And I’m Cold Again

After returning from our vacation where it was 85 to 90 degrees all week long, we are now back in Virginia. This morning, I was anxious to ride my bike into work… that is until I realized it was 37 degrees outside.

Well, I still got on the bike and the ride was mostly pleasant. Of course, my fingers began to freeze about 30 minutes into the ride, but that’s normal for this temperature. This evening, though, the ride home should be much warmer – more like 60 degrees. PERFECT riding weather.

And now that I’m back, I have a lot of photo processing to do… again.

Beware The Peepers!

We are coming close to the end of our trip and are now worn out and exhausted. I need another vacation!

There is one downside of this island: it’s what we’ve come to know as “peepers”. There are strange creatures on this island we have heard but never seen – some say they are frogs, but they make a “peep”-ing noise only at night… all night. At first, it sounded like some kind of alarm – it was so regular and loud, but we began to hear some variation and asked about it. At first, they are interesting, but, soon, they are very annoying. You get used to them, I suppose.

At least there is nothing biting my ankles. There aren’t many mosquitos here on the island, although I have seen one… only one.

Happy Thanksgiving from Curaçao

Laura and I have “finished” our scheduled dives in our package, but I think I’ll be headed to the shore for another this morning. We were able to sleep a little later than ususal this morning and I’m feeling well-rested.

I’ve been having trouble with the camera [the Canon S80] working as I had intended. It has trouble focusing – or I have trouble getting it to stay in focus while drifing around underwater. We have a few pictures, but not as many as I would like. I realize now that if I intend to get serious about underwater photography, I will have to go with an underwater SLR housing and strobe kit – to the tune of many thousands of dollars. Maybe that will have to wait. The least that I’ll have to do to get things to where I want them is get a large external srobe for the S80. That will help things a little, but not too terribly much. I’ll just have to buy with “upgrade” capabilities in mind, so that if I get a housing for one of the digital SLRs, I can use the strobe on it and not have to buy a new one. Looks like I’ll be saving for a couple more years…

Bon Bini!

That’s the welcome phrase here in Curaçao. I have to say that this place is welcoming and friendly. We have been treated very well since our arrival here in both the airport and hotel. The car rental person was exceedingly friendly: she even escorted us to the car to make sure it met with our expectations. Upon arriving at our hotel, we were greeted by name by the guest services co-ordinator who before allowing us to check in, insisted on showing us two different available rooms for our choice. Now, some of this [well, let’s be honest – most] attention is due to the fact that I am a Diamond member of the Hilton Honors program. But I do have to say that nowhere else in all my travels have I been treated anywhere near this well.

We chose our room overlooking the inlet to Piscadera Bay and facing the setting sun. [I already have some sunset pictures.] That afternoon we spent checking out the grounds and setting up our dives for the week. The dive shop is on premesis, but you can’t charge your dives to your room [no Hilton points for me!] and they don’t take American Express.

We had dinner here at the hotel and it was an Italian buffet – and not like we get in America, but very authentic Italian food, with wonderful salads, pastas, and desserts. They even have a brewery on site, and since they were out of it tonight, I’ll be trying one tomorrow.

Being a Diamond member has it’s perks. We get either a free continental breakfast in the lounge or a coupon for a free full breakfast downstairs.

This place feels like a little Europe plopped down in the middle of the carribean. I like it very much.

We’re Off!

Today, we embark on the beginning our great voyage across the Carribean sea to Curaçao. We take the fist leg [to Newark] today for an early departure tomorrow. We will try to keep you up to date with pictures and such.

[UPDATE]: We’re now in the airport waiting to go. Gotta love that free WiFi! Finishing packing was an adventure, but we got it all [barely] in our dive bags. At the airport, we were weighed at a hair over the 50lb limit. They let us slide in. Now, it’s off to Newark!

Server Better?

So far, so good. I’ve seen that the server has been up continuously even longer than before. We are up and running without reboot for over 5 days, close to 6 and tomorrow is the critical point. At that point, I call and get a warranty replacement for my other stick of RAM. Once I get a new one of those, I’ll put everything back in the server and be done with upgrades for a while – until I fill up that 1.2TB drive array!

Once it’s all done, I may move the web site over to that box. I bet it would be zippier!

[UPDATE:] It’s now been over 7 days and no server reboot. I think it was the RAM. Now, I must call for a replacement…

Impending Diving

Soon, Laura and I will embark on the fifth sort-of-annual Thanksgiving day dive trip known to the world as Dive Turkey V. This year’s festivities will take place on the island of Curaçao. We had hoped that this year’s trip would include a broad range of friends and associates, but the attendance of this monuments event has dropped down to just two: Laura and I. This will be the last of the Dive Turkey events we take the onus to plan.

We have made our preparations and checked out our gear [in a swimming pool no less] and we have some new additions. First and foremost, we upgraded our previous underwater-capable camera from a 2mpx Canon A20 to a spiffy new 8mpx Canon S80. Now, we have two cameras [with underwater cases] that we can take down. That makes for a good backup. Second and … well, for me it is a tie on which is cooler… I got a new BC – a DiveRite TransPac harness with a RecWing bladder and other various and sundry accessories. This is a much more capable BC that will allow me to float in a different orientation than my previous one [and it won’t squeeze my chest when inflated]. I’m hoping it will be better for photography. It will certainly be better when I do more technical diving, such as caving [which is a long way off, probably] since I would only need to buy a few parts to make it capable of such things. Maybe I need to make another trip to that pool and check it out…

Laura has also had an upgrade with the purchase of a new dive travel bag. She can now spread out her gear into her own bag [which will ease the problem of weight restrictions that may occur on some trips – we had been sharing a single dive bag].

Server Un-fix?

I thought it was fixed… Until it rebooted itself 3 times in one day. It lasted longer than it has before, but that may be because of the fact that I did a clean shutdown before flashing and upgrading the drivers.

So – my new hardware pieces have arrived: the AMD Operton 270 and 2GB more memory. Since the server is still acting strange, I’m going to do a process of elimination on the parts I have double of: RAM and CPU. So, Friday I replaced the RAM. If the server reboots itself, it is not the RAM. If it does not reboot for 7 days, I will get replacement RAM for that 2GB stick, and put the second CPU in. If it’s not the RAM, it may be the CPU. I will then put the additional RAM back in [increasing it to 4GB] and swap the old CPU with the new one. If this fails to crash, I will get a warranty replacement CPU. If it still crashes… I will have to figure something else out.