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 June 2019





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Entering Dodd Narrows at Flood


 Are you are looking for bee information?

I'm losing interest in bees lately and bee-related posts are infrequent these days but at one time I was very involved in beekeeping. Just about every topic has been covered somewhere on this site some time or another. Your best bets for finding ideas are:

 1.) check today's date in previous years     2.) visit the selected topics page
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Note: I have been doing a bit of bee writing lately and there is some mention on recent pages, but it is mixed in with my daily life.



Saturday June 1st 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Widespread smoke. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High 26. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear late this evening. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Hazy this evening. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 9.

Again, the night was quiet and the boat swung in the tide, but barely moved.

I'm up at 0545.  I meet Colin at eight in Nanaimo. Apparently we'll watch the race start from Cassiopeia, then drive the van to Mill Bay.  The rest is rather vague, but there is talk of my doing a refresher for several students next week.  I'll find out shortly.

The view from Cassiopeia this morning.

I was up at 0545 and ate my steel cut oats.  My BG is reading a bit lower today, but not back to normal. I motored over to the Boat Basin and picked up Colin.

We motored out into the Bay and checked the wind farther out for our team and reported back.  Wind was blowing ten knots and promised a good start.

We then hid out behind a log boom for the start and followed the fleet out and around Protection Island.  Our boat, Alegria, was dead last.

Racers heading out of the bay after the 0930 start

Colin and I continued around the island and came back into the harbour by the back channel and over to the Boat Basin again to Leave Cassiopeia for a few hours while we drove the van to Mill Bay.

We were assigned a difficult dock space.  The wind was gusting in the entrance and the space looked small.  In turning around, the wind caught the bow and pushed Cassiopeia sideways down the narrow channel.  Cassiopeia is 42 feet long and it does not take much wind to carry the boat along.

Quick action by Colin and the owner of a small boat fended us off and I managed to recover by backing down a gap and getting bow to wind.  We were then assigned a more accessible space on an outer dock.

Nobody said boo about the gong show.  The boat owner we almost wiped out with our ten-ton behemoth smiled and waved that all was good.  Colin acted as if nothing had happened.  I was embarrassed but we all know these things happen and if everyone came out okay, it's over and we can rejoice.

We tied up on an outer dock and I locked up the boat while Colin got the van and returned to get me.  We then drove to the motel where he had left his truck. 

He set out in the truck and I followed to Tim Hortons in Ladysmith, driving the van  By then, it was noon and I had used my last spoonful of coffee on the boat this morning for a single cup so I was ready for more.

We had lunch and carried on to the Walmart in Duncan where we spent a half-hour.  By then, we were definitely running out of time.  Our plan was to meet Dawn  at the Mill Bay ferry lineup in time for her to take the van on the 1350 ferry to Brentwood Bay.

From Walmart, we drove directly to the ferry, but when we arrived the ferry was full and already lining up for the next sailing.  Dawn seemed unfazed got into the van and headed for the Malahat.  The ferry takes a half hour to reach the Saanich Peninsula and the twisting Malahat mountain road takes only fifteen minutes longer.

Colin drove me back to Cassiopeia and along the way tried to get me to go with him to Comox, cross there on the Little River Ferry to Powell River, then sail Magic Moments, my Bavaria 34, back to Vancouver to be on display and get more June bookings. From Vancouver, I'd return to Nanaimo and Cassiopeia by bus and ferry. Then I'd continue back to Sidney unless something else cropped up. I considered it, but said the plan has too many moving parts to work smoothly.

The Cooper staff has a nickname for every boat. Magic Moments is referred to privately as 'Magic Mushroom'.

First, I'd have to tie Cassiopeia up at Stones, then Colin would have to get to Little River by the 7:10 sailing.  I knew there would be hitches and distractions and I'd be missing the last sailing and be stuck in Comox overnight.  Then the trip to Vancouver would take a day or two....

Colin dropped me at the boat and I moved across to the anchorage again.  My first drop placed me too close to a neighbour who informed me he had 250 feet of rope out.  I don't like to anchor near boats on rope as they move farther, faster, and differently than boats on chain like me.  I moved and re-anchored.

I had a bite and lay down for a nap. 

Strong wind warning in effect

Strait of Georgia - north of Nanaimo

Issued 09:30 PM PDT 01 June 2019

'Strong' winds of 20 to 33 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.

Marine Forecast
Issued 09:30 PM PDT 01 June 2019

Tonight and Sunday.

Strong wind warning in effect.

Wind northwest 15 to 25 knots diminishing to northwest 10 to 15 late overnight and to light early Sunday morning. Wind increasing to southeast 15 to 25 Sunday afternoon then diminishing to southwest 5 to 15 early Sunday evening except southwest 20 near Qualicum Beach.

The wind was coming up, so I closed up the enclosure, set the snubber, and set the anchor drag alarm. The boat is running up on the anchor and back and swerving in the wind, so the alarm went off shortly after.  I increased the range. This could be a rocking night.

Last night like this was in Sea Otter Cove when I was sailing around Vancouver Island, solo.

It's 2215 now and the gusts have quieted down for the moment at least.  I'm going to bed.

