Thursday September 10th, 2015

Today Mainly sunny. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 21. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Low 6.

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I'm up at 0600 and feeling ambitious.  We'll see how long that lasts, but the day is predicted to be warm and ideal for working on my bees.  So far, though, the day is foggy and damp.

My plan was to get out and work the bees, but with wet grass, I did not want to be shaking bees off frames and so I decided to repair two Battery chargers that have been dropped and run over a few times too many. 

The job was mostly a matter of straightening sheet metal, soldering broken wires, and on one I had to repair (zero) the meter.  I always photograph the details of such items as I dissemble them to be sure to hook things back up correctly.

Fen suggested I go to The Mill for supper tonight instead of having everyone over here.  That will save me an afternoon of cooking, so I'll have time for the bees.  As for that job, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  I have good intentions, but I have not managed to dive into the job.  I also will run out of Apivar shortly.

No more excuses.  Here I go.

*   *   *   *

I went out and made up some formic pads right off, then worked through a number of hives.  I combined a few, just by stacking them together and took honey off the rest.   I don't check for queens other than inspect the brood.  The bees decide who lives.

I count 40 pads and figure 40 ml each, so measure 1,600 ml into a bucket and add the pads. It takes a few hours for the acid to soak up completely. 

I always keep a bucket of water nearby and wash my hands regularly.  I also wear glasses since it is easy to splash acid.

IBy the time I quit for the day, I had pulled off eight supers of honey and had put Apivar and two formic pads on the hives I worked on.  Seven hives remained in the North Yard when I  ran out of time and had to shower for supper.

Things went a bit more slowly than I would have liked since I had to use wooden boxes when I ran out of EPS boxes in early summer and had to work with two varieties of box. 

I noticed, interestingly, that several boxes of Pierco foundation I had added recently had been drawn and filled, indicating we had a flow in the two weeks since my Bee Day.  Of that I am sure since I did not get those new style Pierco frames until the day before Bee Day.

*   *   *   *

At 1800, Zip and I drove to The Mill in the Cranberry Marquis, had supper, and visited with Fen, Maddy, Lorelee, Bert and Betty.  Maddy and I went out to look at her hive of bees, a swarm she caught a month ago.  We did not take smoke or veils and it turned out they were not happy to see us.  She had placed them in a low spot and where they were in shade at the end of the day.  Both factors can contribute to ill temper and we each received five or so stings as we beat a hasty retreat.  We concluded that they are alive and healthy.

We were all tired and headed home earlier than usual.  I dropped Betty off on my way home.

That car has an amazing ride.  It is like floating on air.

Tomorrow morning I have to be in Red Deer by nine for a transmission appointment, so I'm off to bed early.

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Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
Woody Allen

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Friday September 11th, 2015

Today Mainly sunny. High 26. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Low 7.

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I committed to a transmission oil change in Red Deer at 0900 this morning and have to be out of here by 0730  and to drive seventy miles to Red Deer and back.

It so happens that today looks like an ideal day to work on bees.  It is also the beginning of the weekend.   I have been hoping to get up to Gull lake to spend time on the boat again while Orams are home for the weekend, but really must get the bees done ASAP to get the Apivar on and to get the honey extracted.  I really did not need this distraction since Sunday is predicted to be cool and not ideal for either bees or boats, but it is what it is and a little late to cancel seeing as I have the first appointment of the day.

I'm not writing/bragging about weight loss lately.  It seems the scale is now saying 230.6 and numbers like that.  Not long ago, I was down around 223.  I can't figure it out since the readings jumped suddenly.  Is the cause water retention?  Salt? The hospital had me on a low salt diet. The only things other than salt I can think of is the heart drugs or wine drinking.

I'm mystified.    I drank rather a lot of wine last Thursday and noticed the weight increase shortly after, but there are so many things going on that it is hard to say.  I have not been counting calories, but have been careful what I eat and I don't think that food can account for the change.  Whatever the cause, I am up seven or eight pounds over my low point.  Time will tell.

