Archive for January, 2009

Airborne annoyances

January 15th, 2009 | Category: Travel,Work

Here’s a wing.  Look at the pretty wing.  I like wings.  I sometimes get a few moments, when conducting one of these oceanographic missions, to contemplate things like this.

But wait… what’s special about this one?  Let’s take a closer look:

Yes kids, that’s ice.  Ice is bad.  It makes wings go away, kind of.  And we like wings, remember?  The speed of ice formation was rather dramatic – less than five minutes, and it seemed to accelerate rapidly, building upon itself.  Here’s a stop-motion look:

You can learn something about the internal structure of the spinner cone by looking at this; it must have struts or ribs underneath that conduct heat away, or perhaps surface irregularities that cause local pressure changes that induce crystal formations.  Whatever the cause, it is neat.  Neat in that detached way you can have when you’re inside the aircraft and it’s changing altitudes repeatedly in an effort to get rid of said ice, and you can tell that you’re just a few minutes away from having a real aviation crisis.  But until then, it’s just neat.

Let’s take a look at the tail’s horizontal stabilizer.  It’s iced up pretty good!  I could actually see the ice thickening.

Eventually, our de-icing system worked, the ice fell off, and all was well.  No crisis.  Neat!

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Horne Lake

January 12th, 2009 | Category: Pacific Northwest,Travel

While driving from Courtenay to Nanaimo (along the North coast of Vancouver Island) I noticed a small road sign about caves.  I had wanted to see some caves here; there are many on the island.  So having a few hours to spare, I followed the sign on a whim.  As the paved road transitioned into a potholed dirt forest track, the scenery became more and more beautiful.

Probably due to the weather (cold, overcast, snowy) there were almost no people around, although a few die-hards were up in the mountains fishing.  They asked me what I thought of Obama.  I told them that he looked pretty good now, almost everyone seems ecstatic about his presidency, and at least he isn’t an embarrassment to us!

A bird zoomed out of the mysterious fog and into the wierd light.

The Horne lake area is very close to populated areas – only 10 miles away or so – and even so, it looks like this.  I would love to see parts of the island that are really far away from towns, such as the north-west end.  Maybe some day.

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Royston Derelict Ship Jetty

January 08th, 2009 | Category: Pacific Northwest,Travel

Just south, or east of te town of Courtenay, BC, in the area of Royston, lies an old jetty made from abandoned ships.  It’s a little hard to find – you have to take tiny Hilton road, which is about 2 miles south/east of Courtenay on the north side of the main road (19A).

I had crappy light, but i did what i could.

I’ll have to find out more about how these ships got here, but for now, here are some pictures.  Some of the hulks were clearly steel sailing ships, probably like the Moshulu in Philadelphia.

The skeletal remains of a wharf stretch into the foggy landscape.


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To Dive, or Not to Dive?

January 07th, 2009 | Category: Pacific Northwest,scuba,Travel

Here’s a few images of the weather conditions up here.  The snow is worse than it’s been in decades.  The water temperature is around 8C (46F).  The air temperature is 0C (32F), plus or minus a degree or two.  It alternately rains and snows, and the 40-70 knot winds whip the waves into a frenzy of streaking, foaming rollers, depositing a layer of salt foam on the beach.  If I jump and spread my arms, I get carried a few inches by the wind.

I got up early and drove to the dive shop, but we decided to call it.  Obviously!  Not really safe.  Or fun, in those conditions.

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The Old House Hotel in Courtenay, BC

January 07th, 2009 | Category: Pacific Northwest,Travel

Some shots of my nice digs while working in BC this week.  I’ve got a suite with a fireplace, laundry, dishwasher, heated floors, a little porch, internet, etc.  It’s right next to a path that can take you a few miles for daily exercise.  i see eagles every day.

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Vancouver Westin

January 03rd, 2009 | Category: Pacific Northwest,Travel

I’m working in British Columbia, a few days in Vancouver and more time in the Courtenay valley of Vancouver Island (which has nothing to do with Vancouver the city).  Here are some shots from my hotel room in Vancouver.  It’s pretty nice here, even in the winter (cold, but scenic).

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