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May 2015 Archives

May 3, 2015

My first Segway ride

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Yesterday I had a blast with my first ride on a Segway, a delightful way to travel outdoors, at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. The device is battery-powered with a top speed of 12.5 mph (which feels plenty if you are cornering hard). The event was organised by Gift Experience Scotland.

I started cautiously, on tarmac (above) but it only takes a few minutes to gain enough confidence to go off-road: the X2 has cross-country tyres which work fine over mixed surfaces and obstacles. 

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and here's my friend Mary in action over one of the obstacles we did in the timed trial:

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Instructor Rick Elder's briefing took only a couple of minutes, and safety equipment is mercifully only a bike helmet. Here's how they work:

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The creator of this wonderful device was Dean Kamen, an American high school dropout who went on to become a talented inventor, and was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002 for the Segway. In 2009 the company was bought by a Yorkshire philanthropist called Jimi Heselden. Tragically he was killed after falling off a narrow path down a cliff into the River Wharfe while riding this device: the sad story is told here

Away from clifftop paths, however, it felt a very safe way to travel. Sadly, in the UK they can be used legally only on private property, with the owner's permission. There's a campaign to legalise them here.

I am so pleased to have happier memories of Segways than that misbegotten production of Fidelio at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013. And I'm sure that my first Segway ride won't be my last!

May 23, 2015

Grenada diving: wrecks, reefs and a flooded camera

We are enjoying a precious week in Grenada: Keir is chilling, thinking and reading, whereas I am chilling, diving and reading. Sandals takes care of the eating and drinking, as well as running a good dive operation. Some rocky shores, strong currents and big waves ensure that there are plenty of wrecks to visit and also makes the boat diving somewhat challenging, especially regaining the boat from the water.

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Above is the view from our room, across its balcony and into the Caribbean where I swam on Tuesday within minutes of arrival. It was meant to be a test shot, having just put my Canon S90 into its housing before taking it for its first underwater outing next day. This was to a wreck called the Veronica L which sank in St George's Harbour and was towed to the Boss Reef. Sadly my housing flooded on the descent, but I took a few pictures anyway. On return, I was astonished to find that although the camera was dead, the images have survived. I hasten to post these images from the wreck before the SD card also dies!

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The diver at upper left of the last image maybe conveys the size of the deck machinery in foreground? Although I feel contrite about this being the second camera I have drowned in less than 3 months, I have traced the problem back to a single strand of fine hair (a grain of sand would have done equal damage). Since the housing still seems to work even at depth, as does the wide-angle lens, I am simply going to buy another S90 off eBay, and waste no time on remorse. Salt water under pressure and delicate electronics just don't mix, and the O-ring is at best fragile protection. And without a camera, there are no distractions on the dive, and sadly no more photos to blog with.

About May 2015

This page contains all entries posted to Jacquetta in May 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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