2003 Journal Archive

January, 2003: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

We have settled into life at Port Bonbonon. Our routine includes walks on farm roads through the surrounding country-side, meals at Ne-Ar-Ne Restaurant, various parties and bar-b-ques, and a weekly trip into Dumaguete for shopping and internet access. We have been doing a lot of reading and a little work on the boat. Jim has been out exploring (he hired a habal-habal to get around) and put together a short photo tour of the local scenery.

New Years was a lot of fun, with a variety of fireworks and a special meal at Ne-Ar-Ne. Jamie fired one of our red parachute flares to contribute to the festivities. She had never done this before, so it was good training for her (that's her story, anyway, and she's sticking to it.)

We made a trip to Bohol to see friends and to pick up our bicycles, which we had left there. Jim will be going to Cebu to buy bottom paint for the boat. We need to put the boat on the beach to add some anti-fouling to the hulls, and the appropriate paint is not available locally. The high-speed ferry is quite convenient, and although it is expensive by Philippine standards it is fairly cheap compared to US prices. A round trip ticket to Cebu (four hours each way) costs about $US 20.00.

Both of us have had an abcessed tooth. Our dentist tried to do root canals for us, but in the end we have both had a tooth pulled. We are waiting a bit before we decide what sort of bridge we will have, if any. Medical and dental care here is extremely inexpensive, and reasonably up-to-date. A doctor's visit at a private hospital costs just 100 pesos (less than $US 2.00) The root canals cost about $US 20.00 each.

We are planning to do some traveling around this area, but have had to wait while our dental care was completed. Now that we are free to travel, we hope to have more interesting things to report next month. See you then.

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February, 2003: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

We have both completed our dental work for now, and have decided to do some traveling in this area. We will be away from Bonbonon for many weeks and do not expect to be able to update the website until after we return, in late March. We will still be able to check our e-mail in internet cafés from time to time.

At the end of January, Jim made a one-day trip to Cebu to buy some anti-fouling paint for the boat hulls. (Without this special paint, barnacles and other creatures grow on the underwater surfaces, adding drag and slowing the boat considerably.) Jamie waited at a hotel in Dumaguete. Jim planned to make the trip both ways on the fast ferry. He was surprised when he was not allowed to board the boat for the return trip with his 3 gallons of "highly flammable" paint. This left him a choice of waiting until the next morning when he could take a different fast ferry (that does not inspect luggage), or travel by land the length of Cebu island, then take a small ferry across to Negros, and, finally, take a jeepney to Dumaguete.

Unable to contact Jamie to tell her what was happening, Jim wanted to get back more or less at the time expected, so he chose the "land" route. It meant traveling almost 4 hours in a small bus, actually a converted van crammed with people, to reach the southern end of Cebu Island. There he hoped to hire a pump-boat, a fast banca, to take him from Lilo-an directly to Dumaguete, but there were no bancas available, and he had to go on to the small port at Bato. There he would ride on a very small ferry boat. The seas were fairly high in the Tañon Strait as the northeast monsoon winds were funneled between Cebu and Negros Islands. The ferry had seats for about 70 people and did not look at all seaworthy as it bounced around in the waves while tied loosely to its dock. The gangplank was bucking like crazy, and Jim was not at all sure about getting aboard.

On the other hand, the number of passengers was small, about 40, so the boat would not be overloaded. He had already paid 40 pesos (US$ 0.80) for his ticket. And, although it was already late afternoon, the crossing would be made in daylight, reducing the risk of collision or grounding. In the end, Jim decided to board the boat. He and all the other passengers crossed the bucking gangplank without incident and the ferry headed out into the Strait. The ferry was crossing at a right angle to the wind so it had the waves on its beam. This caused the boat to roll quite dramatically. Surprisingly, only a few people were noticeably seasick. When the boat turned into the wind for a short distance to reach it's pier, it began pitching as each wave rolled under it. The pilot did a good job of matching boat speed to the conditions, slowing down for the largest waves. This prevented the boat from falling too rapidly into the trough behind the big waves. And, of course, all ended well with a safe arrival on Negros. Getting off the small ferry was made more difficult by the presence of a larger ferry already at the dock. Passengers had to leap from one boat to the other while both boats climbed up and down the waves and rolled from side to side. But, again everyone made it without injury and without dropping their paint.

