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Nanaimo to Polkinghorn Island | Aug 19
It's 7 PM and we are in the Polkinghorn Islands. We were dropped off by James Willson and his water taxi "Rainbow Chaser" about an hour ago, on a rocky islet on the leeward side of the main Polkinghorn Island. From our drop off spot we had only a short five-minute paddle over to Polkinghorn Island where we are making camp tonight.
We are about one and a half hours into our week-long kayak trip and already were wondering if we're going to survive this trip. It is a trip that seems ill fated!!
We arrived in Port McNeil for our 4pm meet up with the water taxi. We unloaded our gear from the car and carried it down onto the wharf. James Willson, of Silver King Water Taxi, arrived and taxied us across Queen Charlotte Straight, crashing through the swell and over the waves. When we reached Polkinghorn Island, her nosed the boat up to an rocky islet where we unloaded. We hauled our bags around the runner boards of the boat, across the bow and onto the rock, making numerous trips until all our gear was off. Last to come off the boat were the kayaks and then we stood and watched as he pulled away and out of sight.
Left alone on the rocks, we turned to our kayaks to load up for the short paddle to camp. Rachel pulled off her hat cover and groaned. There were no neoprene gasket covers under the hard shell covers. Nothing to really make a water seal on the storage holds. Not a good start to our week long trip!
We loaded our gear in, somewhat haphazardly into the bulkheads and then ventured out. It was only 5 minutes before we were pulling up onto the beach in a small cove on Polkinghorn Island. Scott climbed out of his kayak and ventured up on to the beach small area. There was nothing that looked definitely about the tide line so he stepped into a small clearing in the salal and came out into a grassy clearing which would be our camp for the night.
We unloaded all our gear and pulled the kayaks up onto the headland. We put up the tent and then went to change out of our shorts and wet shoes. Oh no! Rachel had somehow missed packing her socks and Scott had not packed his fleece. Wow! How unprepared are we!? How did this get by us? I'll tell you how - because we were rushed. We only got home from Oregon on Friday afternoon and then we had to get our rental trailer ready for a change of tenants the next day. When that was taken care of, we did our packing on Saturday night before Rachel left for Williams Lake on Sunday morning, not to return to Nanaimo again until late Monday evening. We then finished our packing that evening (or thought we did) and went to bed. We got up at 6:30 in the morning, loaded up the car, tied the kayaks on top, dropped the dog off at the dog sitters (forgetting to take his bed for him) and then hit the road for Port McNeil.
As we were driving up the Island Highway, Rachel got out her GoPro which she had just bought an Oregon, so that she can familiarize yourself with it. As she was playing with it and going through the box and accessories, she realized that somehow the WiFi remote had been separated from the rest of the gear and left behind. Another thing left behind! As we pulled through Campbell River we stopped in at Walmart, London Drugs and Target to buy another one, but they didn’t have any.
Further up the highway, Rachel pulled out the maps and guidebook to read up on where we were going to be paddling. Before we go on a trip like this, we take these resources to Staples and we copy the sections that are applicable to where we're going to be traveling so that we don’t have to carry more than we need, and so that the originals remain in good condition. Well, Rachel began flipping through the 50 pages of guidebook to find the section on the Polkinghorn Island area, but the copies seemed to end right at that part. The guidebook seems to be organized in an non-intuitive way, jumping all around, but we were sure that we had photocopied the whole two chapters that cover the Johnstone Straight and Broughton Islands but we were apparently short of some. Scott didn’t seem to be too rattled by this, but Rachel was a little concerned.
Now that we are here, Scott is making us dinner. He lit up the stove but it isn't burning well. The flame is orange instead of blue, and the jet is not putting out much. Sure enough, he is able to fix it, but there are a few cuss words flying around and it is one more thing that's going wrong.
While Scott is working on the stove Rachel has sat down to do the journal. Out comes the phone and the Bluetooth keyboard, but the keyboard has never been paired with this phone before and for some reason the two aren’t finding each other. We've lost count now. Is that ill fate number 8? I think so: 1)dog bed, 2) WiFi GoPro remote, 3) map description, 4) kayak hatch covers, 5) socks, 6) fleece, 7) stove, 8) keyboard.