Looking at the currents tomorrow, I can run Dodds at around ten on my way south.

Quote of the Day
Doubt is the origin of wisdom
Rene Descartes

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Sunday June 2nd 2019

Today Mainly sunny. High 29. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight A few clouds. Low 13.

Things were settling down by midnight when I went to bed and the night was uneventful.

I'm up at 0545 again today.  The sun is bright and the bay is calm.

I wanted to capture an image of the GPS track overnight since the boat must have travelled 100 miles swinging back and forth at anchor and I remembered my laptop webcam, so I tried taking a shot.  That way I would have it on the laptop without having to upload from the phone.

That did not work out.  I had to use the phone again.  However, I did get a shot of myself concentrating on the webcam.

I took a shot at (left, detail at right) with the phone and uploaded.  It is a hassle and uses data, but it works.

I have lots of data left on my Telcel plan, but I have used up 95+% of my Canadian plan data already. As a result, I am running on my Mexican data using my old Nexus 5 as a hotspot.

That phone no longer has sound, and the charging USB jack is flakey, but it works fine for reading and providing wifi for my other phone and computer, so I put the Mexican chip into it and have the two phones to charge.

My morning BG is still high at 7.2, or else this meter is wacky. I prefer to blame the meter rather than thinking I may be turning diabetic.  Regardless, I should pay better attention to my health.  I've been gaining weight, and my resolution to stop drinking did not hold.  I've been drinking beer almost every day and not walking much.  Living on a boat is exercise, though and that is my excuse.

It's now seven and I have an hour or so until I should head south if I want to make the slack at Dodds.  I've had breakfast and coffee,  but right now, I feel like a nap.  Or maybe another pot of coffee?

I do want to make the slack, though.  Even if the flow is with me, what I saw coming up was sobering.  The turbulence was outside the narrows and in deep water away from hazards, but if there is turbulence in the channel as it could be with the flow going the other way, that can be dangerous.

The narrows  are ten miles away and it is dead calm here, so I'll motor and it'll take about two hours to get there.

Slack is at 10:14, so I have to leave by 8:14 +/-.  I'd actually like to go a bit early to get current with me and avoid the rush, so ten would be best.  It is now 0757.  I  had better leave soon.

I left and found wind, so I sailed until the wind died in Northumberland Channel a mile from the narrows. I arrived quite early and went through when there was about four knots of current going my way. The middle section was rough but no challenge for a big boat like Cassiopeia.

Once out the other side, I motored south and decided to go in to Ladysmith.  I sailed a bit when the wind picked up, then, after rounding the point, found a small bay and anchored for a nap.

I slept an hour and then heard my phone ding.  I had a text from Ryan who had worked at Cooper in Sidney two years back.  He saw me anchored and asked if I was okay.  I guess he still has my number on his phone. He lives here now and was out checking his traps when he saw Cassiopeia.  He said he would be by on his way back.

I checked the water and the thermometer said 72 degrees, so I had a dip. 

I have my fins and mask and shorty wetsuit with me and could have had a real swim but I was not in the mood for a real swim.  I figured though, that if the water is warm I should go in.

About then Ryan came by and we chatted a bit.

I continued on into the bay and looked around, finally stopping at the Fisherman's Wharf to tie up for a few minutes to go shopping. 

They were very friendly and had me raft up to a fishing boat.  The owner was friendly and helpful, pointing me to the grocery store.

The walk was a third of a mile each way and uphill. I realise I am not walking enough.  My legs and hips are stiff from too much sitting.

I bought groceries and walked back, cast off and motored for Saltspring.  I had left my step stool on the dock at Vesuvius and thought that it might still be there. The trip was over flat water with no wind until the I passed North Reef off Tent Island.  

I had been talking to Austin on the phone and using the ham radio app, Echolink, and did not notice until the wind got to 12 knots.  I signed off and pulled out the genoa.

The wind built to 20 knots for a while and I was making up to 6 knots directly to Vesuvius.  When I arrived, the outer dock was occupied, so I went on the inside.

The sailor on the other boat said that I would touch bottom on the inside if the tide fell.  I checked the tides and he was right.  I would run out of water by mid-morning tomorrow and possibly touch an hour or two after dawn.

He left, so the outside was free but I figured I'd save $32 and go off and anchor nearby.  By then it was 2000 hours and I was beat, so I chose a spot in the bay and lowered the hook.  The space was tight, and the anchorage a bit exposed to wind but looked fine for the night.  The anchor was holding well.

I was in bed by ten.

Quote of the Day
Philosophy consists mostly of kicking up a lot of dust
and then complaining that you can't see anything.
Gottfried Leibniz

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Monday June 3rd 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 27. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 7.

I slept until 0728 and got up, groggy.  My BG reads 8.0!  Hmmm.  Not good.

The boat had moved around and rocked all night with creaks and tapping sounds.  The GPS woke me twice with false alarms.

I had intentionally set the swing distance low so as to be aware if I dragged, but the boat swung far more than usual.

The tracks at right are zoomed out more than my usual display and still the track goes off-screen. We moved a lot!

I'm not planning to go far or do much today, but we will see.  I have some office work to do first.

I'll have to watch my depth here at anchor unless I move.

