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Heading out of Montague Harbour
Which way today? My course has been determined by incoming weather and I plotted the course last night. Vancouver is my destination.
At 0634, I awoke, looked at the GPS, popped the hatch, and looked around. Nothing had changed. The boat is in the same position as when I went to bed and when I checked several times during the night. I expected to swing, but found that a gentle SE breeze counteracted any tidal action.
My one deadline is to make Porlier Pass by 0915 PDST. It is only 3 miles away. Once through the narrows, it is a three-hour reach to my dock at Granville Island if the winds favour me. I should fuel up along the way and once I am across and in English Bay, I can take my time and poke around if I like.
I still have some work to do on the boat.
Weather at home is mild, so I am not worried about the house. Last night, Maddie texted that all is well.
* * * * *
I hoisted anchor at 0830 and noted that the bottom is sand with shell fragments. All went according to plan and the crossing went without a hitch. The first hour, across to and through Porlier Pass and out into the Strait was strictly on the engine as there was no wind. Then, a mile out, the wind picked up favoured me as far as the raycon off Point Grey and I was sailing on a reach at up to 8 knots until I hit the wind shadow off the point. From there on, the wind was shifty. I spent another hour and a half getting in the last few miles. Next time, with a SE wind, I'll not aim for the point, but rather Point Atkinson and tack across in better wind.
Near the bridge, I stopped, drifted, and arranged the lines and the dinghy and the fenders for the slip I expected to enter and called the office. No answer.
Motoring in, the rain became heavy as I approached the bridge. I had intended to fuel up under the bridge, but decided to stay dry. There had been promises of people to meet me, but no one was answering phones. I had instructions, but they were ambiguous.
Where is "H" dock? The signs are never conspicuous and often hidden by tall boats. I backed down several alleys before finally finding my place beside "Memories". Memories did not display her name anywhere visible from the water and I had to call to passersby to find out where she was.
Anyhow, I got in and tied up. My brother met me at six and we went to the Arbutus Club for supper. After, he dropped me off and, and after popping into the Cooper office where a Vic/Maui meeting was being held, here I am, in my warm, dry boat in the pouring rain.
There's a limit to
how many times you can read how great you are and
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Rain fell steadily all night. I'm snug and dry on board Cassiopeia tied up at Granville Island in Vancouver. Colin will text me and we'll meet for breakfast at the Market as is our custom.
I was to be at the Glenmore Sailing Club Banquet tonight, but looking at the forecast, I'm glad I decided against going. Afterwards, I'd be driving home 75 miles late at night in a predicted snowstorm. As it is, here, in a bay near Georgia Strait, we are expecting a light gale this afternoon, but that won't matter at all tucked away back here in the far reaches of the Granville Island marina. I'll stay another day to work on the boat, but I do have to be gone Monday, as the boat will be lifted then for repairs.
Colin and I met for breakfast and I am back on the boat. I installed the first or the new Chinese LED bulbs before I left and left it on to test it. In five minutes, all but three of the 12 LEDs on that one LED board's surface had burnt out. Hmmm.
I decided that batch of LEDs were not suitable and opened another package. These bulbs were bright and beautiful, so I installed two more and left them on. After a while, I found they were hotter than I found acceptable and removed them. They were not hotter than the halogens they replace, and might be suitable for some other purpose, but not a charter boat.
These 'bulbs' draw 91 mA each or 1 watt each, compared to a 10-watt halogen which provides a comparable brightness, but which draws 825 mA, or nine times as much.
I can now leave every ceiling light on (12 lights) and not have the charger fan run. Previously, with the halogens, using even a few of them would cause the charger to run its (loud) cooling fan.
After that job, I studied up on the DC panel and replaced one switch. It was the one I had found defective when I first bough the boat. I had to buy ten for $300 when I only needed one, but I had no choice other than just use one of the 'spares' on the board. I suppose that would have worked, but other switches on the board also have signs of corrosion, so I figured it is just a matter of time, and on a charter boat, failure is not an option.
Then I labeled all the switches. The boat is German-made and the only labeling is with some sort of symbols that make no sense at first glance. Even after weeks of use, the meanings are still less than obvious, so I bought a label maker and labeled them in plain English.
That took up my whole day. In the evening, I watched some Netflix (Engrenages) and went to bed early. It rained all day and into the night.
