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 January 2018





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Background image - Looking north along the Malecon towards Club de Yates


Wednesday January 10th 2018

Today Periods of snow ending this morning then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 30 km/h becoming light near noon. High minus 18. Wind chill minus 35 this morning and minus 26 this afternoon.
Tonight Periods of light snow ending overnight then clearing. Low minus 26.

I woke up at 0540, feeling refreshed and with no sinus or nasal congestion! I was beginning to think that day would never come. 

I did not use Dristan or antihistamines last night, but I flushed with saline solution multiple times during the day. I did a flush just now and nothing nasty-looking came out, but the flow afterwards is still pink.

BG: 6.1   BP: 118/65

I see it is bloody cold at home, and snowy -- windchill minus thirty-four and visibility at 1.4 km --  but monitors show that all is well at the Old Schoolhouse. The cold there is not predicted to break for three days.  Sudbury is minus six with precipitation expected all week and rain tomorrow at plus seven.  It'll be a mess.

Here in La Paz, it is currently plus nineteen before dawn and we expect plus twenty-four as a high and no sign of rain in coming days and weeks.

What to do today?  Well, maybe a shower and a swim in the pool.  I have not done either since arriving.  Then maybe a ride downtown to get supplies.  I have some paper to shuffle this morning though, and am waiting on some legal advice on tying up loose ends on the boat acquisition.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

Why do I repeat these quotes each day?  Because we should never forget that we don't know much of what we think we do although some pretend we do.

The world is a mystery and true science is our tool to take a peek into it, not a dogma to hold over us and manipulate us.

The name of science has been subverted into a religion and consensus and even honest scientists sometimes forget for a minute that we know absolutely nothing without making foundational assumptions that cannot by their nature be proven.

Science is neither consensus or "settled".  True science is perpetual doubt, argument and repeated testing of any belief over and over.

Science is never 'settled'.  Anyone who says that does not know what science is. 

Whether Trump is right about other things IMO, he was right to banish the religious touchstone words and phrases that bypass real thinking and are favourites of manipulative special interest groups.

  • evidence-based
  • science-based
  • vulnerable
  • entitlement
  • diversity
  • transgender
  • fetus

Those who use these sugar-coated words and phrases are hoping you will swallow their concept whole and not chew it over.

Here is a link to kickstart some real thinking.  Note that the top articles are from the very publications that use these loaded shortcut trigger words to elicit predigested knee-jerk responses from pre-conditioned unthinking audiences on political issues are actually quite subtle, hard to grasp, and possibly without solution.  Losing these tricky tools will  make their work harder.  They will have to explain what they mean. I doubt any thinker will have much objection.

Eliminating these lazy catchwords and phrases does not prevent discussion of the topics in question.  In fact it forces those who wish to avoid discussion to speak plainly and merely means that the details and rationale must be spelled out and understood.  Seems like a good idea to me.

And as for models, they are not science, they are technology stew, based to greater or lesser extents on science with a lot of opinion and assumptions thrown in. They all sorta work, especially looking back at the past, but the future is a three-body problem. 

Early predictive models using the 'science' of the day were bones, dice, animal guts and tea leaves and they  apparently worked just as well or badly as today's sophisticated computer models for the purposes intended -- to convince others of goals or conclusions already reached by other means.

Remember, figures don't lie, but liars can figure and when it comes to lying, the easiest person to fool is yourself.

End of today's sermon.

Adrian writes:

My turn for a sermon. If you are able to build a daily 2 mile walk into your life it will be half way to your daily step goal each day. Additionally, if it becomes routine one starts to notice patterns of life, human and animal, that are enjoyable to observe.

I enjoy checking your diary. I wish you well.


Well, there is a free shuttle going to town three times a  day, but of course I am not carrying anything in that direction. There is not shuttle back, and that is when I am likely to be burdened.

I received an email this morning, and seeing as the list has been a bit active over the past day, I replied and also posted there.

>long silence up here for a while
>cheers to all and a big particular hug for AllenD

It has been quiet. A big hug right back.

As it happens, I received this query this morning (below) and was in the process of replying, and thought maybe I should share and get some other perspectives.

--- begin query ---

> I was hoping I could ask about a formic acid application you posted a while back.

> Is this still current or have any changes been made?  A friend of mine, who is in Texas, contacted me the other day asking about applying formic right now as their Varroa numbers are borderline treat vs no treatment.

> He said there wasn't much brood in them as things have been colder than normal.  He seems to have settled on using some sort of formic application in his rotation, but is hesitant about a commercial application as they are so close to spring and fears losing queens or brood.

--- end query ---

--- begin response ---

Yes.  Nothing much has changed, basically.  Formic has a long history in Europe and not much new of consequence has been learned since I wrote that.  Just the same lessons learned, over and over and another commercial product on offer.

The main advantages of formic are that it kills tracheal as well as varroa and also can kill mites in cells.  (Perhaps too much is made of this?)

Some formic application methods, like the one developed by Jean-Pierre Chapleau can be simple and easy, but in spite of his careful work, his methods never caught on. His website is down now, but can be found on the Internet Archive.

The downside is that formic does brood damage when applied in sufficient strength, can result in queen loss and is very temperature sensitive.  It may also influence production negatively for some time after although the evidence is not unambiguous.

Miteaway has been promoting formic strongly and with great success, especially in the US where homemade methods are often proscribed and used only clandestinely.  Many users report success and satisfaction with Miteaway, others not so much.  Formic, especially in fixed doses and long duration has a history of issues with damage to colonies.

The flash method I describe there and elsewhere takes only a day or so to dissipate, so being ambushed by a sudden heat wave during treatment is less of an issue than the longer duration methods.

That said, my impression is that people are moving more to oxalic due to less collateral damage and less concern about tracheal.  The evaporation can be repeated as many times as the beekeeper can manage without apparent harm.

Although efficacy is low when there is brood, repeated low efficacy kills add up and evaporation applications can be very fast and easy with the varroa canons now on  the market.

Example: A 40% kill done seven times in succession calculates to a 95% kill.  Of course it is never that simple due to passage of time and other factors, but the idea is valid.

As for drizzle, there is more risk and only one treatment per worker life cycle is the recommendation.  However, Kirk commented years back that he does multiple treatments in summer with no observed harm as I recall, so maybe he will chime in here.  Maybe Randy has thoughts too.

Up until recently, people apparently thought that the bees ingested the oxalic drizzle syrup, but in fact, they definitely should not. It is toxic to them.  It is intended to coat them as I understand it.  Maybe applying during dearths is the cause of the reported harm and the cautions, and treating well-fed rather than hungry bees is the reason some beekeepers report no issues with repeated applications. At any rate I don't know, and am not saying to do multiple drizzles back to back unless someone you know can say with certainty that it is safe.

>  He seems to have settled on using some sort of formic application in his rotation, but is hesitant about a commercial application as they are so close to spring and fears losing queens or brood.

Valid fears, but mostly manageable with due care.

Although applying either formic or oxalic while supers are on is verboten, I doubt that any harm can result as both items are comestibles in small doses, and hard to detect.  Being natural substances, found in common foods, they are unlikely to attract the draconian enforcements that man-made compounds do.

I'll be interested what my esteemed friends have to add to this and any links that Joe might find useful.

As always, these are not instructions or recommendations, just observations.