It is 0816 and we are approaching the low about now, but the lowest low will be about noon. 

I'll have to watch my swing, too. There is a shoal near shore to the southeast.  So far I have not swung that direction, but it bears watching.

First thing, I'll catch up on yesterday's notes.  Yesterday turned out to be a fairly big day to write up and I was too weary to do it last night.

I renewed my Public Mobile plan early last night as I had used all my data.  I was using the Mexican data for a while but the phone I have that chip in is flaky and sometimes won't charge.  I gave up for now.  Costco has the Moto G6 for $199 and that is a great phone.  Maybe I should buy it for a spare.

Maybe not the reviews are not good.  Apparently it is a MotoG5 disguised as a 6.

As the tide went out, I decided to raise anchor and move.  When I got to the anchor, I was surprised to find it was not where I expected it to be.

The anchor was closer to shore (the star) than where I had dropped it. I always calculate the spot carefully, but it must have dragged a bit before grabbing.  I was lucky the wind stayed south and southeast overnight or I would have touched and had to move during the night.

Touching is always to be avoided. Although usually it is just a matter of starting the engine and driving away, sometimes the boat can get trapped, and if the tide is going out the boat can wind up on its side and that can result in flooding and worse.

I am out of AA batteries to power the GPS I use as an anchor alarm, so I motored to the dock, tied up and walked up the road to where there used to be a small store.  I found it, but it is now a coffee shop.  No luck, but I did have a stroll.

I walked back to the boat and will head for Maple Bay before long. If I am anchoring, I'll want to have fresh batteries.  Even though I make sure the anchor is well buried in the bottom, I rely on the alarm to assure me that I have not gone adrift.

I untied and raised sail.  I was not expecting much wind, but soon I saw twenty knots and the boat was heeling hard. I had not secured the galley counters for heeling, so my drinking water jug spilled. At least it was not glass.

Entering Maple Bay, the wind dropped then alternately gusted from the bay and from behind me.  I had to motor a bit, then approached Birdseye Cove at on a reach at 6 knots under genoa alone.

Anchoring took me two tries to find a position where I was in the clear. but I am now secure across from the marina.  I'll dinghy across.

I think I put out more chain than many do and that means I have to be careful how I swing compared to the neighbours.  Maybe I should put out less, but five times the depth at high tide is the rule for overnight.  Mooring balls tend to be three to one.

While at the dock at Vesuvius, Carolyn wrote and we exchanged emails.  One topic was a large bumblebee that she had seen in my house when she went to water plants. I said bumblebees are important, useful and inspiring to watch.   I said if the bee was large, that this was likely the mother of the colony and important, so feed it if she sees it again, and help it outside if it cannot find its way. She was amused and said she kills bugs on sight.

Anyhow, as I was entering Maple Bay, a daughter bumblebee landed on my hand. I was still a quarter mile from shore. How often does that happen?  First time ever for me.

After anchoring, I took the dinghy for spin into the lagoon and back, then tied up at the marina and went ashore.  I found the batteries I need.  Four AAs for $7.95 plus tax. Very expensive, but cheap for a good night's sleep and they will last for four nights at least.

I also found a wingnut I needed and bought a nice fleece vest and a mug.  The vest is a little tight, but I kid myself I'll lose weight.

I'd almost forgotten that we used to sail out of here.  Austin had Saga, his 26-foot wooden sailboat tied up here and we went out together several times, plus I came out a few times my self to sail with my cousin Gillian and also Chris, my son-in-law.  That was long before I bought Cassiopeia.

It's five and I'm, back on the boat, maybe for the night, maybe not.  I have enough food, so no real excuse to go ashore again except maybe to walk.  I did walk a half-mile this morning, but I need to walk more.  We'll see.

I had supper on board and put the enclosure back together properly.  The cleaning staff had done a nice job of polishing the windows, but they had put the panels on inside-out. The enclosure is symmetrical and then zippers on each side match the other.  When inside-out, the fasteners dangle outside and flap against the windows.

Then I did a hand laundry and did some organizing.  For some reason, I seem to be too busy to do some things that need doing, like pay my Mexican help.  That has just come due and it requires an hour or two of my undivided attention to handle the currency exchange and figure it all out.

I realise I have not watched Netflix for weeks and am just now listening to Spotify again for the first time in about a week. Somehow, I find I am listening to vintage outlaw western music.

I think I'll go to bed early again. The tide will not change much overnight so any movement will be due to wind, but tomorrow at noon we have a zero tide.  That is an eleven-foot drop in the morning.

The currents in Samsun Narrows will be going my way, with a maximum at about eight and turning against me at noon.

I've never seen the current there to be at all worrisome, but this might be the first time.  I doubt it but I see four knots and that is enough to make some waves and whirlpools.

Looking on Navioincs, I do see rips at Bold Bluff Point and Sansum Point and now realise this short section is the actual narrows. I'd always though the entire passage was the narrows, but as with all these passages, the narrows is at the actual choke point. Hmmm.  Makes sense.

It's ten and there is my wind shift.  I see I am being blown more towards the shore.  That is fine except I am unsure how I will swing.

It was after eleven before I went to bed.