My trip to Red Deer was eventful.  The van did not want to go into gear on startup, but did go after a few moments.  I stopped in Three Hills to buy and add a half quart of fluid and continued up the road.   When I was still twenty miles out, I had to add the rest of the litre.

by the time I arrived, there was oil on the back window of the van, a sign that I had a leak and the shop reported that the front seal was leaking and the oil was dark.   They quoted me a ridiculous price and I phoned around and found a shop that seemed more reasonable.  I called Bert and he came up, then we drove the van to the other shop.  We had lunch while Bruce read the codes and looked over the situation.  The conclusion was that the unit has to come out.  I left the van there and plan to be up Monday to see the transmission when It is on the bench.

Bert drove me home and I had a nap, then got to work on the bees around 1700.

I finished the North yard and had fourteen boxes of honey when I was done, and fourteen hives standing.  Two of them are probably too weak and need combining.

I quit at 1900 although there was still an hour of daylight.  I have limited energy and limited ambition.

Something that s becoming obvious  is that these hives are too close to the hedge.  Note the shadows are now falling on them as the sun moves father south as fall approaches.  Although the hedge and trees are deciduous, the shade will make the hives colder in winter than if they are moved out a bit.

For supper, I made a meatloaf, then watched video and went to bed.

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Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Albert Einstein

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Saturday September 12th, 2015

Today Sunny. High 30. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness overnight then 60 percent chance of showers before morning. Wind becoming north 20 km/h before morning. Low 12.

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I left honey out for abandonment when i quit last night.  There was a bit of robbing, but as flight tapers off at that time of evening, the last bees return home.  Now, I have to get out and seal up the boxes before they get full of robbers.  At 0803, it is already 11 degrees out, so I must go soon.

I'm going to do some bee work this morning, then my plan is to drive to Gull Lake to spend the afternoon on the boat with Jean and family. 

Predictions are for thirty degrees today, so it will be hot.  I may stay over and return tomorrow.  Tomorrow is predicted to be cloudy and rainy.

Lately, I have been waiting for warm weather to work bees and then find it too hot. The warmth and a slight flow or robbing stimulate the bees to be active throughout the entire hives.   Suddenly, it occurred to me yesterday to me that, years back, I waited until cold mornings to take off the last of the supers.  On such days, the bees have retreated to the brood chambers and the top supers are almost entirely bee-free, and for sure the queen will not be up there -- excluder or no excluder.

I went out around 0930 and cleaned up the North Yard, then began on the South of the hedge yard.  I finished that little yard by 1100.  There are six hives and three boxes of honey.  I am leaving most hives in three boxes and some in two.

As I a work, I am finding that a fair bit of smoke comes my way when I smoke the hives, and wonder now if the smoker and the forest fire haze at the time triggered my heart event three weeks ago. 

I am now much more sensitive to any sensations in my chest and left arm.  I have a slight ache in  my left arm below the shoulder that has come and goes at times over past day.  Maybe it is just from lifting, or sleeping on the arm?  I have always had various aches and pains from lifting, so how can I know if it is heart or just the same old familiar twinge?  This shoulder is the one I landed on skiing hard the day when Jon and I were skiing on the double-black steeps at Norquay for the 50,000-foot Gold Pin.

I was prescribed a nitroglycerine spray at my request, and have had no need for it thus  far, so maybe it will offer a way to tell.  If the pain is heart, then the throb should stop or diminish after a shot, I think. 

I gave myself a shot of nitro and the shoulder didn't change at all so I guess it is just a muscle. 

I was told the drugs I have been prescribed cause muscle aches and easy bruising.  I already proved the doctors were right about bleeding being harder to stop yesterday when I nicked myself.

At noon, I left for Gull Lake, my first excursion of any length in  my 'new' 1993 Mercury.  I'll have to watch the oil consumption.  I had discovered it was off the stick when it was delivered.  I changed the oil and it was black.

That may not mean anything.  The oil level in my last 1993 Merc was the same when  I bought it back in 2004 and I drove over 100,000 trouble-free kilometres in it.

I stopped in Red Deer for gas and to buy a tube to pull behind the boat and arrived at Birch Bay around 1425.  Orams had already launched the boat up the shore and came in to get Zippy and me. 

We inflated the tube and took turns riding around for a while, then fished a bit.  Chris caught a nice pike, but it got away.

We returned home for supper.  While that was being prepared, Chris and I changed the oil and checked the outboard over.

We were all tired from our afternoon on the water and went to bed early.