It was then a short walk, perhaps a quarter-mile, to the highway, and a half-hour jeepney ride back into Dumaguete. The jeepney route passed within a couple of blocks of the hotel where Jamie was waiting. Another short walk, up three flights of stairs, and the paint, now much heavier than it had been in the morning, was safely in Dumaguete. The next day we made our usual trip back to Bonbonon by bus and habal-habal. The paint made it back to the boat without mishap, though the cans are now a bit dented.

— Our trip to Bali

On February 9th, we took our usual trip by habal-habal and jeepney into Dumaguete, then took a fast ferry to Cebu, and then a plane to Bali via Singapore. We arrived in Bali late on the 12th. We spent the first 2 days in a hotel near Kuta beach. The first day we took a tour that was provided by the airline as part of a package deal (along with the hotel room). It turned out to be mostly a tour of shops selling Balinese crafts. But our guide, Su, was quite informative, and even took us to visit his home. He showed us his family's home temples, explaining each temple's purpose. We then met his wife who was on her way home from taking offerings to the public temple.

The next day was Valentines Day in Bali, so we stayed at the Hotel and rested from our journey and tour. We also had a long massage together and a "sensual" bath at the Hotel's spa. Because of the lack of tourists in Bali, they gave us a 50% discount on everything, including meals and the spa. We had a very relaxing day.

Next we traveled up to Ubud. In the past, Ubud was the artistic center of Bali. Many European and American artists came here and were followed by western ex-pats and then by the tourists. Now Ubud is second only to Kuta Beach for tourist volume. We had planned to stay here for a week and then travel to other parts of the island. But we have enjoyed ourselves so much here, that we will probably stay here for the rest of our time in Bali. We find that we can reach most of the island during day trips from Ubud and return each night to our homestay.

We have stayed in 3 different losman or homestays. They were all different and all interesting. We think we have found the best for our purposes, Ketut's Place. It is beautiful (actually most of them are); the price is right; the food is great, and Ketut has been a wonderful guide to Bali. We feel in many ways that we are actually a part of the family. We plan to stay here until March 9, when we must leave for our return trip to Singapore and then the Philippines.

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March, 2003: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

We spent a month in Bali, leaving there on the 9th of March. Then 2 days in Singapore and Malaysia, and back to the Philippines on the 12th. We had a wonderful time, but are glad to be back to the familiar surroundings of Port Bonbonon and Razzle Dazzle.

We will soon be traveling again, this time to the northern end of Negros Island to visit a friend of ours and to tour the sugar mills near Bacolod. We should return here by the first of April. There isn't much else to report. We are resting from our trip and getting back into the routine of living on the boat. This includes rowing the dinghy everywhere we go, instead of all the walking we did in Bali and Singapore. Rowing isn't particularly difficult now that we have learned the technique, but it can be a bit of a pull when rowing into a strong wind. We are getting shoulder and back muscles into shape again!.

During the north-east monsoon, the wind blows almost constantly through our anchorage, often at 10-15 knots or more. The boats strain at their anchors, all lined up and pointing to the NE. Once in a while, the wind will die down to nothing. When this happens, the boats each react to the currents which swirl around them as the tides come and go. They end up pointing in all different directions. It is rather strange to see.

One thing we have come to cherish is the sky. It is a beauty we never saw when we lived in town with street lights and trees and buildings blocking the view. Living on a boat, anchored in the middle of even a small body of water, we have the entire sky overhead. At night the stars; in daylight the clouds passing by; at sunrise and sunset the colors splashed here and there -- it is a never ending pageant, and we have a front row seat. And the moon is a special treat. During the full moon, we cast dark shadows on the deck. And on one day of each month, we watch the moon setting in the glorious colors of a tropical sunrise.

We have come home, it seems. See you again next month.

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April, 2003: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

During the last week of March, we traveled to the northern tip of Negros Occidental to visit Ester Estrellas, a friend of ours from Panglao. Esther was going to visit her mother at Hacienda Estrellas, the family home in Negros, and we went along to join her. We traveled by bus along the coastal plain up the east side of the island to Cadiz. We had one stop in San Carlos to change buses and use the bathroom. The total trip lasted 6 hours. The buses can be fairly comfortable, though they are not designed for tall people with long legs. On many of the buses there is the added amenity of FM radio piped to speakers throughout the bus. These are turned up to maximum volume. It can actually be painful, so we take earplugs — and used them for the entire trip.