Quote of the Day
 If you hang around with losers you become a loser
Donald Trump

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Tuesday June 4th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning then becoming north 20 gusting to 40 late this afternoon. High 24. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 6.

I was up well before seven.  BG is 7.2 again.  Drat.

The boat moved a few times during the night, but stayed clear of other boats and shore.

I see the ship's batteries that provide lighting, device charging, refrigeration, etc. when the engine is not running and we are not plugged in at a dock are down to 50%.  That is the lowest they should be drawn down without damage.  The morning is cool and I wantto run the furnace a bit and that will draw it down more, so should either start the engine to charge, or get underway and charge as I go.

I started the engine and the furnace, made coffee and breakfast, then got underway.  I want to see the peak flow at Samsun Narrows. and take advantage of the currents as well.

As I was idling out of the anchorage, Shirley called. She is back home and trying to remember how to reach Airenet, our local Internet provider to get her Internet working.  She turns it off when away because otherwise the Hutterites who rent the land park in the driveway and use up her data allocation.

We had a long chat.  She had gone back to Flagstaff to close up her winter home and to bring back her van.  She has decided she is going back to China to teach for another stint.

I motored through the narrows and went through several eddies. There were, as expected, some at Bold Bluff and Sansum Points, but the worst were off Burial Island.  They twisted me around a bit and challenged the autopilot, but none were at all hazardous or daunting, even at full flood.

Genoa Bay was my first destination of the day.  After that, any way the wind blows...

For now, I want to anchor once the batteries are up a bit and do some deskwork.  I also want to walk around the marina here at Genoa Bay.  I have anchored, but never never landed here previously.

I called in on the VHF, received no response, then anchored off the docks in eight metres of water.  I slept well last night, but just might have another nap.

I did lie down and I did sleep for about an hour, drifting in and out of consciousness. It is almost noon now. I don't think I will do much today.  Just hang on the hook and be.

Been thinking about synchronicity and entanglement, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Of course, that takes us down the rabbithole.

It all started with casual mention of a bumblebee in my home and then one landing on my arm shortly after while I was far enough away from land to make that event highly remarkable.

Sometimes our illusion wears very thin.

I've been tired the last several days.  Wind, water, motion, and sun and long days can be exhausting.  This odyssey is engrossing and it is hard to think of anything else, but I do have chores to do online.  Everything seems so far away and is, in some senses, but right here, too.  Like Homer's Odyssey, this voyage has gone on longer and farther afield than originally conceived, but unlike Ulysses, I am in touch with home daily and can look into my living room anytime I care to.

I keep thinking I'll get around to my duties and maybe coffee will help, but not so far...  I'm going to have to force myself.  First, however, I'll dinghy ashore and I suppose that means getting dressed.

I wear my long underwear overnight and mornings on board.  It almost looks like sweats, which I also sometimes wear, but it is not suitable for company or shore trips.

I went ashore and walked around. I asked and the docks here are $1.70/foot per night plus power, so I'll go to Cow Bay where it is $1/foot.  I should charge the batteries right up and that takes shore power.

I sailed across to Fisherman's Wharf and motored in.  The wind was strong and I was assigned a dock with a cross wind.  Someone appeared to catch lines and I assumed it was the wharfinger I had spoken to on the phone arranging a berth.

I came nicely up to  the dock, but the man did not take the line available.  I tried several more times, then the real wharfinger came out.  We tied a stern line and I pushed the bow around with the engine to where the boat could be tied.  He seemed peeved but left and was gone to the bank when I went to the office to pay. We'll see tomorrow.

I'm suddenly depressed. Blame it on the bumblebee? The bad docking?  Too much fun?  Existential angst (my fav) ?  All the above? Something I am not facing? 

I walked uptown and bought a bottle of piniot grigo. Walking back, I watched a fisherman dock in the wind or try to and now I don't feel so bad.

Quote of the Day
Academies that are founded at public expense are i
instituted not so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to restrain them.
Baruch Spinoza

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Wednesday June 5th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h near noon. High 25. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light late this evening. Low 11.

I woke up at six and got up. My BG is 6.2 this AM and that is my normal. This is the first day in a while. 

The day  is dull and breezy. I have the furnace on and can stay until noon, then have to check out. 

Where to go?  Maybe Sidney?  From here in Cowichan Bay to Sidney is less than two hours.

Maybe Finlayson Arm?  I have never been there and it is close to Sidney.  Finlayson Arm is three hours from here but then it is two  hours from Finlayson Arm back to Sidney.  There are things I should do in Sidney before I go home.

I'll check the weather and see what kind of sail it will be and what sort of day for sightseeing. The predictions are for continuing dull and cool, with a possible shower mid-afternoon, followed by sun, but the temperature is not expected to go above 16. The wind is expected to be right on the nose for a trip to Finlayson, so I guess that is not a great plan for today.

I have to take on water and pay the bill and leave by noon or so.  It is ten now.  I think I'll do up the enclosure, get ready to go and then just see where I go.

I filled the tanks.  The wharfinger was down on the dock and he said, noon, but it does not matter.  The place is half-empty.

So, it is twelve-fifteen and I'm still here.  I filled the tanks and took out the trash and spoke with the neighbours, did the dishes and some laundry.

