I updated the website a few days ago. I didn’t make any big changes but I fixed a bunch of little problems. I added some new content as well.
Tools For Cruisers Calculators
I’ve been working on some calculators for weather and sailing. These were available on the website before the update, but I was debugging and tweaking them. I think they are finally ready for prime time. Links to these calculators are found by going to the main page www.questeria.info, clicking on the Tools For Cruisers button and then clicking on the Utilities button.
The Apparent Wind Speed Calculator calculates apparent wind speed and direction when true wind speed and direction and boat speed and heading are known. The True Wind Speed Calculator calculates true wind speed and direction when apparent wind speed and direction and boat speed and heading are known. The Wind Speed Calculator will estimate true wind speed from a weather fax. I will discuss these calculator in detail at later time.
Apps, Books and Websites
I had some discussion of books before, but it was pretty out of date. I’ve started to update it with some more recent books that I’ve used. Some of the new additions are:
The summer has come and gone and I haven’t touched the blog. After our Bahamas trip it took us a while to get used to being in our marina again. We made boat repairs, went to some of our favorite restaurants and visited the sandbar. On Memorial Day weekend we held our first annual Bonefish Marina Paddle Board Race. We had one entry in the kayak division, one entry in the dinghy division and several entries in the paddle board division. That was lots of fun.
We started to get back to normal and then Fran’s brother, James came down to visit. We had a great time fishing, even if we didn’t catch anything. One day we went to Key West to visit Jim, his army buddy who he hadn’t seen in years. Jim has his own micro brewery in Key West called Bone Island Brewery. We sampled some of his beers, went to lunch and toured the Mel Fisher museum.
We had more visitors in June. Alicia, Jackson and Oliver came down for a week. We went fishing, to the sandbar, to the beach, to Aquarium Encounters and to some of our favorite restaurants.
On July 4th we had a great cook out with ribs, brisket and other things on the smoker. We cooked breakfast (red, white and blue pancakes and four pounds of bacon), lunch, snacks and dinner. We had tons of leftovers.
Following that I took the van and left Fran in Marathon. I drove to Chicago for the 107th Chicago to Mackinac Island race. Robert flew up there and we met up with the crew of Twisted. This was the second time I crewed for this race. We did better this year, We didn’t come in first, but we didn’t come in last. We had a great crew and I learned a lot. We started the race on Saturday and got to Mackinac Island on Monday. Tuesday was a day of celebration.
On Wednesday Robert and I rented a car and drove to Chicago. I spent the next week and a half with my family. We went to Lincoln Park Zoo, a movie, bowling and of course eating. Fran flew in on Thursday and we got ready for Simoen and Jerry’s wedding.
The wedding was fantastic. The bride and groom looked great. It was at a beautiful country club and we had a great time dancing with the family.
The day after the wedding we left Chicago and drove to Lexington Kentucky. We stopped at Town Branch distillery. We didn’t make it in time for a full tour, but we did get the tail end of the tour and the tasting. We are not big bourbon drinkers but we really loved the Bluegrass Sundown. This is the Kentucky version of Irish coffee. All you need to do is add hot water and float heavy cream on top. We bought a bottle, but it didn’t last very long. Fran was right. We should have bought more than one bottle.
The next day we went to the Four Roses distillery in Lawrenceburg KY. This time we took the full tour. After the tasting we bought two bottles, the Yellow and Small Batch.
After that we went to the Wild Turkey distillery. This was a larger tour that included the distillery, barrel storage and bottling. We bought a bottle of American Honey Spice and Rare Breed.
Next we went to Woodford Reserve. We were too late for the tour, but we did a porch chat. We learned that bourbon is really good after a bite of dark chocolate. We bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve and a box of bourbon chocolates.
Then we drove to Bardstown. We tried to get into a bed and breakfast. One was Bourbon Manor Inn and the other was Jailer’s Inn, an old jail house. Neither had vacancy so we stayed in a hotel and walked around the town. We had dinner at the Bourbon Manor. We definitely need to come back to the bourbon trail and see more of the sights.
Next we dove to Athens, TN to visit Jerry and Debbie. They were very gracious hosts and we had a wonderful time. They also gave us wine and preserves.
After that we drove to Catawba, NC (outside of Charlotte) to visit Alicia, Jackson, Oliver and Jeff. We had a great time, as always.
Then we drove to Durham, NC and ate dinner at our friends restaurant, Thai Cafe. The food was excellent I wish we knew about this place when we lived there.
