Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weather, Humbug!

Baynes Channel was a giant canvas of white horses last weekend. Winds out of the NE had whipped the waves into a manic state. From high above in the Uplands the Channel looked like a perfect playground as the wind relentlessly blew the tops off the waves.

The air temperature told a different story. Minus 17C. Handling the waves and current was within means. But what to wear? The only wise thing to do was to pull out the lap top and surf the net.

I started with a quick visit to one of my favourite blogs; This is the play ground of one Ignacio Wenley Palacios. Check it out.

Wenley was on about developments in the world of safety flares. The new standard in hand held flares require the unscrewing of an end cap to allow the firing string to drop out. Supposed the screwed on cap will be more water proof then the old friction cap.

Most distressing is the addition of a two second delay before the flare ignites. One might surmise this gap in time was added to encourage the rescuee to have a look down the business end of the flare to see what's up. The subsequent removal of the said gentleman's head would negate a rescue attempt.

On a more positive aside Pains Wessex has introduced a one standard size for white collision flares, red hand helds, and smoke flares. Just make sure you're up wind of these before pulling the ignition cord. Pains Wessex has also introduced a nifty Zip Flare that should make loading these things a lot easier. The flare cartridges are held in a plastic box and the zip pen simply pushes onto the cartridges. Older versions of Zip flares left the cartridges to roll about or sink as they slipped through cold fingers.

In typical British fashion Pains Wessex's web page tells you everything about their products except the price. What a Pains!

Wenley recommends igniting a barn to increase the effectiveness; "this red rocket aims to attract attention at long range, firing a 30,000 candela red signal to 300 metres of altitude with a signal that will burns for 40 seconds - its burning time is dramatically extended, would it land in a barn - suspended under a parachute."

Here on Vancouver it's hard to see parachuting barns after the sun goes down. So I recommend firing the flare into any nearby Lighthouse. The resulting Roman candle should burn for considerably longer then 40 seconds and be visible for some significant distances.

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