After lunch, I paid the bill and cast off for who knows where.  I set sails and tacked east out of the bay.  My progress was slow as the tide was against me and the wind was shifty.

As I went, I considered Mill Bay, Fulford, and other stops on my route towards Sidney.  I did not have to decide right away.

The conditions were pleasant, but overcast at first.  Soon, however, the wind became very gusty and forced me to reef. Then the rain came and pelted the boat for a while. After that ended, the wind shifted again.  By four, I was out of the bay and the sun came out.  I was at a decision point and decided on Sidney.  The wind was till on my nose, so I motor-sailed past Swartz Bay, dropped the sail and motored through Page Passage.

I've avoided Page Passage in the past due to narrow channels though rocks and islands and strong currents.  Without a chart plotter, I would be unlikely to risk it although people coma and go from canoe cove all the time and have, long before chart plotters.

I decided to skip refueling and go straight to the dock and backed into my usual spot on the main dock.

Rick met me there and he, Andy and I went for supper at the nearby pub.  I ordered an Angus hamburger. I forgot to ask how it was made, and although it was okay it turned out to be one of those pre-formed patties made from mechanically deboned meat and not nearly as good as hand-made patties from ground chuck.

From there, Andy and I walked to Fairway, then back to the boat.  Andy had bought a Navionics chart chip for his boat and was having trouble getting to work.  Since I have the same plotter, I said, why not try it in mine to see if it is good, so he tried it and his chip is  apparently defective or not properly set up.

Then Andy brought over some beer and the three of us sat around until eleven-thirty, chatting.

Quote of the Day
Who lies for you will lie against you.
John Locke

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Thursday June 6th 2019

Today Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 19. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Showers. Amount 5 mm. Low 8.

I woke up at six, dozed until almost seven, then got up and made breakfast.  Today I need to reserve a flight home and start tying up loose ends here.

Calgary Beekeepers again...

In my experience, top ventilation is something that is unnecessary and even detrimental in Alberta most of the productive season. Wintering is a different matter.

As with a lot of beekeeping ideas this idea comes from the southern USA where days and nights are very hot -- hotter than brood temperature -- and shade may even be required.

Down there, even in summer days and nights never approach freezing.

In Alberta, we can have frost every month of the year. Spring and summer nights can be cold and windy.

At such times, top ventilation works against us as the hive interior may drop to clustering temperature if there is too much ventilation..

In Alberta there are only a few really hot days and times when a strong flow is on when top ventilation might be beneficial.

FWIW, I do have one inch drill holes in every brood box, but that is more for entrance than air, and I plug them in supers.

If the bottom entrance(s) are sufficient size -- even a slim 3/8" slot full width of hive is enough -- that is all the bees really need.

They are able to move a lot of air and control brood area temperatures within an half-degree F through a wide range of ambient temperatures.

Ideally, the whole hive interior should be at that same brood temperature 24/7 because at that temperature, wax and honey are soft and it is amazing what even a few bees can do in a short time at that temperature.

Top ventilation tends to make the outer areas in the hive colder than ideal at night, causing the bees to retreat to the core and abandon any work they may have been starting on foundation outside that cluster.

In my experience, bees will not tend to work well in any space that they cannot keep warm day and night and seem to know how much volume they have to work with.

They also seem to take a while to adopt new spaces unless there is a heavy flow on and the hive metabolism is ramped up.

In short, I avoid top ventilation except in winter.


>>> As pointed out the evenings cool, causing the bees to generate
more heat. Without ventilation the bees would get a shower from the
amount of collected moisture on the ceiling.

>> Have you actually observed this, or are you speculating?

> Actual observations, from experience. I no longer use poly hives due
to a number of factors, but this is the main reason. The construction
term is called ‘attic rain’.

That is interesting. I suppose the hive configuration would be an

I personally use insulating plastic pillows under all lids, but I know
the commercial beekeepers who run thousands of hives use uninsulated
lids with no issues. I can't say I know of any who use upper
ventilation and I have inspected thousands of hives all over.

Insulated particularly and simple wood lids lids should seldom get cool
enough to cause precipitation inside in the production season, and a
little water on the lid can be a good thing as bees need water.

Raining on the cluster is extremely unlikely except in freezing weather
when a block of ice forms over days and weeks, then melts.

The small amount of daily moisture produced is not an issue and in fact,
bees like fairly high humidity -- around 75%. there can be a ring of
water drops around the edge of where the cluster touches the lid and I
have always thought that to be a good thing because the first foragers
we see in summer mornings (non-flow conditions) are water carriers going
out, looking.

Although people claim wood and plastic are different in respect to
moisture, after bees coat the wood with propolis, wood is not much
different except in the minds of some beekeepers.

>> In Alberta there are only a few really hot days and times when a strong flow is on when top ventilation might be beneficial.

> I think this may be a bit understated. During the main honey flow, some upper ventilation helps to reduce or eliminate bearding, a sure sign that heat has become an issue.

I am not sure that bearding is signs of an issue, for a number of technical reasons beyond the scope of this discussion, but I understand that is the common assumption based on appearances. It is entirely natural and maybe a good sign like the crowds we see on beaches on weekends in good weather..