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Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Albert Einstein

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Sunday September 13th, 2015

Today Cloudy. A few showers beginning this morning. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Amount 5 mm. High 16.
Tonight Showers. Risk of a thunderstorm early this evening. Amount 5 mm. Low 7.

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I'm at Gull Lake this morning, planning to get home to work on the bees.  I have to remove excess honey and boxes and insert Apivar.

I am thinking that the two hives we sampled on Bee Day may have been, by chance, the worst in the yard since I am not seeing varroa in drone brood opened when separating boxes, further DWV, or snot brood.

The weather forecast is for a cooler day with some rain.  That may be a good thing as I have been finding the warm days oppressive and the bees more active than ideal for the job.  Cooler days contract the cluster and make removing top boxes easier.  I have a lot to do in the next few days.

*    *    *    *    *

I arrived home at around 1300 and settled in.  I'm a bit tired from the drive.  I'll be going out to the bees shortly.  My friends dropped off some Apivar, so I can take care of that job as I go.

Although I can treat each hive as I work through it, It is easiest to prepare a group of hives first and insert Apivar into a series of hives at once.  To handle Apivar, I have to put on gloves, separate the strips, and insert toothpicks.  At the same time, I have to get the formic pads laid out, and make sure they will not drip on the bees.

I have to know which side of each pad is perforated since it has to go down if the pads are right against a pillow as they are in doubles.  Otherwise the plastic will block evaporation. 

I am using Dri-loc 40s, I think, and I should have gotten Dri-loc 50s.  I calculated 40 ml per pad, but after they absorbed all they would am finding I have to pour off some of the acid from the pail so that the pads are not too wet.

Some pads are going into seconds in triples with the brood all in  the second and with a third box above.  In that case which side is up does not matter, but for the doubles, I am finding that determining the perforated side of each pad is difficult.  Although the pads have printing on one side, it bleaches off quickly and the only way to know is to take a close look for  the holes and they can be hard to spot. If I had been thinking, I would have made sure that all pads were placed the same side up in the acid bucket.  Next time.

*    *    *    *    *

While settling in, I somehow found myself on my Twitter page.  I have had Twitter forever, but never have found much use for it.

I have been using Facebook, but find I am flooded by stuff I don't want and have to stop following some people or groups.  

On Twitter, today, I decided to follow a number of people and subjects and keep with up it for a few days.  I also unfollowed several that were flooding my feed with irrelevant (to me) tweets.

Checking Twitter direct messages today, I clicked on a nasty link. 

I know better, and I did, in fact, look at the status bar for the target address as I hovered over the link, but not closely enough.

Although the URL started with "CNET...", there were more words  before the dot and the domain was ".info" not ".com".  Also the URL ended in a  gibberish directory.  

Thank goodness I routinely inoculate my HOSTS file with Malwarebytes and Spybot.  The result was a harmless 404, not a malicious site being displayed in my browser and a possible hijack

Be careful out there!!

*    *    *    *    *

It is cool out, and taking boxes off should go well, but I'll have to avoid chilling bees.    Dropping bees onto cold wet grass could be fatal.  They would not get warmed again.

I went out around 1600 or 1630 and counted the remaining hives.  I counted about fifty, including some swarms in equipment stacks and an occasional dead hive -- identified by junk on the landing board and wasps coming and going.

I am watching for signs of disease as I go and am seeing nothing significant.  Although I saw DWV in a hive back on Bee Day, none has been apparent and other than occasional cells of chalk and sacbrood.

It is amazing how easy beekeeping is if you are not really trying.  It looks as if I have seventy hives again. 

I split very heavily this spring, let the hives raise queens.  Back in late July, many were queenless and I was wondering how many would remain so.   Very few did.  Almost all hives are plugged with happy-looking bees and all weigh several hundred pounds. Some have made several supers of surplus honey.

I've been wondering if I can complete pulling honey and treating in the time I have left before leaving, but I did eleven hives in an hour or so and if I can keep this up, it should be easy.

I'm not pulling all the honey, but leaving the hives heavy.  I'm pulling them down to three high or two in some cases.

I won't have to feed, that is for certain.

I went back out and worked through more hives.  The delay from taking a break cost me progress, though, because I only managed to do five more before a storm moved in and I had to quit for the day.

At right is an example of how auger holes come in handy.  I pulled the honey super and sat it on top of the lid.  The bees are walking down into the hive below.

