Saturday October 20th 2018
I woke up at 0333 and realised I was not sleeping well and would not get back to sleep if I stayed in bed. I blame it on the beer and the nuts last evening. I decided to get up and do something for a while.
I drank two cups of cold coffee (very good, actually) ate three scrambled eggs, then worked on the Coastal Nav for a while.
At five, I was ready to go back to sleep so I went back to bed and slept until 0925.
Today is another bright, sunny day. The weather here looks good right up until I leave for Mexico.
Several tropical storms are currently threatening the west coast of Mexico, but the way things look now the storms may have passed Baja Sur by the time I get there or dissipate before reaching land.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, along comes Willa (left). The current track goes south of Baja California Sur, but this far out, the predictions are uncertain. In fact, the predictions are always uncertain.
Behind Willa is Vicente, which is presently just a storm. (right). Both are scheduled to arrive off Puerto Vallarta at about the same time. How does that work? Will they fight, reinforce one anther, or will one or the other or both die off before getting there? These things come and go over a few hours.
Both are headed for Puerto Vallarta, which happens to be Dawn's destination for a week's holiday, leaving Tuesday. I leave Sunday the 28th for La Paz and by then there will be a whole new set of weather predictions. The hurricane season goes from from July through October, but can extend a bit further on both ends.
I called my friend Ken who has a place at Bucerias and we had a long chat. I'm not getting much done today. That trip to Calgary threw me off my stride. Maybe it was the beer? Maybe the nuts? I know that pigging out on either makes me feel punk, but two beers? I doubt it. Must be the nuts. I did pig out.
The hurricane forecasts update several times a day-- at approximately 5 AM, 11 AM, 5 PM, and 11 PM PDT from May 15 to November 30, with special outlooks issued at any time as conditions warrant -- and now, in the afternoon, it seems Vicente is fading and going inland, and Willa is also turning east, promising a hurricane to Puerto Vallarta and missing the Baja. Stay tuned...
"Prediction is difficult, especially about the future." -- Yogi Bera.
I met Carolyn for a walk around town. We have been doing that every day lately. She is walking quickly now and finds herself out of breath periodically. Of course, she is talking and that takes effort as does the stride. I'm not breaking a sweat or breathing hard but the walk does me good. I measured and the walk for me is 1.15 miles. one mile for her.
I had supper of broccoli and cauliflower and a banana and am just chilling. For some reason, I have no ambition. Odd. Maybe it was the poor sleep last night. I have some sensation in my jaw again, so maybe that infection did not completely go away.
I'm back to studying Spanish after taking a few months off, or at least months with fewer study sessions. I'm studying navigation, too. I just don't seem to care to do any more bookkeeping -- I have filing to do -- at the moment or to do outdoor work. A lot of things that used to interest me don't. I'd be worried that I am depressed or worse, but I have new interests, so I'm not worried.
One week and a day now until I am back in Mexico. Hence the background picture of my favourite anchorage -- Caleta Lobos. OK. My favourite among many close contenders. San Evaristo, San Francisco, Caleta Partida, Pichilinque -- they all come close. Lobos is just very handy coming and going, and an easy daysail from my marina. Plus the snorkeling is good.
When I left La Paz, I did not want to leave and planned to be right back, but I got hijacked with job offers in BC (British Columbia) not BC(Baja California), and had a great time there. I got to Ontario several times, too, but did not splash Carpe Diem even once this year. Maybe it is time to sell that boat -- my first "yacht".
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ruled by Frankenstein logic
I woke up at 0500 and slept again until 0720.
I'm more ambitious today. It is one week until I leave and there is still lots to be done.
The Pacific storms seem likely to miss the Baja. Vicente is still tracking towards Puerto Vallarta on the mainland 400 miles from La Paz but is fading fast. Willa is still headed for the same area but with hurricane force winds.
Either of these two or a new storms could still move north through Baja although the odds are fading fast now.
Although NOAA attempts to predict storms and some probabilities are possible to calculate, predictions are merely probabilities and Pacific storms are inherently unpredictable. For now, the weather looks great!
I did the walk with Carolyn after lunch and had a long nap this afternoon. I'm pretty useless today for some reason. I haven't been as bright ever since the meeting the other night.
Today I purchased a two-year subscription to Surfshark VPN for about $US47 and so far, this looks like the best (and cheapest) paid VPN I have used.