Let's always remember that these are tropical insects and that heat is their normal environment. They can deal with it, and in natural cavities with much smaller entrances than we give them.

> And when I drive the countryside in July/August and see commercial yards along the roads, bearding is common and very evident.

These hives belong to professionals who would take measures if they thought hanging out was costing them one penny. The only issue IMO, is that it provides a feast for skunks if there are any around.

> For me, summer upper ventilation consists of a honey super set back to leave a 1/2" gap.

I've done that and tried many other approaches. It kept me entertained, but I doubt it did anything for my bees.

> Obviously, as the summer wanes and the flow slows down and the nights get cooler, it isn't needed. But in my view, this is an issue more than just a few days, even west of the city where my bees are.

If it works for you, do it. Maybe you don't want to maximize foundation drawing or honey production, but as you have observed, those who do need to maximize do not think it pays. And trust me, these are smart guys and gals.

> Conversely, I have become a fan of leaving no upper ventilation in winter. My opinion, based solely on observation over many years, is that relatively little vapour is released through the vent, but more than a little bit of heat. The change has worked very well for me.

Yes. Northern Europeans, especially with EPS, often do not like upper entrances. They do have screens in the floor though.

IMO, a major purpose of the upper entrance is to prevent suffocation from icing up. As with many things in life, to survive you have to do many things right, but to die it only takes one bad event. That is the case with winter loss. We often do not know why the bees died. Maybe it was just one bad event like an iced-up hive.

However, we must remember beekeeping is a system of interdependent, locations, configurations, and practices; and we cannot just grab and idea from here and an idea from there, combine them, and expect success. Most ideas have an application somewhere, sometime, in some system.

I spent some time figuring out my bookkeeping and then Andy and I took the boat over to get fuel.  I used 80 litres in my voyage last week.

I booked a flight home and paid $406 for a ticket to Calgary!  It was a last-minute purchase as I have kept the return open in hopes of more assignments.  Bert can't pick me up, but will leave the van at the airport.

This has  been a business trip, beginning with the teaching, spending time making sure the boat is ready for the season, meeting with Colin, and scoping out locations for future teaching.  Frankly, I am tired.  This hard work.

The last several weeks have been full and I have to think to remember back to the beginning. I've even forgotten one student's name already.

Here is a summary.

  • Sunday May 19: I flew to YVR on the 19th, took transit to Granville Island. Stayed on Andiamo and did repairs.

  • Monday May 20: More of the same.

  • Tuesday May 21: Greeted my students.

  • Wednesday May 22: Started out, diverted to Snug Cove for Transderm.

  • Thursday May 23: Furler issues. Went to Gibsons.

  • Friday May 24: Stopped at Plumper Cove. Touched bottom. Anchored at Halkett Bay.

  • Saturday May 25: Snug Cove again.

  • Sunday May 26: Back to Granville Island.

  • Monday May 27: Took the 50 bus, the Skytrain, bus, ferry, and cab to Cassiopeia.

  • Tuesday May 28: Sailed for Vesuvius on Saltspring and visited Doug and Denise.

  • Wednesday May 29: Thetis island for lunch with Rick, took a look at Pirates Cove. Anchored at Princess Cove overnight.

  • Thursday May 30: Met Bruce at Fernwood for coffee, then got a call from Colin with some prospective work teaching and altered course for Nanaimo. Anchored overnight at Clam Bay.

  • Friday May 31: Motored to Dodds, stopping to look at Boat Harbour along the way.  Transited Dodds at peak flood. Made 12 knots over ground.  Anchored off the Dinghy Dock Pub.

  • Saturday June 1: I picked up Colin and we went to watch the start of the Van Isle 360 race, then drove the van to Mill Bay. Drove back to Nanaimo and I stayed another night anchored there.

  • Sunday June 2: South to Ladysmith, swam, shopped. Continued to Vesuvius, and anchored.

  • Monday June 3: Birdseye Cove.

  • Tuesday June 4: Stopped at Genoa Bay, then tied up at Cowichan Bay Fisherman's Wharf overnight.

  • Wednesday June5: Lest after lunch and had a fairly miserable sail, then motored to Sidney. Beers with Rick and Andy.

  • Thursday June 6: At the dock here and fueling.

I went to bed at nine-twenty.

Quote of the Day
Who lies for you will lie against you.
John Locke

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Friday June 7th 2019

Today Rain. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 10. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Rain ending overnight then cloudy. Amount 5 mm. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light overnight. Low plus 4.

Last night I went to bed at nine-twenty.

I slept until twelve-thirty, then got up.  I think that Chinese food was a bit too heavy.  It was good, but not something to eat often. Of course I did not have to eat the deep-fried items. There are healthier items there. It was my choice.

I think (know) all that fat, sugar and oil is inflammatory.  I notice an arthritic nodule on one little finger that I  had not been aware of previously.

I wondered about my SpO2 and find it is 98%.  That is okay. 

I hardly use the oximetry device anymore since the results are always about the same.  I have much use for the EKG device either as it is always about the same also, even when I have felt a bit odd.  All it ever says is possible bradycardia and I don't need a machine to tell me that.

I lay down again, then got up after ten minutes and had some coffee and a Benadryl.

