June 21, 2013

Alaska Cruise–Sea Views, Ship Views

I loved doing lap after lap around the Volendam as we cruised the waters, taking photos of distant scenery, and exploring views of the ship and its equipment.

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Posted by Paul at 09:05 PM

Seven-Day Vancouver-Alaska Cruise, Day 3

Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier

Our first port of call was Juneau, Alaska. Deciding against an organized excursion, Yumi and I wandered the town on our own, and took a bus out to the Mendenhall Glacier.

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The Volendam

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Disney and Princess ships

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Float planes are everywhere in Alaska

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Juneau

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Sarah Palin's old house (Governor's Mansion)

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Cruise ships and float planes - yep you see a lot of those in Alaska

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And salmon fishing

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Approaching the Mendenhall Glacier

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Yumi on the trail

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Cool rock

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Nugget Falls

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Porcupine taking a snooze

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Mendenhall Visitor Center

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We saw no bears, but we did see bear poop, which was close enough

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The park has an arctic tern nesting area

Posted by Paul at 03:03 PM

June 20, 2013

Seven-Day Vancouver-Alaska Cruise, Day 2

Apparently I didn't take many photos on day 2, which was mostly cruising up the Inside Passage
during the night toward our first stop at Juneau, Alaska. But here are some of our stateroom,
and a whale and some other wildlife.

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Our cosy stateroom

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We liked the location, speed, weather, and other data tracking on the TV.
For me, a bottle of Jim Beam to sip before retiring to bed; for Yumi, a bottle
of white wine. If you look closely, you may see an upside-down photographer in the
makeup mirror.

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Yumi checking out the interior

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Yumi with Uncle Stefan

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And the highlight of the day, a minke, no, a humpback, a minke,
no, the consensus ended up a humpback whale! One of a pod of
several. Would that ghostly whiter shape alongside be a youngster?

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Porpoises, no, dolphins, no, porpoises, oh, heck, frolicking beasties
splashing in the water

It's when you encounter photography situations like this that you
want an even longer lens!

Posted by Paul at 08:10 PM

June 19, 2013

Seven-Day Vancouver-Alaska Cruise, Day 1

Yumi and I did our first-ever cruise this month, joining a group of six more relatives for a 7-day Alaska sojourn with Holland America on the ms Volendam. While we had a few overcast days, and saw lots of rain in the distance several times, we experienced just a few drops of rain during the entire week, and plenty of warm sunshine. The sea was smooth all the way, even in the less-sheltered stretches, and neither of us experienced any seasickness.

Long story short? We loved it. We'd do it again tomorrow. We're hoping to win the lottery so that we can indulge in the well over 100 pages in the Holland America cruise-planning booklet.

I'll be posting day-by-day photos here retroactively as I have time. It's tough to come home from most vacations. Now I know it's even tougher to come home from a cruise!

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Looking aft toward Vancouver while still docked

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The "sails" of Canada Place from near the bow

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Out at the bow. This was to be one of our favourite places to view
surroundings - assuming it wasn't too windy

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Yumi entering the bow area

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Under way! Passing beneath the Lion's Gate Bridge

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Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. We've hiked there many a time, but this was only
the second time we've seen the lighthouse from the water

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A passing tug

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Downtown Vancouver begins to shrink in the distance

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Revving up the engines as we're well clear of the harbour.

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Yumi at the stern

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The view straight down from the stern

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Checking out some of the interior. Beam me up, Scotty!

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We noticed this elevator rug the first day, and yes, they do change
it every day. After a few days we realized why - you can get discombobulated
very easily on a cruise as the full service kicks in and the days flow by

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As evening comes on, a last shot from Deck 3, the Promenade where
folks take their daily walks, and watch for wildlife

Can't wait for tomorrow!

Posted by Paul at 09:34 PM

June 13, 2013

USB 3.0 PCI Card Installed in Tower–Backing Up Much Faster

I installed a PCI USB 3.0 card in my Windows 7 tower computer this evening, and am transferring a disk  image from an internal HD to an HD in a USB 3.0 dock. The image file is almost exactly 1TB, and if I copied it over a USB 2.0 connection to an external HD, it would take somewhere around 12-15 hours.

Over the new USB 3.0 connection, the projected copy time for the 1TB file was initially 3 hours and 15 minutes. After about half an hour, that's crept up to 3 hours and 45 minutes, but it's still way faster than over USB 2.0.

Installing the card was a bit of a challenge. It's a powered card requiring a SATA lead off the computer's power supply. When I first tried to install it, I was dismayed to find that I had no free SATA leads left. There were several IDE Molex available, so I ordered a 4-Pin IDE Molex to SATA Power Adapter Cable. That took a few days to arrive.

And when it did, it was too short! What's that about measuring twice and cutting once, or in this case, ordering?

I thought I'd just order a longer cable, but then I got to thinking. I have lots of power cable leads from old computers around, so I chopped the short 4-Pin IDE Molex to SATA Power Adapter Cable in half, and spliced in about a foot of extra cable.

And we have fire!

Posted by Paul at 08:26 PM

June 11, 2013

Inflate Your Life Rafts in South Burnaby!?

I ran across some interesting signs on my Byrne Creek walk in southeast Burnaby over lunch today. The Byrne Creek Ravine trail was "closed" with signs saying "Flooding Danger: This Trail Closed Due to Fraser River High Water."

Uh-huh. And it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and lo, the Fraser River rose and turned Burnaby into an ocean.

Couldn't they find signs that simply said "Trail Closed Due to Construction"? (What's actually happening is that they are repairing the stairs into the ravine.)

For those who know, it looks ridiculous. For those who don't, I'd hate to give them the impression that the Fraser can back up Byrne Creek all the way up the ravine!

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The above shot is near the intersection of Southridge Dr. and Marine Dr.
It's about 1.5 km from the Fraser River, and at an elevation of about 10-12 m
above sea level.

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This shot is near the top of the trail close to Brynlor Dr. It's over 2 km
from the Fraser River, and at an elevation of around 70 m above sea level.

Posted by Paul at 09:03 PM

June 10, 2013

Cruising Victoria BC’s Beach Drive, Mt. Doug

I've loved Victoria for decades. One undergrad year at UVic decades ago, and an MA at Royal Roads a few years ago. I don't get enough chances to visit. A few photos from one morning on my way back from a 3-day working meeting on the island:

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Posted by Paul at 08:48 PM

June 02, 2013

Commemorative Pavers for Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Founders

The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society purchased commemorative pavers in the courtyard of Burnaby City Hall awhile back to honour our four founding "elders." Yumi and I checked them out today when we met at City Hall to go on a birding tour around Deer Lake.

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BTW, the spelling on the third paver is LLOYD, not LLYOD.
We did submit the proper spelling on the form, so we'll ask for
a free correction.

Posted by Paul at 05:20 PM