Next we went to Ernul, NC to visit James and work on Olson Manor, our storage unit (refer to Tips or Becoming a Liveaboard for more explanation). We managed to pack a bunch of stuff in the van, including a band saw, teak, lexan and a bunch of tools. Keep in mind that we already have stuff from the sailboat race (mine and Robert’s), clothes for Chicago, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, wine and preserves from Jerry and Debbie and beach stuff for the next week.
Then it’s time for our annual family beach week in Ocean Isle, NC. Fran and I started this tradition four years ago. Since we don’t have a house, and our boat is not big enough for everybody we decided to rent a beach house for a week when all our children and grandchildren were available. This year we had Shannon, Daniel, Gracie, Lawton, Alicia, Jeff, Jackson, Oliver, Ryan, Audrey, Erika, Steve, Adam, Ava, Greg, Emmy, Fran and Ron. We had a wonderful time playing at the beach, as usual.
After a fantastic week at the beach it was time to go home. But first we had to drive Adam and Ava to the Raleigh airport. Remember all the stuff we packed into the van? Now we had to find room for two more people and their luggage. We managed to get them to the airport Saturday afternoon and then made it back to Marathon, FL on Sunday. We stopped Lorelei, one of our favorite restaurants on the way back. It’s nice to back in the keys. Fran was gone five and a half weeks and Ron was gone eight weeks. Are we done traveling for a while? Definitely NOT!
It took us a while to unpack the van. We reassembled the band saw and put it in our marina workshop. George and Nancy are off for a while so we go diving and lobstering on Just One More. We only get four lobsters in two days, but they sure were tasty.
On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend we go to Key West with George, Nancy, David and Brenda. The first Sunday of every month is local appreciation day and many of the attractions are free. Our fist stop is Peppers of Key West. We buy some hot sauce and marinade. Then we go to the Spice and Tea Exchange and buy some seasoning. Then we visit the Custom House, Art and History museum. What an interesting place. We eat lunch at Caroline’s and then tour the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Then we take the Trolley tour and finish off the day with mojitos in Mallory Square. What a fun day!
I updated my website today. I wasn’t planning any big changes, but I started looking at some things and ended up making major changes.
Links to this Blog
I added a link to here on each page. This blog existed before, but you had to know the URL http://questeria.info/wordpress to get to it. Now you can press the “WordPress Blog” button to get here from any page.
New Google AdSense Format
I started advertising on my website with Google AdSense since 2008 to help offset website costs. I have a text/image ad at the top of the page and a link ad at the bottom of the page. I’ve made a whopping $4.78 since then. The ad formats were designed for desktop and I wasn’t happy with the way the ads looked on tablets and phones. The last major update was to use different style sheets for desktop, tablet and phone, but I was still using the original desktop ad formats.
I changed the top ad to a new responsive format, that adjusts to the screen size of the device. I am much happier with this format. The bottom ad was just too small to see on a phone, so I just don’t display it .
My website development skills are self-taught. There are a lot of resources on-line, but it takes a lot of trial and error to make things work the way I wanted them to. I had the website looking how I wanted on a desktop, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the way it looked on tablets and phones. I was searching for web and discovered a tag that I didn’t know about; <meta name = “viewport” content = “width=device-width“>. This tells the browser to set the viewport, or window width, to the device width.
I added this tag to each page of my website. I had to make a lot of changes to my phone style sheet, but after that it made the pages more readable on my iPhone and Kindle Fire.
iPad Style Sheet
When I updated my website to have separate style sheets for desktop, tablet and phones, I used my laptop computer, Kindle Fire and iPhone 5 to look at the results. My Kindle Fire is one of the first one available and is about half the size of an iPad. We have an iPad but it belongs to my wife, Fran, and is usually being used. But when I did look the website with it, it seemed like everything was too big. So I decided to add a style sheet for the iPad and similar devices.
I’m pretty happy with the way my website looks on all the devices that I have tried. This will probably be the last major update for a while, unless I find some other cool tags to try.
I wrote some Perl programs a while ago to help me with route planning and documenting my tracks. I thought they might be useful to others, so I cleaned them up and made them available on my website, under Tools for Cruisers, Utilities.
You must have Perl on your computer to use these utilities. I use ActivePerl for Windows.
I usually open a command prompt window to run these utilities, but I included a bat file so you can use the utilities with Windows Explorer. (I don’t use a mac, but I’m sure you can run these Perl programs.)
