Saturday, May 10, 2014

Walking tour of Victoria May 10, 2014

 After a good night sleep and a leisurely breakfast I went ashore under cloudy skies - the sun played hide and seek most of the day which is why I am feeling cold as I type this report - the jacket would be on and then off etc, etc, etc.

I had a basic plan for today - walk along Dallas road and the seashore to Beacon Hill Park and then into town and back along the seaside walk to the ship.

The views were great and the Olympic mountains were visible and quiet clear at the start of the walk.

Well that is what I did but with one major detour - I decided that since the weather was okay to make a side trip up to the Craiggorogh Castle - it's just up the road - ya right - it was a longer walk that I anticipated but I made it there before 11AM.

Then headed down Rockland Ave and make it to the waterfront before noon.

Then it was onto Barb's and an order of fish and chips before the last fifteen walk back to the ship - just as I approached the entrance to the port it decided to start a light shower.

I ended up walking more than 10 kilometers or 6 + miles.
My feet are tired and my body is aching but tomorrow is a sea day so that will give me a chance to recharge the batteries.

So far I have eaten my meals in the buffet - I am on deck 11 so it is only 2 decks up to the buffet vs down 5 to the main dining rooms.

Haven't taken in any on board activities yet but might find something of interest tomorrow.

I have two novels with me to read to keep my busy.

Still haven't solved how to get my photos to upload to my tablet. Might be missing an upload app - gonna ask the photo and computer techies on board if they have any suggestions - at least I brought all my media cards with me or if worse comes to worse will just full them up and sort when I get home.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Well I am on board the Star Princess and we are sailing out in the Salish sea and will dock in Victoria at 0700 hrs tomorrow.

it was an eventful day - spent the morning looking for a  proper device to upload my photos to the tablet as the one i had brought didn't work on my device.
After several attempts I finally got one at the Samsung store at Metrotown - now to figure out how it works for upload.

Then it was home for a quick change and off to Canada Place - as the weather was dry i walked down - took about 20 minutes - in line before noon and having lunch on board by 1 PM - that is pretty good timing given that 2500 people all want to get on board at the same time. Some were griping - you are on holiday folks relax.

After lunch toured the ship and took lots of photos - then the manditory muster drill and shortly after 4:30PM we lifted anchor and shortly after sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge waving to some of the people who stopped to watch this big ship sail under the bridge and out in the Salish sea.

Then supper in the buffet - not busy - longer lines for the sit down eateries.

Real mix of ages and ethnics types on board.

Internet is slow but have 125 free minutes to use for the three days.
Unless I can figure out how to use the internet on tablet won't be posting any photos.

More tomorrow from Victoria.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Eve before the cruise May 8, 2014

Well all the clothes are packed and the toys are getting there final charge before the cruise tomorrow.

My big suitcase is just too big for such a short cruise and my larger overnight bag has seen its better days so while out for a walk I went into a discount store on Seymour street and spotted this one - it was only $34.95 so I brought it and it seems to work out just right.

I have attached my luggage tag - you now print them out yourself - then fold and staple to your luggage handle.

Here's my clothes for the two cruises - a real assortment of items - rain gear - summer gear and a hoodie if it is cold at the ball park.

Tomorrow I will pack my toys in my day pack - camera, tablets, extra batteries and media cards and will leave the condo about 11:30 AM.

If it stops raining I will walk down to Canada Place - if it is still raining I will grab a taxi for the short ride to the ship.

While these two cruises are nothing spectacular they will give me a welcome respite from the daily grind here in Vancouver.

With my platinum status on Princess I should have some free Internet minutes on both legs of the cruise so should be able to post to this blog each day.

I had hoped to be able to upload some photos to my tablet from my camera but the 4 - in 1 gadget I brought today to help with that and designed for a Samsung Galaxie Tablet doesn't appear to fit my tablet - my model doesn't have a smaller mini-usb port but a much larger one.

If the weather is dry I may stop in at Staples which I purchased it and see if there is a solution to that problem.

Otherwise it will be mostly text reports until I get back.


Monday, May 5, 2014

A volunteer story in the rain May 4, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post I was to volunteer for the Vancouver Marathon held yesterday May 4, 2014.

My job was a member of the bike patrol team - a position I have done for the past 8 years.

I was to patrol Zone 1 - the start of the race then over the Cambie Bridge through Yaletown and False Creek - riding back and forth to check on the runners - then later in the race to act as the sweep - ensure that the last person (s) make it to the finish.

That was the plan - it didn't work out quite as expected.

I also rain all day.

Here is the story of my day.

I worked the half-marathon course.

I awoke at 5 AM and took one look outside to see that my fears about the weather had materialized - it wasn't a light rain but a hard, pounding one and some wind as well.

I had put out a number of clothes the night before and opted to wear the following - one cotton long sleeve t-shirt, my Polyester bike jersey and my heavy Gore-tex jacket - long cotton pants and my Helly Hansen rain pants - two pairs of socks and my better light weight walking shoes.

I threw in some extra t-shirts etc into my pannier.

After a quick breakfast I cycle down to the Yaletown Canada Line station and join a good number of the runners taking the train to 25th Ave station and then bike the short distance to our meeting point near the start line at Hillcrest Park near Queen Elizabeth Park.

I pick up my radio and find my team mates and we then start to ride through our zone looking for any problems before the race starts.

I wasn't long before I noticed that at the corner of 23rd and Cambie the side street wasn't close off like the other streets - all the other streets in the area had large pylons and tape across the roadway - here only a road closed sign at the lane.

I radioed this in and was told to await the Marshall for that corner - well they never showed up - it was a problem throughout the day that some people just won't show up if it is raining.

So I was told to stay there and it was a good thing I was because a couple of cars wanted to cross Cambie with the race in session.

If there was one good thing about this for me it was that because I was standing at the corner I could stand there with my umbrella and keep somewhat dry.

The race finally start at 7AM and by 7:30AM the last of the waves had hit the street and shortly I saw the end SAG and maintenance trucks so it was time to get back on the bike and start riding and keeping track of the stragglers and it wasn't long before myself and another patroller were escorted an older gentlemen along the course but we had another problem - he didn't speak any English - only Spanish and wanted to talk to someone - well it turns out the person in the SAG vehicle spoke Spanish - all he wanted was to be sure he was running the half-marathon.

While a few other were near the end this gentlemen was the last person to cross the half-marathon finish line around 11:45AM.

I then turned in my radio and went to the volunteer food truck and picked up a lunch.

It had started to rain hard again - it never really stopped all day - so rather than eat out in the rain I rode the short distance up Hornby to my condo.

While my clothes were wet I was fairly dry - more sweat than water on my body . Quickly changed into dry clothes - ate lunch and then sat down and took the remainder of the afternoon to DE-compress.

Remarkably my cold of last week doesn't appear to be any worse.

All was not well with the team however - one long term member took a spill before the full marathon started and ended up breaking her wrist and will be in a cast for 6 weeks - GET WELL SOON, MAUREEN. and in a follow up email from our team coordinator three other members had minor spills - the roads were slick and many of the team members ride road bikes with skinny tires making for tougher riding conditions. That plus either trying to keep ahead of the lead runners or coming down the long UBC hill likely contributed to those mishaps.

I was a tiring yet satisfying day and HELL YES I WILL DO IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

In closing thanks to Vicki and Kerry for your dedication and commitment to ensuring that us bike patrollers got the job done.

We were all rewarded with a $10.00 White Spot gift card and those who picked up a lunch a $2.00 off Triple O's coupon.

Until next year cheers!