They will abandon this way, following a scent trail, since the weather is warm enough, but would not if they had to fly since the young bees don't know the way.  I can tell because the hive was plugged and the bees were settled down in a semi-stupor.

At left is a little swarm I did not  think would amount to much back in late July.  I gave it two boxes, mostly of foundation.

The queen, it seems, turned out to be a prolific yellow Italian type.  (Where did that come from in a yard of Saskatraz descendants?  A throwback?)  Anyhow, she drew all that comb and left her daughters hanging out big time.  I had to add another box today.  I gave them a box of empty brood comb on top and am confident they have time to  fill and arrange it in the remaining month before nasty weather sets in.  I would not do that with most other hives.

Beside that monster stands a six-storey swarm hive (not shown) that I had thought would turn out to be an epic hive.  Today it has only seven frames of bees and a little brood.

With swarms, sometimes the queen proves to be old and goes nowhere, and sometimes she is a winner.  I don't have the time  or ambition to check every swarm and see.  I take my chances and usually the bees supersede if the queen is a dud, but in short-season country, that does not always happen in time to build up for winter. 

A beekeeper can choose to spend a lot of time making sure to catch the failures early and to speed up things the bees will do naturally, or let nature take care of things. Both approaches work, and for me letting the bees work through their own issues seems to pay off.  I have to pick up more deadouts, but have less than half the work of the other approach.

My good fortune rests partly on having good stock.  I never see any AFB, but often see or hear about hobby beekeepers whose hives have broken down badly with AFB.

I don't know for sure, but I am quite certain that problem comes from buying non-hygienic queens or being in an area where those stocks predominate.  I am fortunate that my friends who have supplied me with cells and queens in the past are very savvy beekeepers, select well, and buy from only from good sources.

Sometimes  when I don't pack the smoker down, it starts smoking freely in a breeze and I am realizing lately that the wind sometimes carries that smoke from an idling smoker towards me.

At other times, when I smoke a hive, dense smoke comes back onto me, and I have not been at all aware of how much smoke I have been breathing until now.

What got me thinking about this was reports a few weeks back that the haze in Calgary from forest fires hundreds of miles away had filled the Calgary hospital emergency rooms with respiratory and heart patients.  I happened to be in a cardiac unit at the time, myself.  Coincidence?

On the worst of the smoky days, I could smell smoke, even in the cardiac unit deep in the bowels of Red Deer hospital  When I had a chance to look outside, the smoke was obvious but visibility was at last ten miles and the smoke density was nothing like what I routinely breathe from my smoker when the wind shifts.

So far my ticker is not complaining since that event, but I am increasingly thinking that the smoke from my smoker can be hazardous and contributed to my event.  It seems odd and suspicious to me that my event happened one day after an active day in the bee yard (the day the above picture was taken) and after several hours of bee work the next day.

These days I am making a point of keeping the smoker tamped down more to limit idle smoke, watching where I place the smoker, and ducking the smoke when I can.

Today I remembered that in fall when I was taking off empty supers and supers of honey at the end of the season, and I found there were bees up top but that it was  too cool or late in the day to blow them onto the ground, I used to chase bees down into the bottom boxes by blowing down through the spaces between frames with a bee blower.  It usually worked very well as long as there was clearance and bees were mobile. This method kept the bees calm and in the hive.

Tomorrow, I'll have to take out the blower.

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Relax & clear your mind if someone is speaking, so that you're receptive to what they're saying.
Roger Ailes

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Monday September 14th, 2015

Today Periods of rain. Amount 5 mm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 11.
Tonight Periods of rain. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Low 8.

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I just realised that I have one less day to get the bee work done than I had  thought.  Somehow, although I reserved to fly on Wednesday, I was thinking Thursday.

Added to that, the weather has turned wet and cool, so I'll have to see what I can and can't do.  I'm finding that I am limited in how much work I can do in a day.

I may have to repeat last year's neglect and simply let the hives go into winter as they are.  Last year I did nothing after the end of August and the bees did well, but this year I detected high varroa levels in some hives and that has had me worried.

The biggest issue in  my mind, other than varroa, is that some hives have wood boxes on top because I ran out of EPS boxes at a critical time.  I have EPS boxes now, but there are supers of honey in wood and dealing with them is maybe more than I can manage.