Opinion is not fact (Thanks, Andy) and as always, YMMV.


I planned to go uptown, and decided on the shuttle, seeing as I get a lot of walking downtown, but before I went, I called the yacht broker multiple times, chasing the paperwork.  Finally, when I was going to the shuttle, I got a call and it looks as if there is progress.  So I am back on the boat waiting.

Nothing happened, so I walked to the gate and called Uber.  Uber was right there and I got a ride down to Pingo Marine.  I spoke to Arturo by phone and arranged a meeting at my boat tomorrow for him to assess repairs on the dinghy. I then went to Lopez Marine and arrived just in time for time to spend five minutes before they closed.  From there I took Uber to Soriano Hiper and bought groceries, then took Uber home, arriving just after dark.

I never did hear from Hugo's daughter.  I'll be glad when this is all over and I have proper papers, can rename the boat, and participate in the club without raising questions.

I went to bed at eight, feeling dog-tired, but did not sleep.  My feet were hot and I thought, oh-no diabetes? Then I realised that I had been lying in the cockpit after lunch, resting, and had fallen asleep for an hour.  While my body and face were in the shade, I guess my feet were in the sun.  I do that very so often -- sunburn my feet a bit.  They don't get red, but they feel hot afterwards.  Otherwise I don't seem to be burning this trip, but have not been out in full sun much.

I'll see if I have enough free Internet tonight for video.  The marina Internet comes and goes.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to b  e
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday January 11th 2018

 Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 24. Extreme wind chill minus 40.
Tonight Clear. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 32. Extreme wind chill minus 41.

I slept fairly well but woke three times during the night.  Congestion was minor to none. Each time I roused, I found I was repeating and pondering Spanish words and phrases in my mind.  That is probably a good thing.  I am determined to become fluent and am far from that now.

I got up at 0455, made coffee and got on with the day.

BG: 5.9 BP: 121/68 Pulse: 58

Weather continues cold at home.  Here, the days do not seem to change much -- sunny, plus twenty-five during the day and maybe fifteen at night with light breezes here on shore.

I have been looking in lockers and should go through  the boat, examine everything, throw some things out, catalog the rest, and continue to photograph devices, find manuals, and learn the systems.

The previous owners have accumulated plenty of spare parts as is wise on a boat that is traveling at sea or going to be away from easy access to parts, but some are outdated or otherwise useless and should be discarded.  Also, they are not of much use if I don't know I have them or where they are.

I have two appointments this morning, and hopefully a third this afternoon. I dream of finishing the paperwork. It is now over two months since purchase and the paperwork is still incomplete.

Here is another new discovery of something we already knew: Agricultural Fungicide Attracts Honey Bees, Study Finds.  We are also finding proof that fungicides are definitely harmful to bees, something observant commercial beekeepers knew from the get-go but was widely denied by extension and growers. I recall sitting in meetings...

It is going on ten and I still have no contact to get the papers done.

I recovered the papers from Yolanda at eleven and kept nagging Tom by email and phone Two months is a long time to be in limbo. 

Soon I received a call from a woman who gave me the address to her office.  Uber could not understand the address, but I made a guess and hailed Uber anyhow.  I got a lift to the address I had figured out.  As it was, I was bang-on, but it took me a few minutes to locate the house. 

I was greeted on the street, then led into a back room office, and sat down with another woman who looked over my papers and had me sign two forms.

She said she would deliver the papers tomorrow and  I was done. Two months waiting and all done in ten minutes.  I was elated!

I could have called Uber to go somewhere but this had been job one for so long, I didn't feel like going anywhere. Besides my phone was running down and I rely on it to get around and, eventually, home. So I walked down to the Malecon and north until I was tired of that and caught Uber to the boat. I put my phone on fast charge and, since was tired, I had a nap.

Today was windy.  Most of the time it is calm in the marina, but an occasional strong gust comes through.

Earlier, after I got the papers and was leaving the boat to catch the ride downtown to sign papers, I had put the folder with all the important, irreplaceable papers down in the cockpit and gone below looking for my sunglasses.

As I searched below, I heard a gust of wind and rustling paper and realized the folder was blowing away.  I rushed up top and grabbed what I could find, but some papers were missing.  I looked in vain in the water downwind but then discovered a backwind had blown them below.  I looked through the folder and, satisfied none were lost, went on my way.

My sunglasses had been propped up on tip of my head the whole time.  I almost lost the papers at the very last minute.  Seems fate was toying with me, but let me win. So far, anyhow.

Yes, I should have walked more, but I have only some really old Birkenstocks and a mile or two at a time is plenty.  Fit says I did 6,079 steps and the day is still young.

I was still tired and had supper, which was a can of black beans.  Very tasty, but very gassy.  Usually beans don't give me gas, but it is amazing how much gas can be an a can of beans sometimes.

I had a good long hot shower and returned to the boat and began watching Orphan Black again, but lost interest as the plot is getting more and more sketchy and went to bed at eight-thirty.

Am I getting old or am I still affected by the tail end of the nasty Christmas cold?

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Friday January 12th 2018

Today Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 22. Wind chill minus 44 this morning and minus 35 this afternoon.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. Temperature rising to minus 20 by morning. Wind chill minus 38.

It's minus thirty-one at home and plus seventeen here, before dawn.  Everything looks good on the surveillance cameras at home so far.

I slept fairly well, but woke up five times during the night and finally got up at 0333. No congestion, though. Curious. 

I went to bed at 2030, so I got about seven hours. Add my one-hour afternoon naps lately and that gives me eight hours +/-. 

BG: 5.5 BP 122/69 Pulse 54 (after coffee)

Tomorrow, I'll have been here a week and finally things are falling into place.  I should have the proper boat papers today and trades are coming by to look at the dinghy and changing the boat graphics.  Luis the diver came by yesterday afternoon and cleaned the hull.  Next thing you know, I'll be clear to go cruising. 

That's a daunting thought. It'll be a new strange experience on top of an already surreal two months. Cruising strange waters with unreliable charts and poor communication.  Should be fun.

At six, I was sleepy so lay down and slept until seven-thirty.

It may be cold at home, but I don't see much snow.

I'm tidying up on board and waiting for the papers and the trades to come by.  There is lots to do -- lots of devices to understand and I'm reading the instruction sheet in Spanish for entertainment.  Wow! There are a lot of words to learn.

I am finding things that are almost decades out of date, like the flares.  They were made in 1994 and expired in 1997.  They may still work, but would anyone care to count on it?  I'm not sure what the legal requirements for safety equipment on board are here in Mexico.  I'll have to ask.

I did, and apparently there are few rules anyone is aware of.  At any rate, prudence demands the usual Canadian safety supplies, so I'll need to stock up on a few things.

I was tired and had a nap, but felt poorly after and then had a migraine. I almost never have migraines and it is usually something I ate.  I had a can of Mexican baked beans with spices for lunch and maybe that was it. At any rate, the migraine was just an aura and blurry vision and a general feeling of weariness.

The ladies showed up with the papers and now I am legal, I think.  I'm never sure.  It is all strange.  The dinghy guy never did show and the graphics guy says mañana.  Actually he said "tomorrow", but I've learned to translate.  We'll see.

Later I felt like grocery shopping and took an Uber to the Cow Store, so called due to a cow on the store sign.  I bought a few items and rode Uber back to the marina.