Traveling by bus has its advantages. It is cheap and fairly quick, but we couldn't stop to take pictures along the way. There were many times when we would have liked to. Still, we did get a few pictures that we think you will enjoy, including a caribao pulling a cart through the streets of town. We also saw fish drying in Cadiz City. Filipinos eat huge quantities of tiny dried fish. We had always wondered where they came from — we had never seen them being dried before. And some pictures came to us. Vendors came onto the buses at many stops offering snacks and cold water. They attach their goods to a metal hook that can be hung over the edge of the luggage rack while they sell things. There were usually 3-4 vendors at each stop. None of them sold much.

Esther's family lives amidst the sugar cane fields for which Negros is famous. We learned a great deal about the sugar growing industry, and will report on our sugar experiences next month. After visiting Esther, we continued on around the northern end of the island to Victorias. There we toured the large Victorias Sugar Mill. They would not allow Jim to take pictures (armed guards and everything). Then on to Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental Province. After spending two days in a hotel in Bacolod (so Jamie could watch the Academy awards on TV), we took a bus over the mountains back to the east coast and Dumaguete.

We returned to Bonbonon during the dark of the moon. At night, when the wind has died down to a whisper, the bioluminescence in the water is a real delight. At its peak, the tiny creatures in the water react to the slightest stimulus. Even the drops of water dripping from the oar tips as we row cause tiny splashes of light when they hit the surface. And the oars themselves cause great maelstroms of luminescent green each time they dip into, through, and out of the water. Outboard motors leave a glowing wake far behind them. It seems that there is a new wonder to excite us at every turn. It can sometimes make us child-like even at our age.

Now that we are back on the boat, we have begun some routine maintenance and cleaning. While we were away, a fine dust had blown onto the boat, so we washed everything down. First we scrubbed and rinsed with seawater, then a final rinse with fresh water. We also had to clean off the barnacles, clams, grass, and other sealife that grew on the bottom of the dinghy during the last 2 months. This growth can become quite thick and makes it much harder to row. We first took the dinghy onto a nearby beach and spent an hour scrapping off the worst of the growth, then raised the dinghy onto Razzle Dazzle's deck for final cleaning, rinsing, and sanding. We then painted the dinghy bottom with antifouling paint. This should prevent future growth and save us a little work next time.

We decided to have lunch at KooKoo's nest resort one day. Jim rowed the dinghy there and back (about 2.5 miles), with the last bit against the wind. He was quite tired by the end of the trip. But, it was good exercise, so we went back a week later early in the morning (it's cooler then). We have also started pushing our morning walks a bit farther each day, all in an effort to slim down after our time in Bali. We really did eat much more than we should have while we were there, as the food was so wonderful.

A few days before Easter, a large ocean-going barge arrived in our little bay. It was here to load sand from the village of Tambobo. The sand will be taken to Manila for construction work. We rowed over to check out the barge, as did the local fishermen. The barge is huge, with a half dozen men living and working aboard. They have at least 5 dogs and several cocks (roosters), so it is quite a menagerie.

Easter mass is the major event at the Catholic church in Bonbonon village. We could hear the singing from our deck (over a mile away) shortly after midnight. We were told that the 4 a.m. mass would be preceeded by a choir of small children dressed as angels. We had arranged for a habal-habal to pick us up at 3:30 in the morning to take us to the church. We waited until almost 4 o'clock, but our ride never came and we had to walk. It takes a half-hour to walk there, and we were too late to hear the children sing. The church was completely filled with people (at least 300 of them) with even more people scattered around the grounds. Most of them had been there since midnight; some were there all night. It was quite an impressive display of religious devotion.

We didn't get to hear the children sing, but we did have a marvelous moonlit walk through the jungle. The moon was just past full and cast sharply defined shadows of the coconut palms, banana trees and bamboo groves as we walked along. The road was deserted; even the dogs were too sleepy to bother with barking at us. It was a magical moment, and well worth getting up in the middle of the night.

