Saturday, October 07, 2006

Solo

Holiday Inn Select, Solomons Island, MD

Yesterday I drove Libby up to the airport in Baltimore and dropped her off. The weather was awful. There was a 48 hour long storm that passed here. It was cold, and very rainy and there were hard winds.

Just as we pulled in to the BWI airport, the phone rang. It was Orbitz calling to tell us that Libby's plane was on schedule. "Neat technology I thought, but the message would have been more useful if it came before we drove to the airport." After dropping Libby (without a phone) and while leaving the airport the phone rang again. It was Orbitz calling to tell us about a flight delay. "Sigh, ain't technology wonderful, I thought. Not much use for that message now."

An hour later, the phone rang again. It was Orbitz calling to tell me that Libby's flight home next Monday is scheduled to leave on time. "Cripes. Can't they do anything right."

There is, or should be, a principle in information technology that relates the value of information to the timeliness of the delivery of that information. My favorite IT example is the sign above the jetway as you deplane your airline flight. It tells you, "Your luggage will be on carousel B" For an airport with 8 or fewer carousels, that information takes as few as 3 bits to delivery, yet it must save the customer service agent the trouble of answering that question 100 times or more personally. The 3 bits is only valuable if it is delivered to the right gate within the narrow time window as people deplane.

Last night about 0200 I sensed something wrong. I got up and checked. Sure enough, the anchor had dragged 58 feet. That is the first time since Lake Champlain last year that we actually dragged anchor.

Quarters are tight here in Solomons and I was too close to another boat and too close to some docks. I had to go out into the bad weather dressed in shorts, and rig up and deploy a second anchor. By the time I got back to bed I was so cold and wet and so pumped up on adrenalin, that it took 3 hours for me to get back to sleep. If Libby had been here to help me, the net result would have been her discomfort and loss of sleep too. Oh well, it's part of the cruising life and it doesn't happen often.

Today, the docks in all the marinas around here are under water. I figured that it must have been because of all the rain we had. The marina man told me, "No. It is because the storm winds blew all this water into the bay." Huh? The bay runs NW to SE and the storm winds were from the NE. Would expect only SE winds to blow water into the bay. The point is that tides and currents and surges in Chesapeake are far more complex than I understand yet.

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