I had bought tomato juice and steaks.  Although I am almost vegetarian, I was in the mood for something different. The steaks were thin and tasteless, but maybe were what I needed?  Who knows?  The tomato juice was labeled 'puree', and  was thicker and a bit saltier than Canadian tomato juice, but very good.  Diluting with a little water made it more like what I am accustomed to, too.

I was too tired for video and went to bed at eight.  Besides Orphan Black was getting too preposterous and I have yet to find something better.

Today was the first time in two months when I was at all tempted to drink wine or beer, mostly to relieve the migraine and pass the discomfort more quickly.

Nah.  That's no answer. I know that and the idea was discarded as quickly as it came.  I  don't want to do that, and I know it would not help anyhow.  I found the passing thought interesting, though, because it has seldom come to mind in the two plus months since I quit, or been more than a passing (What is the word for a thought that is flashes by and is weaker and more transient than a notion?  The thesaurus was no help.).

On arrival here in Mexico, though, I was aware of the the beer and booze ads everywhere and cantinas.  My habit in the past has been to stop and drink a beer or two from time to time as the day passes.  Not this trip, though, and I don't miss it. 

Odd, really.  I had really expected this to be more difficult.

Maybe it will be. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" . We'll see.  The short run is always easier than the long run.

I've been up for an hour and had a banana and an orange.  Time to crawl back into the sack.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to b  e
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Saturday January 13th 2018

Today Mainly cloudy. Clearing this afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 7. Wind chill minus 29 this morning.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness. Low minus 11.

It's up to minus seventeen at home and in spite of the windchill BS in the forcast, the day will be quite warm, at minus seven -- just breezy some places. 

Wind chill is just another one of these fashionable media shortcut scare numbers that talking heads parrot as if they have basis in reality and actually mean something.  Scaring people attracts eyeballs and keeps the advertising coming.

In the example above, somewhere, sometime, during the forecast period, we are told that the wind and temperature somewhere are expected to be able to combine and theoretically freeze some specific theoretical exposed flesh as if it were calm and minus twenty-nine.  Wow!  Nasty!  It's only minus seven and yet we should worry?

Inquiring minds need to know. Exposed flesh?  Human, cattle, arm, leg, nose, healthy, sickly...?  How large an area?  What sort of blood circulation?  Position with regard the wind? Height above ground? What if it is sunny?  Let's ask Google... 

Wikipedia says:

"Many formulas exist for wind chill because, unlike temperature, wind chill has no universally agreed upon standard definition or measurement.

All the formulas attempt to qualitatively predict the effect of wind on the temperature humans perceive.

Weather services in different countries use standards unique to their country or region; for example, the U.S. and Canadian weather services use a model accepted by the National Weather Service.

That model has evolved over time."

...And nobody told us.  We had to go looking...

OK. Mental Floss has a good article, too.  It seems that the model is not what we thought and keeps being adjusted to try to make it work better and fit the reality we experience.

So, think about it.  We are again being fed the output of a subjective model with unexplained and variable (subjective) assumptions BUT the predictions seldom jibe with our own personal experience that same day.

Sound familiar?

If they are lying to us (or making stuff up to worry us) daily about the weather, what about the climate? 

Nah.  Not possible.

The true temperature is not nearly so bad as the scare number.  So, stay out of the wind, seek the sunny places, or expect to need very warm clothes and face protection if you are going somewhere windy and especially if you have poor circulation and don't worry about phony numbers.  But you already knew that.

After going to bed around eight, I woke up several times and finally got up at half-past midnight for a while.

Sometimes it helps to take a break from sleep, wake up, then go back to sleep.  My nasty, lingering cold seems to have cleared and my nose is no longer blowing pink, but some virus sort of hangs on. 

I've been very  tired late in the day and waking numerous times at night.  I suspect my diet is part of it, but the rest is attributable to some infection and maybe old age. I'm eating quite well, but probably too much. and too often.

I got up for the day at 0635.  The day is a bit cooler so far and I am using the cheapo electric heater I had the foresight to buy the other day. Soon after I first used it a few minutes, the fan blade began tapping the cowling, but a few deft jabs through the grating with a butter knife quieted it down.

BG is 4.9   BP is 139/78 56. 

My blood seems thick the past few days and it is hard to get a big enough drop of blood for a glucose sample, so I started taking a full aspirin daily, but my blood is still thicker than usual.  BP is higher, too.  Mechanically, that would seem logical. Is it?

Thick blood is not a good thing as it can lead to blockages. That is one reason a daily small-dose aspirin is often recommended.  As with anything, there is controversy, but I happen to think this is a good idea and I take an aspirin before heavy exercise like skiing and beekeeping box-throwing when I remember.

So  far, I feel pretty good today and I have nothing scheduled yet  I'll also take a ride downtown for some items like tools, too.  I suppose I'll also continue to ransack the lockers and see what is what.

I thought of going out in the dinghy to explore, but it is quite windy in here this morning, even in the marina, and white-capping outside in the bay. 

Besides, I have hardly used this outboard, and I do not have oars yet.  I could take my handheld VHF, always a good plan anyhow, and rely on calling for help if I have a breakdown -- the cruising  community here is very watchful and helpful -- but I think I should wait for a calmer day.

Worth reading
What A Time To Be Alive

I gave up on Pingo ever coming to look at the dinghy and looked up Baja Inflatables. They are listed on the services page of the Cruceros and I hear him every day on the net.   He answered the phone and will be here in an hour to take a look.  We'll see, but that may be one more thing crossed off the list.

Exactly two hours ago, Bob, the inflatables guy who said he would be here in forty minutes is a no-show.  I have heard nothing from Arturo either. He was to be here at eleven.  I'm also expecting Erik, the graphics guy.  So far none have appeared.

Nothing happens as promised here.  I suppose there is a bright side to that, too, but at the moment I find it puzzling and annoying and even find it hard not to take it a little  personally. 

It is almost as if I have been blackballed and anywhere else I would think I have, but it seems that is how things happen here and mañana means. "Sometime later if I feel like it and if get around to it."

These Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests on Fire

Bob came by accompanied by a friend and quoted me prices that seemed a bit high.  He would re-glue the pieces that were falling off and clean the dinghy for $150, and recommended chaps for $300. All US$. 

Chaps are cloth covers that protect the plastic pontoons from the sun and can prolong the life of the dinghy by double or more. But they look awful IMO.  OK.  MAybe some are pretty.  Most are not.

After Bob left, Erik came by, pretty close to schedule, and gave me a very reasonable quote for the graphics.  It costs half again as much to have him install them, but I decided it is worth it, especially with the risk I could foul them up or get them crooked.  The total is about $100 CAD, for stern, two sides and the dock step, too, so it is quite a good deal compared to Vancouver where I last bought boat graphics.

After Erik left, I still wanted a second opinion on the dinghy, so I went through my phone, figured out Arturo's number and called him again.  This time, he said he could come right over so I am waiting.  In the meantime I took out the trash and walked a few steps to the tienda to get a five-gallon jug of water. Seems I go through a lot of water here.

Arturo showed up and we looked at the dinghy.  He was not so sure about price and said he would have to examine it on shore and advise me as to eventual cost.  They can get chaps, but don't make them.  He has oars at the shop so that is next on my list, that and Ferre Mar.

