the GHGs and speak intelligently about their origins and what (small) percentage of GHGs come from the activities they are pressing to limit and understand the improbability that we can do much to affect the climate changes that have been underway as long as Earth has been a planet.

There are, indeed real issues, like the acidification of oceans and other water bodies, overfishing, deforestation, and the various byproducts of human overpopulation, but they not as simple as the popular (mis)understanding of GHGs.

*   *   *   *   *

I finished installing the stereo and wonder why I did not do this sooner.  I was immediately able to break free of the constraints of broadcast radio and play podcasts and streaming audio through the entire boat.

I gave up on the shower drain and turned that job over to the staff. 

Packing up, as always, took far too long, but I was ready at 1740 for Colin to drive me to YVR. 

Not too long after, I touched down at YYC, retrieved my van and drove home.  I stayed up until after midnight, then went to bed.

 The engine which drives Enterprise is not Thrift, but Profit.
John Maynard Keynes

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Thursday January 28th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 6.
Tonight Cloudy. Clearing after midnight. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 4.

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm home today and I weigh 221.6.

I had a doctor's appointment at 1100, so I drove to town.  The appointment was a disappointment.  We have no permanent doctors right now.  We have locums. (Or should that be loci?)

I was hoping for a fresh, young doctor with lots of enthusiasm and good ideas.  When  I phoned, I was given a choice of a woman or a man, and of course I chose the woman. 

I figured the odds are better with a woman.  Generally speaking, in my experience, women try harder and are more insightful and empathetic. 

Maybe not. Since I passed sixty-six, the medical system treats me differently. Perhaps this is due to my age and the assumption I am past my 'best before' date, or maybe our system is going to hell generally and that money is short and people overworked, but I get the distinct feeling I do not matter...

This lady seemed more interested in getting rid of me than in interviewing me.  For one thing, she had not read my file and did not until I suggested it.

Something has changed.  Unless you are sick, they don't seem interested and if you have a complaint they only consider that one thing.   It seems to me that a whole lot of patient time and travel and doctor time is simply wasted.

In a day and age when we all have computers and know how to use them, why do we drive to a doctor's office and waste time with an unprepared and uninterested doctor?  Artificial Intelligence software could triage and pre-diagnose patients in the context of their entire history and hand the patient over to the appropriate doctor and facility with a briefing sheet.

That day is coming, but I think we will have self-driving cars long before our fossil of a healthcare system adapts technology.  Healthcare still uses landlines and faxes.

I bought groceries and returned home, did some tidying and then took out a kite seeing as the day was up to plus eight and the winds were up.

I am tired today, but went south and put up the 8.5 metre Concept Air.  The winds were very gusty and twisty and before I could get my skis on, I was thrown on my head.  I wear a helmet and that is why.

I did then get the skis on and took a ride, but was thrown onto the ground three more times, and could not get upwind to return.  The snow was sticky and the wind went from nothing to full-on from different directions, making kite handling difficult.  I am starting to think that my location here is too gusty.  There are good reasons we kite on lakes.  There are no obstructions to cause turbulence and no hills or mud.

I returned to the house and made supper.  The Usual Suspects appeared on time and we had a meal of chicken and broccoli, parsnips, and salad, with cantaloupe and ice cream for dessert.

I ignored my diet, ate 100% of my RDI, and finished off the mickey of vodka.  After everyone left, I cleaned up, leaving some mess for the morrow and watched Grey's Anatomy.

Grey's Anatomy is basically a soap opera and as far as I can tell, the 'medical' aspect is entirely fictitious.  In no way does what is portrayed resemble any hospital I'm aware of.

What is interesting to me is how the characters are recycled and posed in various obviously hypothetical relationships and situations.

Some portrayals are more realistic than others, but due to the constraints of the format, they all have to stay reasonably civil and engaged.  That is a lesson for the real world, where it is only too easy to become estranged or ignore others.

I enjoy watching people get along and try to get along far more than watching people try to solve issues with violence.  I watch murder mysteries, but not for the violence in the set up sequence that triggers the investigation.  I enjoy watching the co-operative attempts at resolution.  That is one reason that the CSI series don't appeal to me. They are too hard-edged and the characters too posed and inhuman.