Yup! Netflix works! That is a bonus for sure. I need a VPN in Mexico but had to turn off my VPN to use Netflix. As a result I am getting a ton of Spam. Let's hope that dries up now. I'm running the VPN on all my machines and devices fulltime since signing up.
I think my browser is faster now. Imagination? Maybe. Maybe not.
I roasted a turkey leg for supper and spattered the inside of the toaster oven, but caught that in time and folded up the foil a bit more.
Well, it is 8:21 already and I feel as if I have not done anything today. I have actually done a lot of little things. It just somehow does not feel as if I accomplished much. The day is not over yet, but maybe it is time to quit for the day?
I had expected a bit of a slowdown using the VPN, but my machines actually feel faster when connected. maybe it is the fact that the VPN filters out ads and trackers that slow performance. All this little trackers make invisible calls to remote servers that contribute nothing to the web page being viewed and their response can be can be slow, resulting in a delay loading the page.
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but not the madness of people.
I got up at 0720. I'd been up until after one last night, but had a nap in the afternoon, so figure that I had enough sleep, for now, anyhow.
Today, four people are coming up from Lethbridge to buy some of the stained glass supplies in the studio. I'd like to clear it all out, but I suppose they will pick and choose.
I began the morning trying to get Synergy to link my two computers. I use both simultaneously and depend on them both. Apparently Surfshark is disrupting them today. Everything was fine yesterday, but the computers were asleep and they have wireless problems on waking. Anyhow, I got Synergy working again, but had to shut down Surfshark and reboot a few times. That was a huge time-waster.
To add to my problems, when I checked the furnace, the ring was not turning. I knew the adjustment was touchy from what i found when I cam home from Ontario, but have not yet had time or ambition to adjust it. I poked the ring and it is going again, but I still need to make an adjustment. To do that I need my borescope and I can't find it. I hunted high and low. Another time waster. At least I am cleaning up and tidying as I go, but I am getting agitated.
In Mexico, Willa looks ready to slam into the mainland coast with full force, but seems no threat to the Baja. Vicente, however, is a sleeper and seems to be going ashore as a rainstorm, but could veer west and continue north offshore. We'll see.
The folks came for glass, and looked around and picked out a few things but did not want much. I still have a lot to clear.
My travel insurance agent called to warn me about Willa since I had mentioned Mexico. I assured her that I am watching and not planning to go to the affected area.
I'm feeling crappy this afternoon. It's windy out so Carolyn and I decided to skip the walk for today. I'm going to have a nap instead.
I slept and hour and a half and I think I am ill. I have a slight headache and am not ambitious at all.
There is a post in the forum today -- Re: Winter 2018-2019 possibilities -- about El Niño and the coming winter. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to see these posts, and I'd love to believe them but after reading all though and analyzing the probabilities, I came to the conclusion that in spite of the fancy graphs and language that the odds of the weather being warmer, colder and normal is about 33% for each - where I live. The west coast seems to be maybe more certain. Of course, it is on the Pacific where the water is warmer than usual, so that is more of an observation than a prediction.
I don't need a huge budget or graphs to come the same conclusion. Granted, the probs are a bit skewed, but nonetheless, I'm not seeing anything conclusive. Read the EC disclaimer (Ooops, I mean User Guide). Moreover, NOAA says:
Upshot? Even they don't believe their own predictions, actually. Would they bet on them? I wonder. Personally, I'd need better odds.
I've been following the hurricane predictions and yes, they can predict the chance of formation early on with 50/50 success, and the track very approximately, with better accuracy close to the centre, but generally, they are usually quite a ways off. Nonetheless, it is good to know that a storm is coming in your general direction and they are pretty accurate as far as I can tell when it comes to predicting the present action. After all...
"Prediction is difficult, especially about the future." -- Yogi Bera.
Let's not get started on Climate "Science" predicting weather/climate ten and twenty years out. AFAIK, it's the same guys or guys like them.
BTW, I have mentioned that I have been feeling subpar since the Friday night meeting and wondered if it was the beer, the snacks. Now I recall, however, that I got a flu shot that evening on the way in. From Google:
Hmmmm. They don't mention just generally feeling subpar, but I assume that is understood.
I can't recall a reaction to flu shots in the past. I'd still go and get one next year. This is nothing like having the flu. I do not want that.
