I’ve move this blog to buoyguy.blaseckie.ca
Please visit me over there. Thanks.
Headed south again. Just reach cruising altitude after pulling out of Vancouver. Managed to use coupons to upgrade for the flight from Vancouver to Toronto, then from Toronto to Sao Paulo.
These are the new Air Canada pods in business that fully recline. As I was headed to my seat, I thought that I recognized “Lacy” from Corner Gas. She was seat two seats behind me. I tried not to stare, but I was pretty sure it was her.
Then “Hank” started chatting and hugging her. That might be her…and Fred sat down beside me.
Not sure if he wanted to be noticed, I waited until drinks were brought round. I knew that I would regret not saying anything. I leaned over and asked him they were headed to a final show party of some kind and he said that they were.
He asked were I was from and said that he loved Victoria, having been born and raised in Vancouver.
I told him that Moe’s Dad had been involved in the theatre in Edmonton and that we were thrilled to see Len Crowther on the show. Fred remembered him and said that he was great guy and enjoyed himself on the shoot.
After 10 minutes or so, he said “Excuse me what was your name? My mother would kill me for forgetting my manners.”
Mrs. Ewanuick, you done good
During the last year, my bags have been delayed in Vancouver at least 50% of the time.
The most recent event was last night. I flew from Prince Rupert to Victoria via Vancouver. My flight from Prince Rupert arrived at Gate 34 and I departed for Victoria from the same gate 40 minutes later.
My bag and the bags of many other passengers did not arrive in Victoria when we did.
My bags were tagged as “Priority”. I have yet to see that this “Priority” tag makes any difference. The bags do not come out on the belt any sooner and they certainly have no priority when decisions are made whether or not to put the bags onto the plane.
Is it not a requirement that baggage accompany a passenger on a plane? Or is it just when it suits Air Canada?
Please remember that I have a choice when I make flight arrangements. I have NEVER had a bag delayed when using Westjet, Pacific Coastal, or Hawk Air.
I fly a great deal with my job and when I can, I use Air Canada. In part it is because of the “Status” benefits that come with frequent flier programs.
The only benefit I received yesterday was when I used my Aeroplan Elite Card to scrap the ice off my car windows.
You blew it.
We’re on a Family vacation. That’s capital “F” because it is the whole family. My Mom, Dad and all the siblings, grandkids and significant others.
We should have left Victoria at 9:48 or so, but due to congestion in the Cancun area, Air Traffic Control would not give us clearance to take off. Then, once we were given clearance, one of the baggage handlers thought that he saw the cargo door not completely latched.
The pilot had no indication that there was a problem, but I’ve seen what happens to aircraft when the cargo door opens mid flight and I am grateful that they double checked.
There are 14 of us headed down to Cancun, then I understand that it will be at least 1.5 hours by bus to our resort in Akumel.
Well it did take 2 hours to get to the hotel. Was after 10pm when we checked in. Went for a snack and a drink (or four) at the 24hr snack bar.
Up early (7) this morning to have a bite to eat before or meeting at 9 with the Transat Rep to hear about the hotel and excursions available.
Booked our New Years dinner and several A La Carte dinners for the group.
Today is a day to relax.
And so another I start another trip on the road.
My co-worker, Bruce, and I are on our way down to Brownsville Texas. Brownsville is at the corner of the Gulf & Mexico.
A Mexican Institute has purchased one of our buoys and Bruce and I are headed down to where the buoy has been delivered to assemble it, and give them some training on it’s operation and maintenance.
It’s sort of a different trip, since the buoy wasn’t really delivered to Texas. It was delivered in bond with a continuance on to Mexico. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, since we will have to do all the work with the buoy in limbo. Should be interesting.
In planning for any trip, I always try and research brewpubs and local micro-breweries. It seems that Brownsville could be a little barren on that front.
In fact, it looks like the most interesting things to do are the Zoo and Mexico. Now the zoo might be ok for a day, but I don’t really think we’ll be going down to Mexico for a couple of reasons.
The folks that we are going to meet up with are Mexicans (and I can’t imagine that they would want to “home” for something to do).
The other reason is the border itself. Not going down, but coming back up into the States. I don’t know why, but I always get stressed when I enter the US. I have no reason to be stressed, I’m not doing anything wrong…I’m not working illegally. I’m a nice guy with 2.3 kids and a white picket fence. Ok, 2.0 exceptional kids and the fence needs a coat of paint.
This morning as we headed to Seattle, I thought that I was getting the flu. My stomach was upset and I was sure that I had picked up a bug. Then I realized, as I was waiting my turn at Immigration, that it was anxiety. Until I got to the front of the line.
Every agent was happy. They were smiling and chatting with the passengers. Mine said “Welcome to the U.S.”
I was amazed. Is this change they are talking about?
I like it.
So last night, we had a potluck dinner at my Mom & Dad’s place.
My older sister was bringing a dessert called “Sex In a Pan” and Mom couldn’t remember what was in it.
