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 March  2016 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Looking up Howe Sound from Point Atkinson

Tuesday March 1st 2016

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

Digestive problems, gas, and congestion interfered with my sleep off and on all night and was up several times during the night.  Finally, I took two Benadryl, one aspirin and a melatonin and slept well the last few hours.

We were up with the dawn and left the dock.  The engine again needed the ether to start, and had used a little oil running at max RPMs but by now had proven itself reliable.

Mary wanted to take the outside route, but I decided on the more sheltered route inside, knowing we would take the intense outflow winds from Howe Sound and large swells on the beam for a short distance, but then ride the wind and tides the rest of the way.  We'd also pass Snug Cove and Horseshoe Bay and have places to hide if need be.  Going outside, there was no way to know what we would encounter and there was no refuge if conditions worsened.  Our lee shore would be barren and steep.

Although I was aware of a vague headache and slight joint pains, I felt fine and knowing we would be in rain much of the way, I dressed more warmly and was very comfortable at the helm in spite of having no shelter. 

When we turned onto the downwind leg, we had a perfect opportunity to sail but Mary wanted to be at the helm and I gave her the watch.  She pressed on under the engine. When  I asked, she was afraid of broaching.

I wonder about her experience.  She talks a good game and has credentials but what I see and what she says do not jibe. She apparently does not know how to sail on genoa alone.

When we arrived at the Burrard bridge, I took over, motored in, found the slip, and tucked in without issue.

While I was tying up and attaching the shore power, Mary disappeared, leaving a mess in the fridge, taking my broth, but leaving her squash soup. 

As crew, she was a big help, but if I were an examiner, I would have had to flunk her.  She argued with my every decision, went on a port tack when I said starboard, hurried the voyage, insisted we motor on after dark (although we did not) and did not assist in putting the boat away at the end of the cruise. 

She was okay as long as she had her own way, but did not respect her captain.  I wonder what Dawn had told her her role would be.  I was told she was crew.  She seemed to think she was supposed to be the skipper.

I let her do things her way for the most part, but she turned a leisurely trip into a push.  I am really tired of companions who say one thing before they get on board, then another -- and another -- once underway.  They say they don't have to be back until three days hence, then decide they need to rush back.

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary..."

Would I sail with Mary again?  Probably not, by choice at least.  She was competent in most respects and good company.  Consistency, attitude and judgment were the issues.

I sail alone partly because I don't want to argue and because no matter what people say before they come aboard, it seems that many change during the voyage.   I have not had that problem sailing with my family, however.  Interesting.

I still have a touch of whatever was affecting me -- a mild headache and vague aches -- so I lay down in the afternoon, then made a stew. 

That was my day.

Nature has one path only, and you cannot travel along it more than once
Cicero

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Wednesday March 2nd 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High plus 3.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Low minus 4.

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm up at 0600.  I slept better, but I am still feeling a bit punk.

I have to get to a bank today, finalize the purchase, and decide where to go from here.   My plan has been to stop to ski along the drive back home, but I have been away from home now for just a little under three weeks.  I'll have to see how I feel once I finish my business here.

I'll stay here tonight at least and maybe tomorrow or part of it.

*   *   *   *   *

Dave asked me if I want to deliver the Vision 44 to Sidney and I said yes.  The boat is at Milltown Marina, so I drove over there while waiting for my four o'clock bank appointment, met the owner, and inspected the boat.

He was an interesting fellow, a day-trader it seems.  He knows little about boats and bought it new a few years back because he had a lot of money and his friends wanted it.  Now he has had it cleaned up and wants to put it into the charter fleet, at Sidney.

Talking to him triggered a realization about my crew and her changes during the delivery. I had thought that maybe it was something I said or did, or maybe the weather that made her suddenly become intent on returning to Vancouver ASAP, rather than taking out time and stopping more along the way as we had planned.

She had told me early on that she spends an hour a day trading stocks and also that she had cancelled her data plan on her phone because she used it too much.  She also was excited about bidding on a penthouse condo and in the middle of deciding whether to buy. I realize now that I fed her addictions by having Internet available most of the time. 

I gather she decided she had to act on the condo and was impatient to get back and she jumped off the boat at the earliest opportunity.  The stock market had a big up day, too, and maybe that affected her.  We drove north on a weekend so she was not tempted, and her addiction was not obvious but, come Monday, she was pulled by both compulsions and felt compelled to act.

