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The ship's blog for SV Nelleke out of Shelburne, NS
Shelburne Cruising Plans
02/14/2013, Shelburne NS

We may be building an interest in weekend cruising at our local club. Most of the membership is into racing. It may be a situation that the races are mostly conducted in the evenings during the week and they want their weekends to do something else but regardless there had seemed to be a dearth of interest in the past for a Friday night departure and the weekend spent at an anchorage somewhere away from the home port. This is what Barb and I had planned to do this summer and when we were out to our Commodore's house for dinner last night and happened to mention it, they said that it was the one thing that they missed from their old club back in Ontario. So, it now looks like they will be joining us with these mini cruises, or rather we will be joining them since with Barb's commitment to the local farmer's market on Saturday AM we wouldn't be able to get away until noon that day so hopefully we will be joining them in a mini raft wherever they have found a spot to stop. Hopefully, if we get into this sort of thing with a reasonable degree of frequency, others might be encouraged to join us and it will become an accepted thing. It could even be a means of getting the social membership out on the water and away from the bar. This all started when I asked the question, did the club have a cruising program, only to find out that they not only didn't, but in the past there hadn't seemed to be an interest in it. Perhaps this summer we could develop some. We have several sites that a quick chart recce shows us: at the anchorage inside the horseshoe at McNutt's Island, at several places around Cape Negro (pronounced nay-grow) Island, and in literally dozens more little spots along the coast in the various bays and inlets between here and Liverpool. Most of these spots are wonderfully isolated whether they are on remote islands or on the mainland where there simply aren't any roads to bring motorists too close. Of course there are also places that are close to those aforementioned roads if that happens to spin your wheel too. Barb and I tend to look for places that we have some privacy and where the noise of civilization is muted if not absent altogether.

The weather here is making me long increasingly for southern climes and warm temperatures and sandy beaches. We just have to wait for Barb's surgery on the other knee. That's another thing that I am looking forward to - being able to have her join me on watches with her having an increased level of self confidence physically and me being able to sleep below without being worried whether she is ok on deck. Add to that the pleasure of tramping about ashore without her knees acting up at an inconvenient time and it would seem to be a great formula for cruising.

Speaking of the weather, in spite of some recent aberrations and although the daily highs are below the 30 year average high, the daily lows are definitely well above the average daily lows, at least according to Weather Canada statistics. Still when you compare what we are getting to the historical data of even Fernandina Beach at the northernmost part of Florida the average high and low is 63 and 44 respectively, which I would be quite happy with, and if we were to get down to the southernmost part in Key West that becomes 76 and 64, both sets of data are for the month of January. In the brief research that I did to get the info for this blog I wasn't able to find and trend data which would be really interesting to review. I'll keep looking.

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?
You know those stories about some guy that goes postal with an axe?
02/11/2013, Shelburne NS

Well, this morning I was looking around for an axe!

Snow began to fall from this nor'easter on Friday night and continues with high winds gusting to 80 knots well into Saturday afternoon. My Public Works guys were out Friday night and Saturday morning when our loader with large plough and wing on it lost the engine. I don't mean that it is hiding and we can't find it, I mean it just crapped out, stopped running, gave up the ghost...... After a couple of hours we were able to get it going again but it was running weakly with a sad knocking noise. We took it down to the Public Works compound and let it rest while we got on with the show removal job. Since we lost a big slice of our snow clearing gear we called in local contractors and later in the day as it became obvious that there was going to be a significant accumulation we also called them in to help us truck the snow off to an open field in town. The guys, town employees and contractors, have been working steadily since Friday night and early Saturday morning, taking breaks to get some food and to sleep and as I sit her I can see that they are on the finishing touches of clearing away the accumulation on the main roads.

In spite of all that I was still getting telephone calls from people this morning:

"I pay my taxes, the parking spots in front of my business is still covered with snow! I want it cleared by 11h00"

"Whatever idiot ploughed in front of my house knocked off the manhole cover. Get up here and fix it!"

"When you ploughed the snow on the street you put a ridge of snow across my laneway. I'm too old to shovel that. Get back here and plough it out!"

.....and my guys tell me that they were getting more while they were out working....

Un-be-lieve- able!

Like I said, good thing that I couldn't find an axe.

Meanwhile in the midst of the storm social life went on. Barb did up a great curry dinner for some of our friends on Saturday night and our neighbours Murray and Cindy had their own with a sideboard full of appetizers and when those were gone the empty dishes were replaced with pineapple chicken with rice and Chinese Salad, which in turn was followed by pineapple upside down cake with whipped cream.


Now I will have to starve myself for a week or more to let my stomach shrink back to normalcy.