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May, 2003: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

The weather has become unpredictable. We are in the transition period between the NE and SW monsoons. The winds blow strongly from the NE, or from the SW, or some other direction, or not at all. We have traded our blue skies for facinating clouds of all types. The dry season is ending soon, which is good. The hills around Port Bonbonon are now brown and dry. The planting season is beginning, as farmers anticipate the coming rains. By the middle of May, we started getting intermitent rains. We had planned to beach the boat this month to scrape off the marine animals that had accumulated along the waterline, and apply some anti-fouling paint. The tides were perfect on the 17th to 19th of the month. But the rains came, we can't paint, and will now have to wait until after the rainy season (in about 6 months).

As a result of the current weather patterns, we decided to make a change to our mooring bridle. Jim had a strenuous morning in the process and wrote this description of his experience.

We have made many visits to the Public Market in Dumaguete to get photos for a future Journal article. While we were there, we saw a number of interesting sights we thought you might like to see as well. This area of the Philippines no longer has anywhere near as many fish as it did just a few years ago -- too many fisherman trying to feed an ever increasing population. The large fish are becoming harder and harder to find, but there are still some of them. We saw these fish early one morning. They are the biggest we have seen so far. We also find eggs and rice available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and quality.

Each week we make the trip into Dumaguete City to check our e-mail, buy groceries, get money from the ATM, etc. We have to wait for a bus or jeepney at a tiny village called Mayabon. The children always seem to find us fascinating. Here are pictures of two of the children (a boy and a girl.)

Nicky and Arlene have a big sow that was pregnant for what seemed like a very long time. They are hoping to raise the 10 piglets to sell. It takes about 4 months (and a lot of food) to produce a marketable pig. They can make a worthwhile profit, though it is a lot of work. The mother pigs are not very careful of the piglets, and often trample them. So Nicky and Arlene took turns day and night waiting for the piglets to be born. (They've built a sleeping shelter next to the pig pens.) They must "catch" each piglet as it is born, then take it to the mother for feeding every few hours until they are old enough for solid food. It's a lot of work for a modest profit.

The Journal article this month describes the growing of sugar cane, which is the major industry on the island of Negros. It is really a continuation of the April article on our trip to Hacienda Estrella.

Many years ago, Jim was given some very old negatives of pictures taken about 1900 in the American midwest. We don't know exactly when or where the photos were taken. Lois (Jim's sister) made prints from the negatives, scanned them into her computer, and forwarded them to us here. This month, Jim added the pictures to our photo gallery. They are an interesting view into a way of life that is now gone forever.

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June, 2003: Davis, California, USA

For a number of reasons, we have returned to the US for a few months. We flew from Manila at 10:30 p.m. on June 4th and arrived in San Francisco at 8:00 p.m. on June 4th. Isn't the International Date Line wonderful? Of course, it will take two days for the flight back.

While in the US, we are staying with Jim's sister in Davis, California. We lived here many years ago, and Jim worked at the University of California for many years. We are currently house-sitting while Lois makes an extended visit to the midwest. If all goes well, we will stay here for the whole time we are in the US. Jamie will begin working as an R.N. soon, and Jim has been offered part-time employment as a consultant. We both will have medical, dental, and vision checkups while we are here.

One of the first things we did after our arrival was to take the Amtrak train to Oregon to visit Jim's parents. They are living at a marvelous retirement home in Roseburg called Linus Oakes. Here is a photo of Jim's parents at dinner with friends (Elmer & Eunice are on the left; Jamie is blinking.)

While we were in Roseburg, one of the few remaining B-17 aircraft from World War II flew into the local airport. We went to see it and Jim took a few pictures. Here is Jamie in the waist gunner's position. We also attended the Renaissence Faire in Sacramento this month. Jim has added a few photos from the Faire to the Photo Gallery.

The Journal article this month is about tropical fruits, with descriptions and hints for buying and storing fruits. It is not quite complete, as some of the fruits have been out of season since Jim started taking pictures for the article.

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July, 2003: Davis, California, USA

We have been very busy during the last month. Jamie has gone back to work as an RN, working as a per diem nurse. Although this is a part-time job, she is working 4 or more days each week. She commutes from Davis to Sacramento and back, often at night, so we bought a new car for her to drive. It is a PT Cruiser. The Cruiser is an odd looking car, but very practical and fairly inexpensive. Jamie has come to like it very much.