This is the second time I've had a delivery crew who spent a lot of time on the phone.  My previous such experience was merely annoying and did not truncate the cruise or affect his performance, but this time, her compulsions definitely impacted the cruise.

One solution might have been to not tell her about my wifi or maybe I should confiscate phones when starting out.

I went to the bank at 1600 and met with Vicki to set up an account for the boat corporation.  It is a big deal these days and takes a half-hour.

I then parked the van at Burrard Civic again and walked back to Cassiopeia.

I had supper and spent the evening on board.

 From whatever place I write you will expect that part of my “Travels” will
 consist of excursions in my own mind
S.T. Coleridge

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Thursday March 3rd 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Risk of freezing drizzle this morning. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this morning. Wind becoming west 30 gusting to 50 this afternoon. High 10.
Tonight Clearing early this evening. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light before morning. Low minus 9.

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 have some chores to do today, then either will deliver a boat or head east in the coming days.

This morning, we need to inspect the sails and I have to service the forward shower sump pump.

I love this video (at right).

Steve and Sam came by and we pulled out the sails just as the rain began.  Steve is a sailmaker and had great ideas on how to repair and improve sails.  I have noticed the sails on Cassiopeia are much better sails than those on other boats I've sailed, so they are worth saving even though they have some wear points and damage.

I found I could not bank online, which I need to do to finish my purchase transaction,  and called the bank.  I got the phone maze brush-off. 

Don't businesses understand that this sort of inaccessibility is unacceptable? 

At any rate, I eventually got a callback from the clerk and was told I needed to go into the branch again and sign another paper.   I already spent two hours and went to some inconvenience yesterday just to open a bank account. I said if I go into a bank branch in regard to opening a business account again this week it will not be TD Canada Trust -- and if I have to do that I'll take all my business elsewhere, too.

Amazingly she said that the papers would be brought over to the marina and a while later, there she was on at the marina ramp.  I signed and that was it.  Sometimes it pays to put your foot down.

I spent some time troubleshooting the forward head shower pump and found some hair between a pump valve and the seat.  I cleaned it out and reassembled the pump and reinstalled it.

The day turned bright and clear so I decided to motor ten sea miles over to Snug Cove and have supper at Doc Morgan's.  The Union Steamship Company Marina also has an excellent Laundromat and by now I was ready to do laundry.

I arrived there around sundown and tied up in my usual spot, tidied up and walked up to Doc Morgan's.  Supper was a large bowl of soup and three excellent Whistler lagers over a few hours.

Writing makes a map, and there is something about a journey
that begs to have its passage marked
Christina Baldwin

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Friday March 4th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High 9.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy after midnight. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light late this evening. Low minus 5.

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 at 0236 and decided I would stay up and make a stew.  I did that and had breakfast.  While I was cooking, I had a revelation.  I had been wondering about my odd experience with my crew.  I realise now that I may have been set up.

She interviewed me thoroughly as we drove up to Powell River and as we left the marina on the first leg of the trip south.  In the course of conversation mentioned she was never married, but considering it and asked me if I would get married again.  I said, no, probably not, but who knows?  I am not about to get married just to get married.  Maybe she was?

When we met before the trip, she had brought along the guy she has been dating six years and when the topic came up later, she said he wants to marry her.

It was the 28th, the day before Sadie Hawkins Day, when the four of us drove up to Powell River.  That observation came up in the conversation and she had not heard of SHD before and was amused by the idea.

Maybe she asked him?  Dunno. She was on the phone often during the voyage.

These thoughts dawned on me after a phone conversation mid-afternoon yesterday with the owner of the 44.  He called because he was wondering when I would be coming to move the boat and I had to explain that it was not my decision, and I have to get back home as soon as I can wrap up my business here.   Dave assigns these tasks.  I'm just the delivery captain -- when assigned.

Among other things he tried as inducements to get me to go over was mention that he knows lots of single women my age and would introduce me.  When asked on our previous encounter, I had said that my wife died some time back.  (He had grilled me about myself, much the way Mary had, only with less time to do so).

Everyone seems to want to know about my marital status, my financial status, etc. etc..  People are like dogs in the way they sniff one another over.  It seems everyone is looking for something.  Why are they so dissatisfied?  Personally, I don't want to know other peoples' business beyond what is necessary for what's at hand.