There are two utilities:
clnrte.zip – Clean Route will process GPX route files to optionally renumber all waypoint names in numerically increasing order and/or replace waypoint symbols with the default “Waypoint”, or any other symbol name.
gpx2csv.zip – Create a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file from a Route or Track GPX file. A route file will have Waypoint, Latitude, Longitude, Distance (NM and Feet) and Bearing. A track file will have Latitude, Longitude, Date, Time, Depth, Elapsed Time, Distance (NM and Feet), Speed (knots) and Bearing.
When you down-load these utilities there is a txt file that explains how to use them. Look for some posts in the future that show how to use these utilities.
After creating the Distance Time Speed calculator I thought about creating a calculator for finding distance and bearing from two locations, or a second location from a location, distance and bearing. While investigating how to do this I discovered how to get a current location so I integrated this in the tool as well.
To use this tool you enter a location as a latitude/longitude pair. You can enter a location manually, or get your current location, if supported by the device. In this example, I get my current location by pressing “Set Current Location” (press it 2 or 3 times for the best accuracy).
It found my current location, with an accuracy of 16 feet. Next, I enter Location 2 in the format “dd mm ss” for a latitude of 35° 35′ 32″ N and a longitude of 081° 02′ 13.6″ W. The tool accepts latitude and longitude in several different formats. This lets you copy and paste from other tools, such a Google Earth.
When I press “Submit” I get the distance (in nautical miles and feet) and the bearing (in true degrees).
The distance is 1.436 nautical miles, or 8722 feet, and the bearing is 145 degrees true.
There are three formats for displaying latitude and longitude. (The tool will keep the original precision independent of the display format chosen.) If I want to see my locations in a different format, I can use the tool to convert between formats. In this example I want to convert from degrees minutes to degrees minutes seconds. I press the “Format” button and select “dd mm ss”.
When I press “Submit” the format will change.
If I want to calculate the speed to get from Location 1 to Location 2 in 21 minutes, I can send the distance to the Distance Time Speed tool by pressing “Send to Dist Time Speed Calculator”.
Then I enter 21 minutes.
When I press “Submit”…
I see that my speed is 4.1 knots, or 4.7 mph.
In the next example I calculate where I will be if I travel from my current location for 1.42 nautical miles at a bearing of 43 degrees true.
When I press “Submit” I will see the latitude and longitude of my location.
The formulas used by this tool are not 100% accurate so you may see some difference if you calculate a distance and bearing and the use the results with Location 1 to calculate Location 2.
Another feature of the tool is the “Swap” button. This will swap Locations 1 and 2. You can use this feature to calculate the distance and bearing traveled between two locations. For example, press “Set Current Location” as you start of your trip. (You may better accuracy if you press it 2 or 3 times.) When you finish your trip press “Swap”, “Set Current Location” (2 or 3 times) and “Submit” to see distance and bearing traveled.
I learned a lot developing this tool and I think that I came up with something useful. At least I think it will be useful. Hopefully you will too.
When we are cruising on Questeria, we are always doing distance, time, speed calculations. Traveling on the Intra-Coastal Waterway, ICW, complicates it even more if we need to convert between nautical miles and statute miles. It’s not hard to do all this when you are sitting at a desk with pencil, paper and calculator handy, but it becomes more challenging when steering a boat.
I had some extra time, so I decided to write a web utility do this. Here is a screen shot of the utility on an iPhone 5.
You can convert between nautical miles and statute miles or knots and mph and you can calculate distance, time or speed by entering two values.
For example, if I am cruising up the ICW, look at my ICW guide and see that the next bridge that I need opened is 8.7 statute miles away, and I look at my GPS and see that I am doing 5.2 knots, I enter 8.7 into the Statute Miles field and 5.2 into the Knots field.
Then I press “Submit” to see how long it will take.
It shows me that it will take me one hour, 27 minutes and 14 seconds. It also tells me that 8.7 statute miles is equal to 7.56 nautical miles and that 5.2 knots is equal to 6.0 mph.
The values in the fields will stay until overwritten or cleared by pressing “Reset”. So say that after 4 nautical miles, I am still doing 5.2 knots, and I want to see how much time is remaining to get to the bridge. I need only change the “Nautical Miles” and clear out the time.
Then I press “Submit” to see the new time.
I see that I have 41 minutes and five seconds to get there. It also tells me that 3.560 nautical miles is equal to 4.097 statute miles.
This tool is on my website, under Tools for Cruisers, then Distance Time Speed. You can use it on any device, with a web browser, that is connected to the internet. Sorry. There is no off-line version at this time. I hope you find this useful. Stay tuned for a post on the Location Distance Bearing tool, which can work with the Distance Time Speed tool.