Sunday, May 13, 2007

Poppy quarter led to spy coin warnings

Last Updated: Monday, May 7, 2007 | 7:37 PM ET

The surprise explanation behind the U.S. government's sensational but false warnings about mysterious Canadian spy coins is the harmless poppy quarter, the world's first colourized coin.

The odd-looking coins were so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors travelling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them.

The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something manmade that looked like nanotechnology," said once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails.

The 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy inlaid over a maple leaf. The quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nanotechnology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red colour from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.

"It did not appear to be electronic [analog] in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car.

Poppy Coin Part of Massive Destabilization Plot

The UnAsssoaited Press

Washington DC According to an internal whistle blower calling herself William (Billie) Casey, an unnamed Intelligence Agency working with a second unnamed internal USA agency, in an attempt to destabilise the drug cartel econonmy in Asia had these conterfit coins produced. The two agencies contracted the Canadian mint to produce this drug money. William Casey, not her real name says, the theory was simple. The counterfit coins would be slipped into the local drug economies in massive quantities. Once in wide circulation it would be "leaked" that the coins where counterfit. The local economies would collapse and wipe out millions of dollars of ill gotten drug gains.

Unfortuantely the US dollar undermined by the current massive war efforts fell so far in value that the counterfit poppy coins started to increase in value, said Ms. Casey, not her real sex.

The two unnamed agencies moved quickly and bought up all the remaining counterfit coins. However with no place to store the coins they came to an agreement with the Canadian Mint. The Mint had been paid $10 million dollars to produce the coins. Circulation figures are still classified, but all the remaining uncirculated coins were discounted to the two agencies for half price, said Mr. Casey, who is still confused by sex.

The Canadian mint which was just about to ship the coins to the agencies head offices , 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20857, stepped in and for one third of the original contracted price agreed not to ship the coins and dispose of them.

Mr. Casey would not put a dollar figure on the covert opperation but when pressed he repeatly winked his right eye each time a dollar figure was announced. At 10:15 PM his winking was interrupted by a telephone call, a number of clicks and whirls such as a camera makes when film is being advanced. The last number Mr. Casey winked over was $100 million US. At this time two Russians broke through the door shouting the vodka was spiked with Plutonium.

The Canadian Mint quietly slipped the coins into circulation in Canada where no one noticed them until US defence constractors inadvertently drew attention to them.

Previously the Canadian mint had experimented with adding mood stones to the centre of the Canadian coin affectionately called the "Loonie." The intent was to attempt to gage what sort of mood or what Canadian consumers had on their minds. Turns out Canadians have only one thing on their minds - hockey and are always in the mood for more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Kayaker's Rescued off of Victoria

It was quite the windy day here in Victoria yesterday. Three gentlemen had to be pulled from the ocean by the local police rescue team. Here's the link. Apparently they were paddling a single and a double.

When the wind knocks out the radio broadcasts I just look at my back deck. If the Barbie, deck chairs and cushion box are all at one end I know it's a windy day. The BBQ weighs about 80 pounds.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gale Warnings

Gale warnings continued.
Winds westerly 30 to gales 40 knots with the highest winds near The east entrance. Another blustery day on Juan de Fuca Strait. So I threw the gear into the boot and headed for Esquimalt Lagoon. When I arrived the winds were blowing out of the west and stacking up the ebb from the lagoon in a neat series of standing waves. I launched in the lagoon and quickly rode the ebb out through the inlet channel. Passed a rather tough looking five year old who was about to sink me with a rock until his Mom intervened. Out in the bay in front of Royal Roads the wind was not yet blowing unreasonably hard. I surfed back into the outlet channel two or three times then headed over to Fisgard Lighthouse to snap some photos.

I slipped in close and rounded the lighthouse cutting inside of the boomer rock just off shore. I expected to be intercepted by the Navy from Esquimalt but no one showed up. Either it was too rough for the RHI or lunch. I surfed into a small bay for a photo op.