It is far better
to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion,
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I woke up and by the light figured I had slept 'til 0830. A glance at the clock showed it was 0730, then I realised we are back to Standard Time. This biannual switch is most annoying and serves no useful purpose in this day and age of electric light and people awake 24/7/365.
Today, I fly back to Alberta and I am listening to Alberta radio to see if the blowing snow has ended. I figure to go by 1730 as I have a ride to the airport, but may go sooner.
At 0910, I hear that the #2 is down to one lane south of Red Deer to Didsbury and that another 10 cm is expected, accompanied by 40-60 km north winds. Webcam shot at right. That means blowing snow and poor visibility on the roads, especially after dark and when trucks pass. I wonder if there is enough coal on the furnace, but am not inclined to drive today. I can stay until tomorrow if need be.
I phoned my neighbour to see if there is any smoke coming from my chimney. She says the roads have not been plowed and the snow is deep. I think I'll stay until tomorrow
Fen texts, "Hwy 2 slush and idiots. Secondary roads unplowed ice and snow."
I decided to stay and I am glad I did. The day proved sunny and warm and I took the boat out to get fuel. A NW breeze was blowing, so instead of going back to H15, I turned out into the bay and sailed for a few hours.
Returning, I had a short meeting with Colin and then wandered over to The Market for supper. I settled on bean salad, lentil salad, and tuna salad in a pita. The meal turned out bigger than expected and was excellent!
I returned to the boat, watched some Netflix, and went to bed.
Basically, I no longer
work for anything but the sensation I have while working.
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Today the boat is lifted for repairs, and today I must get home. I'm worried about my furnace. The last time the neighbours checked was Thursday, so I am concerned that it could run out of coal as the weather gets colder.
I met with Dave briefly at 0950 and then I sat down to buy my air ticket online.
Initially, I found a noon flight on Air Canada's site and began purchase, but the process is slow and by the time I got to the actual purchase, it was 1001 and the site refused to sell me a ticket with less than 2 hours to flight time, so I had to start over.
I then tried Westjet. Westjet did not care that it was now less than two hours to lift-off and I booked the noon flight, but the process took another fifteen minutes, so instead of taking the Sky Train, Colin drove me to YVR.
On board, after we were told to turn off our phones and an obligatory Westjet take-off delay, we taxied out at 1215.
Two hours later, after a fifteen-minute wait for baggage, I was pushing a cart to my van in bright sunshine and melting snow.
I found my van where I had parked it, close to the exit, and brushed off six or eight inches of dense, wet snow. In Airdrie, I bought some groceries, and drove home. The roads were icy with snow patches, but traction was good and I could travel at normal highway speeds. The back roads were plowed, too, but snow packed.
On arrival in Swalwell, at dusk, I could see that the plow had thrown a swath at the ends of my driveway, and there were deep drifts in both the north and south parts of the loop, but I tried driving in on the chance that the snow was soft. It wasn't. I was stuck - high centred - before I got a third of the way in and walked the rest of the way, dragging my bag.
I suppose with a bit more speed, I could have punched through, but vehicles these days have plastic bumper and grille parts. If the drifts turned to to be really hard, damage could result.
I went into the house, found everything was just fine, said hello to the cat and went back for the groceries. I thought I could drive the 4X4 around the drive a few times and pack the drive so the van could get in, but the truck had too little traction, especially with the trailer still attached, so I took the snow blower out and blew snow until dark. The snowthrower headlight was intermittent, so I quit for the time being.
I will have to get some decent tires on that truck. Even though it is a 4X4 and the tires are still good, these tires are too slick for snow. I need a more open tread.
It is much more comfortable
to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one's doubts.
It is minus twenty this morning. I'll be going out to blow snow when the sun comes up and the temperature gets a bit better. Minus twenty is too cold for enjoyable snowblowing.
The day warmed up and I went out to work on the snow. After an hour or two, I had the driveway open and the red van pulled out of the drift. There is more to do, but I had run the snowthrower gas tank dry, so it seemed like a good time to quit for the day. Muscling that machine though drifts is a good workout and I don't want to overdo things.
Mid-afternoon, I drove to Drum to meet Ruth and retrieve Zippy. From there, I drove to Calgary for a Bluewater Cruising meeting.
The presentation tonight was about the Van Isle 360, a race around Vancouver Island. I am not much into racing, but found this sort of race quite interesting as all sorts of boats and people participate and there is a huge social component, plus it takes the racers through some of my favourite waters.
I got home about eleven and went to bed.
but wisdom listens.