I never did get to his shop.  I went to Ferre Marr, which for all the hype I had heard was a pretty small shop, focused on fishing.  I had been told it was a hardware store. They did have decent snorkel gear but my size only came in black. It cost $1,000 pesos and I paid the price. That is around $66 CAD I reckon.

From there, Uber took me to Home Depot where  hoped to find an all-in-one homeowners tool kit of the sort Canadian Tire sells.  As I wandered around the store, I realised that I was still feeling much as if the migraine was returning, and wondered if I should leave right away, but it did not. I think the virus is still tinkering with my workings.

Home depot here looks like Home Depot anywhere. New York, Port Coquitlum, Alaska, maybe...

Anyhow, I did get a lock cable for the dinghy and tool box and some tools, but not a whole set.  By then it was getting on, almost six and dusk, so I called Uber and a car showed up on my app, but although I had a clear field of vision, I never saw the  car and he did not call. Then the order was canceled.

I ordered again and another driver came shortly.  He drove me clear across town to the Marina and we chatted in a mix of English and Spanish along the way.  They want to learn English and I want to learn Spanish.  It's fun. The fee was about 99 pesos or around $6.50 CAD. (right|)

I got back to the boat and found I was charged 25 pesos for the cancelled Uber.  I didn't cancel and I was standing with my cart out in the open, exactly where I called from and could see all directions.  The driver never called.  Others always did when they were not sure where I was (because the app leaves something to be desired in  locating the car and the passenger).  So I appealed and the charge was reversed.

Now I have an evening ahead of me and I am not as tired he past few days.  I'm not going to have a suppertime coffee as that may have been waking me up.  I doubt it, but something was, and the effects change from brand to brand and from week to week.

I laid down for a nap after supper, dozed a bit and and realised I am excited about what I am doing these days.  I need challenge and I'm having a good time!  I got up, did a few things and I'll go to bed early again and try to sleep through.  No coffee until morning -- or midnight if I cannot sleep.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Sunday January 14th 2018

Today Snow ending late this afternoon then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Temperature falling to minus 13 this afternoon.
Tonight Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this evening. Becoming partly cloudy near midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 24. Wind chill minus 31.

As of last night, I have been here one week.

I'm still waking up several times every hour or two before midnight. and again a time or two later.

It is now two am and I am up for a few minutes -- or hours. Even though congestion is minimal I am still not quite back to normal.

I'm giving up on sleeping for the time being.  If/when I am tired, I'll lie down again.

It's a little chilly and it seems that my cheap electric heater has quit working already.

I turned on the ham radio and made a breakfast of oatmeal, raisins, cranberries and cinnamon, and a pot of coffee. Tuning the bands, I found a roundtable of dubya six and seven nighthawks on 80 meters SSB and I could hear all parties.

The band was not hot, but signals were clear enough to listen for a while.  There was a little hash on the signals and not much fade.  They are all prolly running a KW, or more if truth be told, but none was over S9.

Of course they were talking about Trump and the consensus was that something had to change and that whatever his character or intelligence -- or sanity -- he is doing a good job for America. These guys are not PC, either, and they don't think much of Hillary.

Then they got to bickering and talking over one another.  I think maybe some ethanol was involved.

About then I turned on a tap and the bow water tank ran empty.  The pressure pump then ran steadily.  I  went looking for the crossover valve to turn on the stern tank and gave up until morning and turned of the power to the pump for the time being.

Here's a story that appeals to my confirmation bias and sense of nemesis.   A sweet twist —Mysterious explosion of a deadly plague may come down to a sugar in ice cream -- C. diff kills tens of thousands each year. Its puzzling rise links to trehalose.  Of course it could be fake news.

After an hour and a bit, I went back to bed and slept until seven-thirty.  I'm still not quite right.  It's been since the 18th of last month, now, with the worst of it in the first week and tapering from there.

When I got up, I tore the cabin apart looking for the crossover.  I should have known where it was, having found it before, but I had a lapse.  Each boat is different and I have three similar boats.  Of course it was under the last cushion I lifted.  I turned on the bow tank and now have pressure, but the pump cycles, so I guess the cushion tank has lost air.  It cycled a bit before when using the hot water.  There must be a restriction somewhere as well.  The work never ends on a boat.  That's the good thing about boats and also the bad thing.

Cruceros have a big swap meet at ten today and I am told that I should go. I imagine I will.  All I need is oars for the dinghy, but am told I'll likely buy more. Seeing as I already have a full boat, that does not sound like a good idea, but I'll take my chance, I guess.

It is easy to spend money but hard to know how much. I have to divide the price in pesos by fifteen to approximate the price in Canadian dollars.

I discovered that the swap was at 0930, not 1000 as I had thought, so walked to the gate and called for an Uber.  After three tries, I took a cab that cost me 70 pesos where Uber would be forty.

When I got up, I filled the water tank using the new hose I bought yesterday. 

The bow tank lasted me exactly one week, and that is without skimping on water and I may have left the tank less than completely full when away.  In fact I know I did.

I arrived and looked around.  There was not much of interest except a kellet and I figured that would just be more ballast, even at $20 asked.  I assed it over and then, on the way out found B&D cordless drill for 350 pesos and snapped it up.  One always needs a drill.  Now I just need bits

An hour later, coffee hardly changed my BP.  It is still 113/62.  This peculiar.

From there, I bought a sausage on a bun at the gate, sat around Cruceros patio a while, bought some chips and ate them, then walked through Marina Don Jose and Marina Cortez and on up the Malecon.  I walked out on two of the three piers and sat at a sidewalk cafe.  Where I would have ordered a beer in the past, I ordered a coke. When it was done, I called Uber and  was whisked back to the marina, arriving at 1345.


I was totally beat.  I noticed my walking was slow and not a positive as usual and when I got back, I crashed for twenty minutes.

A BG check I took out of curiosity on my return said 5.9.  BP sitting here writing is 108/60 Pulse 60.  That is bordering on low.  I took it twice and got the same result +/- a pound and beat or two.  Maybe four cups of coffee will fix that.

What to think?  If I am this tired in the middle of the day, how far can I plan on going sailing now that I'm almost fully legal and just awaiting the graphics?  I'd better get over it.  At least the congestion is less and my nose does not blow pink anymore.  My ears are a bit blocked still, though and I am weary, weary.

Low BP can be a sign of a weak heart, but my BP was high yesterday.  Go figure. I usually don't find walking or climbing tiring, so |I tend to discount that idea. But what can it be?  This damn virus?

I'd love to sleep right through the night.  Maybe that is coming soon.

I have not reported steps for a while, and frankly, sometimes I think Fit is imagining things, but it is the best I have and after all, this diary is for entertainment, not science.

Counting from today (incl.) back to the day I landed at SJD:
7,118, 6,160, 3,203, 6,654, 4,858, 1,527, 769, 7,078, 5,035.

There seems to be a consistency.  Most days are over 5K, but never much over 7K, with a few inactive days.  I should have hit 10K today, but plumb tuckered out.

So far, I'm not sunburning and I'm walking around like a mad dog or Englishman in the noonday sun, and you know my opinion of sunblock.

Why did I peter out?  Did  get dehydrated?  Could be.

