Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pompeii - the movie

From the opening to the very end this is a great movie.  Kit Harington plays Milo the Celt who sees his family killed by the Romans but lives to be a slave to them fighting for their entertainment.  Emily Browning plays the Pompeii lady, Cassia, who is desired by the Roman Senator Corvus played so diabolically by Keifer Sutherland.  Adewalle Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Atticus the gladiator who joins Milo fighting to the end for freedom. The cast is huge with Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss being particularly stellar. The set is truly inspiring.  The plot is really a love story in a tragedy.  Horses and sword fighting and special effects.  I loved Milo and Cassia.  Paul Anderson is a sorcerer who makes the screen play of Janet Scott Batchelor, Lee Batchler, and Michael Robert Johnson a living tribute to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time.  This 2014 German Canadian film is truly a must see.  It could only have been better if I had seen it in 3D.

William Hay, Writer: Volvo Penta D2-40 Marine Diesel Engine, Sailboat H...

William Hay, Writer: Volvo Penta D2-40 Marine Diesel Engine, Sailboat H...: My 39.9 foot steel cutter rigged 13 ton sailboat, SV GIRI, needed to have a new engine.  The great Yanmar 26.6 hp workhorse had seen better ...

Volvo Penta D2-40 Marine Diesel Engine, Sailboat Heart and Love

My 39.9 foot steel cutter rigged 13 ton sailboat, SV GIRI, needed to have a new engine.  The great Yanmar 26.6 hp workhorse had seen better days.  I’d had it rebuilt once.  It’d taken out the injectors myself on several occasions and had them restored.  I’d replaced the alternators a couple of times at least. I’d had  the starter motor replaced twice.  I’d completely replaced the water cooling system.  Yet never had I complained about the engine demanding maintenance, care and repair.  It did a tremendous amount of work over a quarter century of use and served me well. Maybe even saved my life on occasion.  When it began to leak oil and the bill for repair was going to be $7000, it simply was time to face the facts.
At that time, my engineer sailing buddy, Tom, noted the same engine with very very low mileage up for sale second hand.  I was in a recurrent boat crisis of whether to sell or sink my boat rather than throw good money after bad. All the money I’ve put in the GIRI has been good money mind you, but it’s like a marriage.  A guy just gets tired of stoking the engine only to hear more complaining.   I thought to sell the boat knowing that one simply doesn’t get any return on used boats.  Because I’ve divorced too many times I’ve learned the same thing goes for women. My next marriage wasn’t any better than the last except that I was older and saw my mistakes more clearly.
The women were great, obviously. I married them as the best of the best. It's all about wear and tear. Personally I guess I'm like the marine environment. Caustic. Maybe I could have paid better attention to maintenance on the Yanmar and got even more years of life out of her. I certainly know that was true for my marriages. Without lawyers and in laws,  in the typical recurrent boaters marriage to their boat I had a reverse of heart. I found myself looking nostalgically at the old girl especially after others remarked on her loyalty and virtue.
In for a penny, in for a pound.  The second hand Yanmar was no longer available.  I was a little concerned anyway about inheritting somebody else’s  problems.  The engine is the heart of a sailboat.  It’s not just propulsion, especially for crossing bars and going against currents, its the generator for all the boats lights, communication,radar, winches and electronics.
Stem to Stern Marine Services ( are real engine specialists.  These are the folk that had been selling me Yanmar parts for years and advising me.  We’d talked about replacing my engine for a couple of years at the Vancouver Boat Show too.  The Vancouver Boat Show is one of the great places where the greatest authorities in the industry are generally just standing around willing to talk to you.  Any other time these engineers and mechanics are neck deep in orders and work so aren’t as able to chat and jaw.
Having committed once again to the SV GIRI, remembering sailing solo to Hawaii through winter storms to the sultry trade winds,  dreaming again of circumnavigating the world, sailing again to Mexico at least,   or finally visiting Australia, or just going fishing up by Lund, I got into the shop and talked to Ben and the rest of the folk at Stem to Stern.  The men are handsome, strong and intelligent while the women are beautiful and obviously very smart indeed. They love dogs, too so Gilbert thinks them a better class of folk, like the Queen with her corkies. It was an interesting experience because I went back several times. Each time I asked them one of the specialists which engine they recommended and after much discussion each  in the shop steered me to the Volvo.
The D2-40 is 4 cylinders. I liked that.  The Yanmar had 3. More cylinders is better.  Cylinders are things of beauty and joy. In a jam I’ve run the Yanmar on 2 cylinders. The cylinder diameter /stroke is 77/81 mm. The compression ratio on the D2 -40 Volvo is 23.5:1. Engine revolutions are 2800  to 3200 rpm.  The crankshaft power is 29.1 KW. This is all very good.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Yanmar. It was a jewel and if I had just replaced it I would have had another jewel.  Like a couple of my wives really. The advantage of the Volvo was that I could get a 10 hp more powerful motor to fit in the same space.  Further Volvo had made improvements in their engine which made it better for the sailor at this power range than the equivalent Yanmar.  It had low cruising rpms, quiet running, low vibrations and exhaust emission.