Today I plan on finishing the driveway. I am also considering going skiing in the next short while. I see that Nakiska is opening this weekend and that the other mountain resorts will be opening Friday as well. Nakiska is my nearest mountain resort.
At 1101, it is melting outside and the sun is bright. I'm off to finish the snow blowing.
By noon, I had accomplished a lot, but there are still spots needing work. I quit for lunch and a nap. I am finding that my mind is blank and I don't feel like doing much of anything, although I do have a list of things to do.
There is no lack of things to do. I just don't feel much like doing any of them. I suppose I'll go out and finish dealing with the snow.
I spent the entire day, off and on, playing in the snow with the blower, the forklift and the 4X4. I'm done now. It is all cleared off and ready for the next dump.
I'm contemplating winter. Winter is not here yet and won't be for another month and a half, and already we have a lot of snow and cold -- and the days are short. The Caribbean beckons, or Florida, or California, but I have to get my ducks in a row if I plan to go for long, and make sure the house is cared for in my absence.
This last trip was a classic example of how the best laid plans are aft gang aglay. I planned to go for four days and the weather looked mild. As it turned out, though, a storm materialized and I stayed six days. My caretakers were able to get here to check and add coal on Thursday as planned, but the storm that kept me away also kept them away on the weekend. All was well, as the systems performed flawlessly, but there was a risk.
It was an event like that which caused Aaron's house to freeze all its pipes one year. His furnace failed to start during a storm while he was in Florida and his GF was unable to get to his house to check on it. The inconvenience, mess and expense was monumental.
Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
I have been thinking along those lines for quite some time, but not in terms of a thermostat, but rather a temperature monitoring system.
My main concerns are:
Any of the above results in the building cooling and threat of freezing pipes, requiring either automatic backup or a timely visit from qualified people.
I have played with remote monitoring with an ordinary webcam pointed at a thermometer so I can monitor the indoor temperature remotely. It sorta worked, but I found it impractical for several reasons.
I used standard Logitech webcam and Yahoo! Messenger, but found the configuration required two Yahoo! accounts and also a Windows computer that runs all the time at home. That latter criterion is the killer, as even a short power failure can cause a shutdown. A laptop can last through longer interruptions, but we sometimes get 24 hour outages, and also I have found that other things can happen to a running Windows machine over time. One is an unscheduled Windows update that forces a reboot regardless of any user settings. Another is the unreliability of a USB connection.
My weather station works well and I can monitor my backyard weather anywhere, anytime on my phone, but it requires a computer running at home. Every so often, whether I am home or not, the USB connection fails and the output is no longer available remotely. I then get a text message telling me that no data is coming through, but that is of limited usefulness. I need a reliable system that does not need a computer running at all times.
Home Internet reliability is another consideration. Recently, our Internet has been almost 100% reliable, but it does go down with electric failure and even adding a UPS at home won't keep the ISP's relays in town from going down.
I have a plain old home security telephone dialer (battery operated) and have looked at it, but do not have the input transducers required. This unit will dial several phone numbers in sequence and play a message. I can probably rig something simple, but have not. A temperature trigger would be simple, but I want more.
I can also just take a car battery and a thermostat and a 12V rotating amber light like the ones that emergency vehicles use (I have several) and place it where my neighbours can't help but see it in a window or on the roof. If I set it to trigger on at 50 degrees or so in the living room, that would indicate something needs attention and allow lots of time for response. My neighbours watch my place and would see it immediately and phone people who can remedy the problem.
This is the most basic and reliable sort of alarm system, but requires that someone respond by showing up soon. My qualified responders are 15 or more miles away. If there is a storm or an alarm happens at night, response could be too slow.
Also, without more information than a simple temperature drop, the level of response required is not apparent. Is there a mechanical problem, requiring someone with mechanical and even welding ability, or did the coal on the auger simply run out or bridge in the bin, a problem anyone can spot and fix.
* * * * *
With any information reporting system, one has to decide what information needs to be gathered, who needs to access it, how, and how often -- then how to do it. In my case, the data I need for comfort in order of descending importance are:
I have been looking, and last evening, I took a second look at these units. They can tell me if there is coal on the auger and the temperature remotely, plus potentially other information via my smartphone.
* * * * *
Although detecting a temperature drop is a minimal requirement, and additional reporting would be comforting, backup or background heat that does not require electricity from the mains would provide an additional layer of security and time to repair any deficiency on the primary system.