Both of us have been catching up on medical, dental, and vision exams. We will probably have to have some "deferred maintenance" done on each of us.

Jim has been doing a lot of work on our website. It has become large enough that he had to reorganize it to make future maintenance of the site a bit easier. He also reformatted everything so that all the pages have the same look. He has incorporated all the things he's learned over the last 2 years into the earlier pages. It has been a huge job. He should be finished with everything in another week or so.

We have two friends that we met in the Philippines, Torgard and Min Young. He is British; she is Korean. They have both arrived in the US recently and are currently living in San Francisco. On the 10th of July, they got married at the San Francisco City Hall. Jim took pictures of the ceremony, and was treated to lunch with the happy couple. Jamie was working and missed all the fun.

The last weekend in June, the City of San Francisco holds its annual GLBT Pride Parade. (It used to be the Gay Pride Parade, but has been expanded to include all sexual orientations. There were even a few closet heterosexuals participating.) This has become a major event in San Francisco. All the politicians come out to campaign, businesses sponsor floats, and people come from great distances to watch the fun. As usual, the participants are quite outrageous, often funny, and always enjoying themselves immensely. Once again, Jamie was working and could not attend, but Jim went and took some pictures which he has posted to the Photo Gallery.

Continuing last month's theme, the Journal article this month is about tropical vegetables, with descriptions and hints for buying, storing, and cooking. It is not quite complete, as some of the vegetables have been out of season since Jim started taking pictures for the article.

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August, 2003: Davis, California, USA

During August, Jamie has continued working nearly full time at two hospitals in Sacramento. At the end of July, an old friend of Jim's offered him a full-time job as a safety consultant, as in "...can you start tomorrow?..." So Jim is now traveling to water districts all around northern California to help them make their operations as safe as possible. It is essentially the same job he was doing before he retired, but with different clients.

Each Saturday, there is a farmers' market in Davis. It is quite an event, with live music, food vendors, crafts for sale, and farmers selling produce. Jim's sister, Lois, shops there every week, and Jim went to take a few pictures. Northern California farmers raise huge quantities of tomatoes (mostly for canning), and there were a good variety of tomatoes available at the market.

Our medical and dental work continues. We are getting a fair bit of overdue maintenance completed, some of which is covered by insurance. It's a good thing we're both working so that we can pay for the rest.

Although we have both been very busy, we have found time to attend the Gold Rush Days celebration in "Old Sacramento", took a one day cruise down the Sacramento River on the last WWII vintage Liberty Ship, and attended the California State Fair with our friends Torgard and Min Young. We hope to have articles for you on all of these at a later date, but this month we have a report on the California State Fair.

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September, 2003: Davis, California, USA

We have been busy working during September. Jamie works nearly full time at the hospital, mostly evenings and weekends. She has also taken a 9-day emergency medicine class at the University of California. The students took turns being both victims and rescuers. They use a makeup process called moulage to make their practice more realistic. Jamie came home many evenings looking really terrible.

Jim's job involves traveling to a variety of water districts around California, doing safety evaluations for the joint powers authority (JPIA) that insures them. His work takes him to modern drinking water treatment plants, as well as rural irrigation districts. Along the way, he passes interesting and historic landmarks, and beautiful mountain scenery. He is sometimes traveling for several days, staying at motels along the way.

We have purchased a new camera to provide better quality photos for the website, and a new computer to bring us up to date with current technologies. Of course, they will both be obsolete by the time you read this.

For this months Journal Article we have a report on our visit to the annual Gold Rush Days celebration in Old Sacramento.

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October, 2003: Davis, California, USA

In early October, Jamie made a trip to Colorado and Kansas to visit with her sister and brothers. While she was there, she took some photos of her family and the scenery in her hometown, Wellington, Kansas.

Jim continues to travel around Northern California visiting water and irrigation districts. He visits a wide variety of sites, including large pumping stations and old-fashioned redwood water tanks. Along the way he has seen rice harvesters in action, and the silos where the rice is stored. And in the Altamont Pass, he saw hundreds of windmills, modern electric power generators.

He has also seen some beautiful scenery, including this moss covered tree in the Napa valley, and the South Fork of the American River, in the gold rush town of Coloma.