It is now 2:20 and I am not tired yet, but may lie down again.  I could listen to the Spanish lessons on my phone.  That usually knocks me out before it turns off in fifteen minutes, but I am not in the mood.  Maybe I'll do it anyhow. Good night (morning?) (again).

I fell right asleep and my bladder woke me at six-twenty.  There was rain on the hatch and the day looked dull. I went back to sleep and next I knew it was 0811 and the sun was shining in.

So, I'm up for the day.  First thing, I arranged to borrow the van this evening and will go for supper at Gillian's.  I had checked transit and the trip is over an hour each way so the van will make the trip more feasible.  Three hours of bus travel for a two-hour visit seems impractical.

Now, I have two more days here.  There is lots I should do, like work on the solar panels, but I am not sure I want to start something I will not finish.

My cousin, Jack, called and said he is back from Europe.  I had phoned him several times lately with no reply. As it happens, I am going to his daughter's tonight for supper.  Jack also reported that another cousin is ill with what sound like metatasized lung cancer.  I know how that ends.

I could not reach my home monitoring cameras, so I called C.  She says the power if off around there and the power company does not know why -- or when it will come back on.  That explains that.

I checked again later and the power is on.  The grass is looking green and tall.

I agreed to go sailing with Alex on Kiwi Ties, the sister ship to Magic Moments, and show him some ideas.  He bought a boat recently, and has little experience with big boats.  He is justifiably cautious.

We got ready to go out and then rain looked immanent.  The breeze picked up and we decided to call it off for now. As I retuned to my boat the rain began.

It rained heavily for a while.  Meantime, I got the notion to download the Brave browser and installed it.  Wow!  It is blazing fast! And accurate.  I see I have two scripts on this page.  Hmmm.  One is mine and one is Google's.  Who knew?  I'll dig deeper.

Oh, I see I have no extensions installed and that could explain the speed.

I lifted the dinghy on deck and started putting things away and preparing to pack for home. 

Then it was time to go to Vince and Gillian's for supper, so I walked up to The Surly Mermaid, had a beer with the crew, and drove to Esquimalt.

It is a while since I have seen them and Levi has grown taller than the parents. Rueben is still growing. We had a supper of spaghetti and salad, followed by Ben and Jerry's ice cream.  I had two small glasses of red wine.  I wondered how the spaghetti sauce and wine would affect me, but the sauce did not seem to have much tomato paste.

We moved to the living room and they were interested in where I have been cruising.  As it turned out, Levi has been on many many kayaking trips and we have been to may of the same places: Clayquot Sound and various parks on the Gulf Islands. 

He was particularly enthusiastic about Blackberry Point on Valdes Island and sufficiently so that I plan to go there sometime.  When he mentioned the site, I was able to pull out my phone, find it on the Navionics charts and view the local waters for anchoring, then we viewed the terrain in 3D and it was just as he remembered it, complete with an aerial view on Fast Eddy's float house on the beach.

At nine-thirty, I took my leave and drove back to Sidney. I arrived there right at ten and realised that all the grocery stores were closed and I have zero coffee left for the morning.

I drove by Thrifty's and kids outside the store said the gas station has a convenience store.  I went there, but it only had junk food. Dawn always nags about gas, so I bought $65 worth of gas and that should hold her off for a while.  I tried the nearby McDonalds.  No luck.

From there, I drove by the shopping centre, thinking Shoppers Drug Mart might be open, and spotted a Tim Hortons.  I walked in and was greeted by a display of their ground coffee. Ten dollars later, I was walking back to the van and then back to Port Sidney Marina.

At the boat, I sat and decompressed a bit, then went to bed.  However, before bed, and against my better judgment, I ate the bottom third of a small jar of peanut butter left over from the C&L. It was the type that is made with oils and sugars, not my usual 'peanuts-only' type.

Quote of the Day
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility,
and most people are frightened of responsibility.
Sigmund Freud

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Saturday June 8th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 16. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low plus 5.

Last night I went to bed at about eleven.

This morning, I woke up about five times before I finally got up at 0905. I was roused by hip pain at on e point earlier and my morning sleep was light and dream-filled. When I got up my BG read 8.4.  Lately it has varied all over the map.  Must have been that ice cream and the peanut butter. Artificial food.

My dreams were the sort of problem-solving dreams that cartoon reality with little regard for fact.  At one point, I had two brothers and we were all teen-aged, in disagreement, and wrestling on a sofa.  I only have one brother.

I wonder about the joint pains. I did have rashes earlier and have had joint pains come and go lately, so plan to see the doctor on Monday.  I happen to have doxycycline at hand from a previous issue, but am reluctant to take it before any tests that may be required are done.

I had never really considered the possibility of Lyme disease when working bees in Alberta as the risk is considered low, but I suppose could have made its way there by now and I do have deer in the yard.  We'll see.

I'm thinking about my bees at home. I split on the eleventh and twelfth last month so the new queens should be laying by now.

This has been an interesting day. In the morning, the owner of Mariners Compass came by to talk a bit. 

Then Rick and I wandered up to the sandwich shop for lunch and bought boutique beer as a present for tonight's party along the way. Lodi's husband turns sixty today.