I never minded the noise of my engine. I feel the same about the sound of my Harley Davidson motorcycle.  I liken it to the sound of a mother’s heart to a baby in the womb. However as my Yanmar aged I confess it vibrated more and the exhaust fumes are a critical factor with an indoor engine.  I had one utterly gorgeous buxom American genius beauty on board who actually complained about the smog in my cabin after we’d been driving some hours on the Strait.  Her concern for her lungs was nearly as great as mine. When Ben mentioned the improvement in exhaust I naturally thought of that smoking hot babe and her lungs.   This was Volvo’s year.
As well, my brilliant sister in law has a Volvo convertible sportscar which is really reliable. We all know everyone with a baby wants a Volvo car because of their concern for safety. I’ve got Gilbert the cockapoo to think of.  The Swedes are great northern designers and know how to make heavy equipment.  The Volvo Group make buses, and  big ass construction equipment . The Swedes are high end manufacturers with the same reputation the Germans have with their BMW’s.  I’d just bought a new Winchester rifle but I’d studied the Swedish equivalents and their technical workmanship is unsurpassed. Friends who have Volvo’s in their blue water sailing boats swear by them too.  Everyone loves their Yanmar but when guys talk about their Volvos they’re just a little more misty eyed. You can hear the violins.
If I consult a specialist, and I trust they’re not just into making more money but really care about customer service like Stem to Stern has over the years,  (and I don’t know a whole whole lot about something except what I research on the internet), frankly,  I  take their advice.  Stem to Stern know their engines.  I took their advice. There was little difference in price but a promise of better satisfaction with better performance. If I'd listened to advice about women wiser men gave me I might have saved myself a divorce or two.
Off shore the question of parts came up.  Yanmar is apparently more available the world over but what I found when I sailed solo to Hawaii was when I needed electronic parts for name brand equipment they still had to send it to me.  That’s the difference today from the old days.  If they don’t have something locally you can have it by Fed Ex  or UPS within a few days. Everything a sailboat needs, all the parts for everything, can be ordered on line from the manufacturer directly if need be.  If I’m cruising I don’t mind hanging out for a day or two or week waiting for a part.  That’s why we call Offshore Cruising, "doing boat work in exotic ports". The fact is, everyone who has the tools for diesel engine repair can fix either machine.  Diesel engines in this regard are like the cars we had up to the 70’s.  I’d been working on my own engines until the computers got added with emission control and all the little mind boggling sensor arrays in the new motors that require special computer programs to monitor.  I’ll carry spares when I cruise and know I’ll be able to fix things if I need to though the beauty of a new engine is you really do get years of worry free life.  
I’ve also got a Hamm radio, Hamm radio license,  and take a Satellite phone offshore with me because I like asking experts for advice when I’m in a jam.
(The psychologist I asked about my marriage though was an idiot and just agreed with me she was a bitch. What woman you're thinking of isn't a bitch when you're thinking of divorcing her. Someone needs to remind you of when you met her her and that first night of love making. No one thinks of that when they're talking to psychologists or lawyers. I think marriage therapists and lawyers should have to give back half the pay if the couple divorce and suddenly we'd see some world class counselling going on rather than all the 'facilitating' divorce that these folks do for personal profit - but I digress. My friends thankfully reminded me of how I loved the GIRI. Of course I'll hate them when I get the bill or the next problem arises.)
When I had problems with my rigging off Vancouver Island I got a radio patch on my Hamm to the best of the best riggers, Pro Tech Yacht Services Vancouver.  They  told me  just what to do with my fouled self furling system .  When the mast broke on the way back from Hawaii I used my Iridium Satellite phone to Eric at Pocomarine Coquitlam BC (  who got me in touch with the right experts to help me complete the ‘mission’.  
 That’s what comes with maturity. I know I’m not alone spiritually or even physically. It’s a global community.  When I was younger, I had something to prove and  wanted to do it ‘my’ way.  Now I’m just  glad to ‘get’r done’.
It was with great pleasure I saw my new Volvo D2-40 installed in my sailboat.  The GIRI is up on the hard in Lynwood. While Stem to Stern was taking the Yanmar Engine out (very respectful of my mahogany cabin too) and putting the Volvo in, I took a couple of days to sand and bottom paint the blessed GIRI adding new zincs.  Ben wasn’t comfortable with putting my old winter fuel in his brand new engine so we had the fuel scrubbed too. The old shaft was buggered a bit by fights with logs so I got a new shaft to go with the new engine.  Added to that my pre engine fuel filters and bilge pumps weren’t working as well as Ben would have them. I knew that. One of the two bilge pumps was intermittent because of a short and one of the two pre fuel filters was only half working. I’d been planning on getting around to repairing them, relying in the meantime on one. Offshore double and triple redundancy are necessary. Still,
I liked that Ben didn’t want my new engine drowned in bilge or with shitty fuel going into the new baby.  Of course I encouraged him to make the improvements.  No sense putting a new diaper on a baby if you’re not going to clean the bottom. Just like Ben I wanted this new Volvo to smell sweet from day one and give me years of joy.  Best to listen to the experts.
The Volvo Penta D2 - 40 sure is pretty.  Sea trials are set for this week.  The SV GIRI is looking especially pleased with her new heart and with her bottom all shiny and clean.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eve Lazarus and Canadian Authors Association