I had begun to assume that grilling people must be a new local custom, but I realise now that people find me enigmatic when they learn even a little about me and think that somehow they are entitled to demand more. 

The less I tell them the more curious they are and telling more does not help.  The way I live makes no sense to the average person.  I need a simple, understandable  cover story, I guess.

What is bizarre is that I lay it all (almost) out here. Of course, I do not tell them that.

If I am being set up, it takes me by surprise.  None of my friends tries to set me up, as far as I know, but maybe I am just too dense to see it.  Some of my close friends are widows and, I suppose eligible, but none of us is looking as far -- as I can see.  Most of us say, "Been there, done that."  We've had our kids -- or not -- and mating season is in the rearview mirror.

To (mis)quote Irina Dunn, (and later Gloria Steinem), "A man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle."

But who knows?  Maybe I've been asked qualifying questions, indicated lack of interest and been disqualified.

Fascinating.

The older I get, the more obvious it becomes that humans preoccupy themselves with eating, mating, child rearing and fighting -- and sniffing around for opportunities to do more of the above.  For most people other activities are merely distractions and exercises to fill in time, develop skills for these primary pursuits and and burn up surplus time and energy.

I went back to bed until 0845 and now it is time for laundry.

At home, the pond is starting to melt.  In an average year, it clears on my daughter's birthday, Saint Patrick's Day and that is two weeks away.

I returned from Snug Cove around noon, motoring against winds of up to 32 knots and tied up at H21 again.

Once back, I tested the shower pump and, finding it would not suck well enough to do the job, and pulled it out one more time, disassembled it and finding nothing out of order, put it together again.  I installed it again and this time it works.  Next, I'll test it by having a shower.

The time to begin feeding and spring treatments is approaching.

I notice the hobby beekeepers and even some commercial beekeepers have been feeding already.  In spite of the good weather, this enthusiasm is bound to come back and bite them when they see their bees dwindle weeks from now.

Artificial feeds can sustain and/or stimulate colonies, but feeding for any reason other than shortage of feed near the cluster earlier than mid-March only causes the bees to make a false start a month early.  They burn up a lot of feed and raise some brood, but in my experience those extra investments in materials and labour are entirely wasted and do no good and sometimes real harm.

Years back, I compared two similar yards.  One I fed syrup and patties one month earlier than usual.  The other I started mid-March but did check earlier for colonies that might need their feed frames moved closer to the cluster to prevent starvation.

After the month, the colonies in each yard appeared about the same, but we had made two extra visits and fed a gallon of syrup more and patties.

I can't recall how each yard did later, but I don't recall and benefit from the extra investment and seem to recall some comparative colony decline in the fed yard.

That was also the year I noticed (a bit later) that feeding patties eliminated the small bees I was seeing in spring.  We live in a pollen-deficient area and patties made a difference in bee development.

This was a very informal, casual test and proves nothing, but also did not provide any indication that the extra investment was beneficial.   Moreover, I am not the only one to remark on the fact that for some beekeepers the hives the longest drive from the honey house and which get the latest and fewest visits seem to do best.

Regardless of apparent immediate benefits, until real natural supplies are available reliably, early stimulation merely results in bee activity, burns through the extra feed and depletes the bees' body reserves.

This exhaustion does not become apparent until late April when the hives should naturally begin to expand and don't.  It is really no mystery, though; the old bees have worn themselves out and the new bees are not up to the job.

I'll begin feeding when I get home... if I ever get home.  I'm still here and don't yet know when I'll leave.

 

To the Calgary beekeepers today, discussing bear fences...

Electric fences, -- other than unusually strongly built ones that are usually impractical -- only work reliably when properly built and maintained and with bears that respect them.

Few fences will withstand a determined bear or one that accidentally runs through it.

Bears are furry, and approved fencers only send out periodic pulses (for safety reasons) so the potential exists for a bear to walk or run through a fence without being shocked unless the fence is physically robust enough to resist and delay the bear for at least a few moments, but even a flimsy fence can work if the bear is trained to fear it.