All things considered, though, the biggest single factor in successful wintering is the state -- nutritionally and population-wise -- of the colony going into winter.  From what I can see right now, most of my colonies look excellent.

At 0920, it is raining heavily, so I won't be working on hives for a while.

It rained all morning and into the afternoon.  I was not feeling very well anyhow and even if it cleared, I was wondering how much bee ork I could do.

At 1400, I drove to Red Deer to look at my transmission and it is clear that it will need quite a bit of work.  I noticed that the weather was clear up there and if it rained, they did not get much.

I returned home and encountered steady rain again south of Elnora.  As I arrived home, Fen texted and invited me to supper, so I drove over.  Emil was there as were Betty and the girls.  Bert arrived later.

At 2045, I drove home, being careful not to get the car too dirty on the muddy back  roads.

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It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.
H. L. Mencken

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Tuesday September 15th, 2015

Today Rain ending near noon then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light near noon. High 13. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy overnight with 30 percent chance of showers. Fog patches overnight. Low plus 5.

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I am tired today and I have been tired for days now.  It seems that after a good day with the bees, I have a day when I can 't seem to do much, and I have lots left to do.  It is clear, too that I won't get everything done by the time I leave tomorrow.

I think I have been kidding myself about how much I can do and will have to depend on my friends for help finishing up or just leave it for now.  The problem is that the top boxes are packed with honey that my friends could use and I do not need honey plugging my brood combs -- and I have run out of time.

Some time ago, I committed to helping a friend in BC for the next week.  Flights have been reserved and plans made. 

Austin's boat dropped her keel in the slip and he needs to recover it and set the boat right.

I sailed that boat a few times, with Austin and Pam, by myself, and with family.  I also attended the most recent survey a few years back  when we hauled the boat and had it examined from stem to stern. 

Since 2008, though the boat has been floating in her slip, neglected and earlier this year, Austin received word that the lower part of the keel had dropped off and the boat is listing.

I could conceivably finish the bees next week when I get back, but by then the extracting line will be washed and put away.  I'm also wondering about the wisdom of stressing myself physically and emotionally over the bees.

If the weather had held now, I might have finished.  As it is, I have worked on about thirty of the seventy or so hives standing, but today looks to be another bad day for beekeeping and I leave tomorrow.

I'm realizing, too, that maybe I am still recovering from my episode and should take it easier.  The fact that each time I put in a big day lately, I felt 'off' the the next day is a big hint.  I attribute some of that to smoke, but maybe over-exertion is a factor, too.  As well, the pressure to finish up has been adding stress, and that is not a good thing.

So, I called up Joe and he will come over tomorrow with some helpers and will deal with my bee problem.  It should only take them a few hours at most.  This is not the first time these guys have bailed me out.  They are the best friends anyone could ask for.

That's a load off my mind.

Today I have to get tidy, get ready, pack, and check out my various surveillance systems. Leaves have grown up in front of several cameras and I see one is acting up.

The purple in the image from one camera turned out to be a bad connection.  I adjusted the installation and all is well.

I've been feeling crappy on and off all day.  At one point, I almost went to the hospital to be checked out, but I figure I'd just be kept there for a few hours and sent home. 

The problem is that I have a bad left shoulder and it has always bothered me, especially after muscling the snow blower around in winter 2013/14 and cranking the winches on Cassiopeia.

Now that I had a heart issue, I am very sensitive to any sensation in my left shoulder and chest and worry about things that would have never bothered me before.  Worry is not good.  A good sign, though, is that when I get active I feel better, so maybe I have just been sitting too much.

The sun came out around 1430 and I could have worked on bees, but I have decided to let my friends take over and not to overdo things.

I checked the car battery since I had noticed that it seemed to be low ever since I bought the car in spite of being trickle-charged and the car having been driven a lot.   I need the car to start tomorrow and also after sitting in the airport lot for up to a week and it did not seem to hold a charge. 

The reading was only 8.5 volts and that is not good, so I priced batteries in Three Hills and took a drive to town.  I replaced the battery on the spot out back at the NAPA store, picked up some ice cream on sale and drove home. I put the charger on trickle overnight just to be sure.

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Winners lose much more often than losers.
So if you keep losing but you're still trying, keep it up! You're right on track.
Matthew Keith Groves

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Wednesday September 16th, 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers near noon. High 15. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing before morning. Low minus 1 with frost.

