Sep 08 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Cortes Harbour

We slept late on Saturday morning: our destination was only a few miles away, south on Cortes Island at the Seattle Yacht Club’s northernmost outpost in Cortes Harbor. After malingering aboard, Glenn and I set out for the oyster beds to replenish our cache of shellfish. Slippery rocks and shallow waters made it difficult but …

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Sep 07 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Squirrel Cove

Friday was a “day on your own” for the fleet, and vessels departed to various points of the compass. We decided to head southwards to a midsize cove on West Redonda Island known as Teakerne Arm, where we arranged to rendezvous with Bob Eichler, a recent member of NYYC that Glenn has sponsored and I …

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Sep 06 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Dent Island

We decided to rise early (0630) to get a quick start northward to Dent Island. Although the journey would only be 2.5 hours, we needed to pass through a channel near the end called Yuculta Rapids – and we had been warned that rapids, they were. Several adjacent channels funneled their ingoing and outgoing tides …

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Sep 05 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Grace Harbor

On Wednesday we rose late, and decided to relocate from Prideaux Haven to a cove called Grace Harbor, a few miles back towards the entrance to Desolation, where Kristal Dockery had mentioned that Surfbird would re-anchor. But when we arrived at midday, after a short hour’s cruise, they weren’t to be seen. We couldn’t raise …

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Sep 04 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Desolation Sound and Prideaux Haven

On Tuesday we finally arrived in Desolation Sound, after about 5 hours cruising northwest from Pender Harbor. While Glenn usually handles the boat in close quarters at the marinas, I skippered for most of the passages, which involved little more than an occasional change of direction at waypoints on the route. I was also the …

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Sep 03 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Garden Bay (northbound)

We rose at 0700 to back out of our metal-covered housing and exit Vancouver Harbor. This time, however, we made a turn to the north: our destination was 50 miles and 5 hours away in Garden Bay at Pender Harbor and the docks of the RVYC outstation. The mountains on either side of the Strait …

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Sep 02 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Vancouver (northbound)

Cast off a 0930 to make the transit of Porlier Passage, which needed to be timed to match slack tide because of strong currents. As we approached we spied several vessels of our fleet making the same transit. Once through without incident, we settled in for a long two hour crossing of the Strait of …

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Sep 01 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Salt Spring Harbor

On Saturday morning we ate quickly, and Glenn returned the rental car. I made a final run to the grocery for a pair of jeans – more appropriate wear for the cool days to come. And with that, we were off. We rounded Portage Island, cruised north in Hale Passage and turned west at the …

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Aug 31 2012

Desolation Sound Cruise: Bellingham

Today was the day to begin the NYYC Desolation Sound cruise. Rose at dawn to catch the Newark-Seattle flight, where I connected with Glenn Fuller and Tom Carroll at baggage claim and loaded up a rental car for the 2 hour drive to Bellingham. San Juan Yachting had arranged for us to charter a 52′ …

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Aug 30 2012

Curiousity leaves Morse code in its tracks

Curiosity talks to itself as it drives around the surface of Mars by leaving Morse code for “JPL” imprinted in its tracks to help refine its navigation.  NASA – Rover Leaves Tracks in Morse Code

Jun 11 2012

NASA’s view of the transit of Venus

NASA has compiled a series of solar videos into a terrific short movie of the transit of Venus on June 5…  

May 18 2012

Strong passwords that aren’t passwords

Creating usable passwords that resist cracking and yet are memorable is becoming an increasing burden, given how many sites, devices, and messaging systems we all now use. The trick is not to use a password, but a passphrase, and to encode it with symbols, not merely numbers and letters. It’s longer to type but by …

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Apr 26 2012

Spirals found on Mars: fire versus ice

Geologists disagree whether the odd spiral shapes in recent photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are caused by lava flows or by evaporating ice. via Huge Spirals Found on Mars—Evidence of New Lava Type?

Apr 17 2012

Arduino: control your world

I’ve been waiting for device control as the next big wave of home computing: tie the brains of the ubiquitous computer to the electrical and electronic tools that surround us, such as HVAC systems, telephone systems, lighting, etc. But to my surprise there’s been little of this to emerge, other than limited systems like X10. …

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Apr 15 2012

Quantum levitation

Hmmm! Rather “cool” video of quantum locking of superconducting magnets. IOW, magnets that float and move in a locked position relative to other magnets. via Quantum Levitation 

Apr 15 2012

Most store honey…isn’t pure honey

Food Safety News performed a series of lab tests at Texas A&M University to learn if the labeling on honey sold in major stores was reliable. Why is this important? Because “ultra filtered” honey, which sounds more pure, actually isn’t: Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced …

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Apr 13 2012

Charleston’s tiniest house

The tiniest house in Charleston, SC, at Reid and America. Known as the “House of the Future” (eek), it was designed by David Hammons as an art entry for the 1991 Spoleto Festival. It’s maintained by the contractor to this day. Keep your elbows in. via charleston sc – Google Maps.

Apr 13 2012

Worrisome charts on the Spanish economy

Even though the debt/GDP ratio is middle of the road for the Eurozone (less even than Germany’s), the unemployment stats and other social indicators are alarming. [warning][/warning] via Chart On The Spanish Economy 

Apr 13 2012

Alcohol sharpens the mind

Eureka! Drink up. The drinking group solved nearly 40 per cent more problems than the others, and took an average of 12 seconds compared to the 15.5 seconds needed by sober subjects. via Alcohol sharpens the mind, research finds

Apr 09 2012

Kitchen tricks

Love it. Squeeze pancake batter from a ketchup bottle, decant wine in a blender, and peel garlic by just smashing it. Elegant? No. Right to the point? You bet. via Top 10 Crazy Kitchen Tricks That Speed Up Your Cooking