While Scott has gone off to take find his rain jacket (so he can layer up) Rachel has dug out the low tech pen and paper. Pray for us. Hopefully will make it back to Telegraph Cove alive in 6 days time.
I may have made this sound rather doom and gloom, and when we initially arrived, Rachel was certainly feeling that way. She was so anxious about the trip that she was nearly in tears. But, now that we are both on our second cup of wine, the food smells good, Rachel has on a pair of Scott’s socks, Scott is layered up with his rain jacket, and the wind has died down and we have devised a plan for dealing with the hatch covers. Things don’t seem quite so bad. We are sitting her looking out at the view toward Vincent and Percy Island, with a section of the mainland behind, and we marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. It is nearing dusk and we are now looking forward to a great week of paddling.
A practical guide to your website Alexa ranking. What it is, what are its pitfalls, why it's important and what you can do to increase your Alexa ranking. Written as a result of questions fielded by a web client, concerned that their ranking was substantially lower than those of his competitors.
What are Alexa Rakings & Should I Care?
Alexa is to website owners as Klout is to Twitter or Nielsen ratings are to television. It's a way to see how your website traffic compares to your competitors (or any other website in the world for that matter).
Founded in 1996 by two entrepreneurs, the name Alexa gives props to the Library of Alexandria, drawing a parallel between the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world and the Internet - today's largest body of knowledge (pornography notwithstanding).
In addition to offering a toolbar that gave Internet users suggestions on where to go next, Alexa also offers statistical information for each website one visits. Originally, Alexa archived the websites it crawled and this database served as the basis for the creation of the "Internet Archive", which can now be accessed through the Wayback Machine.
For anyone owning or managing a website, Alexa rankings can offer valuable insight. If you advertise on your website, know that advertisers use Alexa rankings to determine rate-of-pay and other factors - your Alexa ranking becomes very important. For most website owners, Alexa rankings are another one of those "devil-in-the-details" things. You should know about it, how it works (and about its inherent flaws) and the small changes and improvements you can make to your website to increase its Alexa ranking. This article will cover all of this, in a practical way.
Passing the Sniff TestOctober 22nd, 2012 · stk
Passing the Sniff Test -- Scott & Rachel are replacing their broken Lumix DMC-TZ5 digital camera. They can buy it locally for $349 CAD, but know they are cheaper in the States. They almost pulled the trigger on one for $162, but the company - smarttechcases.com - turned out to be a SCAM. Find out more.
British Columbia - NAFTA woes continue for Scott & Rachel. While backpacking in Cape Scott two summer's ago, the Lumix camera they loved (Leica-lens, 10X optical zoom), popped out of it's soft case, landing hard on a wooden bridge. It wouldn't work any more. They took it to a camera repair shop, but thought the $180 repair bill was a tad expensive.
Fast-forward to this summer, when they had an amazing kayaking trip in Johnstone Strait. They missed lots of great wildlife shots, because they lacked a good digital camera with a decent zoom lens. The decided that they would bite the bullet and purchase the latest Lumix camera. (Updated to a 20X optical zoom - same weight and form factor, plus a few other goodies - GPS, touch-screen menu).
Today, this latest Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 camera is "on sale" at their local Canadian Future Shop (if money weren't an object, they could drive right down and buy the camera, today and be instantly gratified knowing that they got it on sale). The sale price is $349.99 ("Save $30" the online advert says).
Knowing that they could probably buy the camera in the States for a lot less money, they headed to their friendly shopping bots and gave them a spin. Actually, it was their head that spun, when they saw a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 camera on sale through a Yahoo e-commerce vendor (SmartTechCases.com) for $160. Wow!
To learn how cheaply they were able to buy this camera (and how they were almost swindled out of nearly $165) ... read on brave consumer ...