At bedtime, it seems Willa has calmed a bit, from winds over 110 MPH to lesser winds, 74-110 and is going ashore north of Puerto Vallarta and it appears that PV is getting a tropical storm right now. Current local reports from PV don't confirm that, though. Just a bit of rain and light winds plus some lightning.
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6.2 224.8 111/73 56
I slept better last night and got up at 0720.
I see that Willa is going ashore near Puerto Vallarta as a hurricane (right). At present, there is nothing else on the horizon.
I wrote a bit in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum. I hope this topic is not turning into a hobby horse. This area is just so transparently a prime example of human gullibility that it is hard to let it go. Humans fall for the same tricks every time. It is a built-in vulnerability, like a chicken hypnotism. (See this).
Well, I am procrastinating. I am feeling better today, though, and should get moving. I still cannot find he borescope and I need it or some other camera to observe the ring. I really should rectify the furnace issue soon so it can prove itself for a few days before I go away again. I also have to find my property tax bills and pay them by month end. After that there is a list as long as my arm.
Just before noon, C and I went for a walk around town. IT has gotten to be a routine.
This afternoon, I sorted papers and spent money. I paid my property taxes online and then ordered new sails for Cassiopeia.
I was pretty well burnt out by supper and just watched Designated Survivor and Limitless and wrote email until bedtime.
I only looked at the furnace and gas piping, but at least I looked. That is a start.
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I was just dozing at 0532, so I got up. I'm realizing that I have four days to get ready to go. I'm also realizing that when I return, the place could be snowed in.
Looking south to Mexico, Willa has passed inland and died down and nothing new is developing. Looking back at the prediction for Willa, how good was it? How useful was it?
Well the timing was away off but the track was not too terrible a guess unless you happened to be in the projected track -- or the actual track.
By predictions four days ago, Willa should still be offshore (red circle) and people should have another day to prepare but Willa has already done his damage and dissipated far inland. I hear Vicente caused serious flooding.
If you were in a predicted path seven days out or even four, , should you prepare, or should you not? That was not at all clear four days out. Even a day out, it was iffy.
How useful it was depends on who you are and where you are, I suppose. In my case with a boat in La Paz, and my friends who have a house in Puerto Vallarta, it only served to get us worried. Obviously, a week out, these forecasts are only slightly more useful than the knowledge that hurricanes happen somewhat randomly between May and November all up and down the Mexican west coast and that there are always storms forming and dissipating -- and one should always be prepared.
Well, it is now 0718 and I am sleepy.
I went back to bed and slept an hour. I always sleep well after breakfast and coffee. I'm still a bit less than fully inspired, though. I actually feel a little ill when I think about it. Let's hope this passes. Now to work. I have more paper sorting and filing to do.
C and I did the walk at 10:30. I noticed it took me 28 minutes door to door. That is for the 1.15 miles. That is 2.5 MPH which is slow, but C needs to stop time to time to catch her breath. She says that walking is definitely doing her good.
Apparently my van is ready to go, so we will drive over at one. I'm a bit worried about the cost. It seemed like a small problem going in, but they had to drop the transmission pan and work on a shift body. He said 2-3 hours, and that was some time back, so this won't be cheap.
Until then, I'm still sorting papers.
C and I drove the Merc to Drum and I reclaimed my van. Cost: $550. Apparently, it took three hours and dropping both transmission pans to solve the issue. Anyhow, so far it starts every time.
When I went in to pay the bill, C stayed in the car waiting. I said that when I was ready to go, I'd drive up and honk. She said she had not eaten and I said, let's go to the A&W and went in.
It took a long time to write up the bill and when I went out, the Merc was gone. I looked around and then assumed she must have gone to the A&W, so I drove there. No Merc, so I went to Walmart since we had mentioned going there. No Merc. I drove back to the A&W and had a burger while waiting. I could not imagine where she might be. I then drove to MacDonald's in case she had gone there. No Merc. So, I finally went back the A&W and saw her driving up.
She explained that someone had driven out of the shop's back yard in a van like mine and that she had followed it to another shop where it went up on a hoist. She waited and waited, then realised it was not me and drove to A&W and Walmart looking for me. Finally, we met up.
I had racked my brain trying to guess what had happened to her. I was quite certain she would not have just decided to go home and if she needed to use a washroom, she would have come inside the shop. The answer escaped me. Perfectly logical, but not at all obvious.
I bought groceries and drove home.
