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Tuesday March 10th 2015
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We are in Portsmouth today.  The night was very windy and at least one boat dragged anchor.  Several dinghies flipped in the gale.

Frank and Kevin went hiking this morning and I stayed home to finish my presentation... and I'm done!

There is talk of leaving today.  With this gale, I figure it is folly, but we'll see what they decide.

By noon, the weather had calmed and we had a good passage to Roseau, also on Dominica, tied up to a ball, then went in for a beer and Internet.

Everyone rises to their level of incompetence.
Laurence J. Peter

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Wednesday March 11th 2015
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We got up early, listened to the weather, and cast off for Martinique. The trip was a fairly easy six hours, but I was feeling a bit under the weather, probably due to something I ate.  Nonetheless, I kept up with my tasks and by the time we arrived in Port du France, I was feeling myself again.

Our other crew member somehow had injured his knee and was quite subdued today.  He took some painkillers which slowed him down and I found that a great relief.

Our third man has turned out to be, at times, especially when drinking, a noisy, loud-talking, ego-centric, potty mouthed misogynist, and when he starts up I just go away if I can and put in ear plugs, just to keep sane. 

A lot of the time, he is just fine, but he gets going sometimes and when he does, there is no escape from his blather anywhere on the boat, though, as the companionway is always open, since otherwise, it is hot below.  When I wander off, I am sure he sometimes raises his voice.  Even with earplugs in, I can still hear him drone on, but am spared making out the words. Even a forty-five foot boat seems pretty small when he gets talking. 

Otherwise he seems to be good crew, well-mannered and friendly, and a willing and capable sailor.

I conceal my discomfort for the sake of civility. We have three more days to get along before we fly out on Sunday and other than the loud talk, things are just fine.

Frank went in to check us in and out of customs, then returned quite a while later with some groceries.

Tomorrow, Rodney Bay on Saint Lucia.

If I had more time and set the schedule, I'd spend more time in some of these ports and skip others.  Each has its charms.  Some of these islands are quite developed.  Port du France has a population of 250,000 and a beautiful waterfront.

I'm finding the voyage a bit rushed.

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms
with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
Samuel Butler

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Thursday March 12th 2015

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I was sure the captain said we leave at 0600 today, so I was up and had coffee made and turned on the SSB to listen to the weather.  Chris Parker  broadcasts Caribbean weather predictions each day at 0600.  I did not hear anything, however.

We are anchored at Port de France and headed for Rodney Bay on Saint Lucia.  The passage should be about the same as all the others, I suspect, motoring down to the south end of the island, going through gusts and currents, then pounding across the twenty-five miles to the next island and then encountering turbulence and motoring again to the destination.  No big deal. All in all, very pleasant and short days compared to my typical eight-hour passage on the West Coast.

We had a comfortable sail over and some of the time, the boat would sail itself with very little input from the helm.

We arrived, fueled up, checked in, and found our slip, then checked in with customs and the marina.  We got an Internet code, but Internet is very slow.  We hooked up to power, but someone ran over a pedestal and we have no electricity.  It seems also that the Internet connection only allows three devices per code, and of course we have about five.

We came in for power and Internet and we sorta have Internet, but still no power.

At  home, we are having a heat wave.  The snow is mostly gone and I see the pond is not likely to overflow.

We got power after an hour or two and the Internet seems better. We're having chili for supper on board.

The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident.
 That's where we come in; we're computer professionals.
We cause accidents.
Nathaniel Borenstein

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Friday March 12th 2015

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I'm up after midnight, having slept four hours after supper.  We had chili and I had some red wine with it.  The combination has been known to cause me to awake for a few hours in the middle of the night.

I don't mind.  In fact it is a comfortable pattern for me and one I followed often in my computer years: sleep three or four hours, get up for two, go back to bed and sleep until morning. There are no disturbances in the wee hours and in summer, usually it is cool.  Time pressures that revolve around other people -- meals, phone calls, appointments, etc. -- are not present.  Internet tends to be faster, less congested.

Some say it is healthier to sleep in shifts, rather than in one long overnight sleep.  Works for me.

Today we will vote and either stay here at Rodney Bay Marina another day or move on to Soufriere, where we will anchor. At this point, we are moving south to get closer to the airport.  Both Kevan and I fly out Sunday afternoon and will take a cab from wherever we find ourselves Sunday morning.