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I slept in today and that is a surprise since I am always up early on a departure day.  Today, I awoke at 0630.  That left me three hours to shower, eat, pack and generally get ready to leave, including time to meet with Joe about my bees.  He was expected at 0900.

I was ready a bit early and he was a bit late.  That gave me time to check the battery again and I found it was taking a charge still which surprised me and made me wonder if I have an electrical leak. 

I checked for leakage current by pulling a terminal connection and inserting an ammeter.  It read 0.7V which is definitely a leak until I realised that the automatic hood light was on. When I lowered the hood, the reading was 0.082 which is normal for a vehicle with remote entry. 

At an 80 mA draw like this, it would take 1250 hours or 52 days to completely empty a new fully charged 100 AH battery. 

Of course a lead-acid battery should never be discharged below 50%, so it is obvious that any modern vehicle should not sit for more than a few weeks without being driven, being charged, or without disconnecting the battery.  That assumes a new battery charged to full capacity.  After a month many typical batteries would be dead.

I met with Joe and we looked over the hives, then I drove to The Mill to drop Zippy off. She did not want to get out of the car.  She knew I was going somewhere and wanted to go with me.  I had to give her a little tug.

I was a little behind schedule by then, and rushed a bit the rest of the way, arriving at Park and Jet in good time.  The shuttle was quite quick and I was at YYC exactly an hour early.  I checked my bag and went through Nexus security to the lounge. There was no message up at my gate and I checked my departure.  That was when I realized that I was two hours early, not one.

I've been making more than my usual number of mistakes lately, or maybe it just seems that way.  No matter, I am here and it gave me a chance to catch up on the diary since I did not do anything except rush to be ready to go earlier this morning.

My flight left early and arrived at YYJ fifteen minutes early.  My bag was on the carousel when I got there and I caught the first cab in the lineup to Port Sidney Marina.  My boat was open and clean and ready to go.  I met Amber the cleaner, then later, Rick the handyman.

I have all afternoon to wait for Austin and Pam.  It is just as well.  It takes me two hours to unpack and inspect the boat.  That being done, I have another two hours until they arrive.  I have the Cooper van and will run over to get them at YYJ.  I'll have a little nap perhaps and I'll put up the side curtains.

I don't know why people put them away.  I think they are nuts, but they are the clients, so they call the shots when they are chartering.  Is chartering a good deal for everyone?  I'd say so.  This boat would cost me a fortune to tie up, maintain and insure without some help from charter fees. 

Do clients wear the boat out?  Not really.  Most are very careful.  Boats deteriorate more if they sit idle and unattended and any damage on charter is professionally repaired at no cost to me. 

Yes, the upholstery gets dirtier and worn, and the interior varnish gets a few scuffs, but all that is repairable. 

I see now that a jib sheet is frayed and that will cost a hundred or two, but that is nothing in the scheme of things when a day's charter costs six or seven hundred. (Of course I don't get all that money.  The charter firm gets a cut).  I'm lucky to break even at the end of the year, and I do, depending on  how we figure costs, but if I did not charter, I'd be deep in  the hole and -- have no friendly faces to maintain the boat meticulously, then be on hand to greet me on my arrival.

I began zipping in the side windows and soon discovered that half of them were missing.  Drat!  Everyone is gone for the day so that means I wait until tomorrow.  I have to wait until people come to work and then it takes a while to install the curtains -- and I have to hit the Narrows on time.  It'll all work out.

Without the enclosure (right), the helmsman is exposed to the elements. Not only that, I like to sit up top in the greenhouse warmth of the enclosure at dusk and watch the sun go down.

I borrowed the company van and went uptown, had a bowl of soup for supper, bought a few items, then drove to YYJ and picked up Austin and Pam. 

We returned to Sidney and stopped at Fairway for groceries, then drove to the Marina found two wheelbarrows, and walked to the boat.

We put the groceries away, they made up their bed and that was it for the day.

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Winners lose much more often than losers.
So if you keep losing but you're still trying, keep it up! You're right on track.
Matthew Keith Groves

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Thursday September 17th, 2015

Frost advisory in effect.
Tonight
A few clouds. Low zero with patchy frost.