Things where going fine here in the lee of the island but as soon as I pushed my bow out into the wind, she wanted to weather cock. I was having none of that so I slipped back into the lee then choose a better angle and as I slipped past the last rock dug deep and paddled hard to come around to the landward side of the lighthouse. Reversing course I surfed back out through the rocks and into the entrance to the naval base. Still no navy chaps. Retracing my path as soon as I reached the open water the wind took me. Try as I might I couldn't bring the bow into the wind and make any discernible head way. So I retreated to the landward side of the lighthouse to consider my options. I pulled the boat out, fetched the tea and the VHF to check the weather. Amazingly the wind decided to launch my kayak. This is no carbon fibre light weight but a proper British NDK Explorer. Watching it spin around on the sand was quite unnerving. I dragged the misbehaving beast up into the logs and tucked it in next to a nice old cedar. Up on the beach I sat down on Mr. and Mrs. Somethingorother. The loving couple, departed, have been memorialised by having their names engraved on a park bench. I feel awful having spent that time with them only to forget their names. I'll have to go back and make amends. While I was sharing my tea, the cup blew over, the VHF was squawking some dire news. Winds at Esquimalt were blowing 36 gusting to 43, similar winds were being recorded at Gonzales and Trail Island. Race Rocks was gusting to 38. All from the west and right into my face.

Time to explore the Lighthouse. Luckily it was open. Inside it's a typical Parks Canada installation. Lots of pictures of sinking ships, winds whipping the shore with monster waves, the usual stuff. The old building was creaking and moaning in the wind like the last survivor at the old folks lodge, "I'm still here!"

Back out side I took a walk out to the outside edge of the rocks. I was careful not to leap from one out crop to the next fearing the wind might just like to play a little game and propel me a little further then I would want to go. Looking down I saw a way to escape. If I manoeuvred through the rock garden on the east side I'd come to a channel that cut off the actual head land where the wind was the highest. I could then cut hard to the west and surf back down a channel on the west side and into the relative shelter of the adjoining bay. It was worth a shot.
That's the passage out on the left. Back at the beach the wind had again tried to launch my kayak. Even though tucked in next to a log the wind had spun the boat 80 degrees and blew it the length of my tether rope toward the water. I took it as a sign that it was time to leave. Back in the kayak, I worked my way through the rock garden and out into the exposed coast but with real bad timing. High winds and waves drove me east and not west. I looped back around, worked back through the rocks and into the channel this time I waited until I saw a pattern. I let the larger waves go past and punched out through some smaller ones. Made a hard bow rudder turn to starboard and slipped into the adjoining channel. From here it was a short 400 metres back to the launch site. Into the wind it took the better part of an hour to get the kayak back. Loading up I almost lost it doing the Klingon Jerk lift. One hand on the leading edge of the cockpit, one on the back, lift with the knees, explode upwards with your arms, and step forward and lower onto the roof rack, except when I stepped forward nothing happened. The wind pushed me back. Quickly I lowed the kayak and suggested to the nice lady taking pictures that she might want to move her car as my kayak was attempting to turn into an airplane and fly off.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Orcas off of Trial Island

This morning I went down to Trial Island to paddle out on the ebb and take some pictures of the Light House. I should have guessed it would be a special day when a River Otter spy hopped about five meters off my bow. This bold little guy showed no fear what so ever. He even swam a few strokes towards me, enough to make me think he might become a problem. Then down he went.

There's a huge air and water military exercise gearing up off the west coast of Vancouver Island this week. Today was the first day and there was lots of military traffic on the water. Canadian Frigates were out, no doubt hunting American subs. Up at the Airport an American F15 a couple of Hawkeye's, a US airforce CB-9 (it's a DC-9) and a CF Airbus came in over the weekend. With all this activity I couldn't help but wonder if the micro waves and the radar rays would be strong enough to cook a hot dog on my deck. Alas I never seem to have a dog when I need one.