Then I spoke to Simon about selling Cassiopeia and Magic Mushroom in some sort of exchange for Mariners Compass.  I have delivered Mariners Compass a time or two and like that boat a lot.

I put the grab handles back on Cassiopeia's dodger and got ready for the party, then at five went over to the tent.  The party was a lot of fun, but I left at eight-thirty to relax and go to bed early.  I am not packed and ready for my departure tomorrow.

I almost hate to go.  The last few days have been very pleasant here at the dock.  The crew are my friends and this is a community. Just the same, I do have to head home to deal with a few things, like the grass.

Quote of the Day
A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason.
Or it can be thrown through the window.
Gilles Deleuze

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Sunday June 9th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers early this morning and late this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 19. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing late this evening. Fog patches developing before morning. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low plus 4.

At 0250 I realised I was awake. I had been dreaming I was lying on top of a camper, etc...  Anyhow, I got up for a moment, looked at the clock, figured it was early, set an alarm for seven and went back to bed. I slept a few minutes and when I woke and got up, it was 0308.  My day-of-flight autopilot program has taken over. My subconscious wakes me at three any day I plan to fly anywhere.

I am wide awake and making coffee. No sense trying to sleep right now.  I'll organize and pack and maybe nap before I leave at eleven-thirty or so for my 1252 flight.

The weather at home looks pleasant.  Nights are still pretty cold, though.

For almost the first time in a week I did not need heat overnight. In fact, the main hatch was open all night.

I also awoke realizing that I have not received a statement from the charter company since December.  This realization has been growing on me over the past several months, but is now becoming obvious. This is not a sign of a company in good shape. I know the accountant left and that a replacement was in the works, but we normally would have expected a March, April, and May statement by now.  This now causing me concern.

I decided it is too early to be up and went back to bed, sleeping until seven

Now I am up and sleepy, with work to do, and now I have the heat on.  It got cold before dawn.

To the Calgary Beekeepers list...

After reading recent posts, it occurs to me that some explanations might be helpful.

It is easy to assume that nucs are nucs, packages are packages, and queens are queens.

Not so.

There really are no standards. There are general assumptions, but unless the buyer is specific and aware, there is a lot of latitude in what may be supplied by an honest supplier when a non-specific order is placed and the product is accepted uncritically, or if price is the main criterion.

There is no such thing as a standard nuc. Nuc stands for nucleus: "The central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth."

Nucs are generally bought and sold according to specifications agreed between buyer and seller. Important criteria include date of delivery, number of frames, drawn or not, amount of feed, number of bees, amount and ages of brood, age and type of queen, any treatment and/or inspection for mites, permits if inter-provincial, container, exchange if any, deposits for boxes, who is responsible for transport and guarantees about condition on arrival, etc.

There is such a thing as a standard package: two-pound, three-pound, four-pound, one-queen, two-queen, etc., but that specifies only the nominal weight of bees and number of queens.  Age of bees, type of queen, package construction, mite treatment, delivery, guarantees, etc. are negotiated.

Actual delivered weights and condition may vary and the ages of bees and queens also. The pedigree of the queen may be different from the package and, like nucs, packages can be sold without queens on the understanding that the buyer will provide a queen. In such cases, a pheromone lure is usually included with the bees to mimic the queen for transport.

As for queens, buying queens is like buying a cow. You could get a young milk cow or an old range cow if all you ask for is a cow. Same with queens. There are a lot of options. It is worth researching the varieties and choosing varieties and producers with reputations for withstanding disease and mites and for production and wintering.

Buying hives involves the same sort of considerations as buying nucs. If you don't know what you are doing, get an experienced beekeeper to accompany you, negotiate, and ensure you get what you need.

I packed and tidied and was ready by eleven-thirty.  Moe drove me to YYJ.  The security line was unusually slow, even with Nexus.

The flight was routine and Bert met me at YYC. 

We drove to his place, I dropped him off, and I  proceeded home.  The country is bright and green after a recent rain.

Returning home to the Old Schoolhouse

At home, I see the grass is long, as expected, and the lilacs and caraganas are in full bloom. I could smell blossoms as I walked to the door.  A stag was grazing outside my living room window (left).

A picture from when we bought the schoolhouse in 1968 is at right.

I'm doing wash and warming the place.  Seems the furnace was acting up a bit and maybe I came home at just the right moment.  Actually, the furnace could have been left off as at this time  of year the house stays warm enough for the plants.

I wondered how much I used Cassiopeia's engine and since I took shots of the hour meter before and after my odyssey, I have a record.  I see that I ran the engine thirty hours in the twelve days between May 27th and June 8th.


At six knots, that would be 180 sea miles, but some of that was idling and moving slowly in and out from docks.  I used 80 litres of diesel in those 30 hours, or 2-2/3 litres per hour, assuming the previous user had filled the tank and no one had used fuel since. In dollars, that is $1.67/l x 2.67 l/hr = $4.45/hr.

I unpacked and played with the furnace, turned it off and went to bed.

Quote of the Day
The majority of men... are not capable of thinking, but only of believing,
and... are not accessible to reason, but only to authority.
Arthur Schopenhauer

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