Growing up in Bakersfield, California meant eating Basque food. Why? Because the Basque followed the sheep at the turn of the 20th century and Basque boardinghouses were clustered down by the old Bakersfield train station. One of the things we ate was pickled cow tongue. Not tried it? Just head down to your local grocer (or butcher), buy a tongue and use the easy "Randsco Basque Pickled Tongue Recipe" herein! You'll either love it or hate it, but either way ... it'll be a culinary conversation piece!
Randsco Basque Pickled Tongue Recipe
When you think of appetizers, most don't think of pickled cow tongue. Heck, if you've spent any time around cows, you know what they use that long tongue of theirs for - picking their nose! Eating that nose-picking thing doesn't sound very appetizing at all!
But it is! Pickled cow tongue may be an acquired flavor, but because I grew up in Bakersfield, California - it's a dish I've learned to love!
If you too, love pickled tongue, or are a brave soul eager to try a new Basque delicacy, I'm happy to say, "You've come to the right place!" We have an authentic (and easy) Basque Pickled Tongue recipe for you to try.
Douglas Robb hasn't written much since Joe Paterno passed away on January 22nd, 2012. He wrote a fitting tribute to Joe Paterno yesterday. He called it "The Joe I Know". Here is his story (which I feel honored that he allowed me to reprint here). Thanks Doug.
For me, growing up in State College, Pennsylvania was a great experience. Those who come to live and work in "Happy Valley" generally have a sense of loyalty about the place that endears itself to people who have lived there - even long after they move away. For those of us who are "Townies," this is especially true. Part and parcel of this is the atmosphere that revolves around Penn State.
After all, State College probably wouldn't be much of a town without Penn State. There is no major employer other than the University, save for the businesses that support State College and it's surrounding community. Many come to State College to attend Penn State, only to find employment there after they graduate. Some start businesses and stake their claim to their little piece of "Happy Valley".
That's how my family arrived at State College. After serving with the U.S. Navy, my dad - "Big Lou" - attended Penn State, as thousands of others had, through their G.I. Bill. Many veterans came from the cities, towns and rural communities around the state, to the school whose mission was "to educate the working class sons and daughters of the Commonwealth."
And so my Dad and my Mom came from their childhood home in Johnstown and began their life in "Happy Valley". Like so many before them, my Dad attended Penn State and my Mom raised our family. When my Dad graduated, he began working for Penn State and our family "took root" in State College.
A ClustrMap|NASA Mashup
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - except Scott, who was playing with PhotoShop! Sorry, but "Visits in the Night" isn't about Santa Claus coming down our chimney. It's about creating a "night-time" display using a satellite image from NASA, merged with our worldwide website visitors tracked on ClustrMaps.
Ever since November 2005, we've been tracking the locations of many of our randsco.com visitors by using an application developed by Marc Eisenstadt, called "ClustrMaps". (Hover the globe in "Site Tools" section of the sidebar, for the regular map thumbnail - like the one that also shows here). Since that time, we've logged over 2 million visitors!
When you click the globe in the sidebar (or the thumbnail above) you'll be directed to the ClustrMap website, which shows a much larger visitor map for our website (clicking on country regions shows even greater detail). Since inception, Marc and the ClustrMap team have been continually adding features to their service and they recently won "Best Free Web Tool" in the 2011 Edublog Awards.
Not long ago, when I clicked on the globe and went to the larger, world-wide map, I noticed that the dots showed first and that it took a few seconds for the underlying "map" to reveal itself. I thought, "The dots by themselves, make an interesting display." They reminded me of a NASA image I once saw, showing urban lights across the world at night. (The image below. Click it for an even larger version).
Earth at Night: Lights from urbanized areas show up clearly on this NASA image (a composite of hundreds of images taken by orbiting DMSP satellites).
As a volunteer firefighter, you train in preparation for many different kind of emergencies. This one came across as a "river rescue", but it turned out to be much different than that. These calls don't happen very often - thank God - and it's something straight out of a Hollywood movie.
When you're a volunteer firefighter, you never know what kind of emergency you're going to attend. You try to prepare for anything. Sometimes, however, a call comes across for which, no amount of training, can help. This was such a call. Something a screenwriter in La-La Land might come up with.
The call came across to us as a river rescue, but it was ... and turned into ... something much more bizarre.