I plan to take the dinghy out for a ride later today, oars or no oars.  I'll take a radio and cry for assistance if the engine lets me down.  Cruceros listen on 22A and are looking for something to do, so saving a stranded boater is just the thing to fill an otherwise dull afternoon of lying in the sun drinking beer or save someone from the drudgery of crawling around in the bilge trying to fix some elusive but non-critical problem.  Rowing an inflatable more than a few hundred yards is an exercise in frustration anyhow. 

I'd take Baja Magic out but I am still intimidated by the rules about moving around in the harbour. I'll have to get someone to explain them in simple enough terms and some method that does not involve announcing departure and arrival on channel 18 in Spanish and not understanding the reply.  Been there, done that. I'll figure something out, I suppose.

I walk by and through the cruisers lounge here at the marina as it is along my path often, but no one seems very friendly or I'd strike up a conversation and ask.  On the docks, though, especially three dock where I am, it is a different story and people are chatty.  I'll have to go hunting.

Oh, one thing, though.  Nobody seems to go out from the dock much.  These boats are like on-water condos it seems.  The real cruisers are out there somewhere, not paying monthly big bucks to tie up in this floating trailer park.  I've wondered about that.  So far, I am paying for the slip whether I am here or gone, and so far, I am here, not gone so it has worked out.

I wrote and puttered a bit, then realised it is less than two hours until sundown, a bit late to go for a spin.  I'm better, but still tired, so I'll just take it easy.  Maybe I'll tidy and organise the boat interior.  That needs doing. Then study Spanish a bit.

In my ruminating about not drinking that came up recently, it crosses my mind that some of the physical effects and tiredness could be related.  Drinking used to be a way I took pressure off myself and I have noticed that I have been tense at times lately. 

Today, out walking, I became aware that I am not relaxing. I'm just moving on the next thing.  Maybe I should relax.  Totally.  I'm also expecting a lot of myself.  Realising that, I may back off a bit.  Of course, I somehow imagined I would go out to some anchorage and just chill.  Has not happened yet.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to b  e
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Monday January 15th 2018

Today Clearing. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40. High minus 11 except minus 5 over western sections. Wind chill minus 33 this morning.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 15.

I got up for the day at 0655, after another night of waking up every two hours.

BG is 6.1 BP is 131/75. Pulse 54.
Why my BP was low yesterday and is a trifle high today is a mystery.

It's warmer at home and predicted to go above freezing as the week wears on.  Here, it continues in the twenties during the days and upper teens at night

I have some bookwork to do today and may get out in the dinghy.

Javier showed up at nine to take off the rest of the markings.  I lent him a razor tool I bought at Home Depot the other day, then left in the dinghy for town.

At 0930, coffee begins at the Cruceros clubhouse at Marina La Paz so I decided to make the 3-mile trip over choppy conditions my first real test of the outboard and dinghy.

Along the way, I decided I don't need to have someone service the inflatable.  In spite of several places where the glue is not holding, it works fine and is safe.  I can order what I need to glue the several separated spots and do the work myself on the beach somewhere.

I skipped coffee but walked through.  Frankly, the club patio looks like an old folks home, but where everyone has all his/her marbles. Me?  I don't know how old I look.  People say they think I am fifty, but I think they are just blowing smoke.  Anyhow, I got into one conversation and went across to La Paz Yachts to see if Tom was around.  He was out, but Cindy was there and I asked her if she thought my papers are satisfactory (I had sent them a copy).  She said yes and we chatted about how easy it was when we did not have to get Hugo to do anything and just dealt directly with the ladies who do his work. 

As the saying goes, "Do you want to speak to the man in charge, or the woman who knows what's going on and does the work?"  Although many men  are good and diligent, at what they do, I am usually happier when I find I am dealing with a woman.

I walked up to Pingo again and met the men Arturo had said would help.  We looked through their catalogue and could not find what I need, but said to look online and they can get it brought down if I can't.

I walked back to the dinghy dock, and stopped at the Dock Restaurant right nearby and had burritos de pollo for lunch.  It  was more than I needed and now I am full. 

I motored back to my marina and the outboard seemed grateful for the run and smoothed out somewhat.  It is a six, but runs like a nine. The dinghy and motor are a good combination. I'm back on  Baja Magic now and not too tired, but I may just have a nap anyhow.

Inside the Dock Restaurant.  That is my dinghy tied at centre, just outside the window.

I lay down a while and the rumbling of a nearby diesel and shouting got me up.  Just the divers getting ready to go.  I may try again, but I am relaxed today. Finally I am hitting my goals: dinghy to town, attend a Cruceros coffee klatch, walk to Pingo's, eat at the Dock Restaurant, dinghy back, see that all the former name and ID marks are off the boat and new ones coming Wednesday, fresh, and I have the boat's legal  papers on hand and verified by people I trust...

Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules -- The Arc gene, which is critical for animals’ ability to learn from experiences, has an incredible origin story.

I think I'll just chill this afternoon and putter. I'm far less tired today.  Fit says I did 3,510 steps and that sounds about right.  I wonder what Fit thought of the pounding in the dinghy.  No mention in the record.

The graphics are ready for the boat and should be on some time Wednesday.

I borrowed an air compressor and added air to the cushion in the water pressure tank so that the pump would no longer cycle, then spent hours looking for oars online.  It is amazing how hard they are to find.  Even if I find suitable oars, they are in Canada or the US it seems and then getting them here is the next problem. It can be done, but when and for how much? I'll keep looking locally.

When I went to raise the dinghy for the night, I discovered it has lost more air than expected.  It usually gets softer when the day cools down, but it is softer than usual. 

This is something new, I think, and makes me reconsider my plan for if, how and when to repair the little craft.  I had noticed that it previously got soft slowly, but maybe my trip today and the shaking around changed something. It is unlikely to suddenly sink on me, but if it went soft while tied up in town, three miles away, or while in transit, that could be a problem.

I'll have to wet the dinghy down with soapy water and find out if there is a single leak or if the material is porous everywhere. 

I am much better today and live in hope that I will yet experience a night without waking.

I received some preliminary docs for the United Beekeepers of Alberta Council and that plan is coming along.  I expect that within a few years if they play  their cards right, they will be the go-to bee organisation for Alberta.  With over 1,000 members and all the municipal organizations in the tent, they will be the all-inclusive voice of Alberta beekeeping now that the Commission has drawn away from that position, leaving a vacuum.

Previously, the Alberta Beekeepers Commission could claim to represent all registered Alberta beekeepers, however, by summarily expelling the smaller operators and eliminating hobby representation, they reduced their membership to the province's industrial beekeepers who amount to less than 20% of the total beekeeper population.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Tuesday January 16th 2018

Today Sunny. High minus 1 except plus 5 over western sections.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy this evening. Low minus 8.

I woke up every hour or two all night -- again -- but without congestion, and I got up at 0430.

I made coffee and an omelet and checked on things at home. All is well there.  It is minus eighteen, but a warming trend is underway that should result in melting in coming days.  Days are getting longer there, too.  Here also, but by less since I am right at the Tropic of Cancer

Here, the weather never seems to change much although winds are predicted for the weekend. Mid twenties during the day and upper teens at night. Sunny most of the time.  It is almost warm enough to demand a dip in the nearby pool around three each day, but not oppressive the way it sometimes was in October and early November.