I've gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller's parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her.
New York City detective

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Friday January 29th 2016

Today Clearing early this morning. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this morning. High plus 2.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy this evening. Low minus 6.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I was up early, but went back to bed until nine. I weight 225 (red dot) today, not that I really care to admit it.

What to do today?  I have many choices.  One is to go to Gull Lake and see Jean and family, and of course, I could spend all day here cleaning and fixing. My shower is leaking water downstairs and I suspect it is the drain.  I really should fix that.

The furnace job still waits, but the back of winter is now broken and it turns out that Carolyn can/will shovel ashes , so the pressure is off me.

I could also hit the mountains, but I think I'll leave that for another day when I am more prepared.

> Let us all keep in mind the group purchase project that Kim. has been working on. Potentially, this can result in significant savings to our members, but it is not for everyone.

I am thinking of new beekeepers, some who have not even taken any training yet. These members need quite a bit of support to navigate through all the equipment options. This applies even to those who have taken a beginners course, we all forget!

Wise words, but why put them through all that even before they have had a hive and produced any honey?

What is often not taught, but should be is that buying packages or nucs, boxes, frames and all the various parts is a lot like buying a car in pieces at a parts store and figuring out how to put it together, rather than walking onto a lot and driving away with a working car.

Why hobbyists are advised to buy beehives and bees piece by piece and subject themselves to being carpenters, painters and general handypersons is beyond me. When buying packages, nucs and equipment in pieces there is a very considerable likelihood of failure or frustration and limited success.

I speak from experience because I started out the way beginners are advised to, and suffered a 50% loss in the first month. That was almost fifty years ago now, and packages cost $6, delivered, but the same principles still apply.

Even experienced commercial beekeepers with years of experience, the best suppliers, and the best resources at hand figure the failure rate -- on average -- for packages is 10%, and that number can be much greater some years. Beginners can expect a greater failure rate. Assembling equipment is work that many are unsuited to doing or will not understand or enjoy

On the other hand, it is always possible to buy an established colony, ready to drive off the lot, right up until the beginning of the main honeyflow in July. If you are looking, good hives are always advertised for sale and sometimes for give-away.

The costs of buying a proven, working hive are roughly the same as buying in pieces and the amount of work and worry is far less. It is also possible to get support from the seller in some cases.

I really can never understand why the emphasis on the harder, more complex, time-consuming and risky approach is taught by some as preferable to just getting a hive and producing a crop with no hassle. Scaremongers automatically and without much thought emphasize a risk of disease in used equipment, but there is a similar risk with the parts and pieces approach that is ignored and proper inspection reduces that risk to acceptable. There is risk of loss either way, so why choose the far more difficult route to getting going?

In agriculture it is standard practice to buy and sell mature animals. Bees are no different. Commercial beekeepers buy and exchange hives and equipment in all stages without much concern. They generally, hive for hive, have the lowest incidence of disease and pests compared to hobby beekeepers, and have a lot more at risk than hobbyists. They just make sure that they know the source and history and that it is properly inspected.

There are a number of beekeepers specializing in selling hives in spring and early summer and, for that matter, most commercial beekeepers will sell a hive or two if you are willing to pay the going price and don't waste their time.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Unless you want a lot of needless work and worry when starting out or expanding, think seriously about buying established single hives delivered or picked up just before the main flow. There is no rush, no worry, no spring work, and you can always find a hive somewhere at any time of year.

You could even pick up a wintering hive here any day right now and I am sure most other commercial beekeepers would part with one or two to a serious buyer.

Just sayin.

Jean says they are thinking of Nakiska tomorrow.  Sounds like a plan.

I recently realised that Carolyn is  able to manage the furnace as well as the plants, so I showed her how to handle the ashes.  We emptied the ash sump, then, after she left, I took out four drums of ashes so there will be drums on hand when needed.

Hauling the ashes out on a sledge behind the 4X4 took about an hour and gave me a bit of a workout.  It was pleasant working outside.  Temperatures were just above freezing, an ideal temperature for working outdoors when properly dressed, the sun is out -- and the wind is not blowing.

Winter is now well over one third over. Our days are an hour longer now than on the first day of winter and we have daylight almost until 1800.

The sun is higher in the sky, too, at 21 degrees off the horizon at midday.  That is up five degrees  from December 21st, or more than 30% higher.  This angle makes a huge difference in the amount of light we receive since the amount of atmosphere between us and the sun around midday is much less.