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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

We were up around 0730.  As it turned out, the parts for the enclosure were on board all along, but hidden at the back of a locker.  Callum helped us assemble it and we were away by 1000 in light rain.

We motored to Cowichan Bay where we stopped for bread, cheese and wine, then continued up through Sansum Narrows to Birdseye Cove.

We sailed a bit once we passed Oyster Point, then motored in to Maple Bay Marina where I dropped Austin and Pam so they could work on their boat.  While I waited to hear from them, I dropped anchor across the bay at Birdseye Cove where we will spend the night.

Around 1700, I dinghied across and picked them up.  By then, they had Saga ready to travel to the lift tomorrow and we returned to Cassiopeia for supper.

Supper was late.  Pam made spaghetti and salad and we ate up top and watched the light fade.

I was tired, retired to my cabin and watched video for a while and then called it a day.

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Friday September 18th, 2015

Today Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness late this afternoon. High 18. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low plus 4 with risk of frost.

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I awoke several times during the night and checked our position on my handheld GPS as is my custom when at anchor.   We drifted around a bit with the wind and tide (right) but never stretched the chain or triggered the alarm.

I experienced some congestion several times overnight and am now thinking it may be either cheese or bread that triggers it.  I don't eat either cheese or bread in the evening often at home, but do when with these two.

I awoke and got up at 0630, had breakfast and now Austin and I will be checking on Saga to see when she will go to the lift.

We all dinghied across.  Austin and Pam worked on Saga and while they did that, I wandered into the chandlery.  There, I came across the man who was waiting for the keel to be lifted so he could haul the boat.  That was going to keep him around all day since they were waiting of the tide and a contractor.  The tide turn was six hours away and so was the contractor, by boat.

Between us, we decided we could lift the keel with one of my winches and not wait around, so I returned to Cassiopeia, weighed anchor and maneuvered into the slip where the keel was embedded in the mud.  We tied onto the rope a diver had attached to the sunken keel and ran a line back to my biggest winch.

With both Austin and myself manning the crank, we managed to raise the keel off the bottom enough that it cleared and I carried and dragged it over to the lift. 

Mission accomplished!

I returned to my anchorage, had lunch and a nap, then caught up with the diary.

The others came back and we decided to cruise over to Thetis Island for the night, so we raised anchor and motored over to top up the water at Austin's slip ay Maple Bay Marina.  No sooner did we  get into position to fill and the wharfinger came along and complained, so we left without topping up.

The day was warm, but mostly overcast and the wind from 190degrees to our course at about seven knots, so we sailed a bit, wing on wing with the main by the lee, but with with a strong preventer on, making up to four knots at times.  The wind died six miles out and we motored the last hour, arriving well before dark.

Thetis Island pub is one of those spots not to miss, so we zipped up the enclosure and walked to the pub for a snack and a beer.  Paul, the owner joined us and we had a great time swapping tales and I firmed up a few last details for the upcoming Bluewater Cruising Association Thanksgiving Rendezvous we hold here next month with Paul.

I had one beer more than I anticipated when Paul brought a sample of the brew for the upcoming meet, but it was a light beer and I did not seem affected.  We closed the bar and walked back to the boat, then turned in for the night.

Where to next?  Silva Bay on Gabriola?  Newcastle? Granville Island?  Tomorrow will tell.

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They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol

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Saturday September 19th, 2015

Tonight Mainly cloudy. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 7.

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

It was raining when I woke up.  I charted a few possibilities while I waited for the others to get up.  I wanted to make a pass -- Gabriola,  at slack, so we pulled out as soon as everyone was up, but as it turned out, the slack had passed and the next slack was around 1500.  We sailed to Gabriola Pass and pulled into Degnen Bay to wait.  I dropped anchor and we settled in.

Pam cooked curried chicken and while she did that, I circled the bay in the dinghy and Austin rested. 

We ate, and after lunch I had a nap while the others went to shore and walked to the petroglyphs

I washed dishes and caught up with this page and email.

It was near sundown when they returned.  We had wine and cheese and retired early.  I watch a bit of video each evening before going to sleep.

I awoke several times during the night and found the wind was up and we were swinging in large circles. 

The hatches were open all night and we were warm without any supplementary heat or warm clothing.  I'm used to cool weather sailing here and not needing to use the furnace is a novelty for me.

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Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

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