BG today is 5.7 BP is 132/78 Pulse is 55

My new electric heater quit working suddenly the other day and I suspected the little heat fuse that is found in most appliances these days. It is hardwired in and if the device overheats even a bit and even for a moment for some reason, it blows and renders the device useless.  More often than not the otherwise perfectly good appliance is then thrown into the trash for the sake of the $1 part. (See also Dec 7, 2016). 

Interestingly, back in December 2016, I was looking at buying Shongololo, my sunk Monk, and also dealing with the Alberta Beekeepers Commission executive's illicit  coup.  At present, the legality of the exec's actions is still under scrutiny by government.

Frankly, heads should roll IMO, but nobody wants to do more damage than has already been done.  The problem is that the people who have been harmed are nice folks and loath to act.  The perps are not, and take advantage of that fact.

At any rate, faced with hauling the device over to Soriana and trying to exchange it in Spanish and with an unknown returns policy or jury-rigging it, I simply took my new screwdriver, removed the back and moved a jumper to bypass the safety device. 

I hate to defeat the safety feature, but am aware that I will have to be very careful not to leave it unattended in future until I replace the blown fuse. These fuses are not easy to come by, but I have some of these at home and will just add a replacement on my list of things to bring next time.

I only use the heater for a few minutes in the morning some days to take the chill off.

I was still a bit tired and went back for another hour of rest.

Today: look at the dinghy further and tidy the boat.  Take a shower and do a wash. Study my next excursion out of the marina this Thursday after the graphics are applied. 

I'll probably take a run out to Isla Del Espiritu Santo and Isla la Partida, a thirty sea mile trip taking five hours to the end point.  I'd stop in bays along the way and maybe never get to the end point.  It'll be my first real adventure, if we don't count my very being here in La Paz as an adventure, which it has...

These hills and islands look barren and rugged, and they are, but they are also filled with desert plants and animals and the sea is full of fish and sea life.

La Paz Sea Temperature
(Today) 16th Jan 2018
22.8°C / 73°F

La Paz average January sea temperature.
Max: 22°C / 70.4°F.
Avg: 20.5°C / 68.9°F.
Min: 19°C / 67.4°F.

There is a Cruceros club meeting at four at Marina de La Paz followed by a presentation about a fire and sinking.  I might go.  We'll see.

Surprise, surprise. When the sun came up, the dinghy was as full of air as before.  It is amazing what a small temperature difference can do.

I did laundry and had the steel dinghy cable ends spliced into loops while the load ran.  The cable is for locking the dinghy to something solid when on shore in any questionable area and for any length of time. I have a lock, so now I am set.

I have yet to hoist the Canadian flag, and the Bluewater burgee, but that should only take a few minutes. Next, I have to decide whether to take the shuttle downtown or go out for a sail.

I did neither. I missed the shuttle and decided to ride the dinghy into town.  When I got into the dinghy I discovered the pontoons were not as firm as they looked, so I'll have to check for leaks sometime soon. 

That means finding a spray bottle to use with soap suds. I have a Febreze bottle I can empty for a few minutes I suppose. 

The dink was firm enough for the trip down to Marina de La Paz and back, though.  I wondered about the trip back if the sun got low and the day cooled, though.

I arrived at the meeting right on time and sat through the first half.  Everyone except a few kids were over sixty and some over eighty.  I wondered what I am getting myself into.  The group sem to be pretty much exclusively world travelers who pulled into La Paz with their boats and never left. Me, I bought a boat here. Hmmmm.

The meeting dragged on and it was pretty trivial. As it turned out there really was nothing to discuss except housekeeping and much of that should have been done in committee.

People -- one apparently demented guy in particular -- argued endlessly and pointlessly about process, and after he finally sat down the topic turned to the daily coffee klatch, the price asked (nothing like Starbucks), and whether everyone attending the klatches was paying.  I could not see the issue.

Several people got upset and left.  Others just got bored and slipped away. After a while, I followed, seeing there was nothing there for me except the presentation which might or might not be worth suffering through the meeting for.  I also wondered if the dink would deflate if I overstayed and the day cooled, leaving me in a half deflated raft driven by an outboard.

I had some questions for the nearby broker, and wandered over there.  Specifically I wondered who could help me change the boat's official number, an unique number that is supposed to be engraved permanently into the hull, but is usually in my experience is just gouged into boards and screwed onto the boat in several places.  After the graphics are applied tomorrow, that is the only legal requirement remaining unmet.  I received a suggestion to follow up.

Speaking of old folks, I feel like one again today.  I was dog tired at times and a little light-headed at others, and my vision was a bit off again.  Now I remember now that feeling like this was one thing that made me want to have a drink or five... Drinking passed the time and made me sleep better sometimes -- and here I was thinking that it was drinking that made me feel crappy.  I'm thinking that sometimes at least, it was the other way around.

It did cross my mind to go have a drink and test that thought, but the urge was very weak and memory of the ill effects is stronger.

After I returned to Baja Magic I looked in the cupboard and decided on a restaurant meal seeing as I have no greens on board, so I walked a few steps to The Dinghy Dock Restaurant and had soup and a salad for $170 (pesos), tip included.  It was supposed to be a chicken Caesar, but it is a good thing it said that on the menu as I would hardly have guessed. The soup was good though and the service excellent.

I don't much like restaurants.  It is always a crap shoot what will be served, food is overpriced, and I hate surprises.  I don't even care much for good surprises.

Now it is seven o'clock and I am back on the boat, feeling bored.  I have lots of research to do, but little inclination to do it.  I'd watch video, but would have to find something worth watching and that has been proving difficult.  The other day I downloaded more Orphan Black -- the only way to be sure Netflix will stream here on intermittent wifi -- but can't bring myself to watch it. The last bit I watched was beyond unbelievable and I was repulsed.

I sure hope I sleep well tonight.  It has been a long time since I slept through. I keep hoping.

I update and correct the previous day's post each morning
See yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to b  e
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Wednesday January 17th 2018

Today Mainly sunny. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this morning. High plus 4.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness early this evening. Wind becoming south 20 km/h before morning. Low zero.

I woke up every two hours or so but, on the whole, slept better. Maybe I am getting over this virus.  I hope so.

The nights here are noticeably cooler and I am grateful for the electric heater in the mornings.  At home it has warmed up to freezing and the days are now eight hours and twenty minutes long, increasing by two and a half minutes a day.  Here the days are almost eleven hours long and hardly changing.

 I got up at 0520. BG was 4.9. Blood is thick today, too.
BP is 131/78. Pulse is 52 (low)

These strips can occasionally give a sizeable error (See sheet at right from this online pamphlet) so I checked again and got 5.5.  Both are quite decent morning readings and uncharacteristically low for me, but I'll take what I can get.

I  have nothing pressing today beyond seeing the graphics applied and changing the official number.  I want to find the leak(s) in the dinghy.

Maybe I'll provision and plan on going out cruising for a day or two.  Frankly, the idea has become somewhat daunting after all this delay.  It's been two months!

I noticed that it was a bit windy at times during the night, even here, deep in a well protected marina.  That's something to think about when going out to anchor overnight.  This weekend is predicted to be windy and the coming days are when I expect to be ready to go out on an excursion.  I need a good weather forecast  and a well protected location in case the forecast is wrong.