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I slept in again and today I have a lot to do. I was going to go to the Red Deer Bee meeting tonight, but have decided against. I realise it is a month since the big UBA meeting and we have done nothing, including settling on a membership structure. I have been trying to kickstart the thing and then stay out, but it is starting to look like a misfire. We'll see. I'm going away and will be thinking about other things.
Now that I have the van back, I'm going to take out the ashes. I have some concern that one drum may still have live coals from the ring stall while I was a way, so I have to be careful not to start a fire when I dump it. Either that or hold it back this time so it will be cold later.
I took out the ashes and there were no hot spots. The van ran just fine.
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5.6 224.6 133/83 55
Two more days and lots to do.
I started by working on the furnace. The ring had been skipping occasionally, so I set up a camera to record the motion and could see the problem.
Once the burner cooled, I built up worn spots on the ring spacers and on the cogs. I was surprised to see as much wear as I saw since it seems I did this job not too long ago and usually welds on cast iron are very abrasion resistant due to the carbon picked up from the base material. The ring is removed and standing up on the grate for welding. The arrow top shows the worn spacer. The arrow at left shows where the spacer rubs on the grate. The cogs visible here are driven by the rotating cog seen in the video when the ring is in its place on the grate. The rotation breaks up clinkers and spills them over the edge into the ash bin below.
Here is the video (right), running at 32X actual speed so I can see slight movements and so I don't fall asleep watching it. It's all good.
C and I walked around town late in the afternoon. I have things to do, but the major ones are done. Now to pack and also to bring things in from outside. There may be snow when I return. In fact, odds are high that will be the case.
I'm checking the hurricane situation in the Baja and the season is about over. There is a depression farther south, but with low probability of becoming anything important.
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I woke up at 0435, got up, and had a shower. I'm full of ideas and this will be a busy day getting ready. I have to leave at about six-thirty tomorrow and tomorrow night I'll be on Baja Magic.
If it was Willa, I am surprised it went that far north. He is installing a water maker and more solar panels his boat is ready to go.
First thing each day, I check the NOAA site (right) for bad weather. As there often is, today I see a depression far south, but with slight chances of becoming a storm. The hurricane season is about over.
I recall that tomorrow is the time change to Standard Time in Baja Sur. I wonder how that will affect me. and my connection with the EcoBaja shuttle I also note that I will be arriving just in time for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
I did dishes and some tidying and went back to bed for an hour. Now, back to the jobs at hand.
I finished the filing, then went for a walk and after that, brought the tractors inside and tidied the basement.
I watched an episode of Designated Survivor and am off to bed early. I have to leave here around six-thirty tomorrow. By this ti e tomorrow night, I should ebon Baja Magic for the first time since July first -- 118 days.
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I had set my alarms for four, but woke at three. I dozed a while and got up and scrambled eggs and made coffee. Today is the day. By this time tonight, I expect to be somewhere between SJB and Baja magic.
I checked the Northeast Pacific and I see another depression forming, but not too serious, and moving west, not north.
It's minus four here and twenty-two in La Paz.
It's 0435 and I don't have much to do. I left clothes and things on the boat, so I'll pack light. I do need to be ready for the wedding but it is casual and I'll buy anything I need last minute in Aliso Viejo/
At 0630, I locked up and left for Bert's. I drove the van since it has studded snow tires and who knows what the weather will be on November 24th when I land at YYC again.
We arrived at the airport plenty early and I walked to the premium lounge and had a second breakfast. My flight was boarding when I got to the gate and I went straight aboard.
The flight was uneventful and we landed on time. Customs was backed up, though and it took an hour to get through. When I emerged into the bright sun and warmth, I walked straight to the EcoBaja van and found my shuttle was about to leave. My long delay in the lineup almost cost mea wait for the next one.
We travelled via Los Barilles, the more interesting route and arrived at the Malecon in late afternoon.
On the shuttle, as so often is the case the passengers made the trip interesting. I met several people and I imagine I'll see them again. We agreed to meet for supper some night.
I hailed an Uber ride and was soon at my marina. I noticed that Uber was more costly this trip than previously, at seventy pesos ($5 CAD) That is the same as taxifare. Maybe it was peak pricing due to the time of day. I hope so.
Baja Magic was just as I left her, but dusty on the outside. Inside, everything was just fine.
I had considered hailing Uber to Amamburo, but decided to go to the tiemda on the dock and found it was open. I bought some corn tortillas and salsa and beer and returned to the boat.
