Proposed Communication Tower on Heriot Ridge

An application has been submitted to Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) for use of a small parcel of land on Heriot Ridge for a communications tower. There are several concerns about this, including concerns about mistakes in the application and the procedure, in addition to concerns about the usage and the site chosen. There is some confusion about this, so it’s best to go through this in order of history.

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Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

The club has purchased a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB for short, for use on club trips, especially those where there is no cell or VHF coverage

It is an a ResQLink PLB-375 (part number 2880), made by ACR.

Its one of those things that we hope to never have to use. Its sole purpose is to call for help from Search and Rescue by sending your GPS position to a satellite system when activated. It’s small and light and easy to use. Unclip the antenna so that it is vertical and push the ON button.

WARNING: This PLB is authorized for use only during situations of grave and imminent danger. It is only to be activated when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted. Deliberate misuse may incur a severe penalty.

In other words, try your cell phone and/or VHF radio first if at all possible.

There were several options that the club considered.  All use a satellite system for communication; some have additional, very desirable features and higher costs.

PLB.  “SOS” feature only.  Uses the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system
These beacons must be registered with the government, but there is no monthly or annual usage charge. It uses a 5 Watt 406 MHz signal to send the distress signal to the satellites.

ACR makes several models and there is also the McMurdo FastFind 220.

SPOT2, SPOT3, and Delorme inReach. In addition to the SOS feature, these units also can send “I’m okay” messages to selected contacts, they can send periodic position reports so that your friends can follow your track on a map on a web page, and they can also send “send help” messages to your selected contacts instead of to search and rescue. These are desirable features, but they come at a cost of at least $100 per year, which is more than the club can afford. Both Spot and inReach use the commercial satellite phone systems. Spot uses the Globalstar satellites and inReach uses the Iridium satellites; both systems use low earth orbit satellites. The satellite system can do two-way communication, but these devices can only send pre-written messages; they cannot receive messages.

SPOT Connect and inReach Smartphone. These devices can do all of the above, plus they can be used together with an app on your smartphone. You can write a short text message on the spot and you can receive messages. This is a very nice feature, and it comes at an additional expense. The inReach SE is similar, except that it is stand-alone; it does not require a smartphone.

Two way communication will obviously dominate in the future. If you ask for help, it’s nice to say what kind of help you need. It’s nice to have confirmation that help is on the way. From the SAR’s point of view, it’s nice to know that it is not a false alarm.

Satellite Phones. These have been expensive to buy and expensive to use.
SPOT makes one now which is more affordable. Relatively speaking.

Hiking Mt. Seymour 18 August 2013

Activity hiking
Destination Mt. Seymour
Date Sunday, 18 August 2013
Trip Coordinator Syd Lapan
Contact Info 285-2999.  Please contact the trip coordinator prior to the trip.
Description We will hike to the summit viewpoint with a side trip to Nugedzi Lake on the way down.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot, to arrange carpools
Departure Time 09:00
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? yes; owners must bring a leash
Notes: Bring lunch and water

Trip Photos – Hiking Shellaligan Trail 27 July 2013

The group hiked the longer loop, on a warm, sunny, windy afternoon.  This is a beautiful forest and coastal walk.

Hiking Shellaligan Trail 27 July 2013

Trip Photos – Kayaking Cortes 20-21 July 2013

This two-day trip morphed into a three-day trip in order to avoid the worst of the ferry traffic for the Cortes Music Fest.  All three days were hot and sunny with strong northwest wind at night and mostly light and variable during the day.

On Friday the group settled into the Smelt Bay campground and then paddled from Smelt Bay around the south end of Cortes across the shoal in very shallow water for great intertidal viewing.  After reaching a small beach on the east side of the island, with great views toward Desolation Sound, we turned around and paddled back.  (5.6 nm)

On Saturday, the group kayaked from Manson’s Landing directly over to Shark Spit, then spent the afternoon exploring the Channel Rock area, walking on Shark Spit, and following the shoreline back to Manson’s Landing and into the lagoon.  The large tides provided an opportunity for seeing marine life, especially sea stars, sea cucumbers and sand dollars.  (9.1 nm including the walk)

On Sunday, the group launched at Cortes Bay and paddled out to the northeast gap between the Twin Islands and along the shore to the islets at the northwest end.  Hank’s Beach on Cortes made a convenient lunch stop and then we returned to Cortes Bay.  (6.7 nm)

As a bonus, we didn’t get caught in any of the ferry overloads!

Kayaking Cortes 20-21 July 2013

(click on photos to view larger)

Social Rebecca Spit 24 July 2013

Activity Potluck
Location Rebecca Spit
Date 24 July 2013, Rescheduled from 17 July.
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info Call Darcy Mitchell at 285 2739 or email if you have any questions
Description Calling all QI Outdoor club members and guests to a Potluck Picnic Dinner at Rebecca Spit on Wednesday, July 24 starting at 5:00 p.m.   We’ll have a few kayaks on site, so if you’ve been wanting to try your hand at paddling, this is your chance!  Dinner starts at 6:00.  We’ll also have some short reports on club excursions to date and time to discuss your ideas and feedback on Club activities and plans.  AND – there will be a draw for a door prize, so be sure to bring family and friends!
Notes: If a postponement is needed, it will be posted here as a comment.

Trip Photos – Hiking Seymour Ridge 13 July 2013

Four intrepid hikers went for this challenging hike on a clear, warm day.  We hiked up to the Seymour summit with excellent views of Little Nugedzi Lake, the outer islands, coastal mainland and Vancouver Island.  The trail was in excellent condition after being cleared from winter damage by volunteers for the Trails Committee.  We continued on to Nugedzi Lake for lunch.  There was an amazing display of wild tiger lilies around the lakes.  The hike then followed the Nugedzi trail through the forest and past the beaver ponds, with a side trip to the viewpoint over Georgia Basin.  There has been significant wind damage in this forest over the past winter.  From this point the route followed an unmaintained track along the ridge to Beech’s Mountain.  Progress was very slow, as the wind damage was severe in this area also.  After bush whacking and climbing through fallen trees, the group reached the Beech’s Mountain with rewarding views to the east.  The wild flowers were still very good along the way.  On the descent to the Chinese Mountain parking lot we encountered a grouse with chicks.  It took us 7 1/2 hours to go the 12.2 km, with lots of breaks and stops for photos.

Hiking Seymour Ridge 13 July 2013