Eve Lazarus is not only a brilliant and talented journalist she's extremely attractive and a very articulate  and captivating story teller.
Margot Bates, president of our Vancouver CAA branch,  introduced her at the latest monthly Canadian Authors Association meeting at the Howe Streets Arts Alliance.  Jean Kay had just announced our short story writer contest with cash prizes and called for material for this years Anthology.

Eve Lazarus, a truly professional writer and award winning business writer, is author of several books. These are Sensational Vancouver, Sensational Victoria, At Home with History, Life and Art of Frank Molnar, and Frommer's with Kids Vancouver.

Her idea, which isn't all that novel  after you've heard it, (like so many great ideas) was that houses have stories. Being a great researcher she hunted through archives and libraries and actually visited owners, and sons and granddaughters of owners. This gave rise to "At Home with History: The Secrets of Greater Vancouver's Heritage Homes."  In British Columbia, especially Victoria and Vancouver, we have a variety of grand old mansions and unusual little cottages with the most intriguing histories.  Eve Lazarus wrote about the mysteries that occurred in some, the scandals in others.  Sometimes she about  ghosts, sometimes murders, or sometimes, just the famous people that made a house history. One thing lead to another after her first book on houses.  Her latest book is Sensational Vancouver with lots more pictures. She even developed a tourist map of the Emily Carr house and environs. 

I liked her stories of the ships captains, rum runners, rock musicians, gun toting politicians and famous sons.  She's such a gifted raconteur that I found myself thinking that listening to her was like be at a house party with perhaps Mark Twain, the Bronte Sisters  and Edgar Allen Poe thrown in for good measure.  Sensational!

Another great night for writers at the Canadian Authors Association, Vancouver Branch.

Friday, June 20, 2014

North Vancouver - Friday Night - Boating and Market

Gilbert and I took the little boat with the 20 Hp Honda to scoot across Coal Harbour to Lonsdale Quay.  A great evening for boating. At the Quay the Market was happening.  Lots of food vendors and craft tables.  I had the Grilled Cheese special and really enjoyed it. Wall to wall children. Great kid fiddlers I gave loonie too.  A whole level of dogs and children filled the space beneath the adult layer.  Great blue grass feet stomping and hand clapping band, Rosco.  

I had a coffee on the Quay writing a blog about my sailboat’s engine.  Dusk came. I didn’t have my boat lights with me.  Didn’t even have Gilbert’s life jacket. It’s on the SV GIRI up on land having a new engine installed.  I remembered thought that as kids we’d never had life jackets for our dogs and they’d survived.  I just took more caution driving.  We headed back to the boat.  A pleasant ride across Coal Harbour with the big boat’s lights coming on like stars.  A lovely evening.  