I need to figure out how to get radio weather predictions here.  HF Radio has not been working well for me and VHF has limited range. Although I find weather reports to be unreliable, I do watch them as they can predict events that can be uncomfortable or dangerous.

My dinghy shows minor rub damage from -- I'm guessing -- washing up on a rocky beach at some point and has a slow leak somewhere and the pontoons get soft over twenty-four hours.  Otherwise, the little boat seems quite sound but it does need a little work.

I found a spray bottle and wet down the dinghy with soapy water and found a slow leak.  On examination I found also that some of the patches are peeling but the patches underneath seem sound.

My preliminary exam indicates I need to pull the dink out of the water and check it all over or have someone do the job.  The glue required is not cheap.  The good stuff costs almost 2,000 pesos (C$135) and comes in a size far larger than I need.

Erik came by with two men to apply the graphics.  After they had applied the first to the hull, he noticed that one letter was peeling.  I asked if he had washed the surface with acetone and he had not heard of doing that.  Of course, that is standard  procedure as it removes any oil or wax that might be there. `Boats are always waxed at least once a year.  We decided that the sun and time would improve the adhesion, and we were careful to get acetone and clean the surfaces before doing the other two decals.

All the excitement was over by one and I was tired enough I considered having a nap, but the shuttle leaves at 1330 and I wanted to go to town, so I caught the shuttle and was dropped at Lopez Marine.  I looked around and then walked down to Abasolo and along to another shop, looking for an inflatable PFD.  Abasolo merged into Obregon and I continued northeast to a dive shop. Still no luck, so I walked up to Ferre Mar to look at oars again. 

They have nice aluminum and plastic oars, but they are six feet long and cost 630 pesos (C$42) each.  I have to check to see if they are to long to stow neatly in the dink.  Otherwise they may be the best I can hope for.  My main worry is that they are so nice, they could be stolen when I leave the dink at a public location.  I can lock the boat and motor, but I can't see how to protect the oars.  This not to say the risk is great.  No one seems especially worried about dinghy theft and most locals are very honest.

I started the Uber app to get a ride to Soriana and found surge pricing was in effect with a 20-305 upcharge.  I declined.  I suspect that Uber may just be feeling for price sensitivity and if a higher price is okay, then I'll find prices go up.  There have been reports of various online companies using personal data and responses to adjust prices to whatever an individual will bear.

I had yet to catch a bus here, so I watched a few go by and flagged one with "Soriana" in the list on the front.  20 pesos and before long I was at Soriana.  Uber would have been more like 50. No big deal.

At Soriana, I stocked up since I plan to go sailing and need enough that I do not get hungry and have to return early. 

I also bought a beefsteak and chicken thighs.  I have noticed I have been feeling a bit weak and recall that when El and I decided to go vegetarian many decades back, we continued on a vegetarian diet until a neighbour's cow was hit by a train when they were on their way to church one Sunday morning.  They called us and said we could have it as the last one that happened to had been chased down tracks and turned out tough.

We decided that maybe we would eat meat after all and recovered and butchered the headless cow, cut it up, and stored the meat in a public locker in Acme as we had no freezer.  However the main point is that we noticed immediately that we had more energy and were sharper than we had been.

I have also tried drinking Coke the last two days to see what the effect is. From looking at my BG later, maybe it is not so awful after all.  When I think about it, I was drinking wine and the wine contains alcohol and sugars that are probably comparable metabolically. My digestion has been a bit off lately and I'm thinking that maybe I need to alter my diet a bit. I also looked at the label of the tostados I have been munching with refried beans and decided they should probably be an occasional thing, not a staple as they are largely made of corn flour and oil.

I also bought some Metamucil, which I have used daily for years to improve my digestion and for its medicinal properties.  The container size here is tiny and the price triple the price in Canada, so I had put off buying it.  I would have brought more, but the TSA has now reduced the amount of powders one can carry to a small amount.

From Soriana, Uber took me back to Baja Magic.  It was near sundown by then.  I stowed groceries and called it a day.

Coming onto the dock, I met another neighbour, Jeff, and we had a chat.  I said , "Come by some time if you see me around and we'll visit."  He said, "Sure, I'll bring over a couple of cold beers.". 

Hmmmm. I have wondered how I'll handle this sort of thing.  A cold beer is a social bonding ritual. I suppose the answer is to accept and sip.  One beer is not a problem.  The problem comes when one beer turns into two, and three...

I've always considered drinking beer from a can to be somewhat uncultured, but can se the advantage now.  Who knows how much is left in the can?  I've picked up cans after people have left and noticed sometimes some cans are half full.  Hmmmm.

I need to decide when I'll fly home or wherever.  I have been away from Canada for 12 days now, including today and my health insurance is good for fifteen days so it runs out on Saturday.  I don't want to go so soon, so I need to extend it.

Extending only takes a phone call but I have to decide for how long to stay. The Vancouver Boat Show was in my plans, but I decided against going, so I have no pressing reason to leave here at all, other than I hate to miss winter -- skiing and kiting, and I want to go to Sudbury again before winter is over. At some point, I also need to go to the coast to deal with my boats there.  They need attention and maintenance.

Today is the end of the Westjet winter sale, so that is another reason to decide today.  Decisions, decisions...

Here is a worthwhile (long) article.

I did not decide.  I could save a few dollars during the sale, maybe, but if I have to make changes, then I lose any advantage.  At this point, I am still in flux.  I have adjusted to the city, finally managed to get my boat legal and properly marked and my larder full, so am ready to go cruising, but have run out the clock on my original plan and need to reconsider and generate a new plan.

Fit says I walked 8,370 today.  That is pretty good, but I have observed lately that although I am walking an average of 5,000 steps a day, those steps are mostly ambling around, not hiking, and lately when I hike, I notice that I do not walk as quickly as I expect I should.  I also notice that climbing stairs is more difficult than I think it should be. Maybe this is just ageing, or it could be the virus which is still holding on a bit, or maybe I am not challenging myself enough and resting content with the numbers Fit gives me.  Maybe I need to be pushing myself more.

Use it or lose it.

I was dog-tired and went to bed at nine. This was a full day.

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday January 18th 2018

Today Mainly cloudy. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 7.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening.  Low minus 5.

I'm up at 0500.  I plan to take the boat out today, and maybe anchor for the night.  We'll see.

BG is 6.1.  BP is 127/71.  Pulse is 56.

Lance came by and knocked.  He and several other guys are going out for supper tonight and he asked me along.  I said I plan to sail today, but, yes, I am interested and will try to be back.

It turns out that I am on the most social dock and being right at the gate, I am along everyone's path to the shore.  This can be a good thing, but also this is the noisiest spot.  I'm told the gate used to clang but has been recently replaced with a silent version.

I asked Lance which boat is his and he says the one with the pink flamingo.  Apparently the pink flamingo game carries on here, but instead of flamingos on sticks placed surreptitiously on lawns at night, here it is a giant pink flamingo water toy placed on the foredeck of some absent owner.

Well, if I am going sailing, I need to organize the boat.  Sailing tilts the ship and things fall off counters and roll around  so everything has to be stowed. I've been up for two and half hours and all I've done is make coffee and breakfast, read and write.

Time to get a move on.