I do presently have some manually operated emergency propane heaters, but they require a person on site to activate and monitor. There is also the kitchen propane stove that can provide 50,000 BTU, but also should have supervision.
A backup propane or gas system would meet that criterion, but would necessarily be non-condensing (low efficiency) unless an automatic backup electric generator were part of the system since high efficiency systems quit as soon as the power goes off.
To meet the worst-case demand (windy at minus forty) and keep the building at 20 degrees C (72 F), at least 250,000 BTU output is required, but for most likely conditions, 100,000 BTU would prevent freeze-up.
So, basically, I do need a propane or natural gas backup and also a temperature alarm. I have natural gas to the building, and I had a gas fitter in last year, but this building is neither a house nor a commercial building and a bit more of a puzzle than they like. They don't want to think, but just slap in some pipe and collect their money. I need to look around more. My travels and time away adds a layer of complexity as these tradespeople come and go unreliably.
I slept badly last night and although I felt OK in the morning, was feeling a bit poorly by afternoon. I had intended to get outside, but I was kept at the desk writing the above, then dealing with offers to sell me boats ranging from a sailboat in the Caribbean to a share of a brand new million dollar 65-foot power yacht on the west coast and another sailboat there as well.
The power yacht does not appeal to me much at all, and is a bit pricey for my budget -- it would just be a flip (maybe) -- but I am thinking I would like to spend more time down south on a boat and also thinking that my experience owning and chartering Cassiopeia has been good enough that if a similar deal came along, I might bite.
Anyhow, I had a nap and that did not fix whatever has me feeling punk. I think I'll take it easy. Elijah is coming to work after school. I think I have enough energy to supervise him and that is about all.
Elijah came and did the furnace. He did a great job, but forgot the most important part. He did not turn it back on when finished the shoveling.
Fen, the girls, and Elijah were going out for supper and invited me along. We had supper at the Harvest House and they dropped me off at home on their return trip to The Mill.
The nice thing about
being a celebrity is that if you bore people they think it's their fault.
I slept poorly last night until I got up and took two Benadryl. I suspect that I must be allergic to something, and I am thinking it must be something I eat. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the bouts of allergy. I have had sensitivity to some kinds of tomatoes in the past and some spices.
I'll have to try to figure out what is causing the problem. Food sensitivities are hard to track compared to simple allergies, as sensitivities do not always manifest immediately or necessarily every time that the cause is encountered.
This morning is dull, with temperatures right around the freezing point. I'm deciding what to do. I have some bookwork to do, but have yet to go to Jean's new home since they moved in. I'm planning to visit this weekend, but when?
I did get some of that done, then decided to go for eggs. It is easy to stay inside with a nice big, warm house like this and I do need to get out more.
I got the eggs at the local farm and returned home. I had decided to make quiche, so made three . I used store-bought shells and decided not to do that again, as they shrank and cracked. Maybe I kept them frozen too long and maybe they had dried. Anyhow, making a shell is not all that hard to do.
A bad conscience
is a kind of illness.
My sleep was even worse last night. I awoke quite a five or six times with congestion and slight nausea, in spite of taking Benadryl twice. I sat up and watched TV after midnight (I hardly ever watch TV). Finally, around two, I took a decongestant and an ibuprofen, slept well, and awoke refreshed.
I don't know what is causing this, but I suspect it has to do with diet and is either canned tomatoes, beans, the curry power I recently bought, or another spice. I know that too much black pepper tends to suppress my breathing in sleep. I'll have to try eliminating one food after another, waiting a day or two between changes as foods remain in the system for a day or two. Sensitivities are hard to nail down, too since they often do not manifest with a single exposure.
Today, I plan to go to Gull Lake and should get myself moving before the day wears on. Since I live far from towns, I tend to try to assemble a series of tasks to do along my route, rather than simply drive to a store for each item as people in town do. Although this is efficient, the planning and preparation for each trip tends to complicate getting away early. Moreover, some activities depend on others since the times that things can be done vary and I like to minimize driving back and forth in town. For example, the greenhouse and Costco have offset hours. Wal-Mart fits into any schedule, though, as Wal-Mart has long hours.
The trip to Gull Lake was straightforward, and the errands along the way went as planned. I arrived mid-afternoon. They are well settled into the new house and the place is very comfortable. I see the Lake is beginning to freeze over.
If everything seems
under control, you're just not going fast enough.
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"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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