Fear is what keeps bears out, so training the bear is important. The trick is to make sure the fence is obvious and to bait it, the usual method being to hang a punctured can of sardines from the corners by wire in a spot where the bear is bound to be well grounded and to make initial contact with a sensitive body part while investigating so the bear will jump back, not run ahead when shocked.

Even a good fence will not always keep out a very determined bear, so it is very important that bears never get a first taste of bees honey and brood. Fence the yard before, not after the first strike.

The shower pump works.  That is $400 saved.

The afternoon was rainy and for the most part I stayed in.  The way I generate this site is antiquated and I keep expecting new web standards to break it.  I've intended to try Wordpress again to be more likely to meet code standards and have an upward path, so I installed a trial copy and played with it.  WP is still far from intuitive.

I suppose I'll figure it out, but each blog or CMS seems to have different terminology and admin layout, with the most obvious and necessary initial setup steps buried and poorly explained.  Moreover one recommended add-on cheerfully began demanding a separate login and suggested payment before I even got to the setup pages.

CIPU.  (Clear If Previously Understood).

Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world.
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.
Let your soul take you where you long to be…
Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar,
and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.
Erich Fromm

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Saturday March 5th 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. High 12.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low minus 7.

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

Today looks clear, so far, at 0722. I slept well, but noticed the air was dry this morning and in a boat that is very unusual.

At home, the grass is greening, there is runoff on the pond and the Chinook Arch is almost overhead.

Colin was running a boat maintenance session this morning and I went over to see.  He was showing how to polish a boat.  Been there, done that.

I had installed the stereo last trip out, but every time the power was shut off, it lost its memory.  It turned out the red and yellow wires were switched in the original installation I had connected to, so I spent some time fixing that.

I arrived here in Vancouver early on Wednesday 24th,so I have been here ten days and although I hope to leave on Monday, who knows?

I walked over to Steveston Marine and bought a variety of small items, including two more LED cabin lights, a bilge pump for the dinghy to replace the one I dropped overboard when anchored in False Creek last visit, waterproof USB/12V plugins to install in the cockpit, and a replacement shower pump strainer.  I stopped at West Marine and the grocery store on the way back to check unsuccessfully for switches I had not been able to locate yet, and more groceries.

Arriving back, I filled out papers for the corp again and had two beers at The Vancouver Fish Company restaurant near my boat. 

When I got to the boat again, I was exhausted and went to sleep for an hour and a half.  Is there something wrong with me?

Traveling is not just seeing the new; it is also leaving behind.
Not just opening doors; also closing them behind you, never to return.
But the place you have left forever is always there for you to see
whenever you shut your eyes.
Jan Myrdal

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Sunday March 6th 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 near noon. High 12.
Tonight Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Wind southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming northwest 30 gusting to 50 near midnight. Low plus 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

Colin has an offshore clinic this morning at 0900 and said I can audit. Since we may be going south to Mexico this fall, maybe I should go.

I went, then had lunch with Colin at the Net Loft.  After that, I returned, filled the water and patched the dodger crack with Gorilla transparent tape.  I got a so-so result. The hole is repaired, but the repair is not invisible.

I walked over to West Marine first, and then Steveston Marine to buy switches for the shower pumps, then stopped for a few groceries and returned to the boat.

I've been away from home now since the thirteenth.  My plan was to go to Mammoth and after that my ideas were vague.  South, north, east?  I did not know. After Mammoth I drove to Aliso Viejo for a few days and then drove up here in a day.

My idea was to be here for a day or two to finish some business, then drive through BC and ski along the way home.

Now, as of Tuesday, I'll have been here two weeks, if we include the time in Powell River and Snug Cove.

Believe me, my young friend,
there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
 Kenneth Grahame

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Monday March 7th 2016

Today Clearing. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 9.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy this evening. 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 have to finish up here today and with any luck, I'll be headed east tomorrow.  It is raining here, at 0840.

At home, I see it is a dull day and the furnace is running.

My plans, so far: 

  • Continue the job of transferring a client's site out of my servers

  • Write a cheque and take possession of Aqua Libra

  • Do the various transfer and promotion tasks involved

  • Bid on a salvage boat

  • On Cassiopeia, install the shower pump replacement switches and screen

  • Re-seal the dinghy drain

  • Measure the support bar needed for the companionway steps

  • Finish the to-do list and consult with maintenance staff

  • Sand and varnish?