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?
Arrrrrrrgh! Shriek! Howl!
Mike - irritated by the weather
02/08/2013, Shelburne NS

I am repressed, suppressed and depressed!

This winter crap is getting the best of me I am afraid. I have learned that Heat Pumps aren't the answer to the chilly maiden's prayer, perhaps their musings but not their prayers. We have two in the house now, the first a 18K BTU Mitsibushi which warms the upstairs and the second a 18K BTU Panasonic to warm the downstairs. Both are supposed to work well below freezing and normally, here in Shelburne, our coldest days are well within their operational range but last night I found out that at temperatures approaching and below -150 C they start to lose their umph, especially the Panasonic. The Mitsibushi will perform reasonably well down to -25 but from -15 they start to taper off and at -27 they simply shut down. The Panasonic starts to lose the will to live at -10 and by the time you get to -15 it is thinking about giving up the fight. Guess what? Last night, the first night that we had the Panasonic installed it went down to -16! Not the best circumstances in which to try out the new toy. Why did we get the Panasonic? Well it was $2K cheaper and normally we don't get days here that are that cold. So we'll try it out and see. The installer has said that he'll replace it with another Mitsibushi for the price difference so that could be an option but I'd rather not, especially as the other frustrating thing happened today. I happened to be down in the basement when I heard a hissing sound and after poking about I finally noticed that water was gushing out from the inside of the electric water heater. Great! Another thing to have to replace. Mutter! Mutter! Curse! Swear! Fortunately we happened to have one of the town tradespersons on site giving me an estimate for another job entirely and he is able to get a new heater installed for us this afternoon. I really wouldn't want to go through this weekend with no hot water.

This weekend is calling for high winds, blowing wet snow in significant amounts, storm surge and high waves. Not a good time to be cruising this coast if you are brave enough to be out in a boat. As usual the weather witches are competing with each other to see who can put out the most confusing forecast and the local emergency measures coordinator is trying to make everyone realize that they should take precautions by making great sweeping statements about how serious it is going to be. Oh well. It will be what it will be. Not much we can do about it other than hunker down and bear it. Right now I am wondering if the power will remain on and if I will be able to use the electric snow blower or if I will be shoveling the old fashioned way with my own two arms and back.

Tomorrow we will be having a dinner party for some of our friends to cheer us up. The menu will be curries and rice and all of the condiments.

Oh dear. I do want to be back afloat and somewhere down south where my only decision will be which side of my carcass I want to brown just now.

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?
02/08/2013 | Jennifer
I hear you, the weather here is the pits. Got Al home via cab. Called the pharmacy to deliver his mess but they were no longer delivering today due to the weather. So I cabbed to get his drugs and back. Kind of cool being in a white out living on the ninth floor. We are cozy and anticipating a nice ham dinner.
02/08/2013 | Pat
Hi Mike and Barb, we are currently in the midst of a blizzard. Winds may get to 75 mph and perhaps two feet of snow to top it off. We have friends that are circumnavigating our globe and are currently halfway between So. Africa and Brazil. Their blog is: I would love to be somewhere warmer, but their trip is just a tad to ambitous for me!
02/08/2013 | Ken s/v Silverheels III
Mike, sorry about the under-performing heat pumps. I'm surprised that any compressor can efficiently extract any meaningful caloric energy at all from arctic temperature outdoor air. Is ground source water cooling/heating viable where you live?
02/09/2013 | Betty Baker
Hi Barb andMike - have not written for a while, but read all your rants Mike. We too are also up to our ying yangs in snow, whiteouts and constant blowing wind.But spring will soon be here and we will be back on the Beach, it is nice to sit around the fire and relax.Love to you both - Auntie Betty and Uncle Charlie
02/11/2013 | Mike

I didn't really feel that they were underperforming, I was whining at how cold the weather was or at least that was my intent. Generally speaking we are very happy with them and fully anticipate that our oil bill will be a lot lower this year.
02/11/2013 | Mike

More to my last.

Both pumps do well to -10 at which point the Panasonic starts to require some support from the oil furnace. The Mitsubushi is good right on down to -15 before it needs help. They shut off at -17 and -27 respectively as well. I think that this is marvelous especially here where the average lowest temperature is -10. The ground water requires a much larger cost for drilling and or trenching and is more suited to a larger sort of building.
02/11/2013 | Mike

How are you making out? Hope you survived a little taste of cold weather imported from Canada. No wait a minute. Much of that came from you guys.

Yuk yuk over. Hope you and yours are OK and that you have dug your way out. The photos on the news don't look good.

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Notes from Nelleke's Log
Who: Mike, Barb, and Periwinkle
Port: SHYC, Shelburne, Nova Scotia and RNSYS Halifax
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