I don't care.  The marinas are typically stuffy and hot mid-day, but pleasant the rest of the time.  There is a swimming pool here, but it looks a bit murky and we passed on using it.  There are also showers and stores, including a chandlery, so we will pick up a few items before moving on, regardless.

I was told there was a blank page where this diary should be yesterday and, sure enough, when I looked I could see that Filezilla had reported success in uploading, but that the file size was zero.  Oooops. 

The Internet here is horrible, for lack of a kinder word.  It stops and starts and requires repeated logons, defeating my VPN, which I had counted on for increased security over public wi-fi, and also causing unfinished transfers. 

Even now, after midnight, speeds reported are 0.4 Mbps, with pauses as long as a second or five.  FTP reports 30 KiB/S typically.

The French islands were much better, with speeds up to 50 Mbps!  Their towns also seem better organised and more prosperous-looking.  I don't think we North Americans give the French enough credit.

I've been up an hour and a half, now, and am getting tired again, so I'll go back to bed now.

Nope, I got distracted and checked for Filezilla updates and, sure enough, here is a new version with, among others, this fix: "...At the end of transfers, errors writing all downloaded data to disk were not always detected".  That accounts for a success report, but a zero-byte file having resulted on the receiving end.

I also decided to run Malwarebytes (free).  I've been on public wi-fi, so it pays to be careful.  I may also run Eset, but later, after sleep.

Well, I stayed up another half-hour, started Eset, then went back to bed.

The morning dawned sunny and breezy.  Everyone slept well.

The scans came up clean, but Eset had issues with my bandwidth monitoring software and removed it.  It's probably a false positive, but I seldom use the monitor, so let it pass.

We decided to stay here another day.

I had a swim in the pool, lunch, and a nap and then we prepared to go to the Old Fort and grocery shopping by cab.  Along the dock, on the way to the shore, I encountered a water taxi driver and bargained a rate for the afternoon.  It was a bit more money than by land, but bound to be an adventure, and besides we are sailors, not land folks.

Ryan took us to the Fort and dropped us, but did not point us to the ticket booth.  We headed uphill to the Fort and were soon chased down by two park staff and chided for not buying a ticket.  I accompanied one of the ladies to the booth, a long way in the wrong direction, paid, and met the others at the top.

It is a steep climb to the top, especially in Birkenstocks, but I was pleased that I matched or bettered the various younger folk along the climb and did not find myself panting.  I did pause a few times to rest a moment, but was not winded.  Maybe the exertion inherent in beekeeping and windsurfing over the years pays off in maintaining physical condition, even for years after.

As I approach my seventh decade, I am becoming more attentive to my physical limitations.  I know I am overweight and have not been as active as earlier, so worry occasionally.  The other day I took a hard fall at the bottom of the companionway, slipping on the wet saloon sole, and was relieved to find that at worst I received from a crashing drop is a small bruise.  Shortly after, we discovered the one-inch-thick bottom step is cracked. Was that from my fall?

We all met at the top of the hill, walked back down together, had a beer at Jambe de Bois, re-boarded our jitney ,and Ryan took us to the food mart.

We stocked up on food, I paid the $595 EC ($250 CAD) bill, and we are all back on the boat eating wings and garlic toast for supper.

Next we go to the "Jump Up", a Friday night street party in the wrong part of town.

We took a taxi to the centre of Ilet Gros and found the party.  It was hard to miss. Several blocks were cordoned off and the streets were jammed with vendors, selling mostly liquors of every sort and barbeque chicken or fish.

We had eaten previously and I figure that drinking in a crowd is not wise, so walked around and watched a while.  In the centre of action, a tower of speakers was set up and a DJ was blasting out music.  Several young girls began dancing and soon a crowd joined in.

I stuck around a while and caught a cab back to the marina and went to bed. Frank and Kevan came back much later.

If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every
now and then to make sure it's still there.
Will Rogers

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Saturday March 14th 2015

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This is my last full day in the Caribbean before I fly to Albany.

We plan to leave the marina when the office opens and anchor at Soufriere today, then Kevan and I take a cab to the airport tomorrow.  We leave at around the same time, so that is convenient.

So far this morning, at 0704, I see no signs of the others getting up, so we may be leaving a little later than planned.  We'll see.

As mentioned, Internet here is terrible, and I wonder if that is why Windows offered me 25 updates today.  Updates are usually on Tuesdays.  I'm downloading now.  We'll see if they complete.