  • Return the extra switches

  • Pack

Hmm.  I can see I'll be here tomorrow, too...

Colin and Aaron turned up around noon and explained that the BC government is backlogged with PST registrations. This has been the holdup in completing the purchase will and the resolution may take days or even weeks, so we have to find a workaround.

I finished installing one shower switch and had a shower.  It is nice not to have the duckboards floating up while showering or having to stand minutes holding the switch to drain the pan.

I walked over to West Marine and Steveston Marine again to return some items and get new toilet hinges to replace broken ones, bought some fruit and stopped for a beer on the boardwalk, then changed the toilet hinges.

My business is still not concluded.

Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.
Carl Schurz

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Tuesday March 8th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h this morning. High 7.
Tonight A few clouds. Low minus 8.

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

My business is still not concluded.

I managed to complete some of yesterdays' list.  Here is the remaining list: 

  • Take possession of Aqua Libra (Still waiting for the gov't)

  • Do the various transfer and promotion tasks involved

  • Re-seal the dinghy drain

  • Measure the support bar needed for the companionway steps

  • Finish the to-do list and consult with maintenance staff

  • Sand and varnish?

  • Pack

I have given up trying to guess when I will leave. 

At home, it seems the bin auger may be running out of coal within reach and may need to be moved a bit.  I'll have to call Carolyn.

I did and she fixed the problem.

I finalized the purchase of Aqua Libra, soon the be named JUSDOIT.  That took two weeks. Colin and I chatted and I am going to Baltimore to look at a salvage job.  A boat was run onto the rocks several times and is for sale.  Colin has a shop and people to do the necessary repairs, so we may make a buy if the price is right.

So, I called home and asked Carolyn if she can hold the fort until April and I'll be flying tomorrow if the plans work out.  Still figuring...

*    *    *    *    *

I booked my flight for tomorrow at 1000, arriving at YSB at 2000.  Done deal.  Sudbury, Burlington, Round Lake and Baltimore, here I come.

A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going,
and a perfect traveler does not know where he came from
Lin Yutang

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Wednesday March 9th 2016

Today Fog dissipating this morning then mainly cloudy. Clearing near noon. High 9.
Tonight Clear. Increasing cloudiness overnight. Wind becoming south 20 km/h before morning. Low minus 5.

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 up early and getting ready to go.  I checked in and Air Canada had me booked on the worst seat on the plane, so I changed that to a middle seat further forward.  Not good, but not the last seat in the last row.

At home, the day begins with fog and later this week, the temperatures will be warm.  My bees sit neglected, but they have food and will be fine.  I have to figure out a mite treatment at some point, but for now, they are fine.  In fact they may be better off not being molested.

Dave B. drove me to the SkyTrain and soon I was at YVR, at the gate, waiting for my flight.

The four-hour flight was routine.  I watched all of The Big Short.  This was a very well made film and, allowing for artistic license, accurate.  I recall those days very well and followed that trainwreck in real time.  I even travelled to Cape Coral and looked at the homes on sale at amazingly low prices.

I then began watching the latest Start Wars film, but soon gave up on it.  It had the same nasty hard edge and grungy look that has become popular in the Hunger Games, etc. and I could tell that it has lost the spirit of the original series.

On landing, I turned on my phone to find once again that Air Canada had cancelled my connecting flight.  Not only that, they had rebooked me on a flight two days hence!  I was in shock and called them to get a better flight.  They moved me up to the afternoon of the next day.

I had the option of staying overnight in a hotel, rising early, and standing by on a morning flight or renting a car and going visiting.  I chose the latter, rented a car and drove to Burlington to visit John and Jill.

Due to the initial shock at the moment I received the news of the delay -- being scheduled for a delay of two days -- I failed to recognize the opportunity this provided to have a useable stopover in Toronto.  On reflection afterwards, I realized that this could be a good thing. 

Usually the stopovers offered are an hour or two, but I checked out the multi-city option and found that a stopover of days is possible without losing the overall price reductions that come from booking a several-jump trip compared to buying each leg separately.

On arriving at the off-airport rental site, I discovered the car rental company required proof of liability insurance, an unscrupulous trick that allows them to ding unsuspecting travelers with spurious charges when they arrive at the counter after some considerable inconvenience.

I got a car and drove to Burlington, then spent the evening chatting with John.

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
Susan Sontag

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