We are not out of the woods yet, however.  In 1989, we had a solid week of minus forty weather at the beginning of February -- right about now, in fact!

Learn more about historical Alberta temperatures, here.

I fiddled with my old iPad, one of the originals, and my old Galaxy Tab.  Both are obsolete and no longer upgrade apps or the O/S, but are like-new and work well. 

My thought is to transfer the website at www.cassiopeiax.com to a tablet, remove everything else except the browser and leave it on the boat as a sort of manual.  The Apple system does not make that easy.  Android may be easier.

I went to bed around 2330.

On the whole human beings want to be good,
but not too good, and not quite all the time.
George Orwell

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Saturday January 30th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. High zero.
Tonight
Partly cloudy. Low minus 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
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 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up at 0330 and realised that I was not sleeping well, so I got up for a while to clear my head and reset.

I was having one of those annoying repetitive dreams that goes around and around and had something to do with replacing some shop conveyor machine and being overcharged for what I selected.  I'd then run the dream though with another option, and get a different, but still unsatisfactory result.

That gets tedious after awhile and when I do that I am not deeply asleep.  Each time around the loop, I rouse a bit, and waking that much triggers my bladder and the need to make a trip to the washroom.   If I stayed deep asleep, that would not happen and I would sleep through.

After a cycle or two, I know well enough there is no point in staying in bed.  The only answer is to get up and wake up, then go back to sleep after an hour or two when my head clears of that dream and I get sleepy again.  Sometimes an aspirin, an ibuprofen and/or a Benadryl helps.

The next cycle through, I got up, had two eggs and sat down here.  I've slept four hours and plan to make that eight with any luck, but need a break from the hard work of sleeping.

My mistake was drinking that vodka the other days.  I did not overdo it to the extent that I have at times in the past, but it seems anything over one, or perhaps two drinks upsets my water balance and sleep for up to a week, and I am paying the price. I also have aches and pains and although some may be due to the kiting crashes, I attribute most to my dietary and beverage indiscretions.  And, yes, I know better by now.

My plan is to go to Nakiska today to meet up with Jean and family, but first I'll go back to bed and finish the job of getting adequate Zs.  Eight hours would be nice, but I want to see at least six and that means minimum of two more.  At 0428, that would take me to 0630 or later.  I should leave for the hill by nine.

Maybe I'll try another bed. I have several and strange as it seems, sometimes changing locations changes my sleep.  The articles say to sleep in the same bed at the same time, etc. etc. for the best sleep, but I seldom sleep better than in a strange bed.  I love hotels.  I dislike restaurants, but love hotel beds.

It seems that I leave the dreams of each bed there and start afresh when I lie down elsewhere. Strange, but true.  If I go back to bed now, my concern is that the boring dream will start up, so I think I'll move.

Here goes...

*   *   *   *   *   *

That worked.  I fell right asleep and awoke at 0835, making my full quota of Zs.  Now I have to get going if I am to meet he others before noon.

*   *   *   *   *   *

I weigh 223.0 this morning.

*   *   *   *   *   *

It's 0915 and I am about ready to go, but I always wait a while before leaving even if I am packed. I don't like to just wake up and drive.  Sometimes, like today, it takes me a while to wake up.

I'm not alone in waking up groggy.  I recall one night coming into New York Harbor from Bermuda on a Jeanneau 45, with just me and the captain on board. 

We were running dead downwind.  The captain was a sleep below and I was alone at the helm when the wind suddenly picked up and a dense fog fell, blotting out the lights of other boats and on shore that had been visible minutes before. 

When we sped up to eight knots over ground, which as fast as the boat can be pushed, I figured  I'd better reef the sails (reduce surface area). That involves pulling on ropes and steering and is pretty routine and is something I do alone all the time these days.  Prudence, however, suggests having help at hand if available and it was time to alert the skipper to the changing conditions anyhow, so I called down and woke him up. 

He came up and was still a bit groggy, but in the action on deck, he did not realise it and reflexively ordered me to start the engine. 

In our situation -- going eight knots under sail -- the engine served no purpose, but an order is an order and I did what he commanded, but in the process, the steering turned a bit, the mainsail jibed violently, and sails flogged wildly. 