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Yanmar 26 hp diesel Marine Engine - SV GIRI

The SV GIRI is getting a new engine.  My Yanmar 26 hp diesel was bleeding oil.  It had already been rebuilt once.  The SV GIRI is a 39.9 foot Folkes steel cutter rigged sloop.  This Yanmar was installed with the GIRI at the time she was built in the late 80’s.  Though the GIRI is a sailing vessel, the fact is the Yanmar was definitely her “IRON Jenny”.  A lot of coastal wind is simply not conducive to sailing to schedule.  In the days of wooden sailing boats captains had time to wait for changes of wind. They had no choice. The steam engine ships surpassed the sailing vessels simply because they didn’t rely on the vagaries of wind.
This Yanmar made the journey to the Queen Charlotte Islands a couple of times and saw the coast of Alaska.  The GIRI circled Vancouver Island a couple of times as well. It crossed the Strait of Georgia and sailed the  Coastal Islands and the San Juan Islands countless times.  A favourite weekend for me was motoring to Vancouver to Nanaimo Friday night with autopilot then sailing back wing on wing Sunday afternoon. I can’t say how many times I’ve done that.
Sailing and motoring out to Barkeley Sound was also a great adventure I did a couple of times for the excellent salmon fishing. Then Victoria and Saltpring Islands were all time favourite destinations where dolphins invariably joined me or Killer Whales circled the boat.  Campbell River and  Texada Island to the North, Desolation Sound and beyond Desolation were also favourites.
The Yanmar took me down to coast to San Francisco once with crew and once solo. With crew I sailed to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez where we wintered.  Finally that Yanmar accompanied the GIRI when I sailed her solo 25 days in winter to Hawaii through winter storms.
Then with crew I sailed the Hawaian Islands before coming home again 34 days, slowed a little by breaking of the mast and the need to jury rig a Spanish  tourniquet to do the 1000 km left of the nearly 3000 km passage.
Since then I’ve been sailing and motoring around the Strait of Georgia.  A boat’s engine isn’t just for locomotion.  With the Yanmar my boat speed was predictably 5 knots.  But for trolling for salmon I also used the motor motoring around 2 knots, a speed particularly appealing to salmon and ling cod.  Thanks to that Yanmar I caught a lot of glorious fish trolling over the years.  Off shore we caught the finest tuna cruising with the motor running 2500 rpm at 5 knots. 3000 rpm was Full Open Throttle but I usually ran the engine at 2500.  
The Yanmar also is the boats generator.  Everything electrical on the sailboat relies on energy from banks of batteries:  lights, VHS radio, Hamm Radio depth sounder, anchor winch, windshield wipers, spotlight, down rigger, converter for television, dvd player, computers and iPhones.  Sailing across the ocean with the glory of the the magnificent downwind trades I still charged the batteries with the Yanmar every day for an hour.  When I am at dock I can recharge the batteries with shore power.  I do have a wind generator and solar panels but the diesel engine is the mainstay for generating power.
I loved my Yanmar.  It was a true and wonderful trooper for a quarter century of service.
Now Stem to Stern Marine has the GIRI up on deck. The Yanmar is out of  the GIRI. It's like the heart of the ship has been removed.  Almost sad to see her there.  The Giri’s empty chest waits a new Volvo 40 hp replacement  . I can only hope and pray the Volvo is all my Yanmar has been.
The Yanmar has been an integral part. Thank you Yanmar.  A new engine will be exciting. I'd almost replaced this Yanmar with a newer version but Volvo had a 40 hp that fit the space and this year's Volvo was built more specific for sailors needs than the similar Yanmar. I just hope Volvo will serve me as well and be as friendly as the Yanmar has been. I've bled the engine myself so many times, replaced injectors, water pumps, starters and alternators.  I'll just have to learn the Volvo now.  The Yanmar served me well. Thank you Yanmar for the great workmanship and attention to excellence.
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bear Hunting near Similkameen River