I enjoyed my supper and then had a swim in the pool to cool down, then went to bed early, around eight thirty.
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I woke up at 0130 and dozed a while, then got up, made coffee, and started up this laptop. I started writing and the machine went dark after ten or fifteen minutes. It just shut off suddenly without any warning.
I decided I should cook some beans and rice for breakfast and since it takes an hour to cook beans to start now. The stove would not light, so I checked the propane. The tanks is almost empty, but the problem was simply that the lines to the stove had emptied over the past four (almost) months. I had to open the locker and disconnect the bottle before I discovered that, though. It is just as well I did, though since I should get it filled soon.
It's 0440 now and I'll go back to bed shortly, but should finish cooking first.
It's five AM and my beans and rice are about ready. I wondered how many chilies to use and I think I got it about right. I had a small bowl and went back to bed.
* * * * *
I went to bed at 0530 and slept until 0745. I'm up in time for the daily Cruceros VHF net. It's 22 degrees out and 24.9 inside. My plan is to listen to the net, wash off the boat, then go to Amarburo for provisions and head out to Caleta Lobos for the night, but my plans are fluid.
After Aramburo, I returned to Baja Magic and tidied up, then cast off for the bays and islands at three-thirty. Once out f the channel, I found the wind was on the nose, so I motored to Caleta Lobos and dropped the anchor in my usual spot. About then, my Internet and phone plan ran out.
I searched through the spares and sure enough did not find a pressure switch. Then I checked the oil and it seemed there was no oil on the dipstick! What a shock!. I looked the engine over carefully for external leaks and there were no oil tracks down the block. I checked the oil again more carefully and there was oil on the dipstick after all. I had changed the oil before I left last time and done such a good job that the oil is perfectly clear. That's a relief. Why the alarm did not go beats me. May the switch has failed but does not leak? Anyhow that is one worry out of the way. For a while, I was imagining a $5 to $10, 000 bill.
I knew I had a small oil leak and that is no big worry. I checked the fuel filters and they seem okay. Why the stall? That is a question for tomorrow.
I had a supper of tostados and salsa and beer, swam a few times and went to bed just after sundown.
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I'm up at 0730 after a night of interrupted sleep.
I was up about ten times. The anchor chain was making sounds that woke me from time to time and I woke up when the wind shifted. I had not put on the snubber, having been distracted by the engine quitting last night, and had not thoroughly tested the anchor holding. The anchor alarm went off at 0130 and I let out more chain. The wind shift reversed to pull on the hook, causing it to drag a few feet and that was enough to set off the alarm
Otherwise, i slept well, and since it was warm and bug-free, I slept in the cockpit at one point.
Weather at home looks increasingly crappy, but pretty good for this time of year. Here, it is predicted to be warm and sunny until I leave for California on the ninth, and I see that is not far off. I leave a week from this Friday.
I'm anchored in Caleta Lobos and have to decide whether to go north or stay here a while. My engine situation requires some analysis and, for that matter, I am quite happy here. There is good swimming and snorkeling here and I have things to do and an cellular tower is nearby.
I've thought about the engine and now recall that I had a slight oil leak, so maybe that is what I am seeing. Just the same, it is alarming. I think I'll clean it up and see if it repeats.
I cleaned under the engine and the fluid is indeed motor oil. The floor pan is stained, so the oil has been there a long time, and the diaper was bunched up, so I really don't know how that happened unless when I changed the oil I did not clean up after. At left is the pan after cleanup. See yesterday for the before picture.
I read back in this diary to my last departure from La Paz and see I need to change the transmission oil, too. The dinghy needs work, also, as the bumper strip is coming right off and the leak has yet to be repaired. I've done some research and figure I can use 5200FS rather than specialized glues.
Although I have not seen this before, there are flies here today. They seem like fruit flies and are not much of a nuisance. They do not bite, but like to land on me.
I took care of that and now, at twelve-thirty, I see the wind is shifting right on schedule, carrying my boat back closer to shore. That's ideal so I don't have to swim quite so far to go snorkeling. I'm making a stew, so I have to wait until the beans are cooked before I go.
I had a good long nap after lunch, another swim, then put the outboard on the dinghy. The rub rail has come off and several patches are releasing, so I am thinking how best to reattach them. I have some 4200FC on hand, so I think I'll try that.
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