I left the dock around noon and motored out to the end of the channel, then up to Caleta Lobos where I dropped anchor for a while.  I dipped a toe into the water and decided not to snorkel.  The water was not cold, but it was not warm either and I was cool from the wind.  In spite of 25 degrees C, the wind was cool.

After a while, I hoisted anchor and sailed up to Puerto Balandra with the intention of going in and anchoring, but I noticed the time and decided to turn back as I wanted to be in by five to join Lance for supper.  I arrived at the marina at 4:58.  Seems I have an instinct.

Several others joined us and we drove over to a fish restaurant Lance knew about on Abosolo.  We ordered a large dish of clams, oysters, fish and chicken to share.  Apparently it was suggested for two.   Even with five of us there was a bit left over. Others had beer. Tom had water and  I had a Coke.

From there, we went uptown for ice cream.  I did not need it, but figured that once in a while, a dose of sugar can't hurt. I ate most of the bar I chose, but threw the last of it into the trash.

I was back at the boat by nine and went to bed after what turned out to be a big day.

I did not find myself tired at all during the day, but did not walk much, seeing as I was mostly on the boat. Fit counted 2,253 steps, probably from our walking downtown

Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Friday January 19th 2018

 Today Cloudy. High plus 1.
Tonight Cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Low minus 9.

I slept better, but was still up several times.  The awakenings were less frequent, though and I think the end may be in sight.  My goal is to  I got up at five, had coffee and breakfast and went back to sleep until about seven. BG was 6.2

I see the snow is melting at home

I have an itch to get out of harbour and go sailing, but had some chores to do first. 

Web and advertising work were top of the list, and extending my health insurance.  I also have to nag CRA about a refund.  This has been ongoing for a year.

Seems CRA can't keep staff.  No wonder.  It's a lousy job and with the Phoenix mess, some are overpaid and some underpaid and some don't get paid at all. It's a wonder they don't all quit, but as with schoolteachers, can many of them really do anything else?

While I was working, a honey bee flew in and examined me, my computer, and my coffee cup, eventually falling into the coffee.  I pulled her out but lost track of what became of her.

I got all that done around noon and asked the marina office to inform the port captain that Baja Magic was leaving for Espiritu Santu for two days.

I stowed anything that might fall and untied the lines.  My neighbours jumped to help send me off, but I said I do it solo all the time, so they said they would watch and learn.

I made a perfect exit and motored out the channel to the entrance and unfurled the jib.  After a while, I decided to unfurl the main, too for  little more power and thrust upwind, seeing as the wind was coming from where I was headed and I had to tack.

I started unfurling the main, but soon the roller jammed.  I played around a bit with lines and then went forward and poked some of the sail back into the mast where it had folded on itself and jammed.  I then pulled out the rest of the sail and was fully canvassed.  I can see why roller mains had a bad reputation back in the 90's.  This 1995 one is not nearly as simple and reliable as the one on my 2005 Bavaria, but I'll learn its tricks.

I set the autopilot and everything was fine until auto suddenly disengaged.  The pilot light was out, so I wiggled the plug and it seems that fixed it for the time being.  Investigating is a  job for later, not when moving fill tilt at six to seven knots.

Sailing close to the wind on auto had proved to be problematic on an earlier trip.  Whenever we set it close to the wind, a wind shift would cause auto to turn the boat through the wind, an apparent overreaction to the gust.  I have concluded the cause is that the settings are too aggressive.   I've seen this before.  It is easy to fix, but a job for later as well, not while the device is in use underway. This rudder goes stop to stop with one turn of  the helm. Most boats take two and a half and that is the factory auto setting.

I sailed until three-thirty and then estimated my ETA at the nearest sheltered anchorage on Espiritu Santo.

With my current speed and direction I would arrive after dark. I like to arrive at least an hour before dark in case there are issues with the location or it is occupied.  That allows time to change to Plan B.  Wandering around and anchoring in the dark can be a crapshoot.

It is possible to boost the sailing speed and point farther upwind by adding a little engine power, so that is what I did.  We picked up speed and at times, Baja Magic was almost 'rail under' -- heeled well over and moving at top speed upwind -- 7.5 knots.  The boat sails well.

I arrived in good time, and the first bay I came to looked to be perfect -- and it was totally unoccupied.  I dropped anchor and it set as soon as the chain played out.

This was probably my easiest set ever.  Sometimes teh anchor drags and I have to play around, raise it multiple times and try again, sometimes giving up and going elsewhere.  Moreover, this set was rock solid and pulling hard did not move it even a bit. I can sleep soundly tonight. Or try.

Often a bottom can be soft and muck, rock, or gravel in which case either the anchor does not dig in, or if it does, it can be dragged through the soil due to the soft nature of the bottom.

This may not be serious for a lunch stop in calm weather or for a light sleeper, but I like a solid hold. I don't want to have to deal with dragging away in the night and having to figure what is happening and what to do while groggy from being roused in the dark by an alarm, the sound of touching bottom, or shouts from neighbours as you drift toward them. 

If the boat drags into shallows while the tide is dropping, there is the risk of being stranded.  Better to drag away from shore, but best is not to drag, Often after a storm, at the entrance to False Creek in Vancouver, boats will be seen thrown up on shore due to anchors having dragged. Usually there is damage, often total loss.

My guess is that this anchor won't drag tonight.  I'll set my alarm anyhow. 

The alarm goes off if we move more than a preset distance at which point I jump up and look out.  It almost never goes off, but sometimes with changing currents and wind, the boat will swing in a wide arc around the anchor.

I took out the BBQ to cook the steak, but found that A. I did not have a propane wrench and B. The mounting bracket bolts are broken.  I fried the steak in a pan. Somehow it did not turn out to be the treat I thought it might be.  I save half for later.

Fit says I did 1,751 steps today.  Hmmm.  I wonder how I did that?

At any rate, I am anchored all alone here in the middle of a huge shallow bay, with no phone and no Internet. That is what I figured 'd be doing two months ago and it has taken me this long to get my ducks in a row..

Although in the marina the ham radio received mostly static, and I was beginning to think that maybe the radio, the tuner, or the antenna was defective.  Out here reception is good, so maybe not.

I do like this boat and I also like La Paz.  I extended my insurance for one more week, adding up to three weeks this trip. Westjet seems to still be offering the same deals as last week.

Next visit, I think I'll plan on a month.

Speaking of sleeping soundly, one thing I did not count on was the wildlife.  This Sea of Cortez is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with diverse aquatic critters.  As I sit here writing, I hear splashing and occasional thumping against the hull.  I think I have attracted the attention of the locals.  Local critters, that is, and they are initiating me.

Another thing that came up just at bedtime was that the topping lift decided to sing. All the vertical lines resemble the strings on a standing bass (or a washtub in a jug band) and the wind can strum them so loudly one wonders if an airplane is taking off nearby.  Usually the lines and shrouds are damped enough that they don't sing, but I had tightened the lift and the vang to prevent boom swing and the lift turned out to be resonant.  I turned on the deck light and went out and adjusted things until silence returned.

Here in Bahia San Gabriel, La Paz and its expat and cruiser community seems far, far away tonight.  In sooth, La Paz is only twenty miles away.  The gringo community there can be very captivating.  I could easy become one of the regulars at the morning coffee and get involved in all the various activities.


Yesterday's post.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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