I got away late from the office despite best intentions. I so wanted to miss the Friday rush hour traffic. Did enjoy an episode of CBC Kennedy Ideas.  I didn’t want to set up my tent in the dark.
It’s a new tent though.  Murphy’s Law insists I set up a new tent in the pitch dark.  Thank God for head lights.  
I really did enjoy the drive through Manning Park.  Dusk is very beautiful there.  I was thankful too to fuel up at the Princeton station.  Motels were calling my name.  But I stuck to plan. Almost went over a cliff when I took the wrong logging road turn off.  It had rained and I was on this wet muddy trail in the dark of night, slipping about with my Ford F350 diesel carrying the Yamaha Kodiac 450 ATV on the back.  What I wanted was the clearing by Willis Creek.  I’d seen guys camping there in the fall.  After I got turned around in the tight mud with an overhanging cliff to focus my attention I got to the right logging road.  Sure enough there was the Willis Creek clearing.  Even the game poles were still there.  I could hear frogs so there must have been water near by.  Gilbert probably knew. Once he was out of the truck he was casing the whole area.  I don’t think a branch or leaf wasn’t peed on.
My Mountain Equipment Coop “Fury” is a 4 season tent.  It’s colour coded to help set up.  I couldn’t tell the red from the orange or the light grey from dark.  Thankfully I had a picture.  With the picture as a guide I got it set up in no time.  Air mattresses, Sleeping bag and blanket for Gilbert. He decided when we were in the tent he preferred to sleep on me.
Because I’d drunk too much coffee and had an energy drink on the way up,  I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all the rest of the night, the few hours of it.  Dawn comes early and Gilbert was sitting by my head wanting out.  I let him.  Then followed. The mosquitoes were bad.  The water the frogs were in was a swamp.  A big male moose was waist deep in this pond swamp merrily eating.  Gilbert growled low and stayed near me.  I packed up the tent.  It was starting to rain. The mosquitos were bad. I had difficulty finding the mosquito spray.  I wasn’t going to boil coffee in the rain with mosquitos.  Fresca would have to do.
I loaded up.  Gilbert finally got up the courage to bark when the moose exited the water and headed into the forest. I think my closing the door startled the moose but Gilbert thinks it was his very very low growling and the piece de resistance was the bark.
I drove through the woods in the rain on the logging road.  I saw a coyote.  But no bear.
9 am I found my way to the great little restaurant in the gas station in the Gold Mine town of Hedley.  Coffee was fabulous.  Indoor toilet too!  Then Sausage, eggs and pancakes. More coffee.  The waitress was terrific. I told her about Gilberts’ encounter with the moose.  She laughed.  She gave me the burger paddy I’d ordered for Gilbert on the way out. I headed out to Stem winder Provincial Park. I had the ATV off the truck, a life threatening experience every time, and all set up when the pleasant park lady told me ATV’s weren’t allowed in the provincial park.  So I loaded up the ATV, another life threatening experience, and headed out to the back woods where I unloaded the ATV.
Gilbert and I headed on the ATV back into the mountains.  We got so high the temperature dropped seriously.  I got some nice pictures of the value and river way below.  A herd of cattle were interested in us.  I had cell connection on the top of the mountain so uploaded a selfie to Facebook then headed down into the valley looking for warm.  I found a clearing and killed a can and bottle with the Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light 300 Winmag.  Dead accurate.  If I saw a bear anywhere out to 400 meters I was going to get him. Lots of scat around. Lots of elk scat too. But no actual bear.
I saw an owl and lots of gophers and marmots.  Then on the way back in the evening I saw grouse. I let Gilbert chase one and he was in heaven, doing instinctual high speed circles looking for more after the one had flown.
Now I’m beside the Similkameen River in a pretty casual campground.  I’ve got the tent set up. Took only minutes in the light.  Great tent.  Then I got the Biolite Stove and fried up some pan frying steaks.  These I just put in a fire starter and twigs and could see that if I wanted to tend the stove I could completely charge the phone in time.  Right now I’m in the truck enjoying the diesel generator which is charging the phone and this computer.  I’ve no wifi connection but it’s warm in here and no mosquitos.
Time to go to bed though. Great night and day.  Love the outdoors and wilderness.
Addendum: Didn’t get a bear. Maybe I should call trips I don’t shoot something, “camping’. “Getting something” is the icing on the cake of hunting. Everything is an adventure.  Expeditionary. Wilderness.  Had a great time.  Haven’t tented since motorcycle trip to Sturges last summer.  Hunting again in fall but will be having the luxury of the Energy Toyhauler then.  Looking forward to the fall moose hunt with this new Winchester Coyote Light 300 swm rifle and the Yamaha Kodiac 450 ATV.  
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