Weather at home is mild and I imagine the bees are doing well, probably better than if I were there messing with them and fussing.  I know that by working on them that I might save a few hives that will die without attention, but that the ones that do survive will survive better without being disturbed.

We were right next to a reef and the current was slight, so it was an easy swim and we snorkeled several times during the day. The reef was better and more varied  than some we visited, but not as good as the ones I swan in the BVIs two years back.

Mid-afternoon, we cast off and motored across to look for a better location, but could not find a ball and returned to where we had been and swam again, had pain killers, more snorkeling and supper.  Everyone turned in at 2100.

I've done the calculation and your chances of winning
the lottery are identical whether you play or or not.
Fran Lebowitz

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Sunday March 15th 2015

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Kevan and I meet our prearranged taxi to UVF at 1230 on shore, here at Soufirere.  We spent the morning snorkeling, cleaning and packing.

 We also spent hours searching everywhere for my phone which has disappeared.  I had thought that I plugged it in last night at the nav station, but maybe not.  At any rate, it was never found in spite of everyone looking everywhere several times.  I knew it had to be on the boat or in the water since we never got off the boat, but I could not imagine how it could have fallen overboard.  A mystery.

I decided to suspend the phone and also delay my US plan which was set to start tonight about the time I land at ALB, so I needed Internet.

We motored in early and found a cafe with wi-fi, and I spent an hour getting checked in and dealing with my phone problems. 

The cafe was empty when I went in, but as soon as I sat down, ordered a Coke and opened my computer, people cam in, turned on a soccer game right behind me and there went my peace and quiet.  Anyhow, I got it done.

Our cab had arrived a half-hour early, but he did not know us and we were expecting someone else, so finally, we figured it out and set out for UVF. 

It was a long and winding trip down the island, but in a new BMW, so we were in luxury. 

When we arrived, we paid the cab, turned around, and Kevan disappeared.  The cab driver did not offer me change for the $40 fare from the 50 I handed him and Kevan disappeared.  Odd.

I caught my flight and had a pleasant trip to Charlotte, where I am waiting three hours for my flight to ALB.  I have Internet and power to recharge, so I am quite content.  This gives me a chance to catch up on email and things.

My next flight left for ALB at 2220 and we touched down around twenty after midnight.  It was around freezing when I stepped outside, but Aaron was there, idling at the curb, with the heater on, so I did not freeze in my Caribbean attire.  Aaron has been dealing with a very bad cold.  I hope he is past the contagious stage.

We drove to Round lake, had a beer, and called it a day.

Either you run the day, or they day runs you
Jim Rohn

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Monday March 16th 2015

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I'm in Round Lake today, scheduled to speak at a SABA meeting tonight. I'll be here for the week, with another engagement on Saturday.

I agreed to this gig about six months ago and the time has arrived.  Otherwise I'd be on Compass Rose a few more days.  Of course, I'm glad to be here.   I usually like it everywhere I go.

At home, I see we are around freezing and there is new snow on the ground, with more promised.  at 0918 here, it is still early there so the surveillance camera pictures lack colour.  I see the system did not change for daylight savings time.

DST is a huge nuisance, a cause of confusion and time waster.  I heard recently one of those 'wise native elder' attributions: "Only a government would cut a foot off one end of a blanket, sew it on the other and claim to make the blanket longer."

Amen.

There is some remaining snow here in NY, and tree bloom is several weeks away.

I had one person express interest in reviewing my "Myths" presentation.  It is still a work in progress, due on Saturday.

I worked on the presentation much of the day, partly due to problems related to having used LibreOffice or OpenOffice back in 2012 when doing some updates and improvements.  Usually these programs can exchange files both directions with M$ Office, but for some reason, now the presentation will not run properly on M$ Office and  I have been moving back to using M$ Office since it is found on all computers at conferences. 

I had an experience last September when I forgot my computer when flying to the BCHPA.  Fortunately had brought the presentation on a stick and could be run on a computer there. 

My computer could also fail just before a conference, so I now also keep a copy in the cloud.

I suppose I could make a self-running copy that would run on any Windows machine without installing any software, but I like to be able to alter presentations at the last minute and that requires having the software used for creating the file.

We went for supper at 'Augies' and then to the meeting.

The presentation went well.

I think that if you keep your eyes and your ears open and you are receptive to learning,
there are skills you can get from any job at all.
Cat Deeley

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Tuesday March 17th 2015
Saint Patrick's Day

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I slept in today.  When I got up, I noticed I still have my sea legs. 