After snapping a few photos of the Lighthouse I headed back to Oak Bay to do my annual golf ball rolls. Just along the shore there is a golf course. From the elevated tees the duffers routinely slice golf balls into the sea. I like to roll my boat reach down, grab a ball, and roll back up. Holding the golf ball in your hand ensures you use a light touch on the paddle - slowing the sweep down. It's good practice. Sometimes I throw the balls back on the fairway. Sometimes not. On the way back I was surfing the bow wave of an outbound tanker when I heard the tell tale whoosh of an Orca. A pod was transiting through Enterprise Channel between Trial Island and Ross Bay. I snapped a few shots. The photos have been enlarged so the detail is not that great. It's great to live in a place where you can drive down to the shore, take a stroll or go for a paddle and be welcomed by these guys.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Plumbing Your Kayak Revisited

Some good folks have written and pointed out that I forgot to include pictures of paddles in yesterdays post. Oops! Here then are the missing photos. In the first one you see a close up of the paddle button. What you should see is a small bevel at the top of the cut so the button can easily slip into the pipe. Some people cut a notch. I've been procrastinating and will get around to this later.
In the second photo you can see how I removed the drip rings from an old paddle and slipped them over the pipes. This lifts the pipe ends off the deck making it easier to slide the paddle shafts into the pipes. This is especially welcome when you're on the water.
In the last picture you see how the blades are held in place. I added a couple of smaller black bungees to help hold the paddles on the deck when I'm in the surf. I choose to cut the pipes short so they would not protrude over the fore deck hatch. Longer pipes hold the paddle shafts more securely in dynamic water conditions such as surf. Thanks, the multitude of kayakers who showed me how to do this.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Plumbing Your Kayak!

You can use two drain pipes normally used to connect a sink to plumbing pipes to hold a split paddle on your fore deck.
Make a diagonal cut on the long end of the drain pipe. This slanted cut will make it easier to slip the paddle shaft into the pipe. Use a file to take the edge off the cut. You can also file a notch in the top of the cut to help the release button slip past and into the pipe. Now drill holes at the base of the elbow of each pipe. Run a bungee cord through the holes and either snap the ends of the bungee's onto your deck lines or whip them on. I've used some black zip straps and a couple of bungee hooks to secure the pipes to the deck lines. Don't cut the pipes to short or you run the risk of large waves washing the paddle shafts out when you are breaking out in larger surf. The blade end of your paddles are secured by your fore deck bungees. I strongly recommend replacing the smaller diameter bungee cords that come with most kayaks with thicker and stronger lines. Takes about an hour to add these to your fore deck. My experience has been that straight shaft paddles secure easier then bent shaft paddles. This may be becasue I cut the plastic pipes too short.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Death by a Thousand Scratches
Doug Lloyd, a well known extreme Victoria kayaker, has pulled his Nordkapp apart for what may be the last time.
I say may because he's rebuilt it so many times that there may just be one more rebuild down the road. If not he's got a plan. "Too heavy and too far gone to rebuild. I'm thinking of filling in all the bolt holes, damage, etc, then recessing the rear cockpit rim, then lowering the volume 1/2 inch along the seam line, then making a mold of the hull and deck, then making a new boat from composites and epoxy (vacuum bagged); this would give me the layup I want with the deck features I want incorporated. Or, I could order a new Nordkapp LV infusion epoxy made boat from the UK - about $4500.00."
Doug says he'll write to Nordkapp about his plans and ask for their approval before he snaps off a new mold. He's made so many changes I can't see the point. His one off is so modified it might as well be dubbed the Lloyd Nordkapp. Although that does sound like one of those chaps with a peerage and parentage problem from back across the pond. "I say old chap, is not that Douglas Lloyd Nordkapp over there with that stunning looking kayak. Tea? Hair Hair!"
Should Doug resurrect his boat I suggest he call in the Mary Ellen Carter. Google Stan Rogers.

Not satisfied with the philosophical question, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin", Doug added a rudder to the stern of his Nordkapp and added fuel to the great kayaking debate - skegg vs. rudder. Over there on the left you can see one of the through hull scratches that facilitated new cloth on the inside. The full length keel strip is another Lloyd innovation that allowed Doug to drag his plus 100 pound boat to and from the launch site. This Nordkapp has had a long and venerable career. Nordkapp should reclaim it, hang it in their offices and send Doug a new one.