columbia icefield

Visiting the Athabasca Glacier near Banff in the autumn of 2015, w AK47

Visiting the Athabasca Glacier near Banff in the autumn of 2015, w AK47

Rolling the 30k

Rolling over 30 000 kilometers on the bike.

Rolling over 30 000 kilometers on the bike.

Back to the East Coast

a good view to start the trip

First day in Prince Edward Island (PEI), staying at a friends house, this was the view I had during my morning coffee. A wonderful plot of land right on the water in Charlottetown. I cannot express how hospitable these friends were to me. Thank you!

confederation house

In the mid 1800s, PEI was the richest group in the colony, making their money on fishing and ship building. In the first week of September 1864, PEI and the other maritime colonies decided to hold a meeting to talk about a maritime union. Further west, Upper and Lower Canada got wind of the meeting.

conferdation room

In this room, the politicians of Ontario and Quebec crashed the maritime union meeting, and turned it into a colony wide union; a country to be: Canada. Three years after this first meeting Canada became a country, on 1 July 1867. Of note: the groups from Ontario and Quebec brought multiple TONNES of champagne along to the meeting, it was mostly a drink fest.

Rob and Lindsay!

[Incredibly random event] On my FIRST day out in Charlottetown, I was standing outside a sushi restaurant and got a tap on my shoulder from two good friends: Rob and Lindsay. Neither of us knew we’d be in PEI and thus had planned nothing. We just ran into each other on the streets of PEI and ended up making dinner plans at the New Glasgow Lobster Supper.


First tourist place we visited: Stanhope on the North Shore. This is the town that my Grandmother grew up.


A really pretty maritime shot.

singing sands

On our way to East Point, we stopped at the Singing Sands.


East point.


Made a stop in Mt. Stewart, the place where my Grandfather grew up.

the north cape

Final stop: The North Cape, the furthest North West you can get on the island.

the north cape

Walking along the shore at the North Cape.

Of course, the whole point of the trip was to see one of my best friends get married. Congrats Brenley & Matt

Of course, the whole point of the trip was to see one of my best friends get married. Congrats Brenley & Matt

Book Review: Sailing Alone Around the World

The cover of Sailing Alone Around the World.

The cover of Sailing Alone Around the World.


I found this book while I was travelling, so naturally I had to read it. The week of 12-18 May 2014, I was atop Kitt Peak Mountain in southern Arizona. I had travelled there to use one of the (many) telescopes at the summit. I’ve written about this place many times, no need to go into again here. In the cafeteria on the mountain there’s a small collection of books, left there over the years to (most likely) provide some sort of entertainment on long cloudy nights. My supervisor and I perused the used book collection (as I so love to do) and nothing really stood out to me, except for Sailing Alone Around the World by Captain Joshua Slocum. One glance at the cover and I knew I was going to read it. It’s funny how that works.

I’ve been travelling my whole life. Thanks to my parents, I’ve seen a large chunk of Canada and the United States (from the back seat of a minivan). I turned these experiences as a child into a passion as an adult. Now I try to travel as much as possible (though not nearly enough for my liking). In recent years, I’ve done two motorcycle trips alone (one Toronto > Halifax, the other San Diego > Flagstaff > Tucson). Further, I took sailing lessons as a kid! This book sounded perfect.

The premise: in 1895, Captain Joshua Slocum (having already had many years sailing experience) took up the challenge that ‘no one could sail around the world with a crew of one.’ At the time, this seemed impossible to many. Slocum, however, was surprised people thought it impossible and took the challenge to show that it certainly was possible (but also likely for his love of the ocean). The book, Sailing Alone Around the World, is his memoirs of the events which lasted from the building of his sloop the Spray, to his departure from Fairhaven, Massachusetts on April 25, 1895, to his arrival in Fairhaven again, on June 27, 1898. It took him 3 years, but Slocum circumnavigated the globe on his own. His tale is filled with pirates, outrageous storms, battling natives of South America, and even his meeting of the late Robert Louis Stevenson‘s wife Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne in Samoa. Here is an image from the book that plots his route around the world.

The route.

The route Slocum took from Massachusetts East around the world.

Also, since this book was published in 1900, it is now FREE as part of Project Gutenberg. You can get it here. I also found a youtube video wherein a gentlemen has plotted Slocum’s course on Google Earth, and provided markers/waypoints along the way. I embedded the video:

The book is a sailor’s view of the world, full of sailor talk, adventure, introspection, and pragmatism. His attitude throughout the whole is of a humble appreciation for his abilities and the Earth. Highly recommend.

Happy Reading!

Bok Walk and IRAF Art

Using IRAF to make art

Weird output in IRAF. We use a program called IRAF to monitor the observing as we go. We use it mostly to check the shape of stars while we focus. If you look at this image, you’ll see what shape a star should look like in the above plot (i.e., round). But every once in a while, IRAF spits out some weird things, like the above image. It’s fun to hold on to.

On the Bok Walk

A shot of me on the Bok Walk, an balcony with a great view!.