For this month's Journal Article we have a report on our trip down the Sacramento River aboard the Liberty Ship S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien.

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November, 2003: Davis, California, USA

The big news this month is that we have added new features to the Razzle Dazzle website. You can now search these pages for specific topics by clicking on the Google logo on any of the main pages. This will allow you to search just this website, without a lot of unwanted pages from the rest of the internet.

Life continues without much change for us this fall. We are both working at our old professions and continue to live with Jim's sister in Davis. Jim has had the opportunity to visit a wide variety of water districts throughout Northern California. They range from small irrigation districts that provide water to area farmers to big city water districts that provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people. Some operate dams and power generating plants, others have ancient systems of canals and weirs that are operated solely by gravity. Here is an irrigation ditch providing water to a rice field after the harvest. (The fields are flooded to rot the rice straw.)

Jim recently visited a reclamation district that has a pumping facility that was built in the 1920's. It was built to remove water from a low-lying area that was subject to frequent flooding. It is now a backup facility, only used when the water volumes are particularly high. The 250 hp motors are huge, far larger than equivalent motors built today. The motors drive pumps through a system of leather drive belts that are about 2 feet across. The whole drive train is massive, far out of proportion to similar systems in use today. It is really a kind of museum, still in occasional use during winters when the rains are particularly heavy. The leather belts are no longer available, however, and the pumps will be replaced in the next few years.

This month, the trees in the orchards have been going through their fall colors and losing their leaves, and the farmers are preparing their fields for their next crops. And, for Halloween, Jim's office had a costume competition. Only a few people showed up in costume, but we had a good time.

Jim has recently visited a number of tourist attractions in the area, and has prepared short reports on three of them. So, this month's Journal Article is about a museum, a volcano, and a cave, all located here in Northern Calfornia.

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December, 2003: Davis, California, USA

<< Happy Holidays >>

We are slowly preparing for our return to Razzle Dazzle and the Philippines. We plan to leave California on January 28th. Jim worked his last day on the 19th of December, and Jamie will work until January 3rd. We have much to do before we will be ready for our return to the cruising lifestyle.

On December 10th, we went with Jim's sister, Lois and her husband (also named Jim) to the Grey Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County. Torgard and Min Young came with us. Lois had made a donation to a wildlife fund, and had received the services of a wonderful naturalist for the day, Mary Schiedt. Mary is a retired researcher from the University of California and now works for the California Department of Fish & Game. Here we are, watching for birds along the Feather River, half way to Grey Lodge

The main attractions of Grey Lodge are the migratory birds which settle there each winter. When they take to the air in their thousands, it is an amazing sight. We saw a great variety of birds, which Mary dutifully described and named, but we can't remember more than a few of them. Mostly we remember the beauty of the many different birds and the vast numbers that we saw. It was quite impressive.

Grey Lodge is also noteworthy for the beauty of the landscape. Here are some photos of wetlands and woodlands, flowing streams, and a small, private pool of water. We had a beautiful day, with scattered clouds in the morning and a threat of rain in the afternoon. We were in an area that is closed to hunting, although we could hear shots fired in the distance. The birds clearly seem to know where they are protected, and gather here to avoid the hunters.

During his last month at work, Jim continued to visit water districts around Northern California. One day, he traveled to a Reclamation District in Yolo County, arriving in the midst of a light fog. Just about a hundred feet from the road was Winchester Slough, its surface covered with a small plant called duck weed. On an earlier trip, he inspected a small dam that was built during the gold rush to supply water for hydraulic mining. It is now used to store water for irrigation. The dam is in a remote area; he had to hike along a narrow mountain trail to reach it.

On another trip, Jim went to inspect a small diversion dam on the Feather River. He happened to arrive on a day when they were repairing a break in the dam. The irrigation district needed to add large rocks to the dam to close the break and prevent erosion of the adjacent river bank. They hired a rather large helicopter as it would have been very difficult and time-consuming to get trucks into the area. The helicopter used a big bucket to carry the rocks to the dam. It created a powerful downdraft that blew water from the river for hundreds of feet, up and over the river bank.

On November 10th, we went to Vallejo to be a part of the opening of a new suspension bridge across the Carquinez Strait. This is the first new suspension bridge in this part of California since the Golden Gate bridge was completed during the 1930's.

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