Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another winter with little snow

We normally have a large amount of snow here in Newfoundland when winter shows itself, but for several years now, (I may have posted such during the building of the Pathfinder) we have had very little of the white stuff. In fact, this is today in Holyrood Newfoundland. The temperature is another factor. It's consistently above 0 degrees Celsius making the grass grow, and giving a spring like feel to what should be the dead of winter.
Indeed, spring is coming.

It's only a matter of weeks when the tarps come off the boats and the spring tune-ups begin in earnest. Some modifications will be done to improve Pikake's performance and handling as well as some short test runs before the sailing season goes in high gear.

Trips are being planed right now and I hope some serious coastal will be done and some great shots to be taken of our wonderful coastline.

With spring approaching and planning to come, getting a GPS for navigation is one important step in making the longer trips happen. After picking up the GPS you have to learn how to use it properly and know how to get the most out of your GPS system. You can't just take it out of the box and go. This is the one I decided on for many reasons.

This unit features a removable microSD card for detailed mapping memory and a waterproof, rugged housing. The microSD card slot is located inside the waterproof battery compartment. I can load map data and transfer routes and waypoints through the unit�s fast USB connection. In addition, this unit features a new, highly sensitive GPS receiver that acquires satellites faster and lets users track their location in challenging conditions.
Considered the mainstay among serious outdoor enthusiasts, the GPSMAP 60Cx and GPSMAP 60CSx offer a large color TFT display and turn-by-turn routing capability. Each unit comes with a blank 1 GBmicroSD card. I picked up a 2GB card for the extra space, as well as the Garmin Blue Chart for Newfoundland.
� New high-sensitivity WAAS-capable GPS receiver by SiRF
� Built-in quad-helix receiving antenna with remote antenna capability
� Unit dimensions: 2.4� W x 6.1� H x 1.3� D
� Display: 1.5� W x 2.2� H, 2.6�-diagonal, 256-color, transflective TFT (160 x 240 pixels)
� Supports English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French languages.
� Weight: 7.5 ounces with batteries (not included)
� microSD card slot allows for storage of optional MapSource detail (64 MB microSD included)
� LED backlit display and keypad
� Battery life: up to 18 hours using two AA alkaline batteries
� Includes a built-in Americas autoroute basemap with automatic routing capabilities, including highways, exits, and tide data (U.S. only)
� Internal memory is preloaded with a marine point database
� 1,000 user waypoints with name and graphic symbol; 50 reversible routes
� Trip computer provides odometer, stopped time, moving average, overall average, total time, max speed, and more
� 10,000-point automatic track log; 20 saved tracks (500 points each) let you retrace your path in both directions
� Water resistant: IEC 60529 IPX7 standards

Another much needed addition to the Pathfinders equipment inventory.

VHF addition to the Pathfinder

Though I will rarely lose sight of land and won’t be making any long trips soon, having a VHF radio aboard will give me peace of mind in case I got into trouble or need to get updates on weather. A cell phone is always aboard but those things don’t handle water well and salt water even less. The unit that’s being used for the Pathfinder is a Uniden “Atlantis 250” handheld. It’s waterproof, and has a range of 5 miles with its normal antenna. The reviews show it as a reliable lower cost radio with good reception.


� All USA/International and Canadian Marine Channels - Covers all USA, International & Canadian marine channels keeping you up-to-date with all the latest marine activity.
� JIS4/CFR46 Waterproof Level
� 1 Watt/5 Watt Switchable
� NiMH and Alkaline Battery Capability
� Instant Channel 16/9/Triple Watch
� Backlit LCD Display
� Backlit Keypad - Offers you added visibility for dialing at
night or in low light.
� All N.O.A.A. Weather Channels with Weather Alert
� Memory Channel Scan
� Optional Speaker/Microphone
� Flexible Rubber Antenna

I'll be attaching a mount to the hull to place the VHF in, then I know where it is at all times.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The wrath of winter

St. Johns has some spectacular views, and among them is out around the battery area towards the harbor entrance. Earlier this calender year a fierce winter storm battered the shoreline of this area and I went out as the sun rose after the storm. There was some serious damage to the local wharves and supports under the shed that are right over the ocean, but the sheds stood firm.
However last night another winter storm with a stronger storm surge and same wind direction battered the now weakened sheds and wharves that remained. What you see below is before last nights storm and after.

Looking out the harbor entrance after storm #1 in January

After last nights storm in same area. The damaged wharf is now completely gone and so is the supports under the shed. Debris from the other damaged sheds and wharves float near by. (This image taken from local news site)

Looking into the harbor at the twine loft after first storm in January. A damaged wharf pushed over 50ft from its original position.

After last nights storm and high winds. Note the height of the storm surge is still apparent. The first floor has collapsed and mostly washed away. the damaged wharf is completely gone. (This picture taken from local news site) This shed stood against the sea for over 60 years, now no more.

It's sad to see some of these old historical buildings be claimed by the sea, They don't have the fancy moldings or were owned by wealthy fish merchants that St. Johns is known for, but they stored fishing gear for generations of hard working fisher people who are now becoming as rare as the sheds themselves. At least I got some pictures before it disappeared completely.