Normally, we assume the world surrounding us is stationary, and if we perceive movement, assume that it is ourselves that are moving.

When adapted to being on a boat, and for sometime after after living on a boat, our minds assume that we are stationary and the surroundings are moving.  This is most apparent when disembarking then showering on shore, a common practice in marinas.  When one's eyes are closed, as in shampooing, the stall often seems to be heaving around.  That bothers some people, but merely amuses me.

At home, I see the snow we got yesterday is gone again and that the pond is almost clear of ice, with no fear of overflow. I see a  little early morning frost on the west view (right), but not to the south (left).

Our Central Alberta winter precipitation varies a lot, as does our summer precipitation, and runs in cycles from drought to heavy falls.  We did not have much snow this winter, so the runoff was much less than in some recent winters.  Last year, I cleared snow at least six or eight times and had a plow in and this year, only cleared one drift once.

Also, our early winter snow often soaks in or sublimates into the dry prairie air, reducing the snow pack by spring.  Even now, we could still get a huge dump, with up to three feet in one May snowfall having been recorded in my memory.  That snowfall killed cattle, interfered with seeding, and generally snarled everything up for weeks.  If we get one of those, the pond could still fill to overflowing.

Saint Patrick's Day is the day we usually have had runoff in 'normal' years and it seems that we had early runoff this year as virtually all the snow is melted and gone.

The forecast was for colder weather, so Aaron and I went out to look at a few hives before the snow hit.  The yard was the worst he checked so far.  It had been quite good in September when we looked at it.  We fed patties to several and combined several others.  Just before we finished, the snow came, with a hard wind and small sharp pellets.

The Roku 1 that I ordered for Aaron yesterday on Amazon Prime arrived and we set it up.  There is a lot of choice.

I noticed today that my archive link strip was missing two years and corrected that error. 

 Diary Archives - 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011| 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 |1999

Now 2007 and 2008 are available.  I took a break from the diary in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but in 2007  I did post a page with pictures of our trip to the almonds.

Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.
David Letterman

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Wednesday March 18th 2015

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I've just about forgotten the Caribbean by now and am settled into Upper New York State for the week.  I still have slight sea legs, though.

One big difference here is the Internet.  It actually works here., and all the time.  Down there, it is horrible -- if you can find and connect to it.  The cafes in the French islands had excellent connections and speeds, though.  Elsewhere, Internet was intermittent and generally slow.

I slept until 0730 and got to work on the computer.  I have one presentation to finish and polish yet and another to review.

I began by posting to the forum.

We spent the rest of the day at computers and watching video, but did go out for lunch at the bakery down the street.  It's too cold and windy to look at bees.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place,
when will you get the time or money to fix it?

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Thursday March 19th 2015

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We have nothing planned for the day, except Aaron has to bottle honey.

As it worked out, we went out and looked at two yards.  There was quite a lot of loss, mostly due to starvation.  The hives were quite heavy in September when I last saw them.  The hives were lightly wrapped and should have been okay, but Aaron had left hivetop feeders on over winter and I suspect that caused heat loss.  The most important winter packing is insulation overhead.

The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it.
Mignon McLaughlin

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Friday March 20th 2015
First Day of Spring

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Another cold day in Round Lake, not at all spring-like.

Tonight, we have a dinner with SABA members. 

Tomorrow is the big day.

Aaron and I went out for lunch and met up with Pat, then went to another bee yard to check hives.  Losses were high there, too, with starvation being the most common cause, followed by queen failure. 

The hives had been heavy enough when I saw them in September, but a lot of feed can be used up by the time winter sets in.  The hives also had a lot of ventilation, little top insulation, and thin wraps, so that may have accelerated feed consumption.

Aaron and I returned to Aaron's and Karen showed up shortly after.  She stayed a while to chat, then left and Dick came by.  He followed us out to the dinner location, running a  red light along the to keep up, as Aaron was distracted and did not notice the light changing, as he passed through and Dick had no way to find the place if he lost us. 

We all arrived without further incident and had an excellent supper. and a good visit with three tables of beekeepers upstairs in the pub. 

I ordered malbec and the bottle said malbec, but it was cabernet sauvignon.  I knew it, and knew that cabernet sauvignon sometimes gives me insomnia, but drank several glasses anyhow and that explains why I am writing this at 2 AM, hoping to get back to sleep soon.

I remember now that there were a lot of dregs in my glass, so the bottle of wine was probably not the best.

Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.
Carlos A. Urbizo

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