She wanted to use Google to find the recipe.
Her Grand-Daughter wouldn’t let her for fear of what she might find.
After a couple of days with little to do, the last three days on Isla du Margarita were very busy. On Thursday morning, we were finally able to receive the replacement WatchKeeper payload from the airport.
The old payload had been stolen from the buoy while it was at sea.
The replacement system was next generation, and came with new cables. These all had to be reterminated and run through the hull glands. That took the majority of Thursday.
When the system was stolen, it left a lot of connectors exposed to the elements for some time. It took some time to clean these connectors up.
On Thursday afternoon we stopped by the airport on the way back to Porlamar and Nemer grabbed a rental car since both of the drivers would be leaving on the boat the next day.
As Nemer and I were headed to the buoys on Friday, there was a sudden flapping from under the car. It was as though one of the tires had blown out. When we pulled over, it was more serious. The engine was covered in oil and it was draining out onto the ground. While Nemer stayed to wait for the rental company, Otto came to get me.
By mid-morning, we were ready to assembly the top section (with all the electronics and sensors) onto the bottom hull section. It was critical to get this done in the morning as the ship was due to leave with all the muscle after lunch.
The last day and a half was used for training, setup and testing of the buoy.
My original plan for returning to Canada was to take a mid afternoon flight on Friday to connect to the midnight departure of the flight home. When my departure was delayed by two days, the only available flight from Isla du Margarita departed at 0700. This meant a 0530 departure from the hotel.
The flight arrived at the Caracas airport as planned at 0800 leaving me with over 16 hours to kill in the airport. In most other cities this wouldn’t be a problem. The problem was two-fold.
- the Air Canada check-in doesn’t open until four hours before the flight departs and
- the power has a tendency to fail.
The power failed twice in the morning. Each time for ~1 hour. During that time, the temperature goes from 20 degrees C to near 30. The food court is located on the third floor and for almost an hour after each outage, the elevator and escalators where shut down.
I spent most of the day on the 1st floor (literally) near the AC counter where there seemed to be a bit of free Wifi. I ventured out a couple of times for a $25 cheeseburger and $15 chicken dinner.
Once the counter opened, I was at the front of the line and quickly made my way to the Admiral Club past security.
Now I’m sitting in my upgrade seat on the flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Overall it was a very good trip. The client was happy to get two of their buoys back online and I got to spend 10 days in the sun…and lightning…and dark.
For those that don’t follow Twitter (twitter.com/buoyguy) here is how I spent Thanksgiving Day 2008 on Isla du Margarita in Venezuela.
1200 Pelican is thawing in the sink. Forgot to take it out last night. Time for some lunch.
1400 Pelican is still frozen. Who would have thought…it’s 32 C outside. Will start the stuffing.
1430 Damn, no bread crumbs. Will use chopped up arrapatas. Celey and fresh cashews will be nice.
1500 Bird stuffed, ready to go in the oven. Good thing I have a little oven in the kitchenette. Should only be a couple hours tip we’re eating.
1800 Three hours and the pelican is far from done. WTF?
1810 Turn up the heat a bit and have a lie down.
1920 Crap. Lots of smoke coming from my little oven.
1925 Fire alarm just went off in the hotel. Everyone out. I think I’m in trouble.
2000 I think I’ll have ice cream for supper. Happy Thanksgiving Canada.
Things have slowed the last couple of days. The buoy that I came to assemble is finished. I’ll do some final checks and tests tomorrow, but there is not much left to do.
I’m still hopeful that the parts to fix the vandalized buoy will arrive ok Wednesday so I can catch my flight home early Saturday morning. What can go wrong?
While Canada celebrates Thankgiving and the US recognizes Columbus Day, things are slightly different here. It used to be called Race Day to commemorate the arrival of Columbus to this area. In fact, he discovered this island in 1496.
Several years ago, Hugo Chavez changed the name to Indigenous Resistance Day. In 2004, the year after American troops topple the statue of Sadam in Bagdhad, activists pulled down the status of Columbus in Caracas.
Porlamar – Day #1
We arrived at the airport at about 1000 and Bartolo was there to meet us. He took us to the local University where they have been doing their buoy assemblies. They have switch to here from Cumana because the Quiguarie has had crane problems and is not useable at the moment. Apparently the vessel here is smaller, but has more deck space.
We inspected the vandalized WatchKeeper buoy and I pointed out that there were some broken welds that needed repair if the buoy was to be used again.
We unpacked all the parts for the 3m buoy and inspected the damages dome to the old 3m buoy.
We installed the two tower sections ok the new hull. By 1430, we were ready to call it a day…having started at 0600.
Out for dinner to the food court at the mall. Big mall. Bad chicken burger.
Breakfast in the hotel. Usual Venezuelan fare.
Back to the buoys and got the 3m up and running. It sounds like I might be here a couple of days longer as they want to get their smaller WatchKeeper buoy repaired while I’m here.
Will wire the current meter tomorrow.