We brought everything back under control immediately, but the skipper got a black eye from the stopper knot on a flailing genoa sheet.  (Nobody got hot about it, if you are wondering.  Such things are all in a day's night's work).

I should have let him sleep.  Being woken suddenly, his judgment was not as sharp as usual, and as so often the case, when one's judgment is poor, one's judgment about one's capacity to make good decisions is poor.  That is one reason why people drive after drinking too much, I suppose. They can't tell their judgment is off.  That's been my excuse.

I drove to the hill and met up with Orams around noon.  Mckenzie and I skied together and had a great time in the moguls up top and cruising the corduroy below.  My new skis carve well and the snow was great.  There were a few icy patches, but we navigated them easily.

Around three, we all quit and drove home.  I was thinking of going to their place for the night, but when I got to Airdrie, I decided that I'd go back home to the schoolhouse and maybe go to Gull Lake tomorrow.   I had left my kites at home and I would hate to be there without them if the wind is up -- and the predictions look good.

Well, the forecasts for Gull looked good this afternoon.  Now at bedtime they look less good (4 to 13 knots) and Jean tells me the snow is crusty on the lake.  Four knots is the absolute minimum for getting my biggest kite off the ground and crusty snow can be treacherous skiing.  Crusty snow can also sometimes cause cuts or scrapes if one falls.

I was away for a week and lost all my snow.  There is almost none around Calgary and the fields here have bare spots. Winter is passing quickly and I have so many winter things left to do...

 

No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.
Edward Abbey

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Sunday January 31st 2016
 

Today A few flurries ending this morning then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. High minus 1.
Tonight Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries this evening and after midnight. Low minus 11.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept poorly compared to some nights, but did manage eight hours. My weight has dropped 0.4 lbs since yesterday.

I attribute the bad sleep to A&W spices.  I had a Double Buddy Burger on the way home and it was very salty and spicy compared to usual.  I've had problems with their spices before and at one time ordered burgers with 'no spice', but lately have had no issues -- until now.

What shall I do today?  I get a whiff of smoke every so often, so suspect it is time to clean out the chimney.  The conditions at Gull Lake look more promising and, being weekend, today is a good day to visit.

Maybe I'll start by going back to bed.

I did just that.  I slept another half-hour and awoke more refreshed.  In that half-hour I had some interesting dreams I can't quite recall. but which involved a forklift with a head like a camel, a tree, some indistinct people, and an oversize quilted snowsuit that inflated for some reason and had a head which also became the head of a camel.  Cool!  Better than that circular dream about being overcharged.

I awoke also realizing that I am expecting too much of myself and trying to do too much.

So, what else is new, eh?  I'm torn between burning boxes, dealing with the chimney, visiting family, kiting ,and getting ready for a trip to Mammoth.  Plus I am wondering if I am going to invest in another boat, I owe my mother a visit, and my house is a mess.  The plants need transplanting...  and, oh, yes, another winter is passing without installing natural gas.

I think I'm going to Gull Lake.  Was there ever any doubt?

*   *   *   *   *

Apparently there was.  I decided to stay home and relax.  I'll tidy up, nap, catch up on things, and maybe burn some more boxes.  I'll check the chimney and generally organize things.

I tidied the kitchen, did some deskwork and decided to get back to burning boxes.

When I got out there, I found almost enough wind to kite, but I really want to clean the yard and am encouraged because I have been making progress. Looking over all the various things I could do today, burning is probably the most satisfying thing I can do right now, so I got to work.

Since today is calm and warm with enough snow to prevent runaway fires, this is an ideal time to make headway.  When there is more snow, it is hard to reach things and move around.  When  there is no snow, fire can be hard to manage.

I worked steadily for three hours and wore myself right out carrying boxes and pallets, but I got a lot done, probably three times what I have done on any other day, and I can now see definite progress.  There are days of work remaining, though.

As sundown approached, I let the fires burn down.  By morning, there will just be ashes, nails and frame rests.  In the meantime, there is no fear of spread.

  

  

Burning old frames down to ash.  These were frames that blew up in the extractors and from which the combs were removed.  We saved them, thinking some might be reused, but the cost of labour for sorting and reconditioning turned out to be greater than the value of the frames and many were not well assembled or damaged.  Also shown is a decent-looking box I saved, one of a very few I found in the rejected box stack.

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
Albert Einstein

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