~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RAIN DOG'S BLOG~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Saturday, December 4, 2010

RAIN DOG'S BLOG

I created a blog for my (now our) adventures aboard Rain Dog, here is the link. I am not web savvy so not sure how to tie these two blogs together so this is the best I got. I will have a permanent link at the top of OG's page.

I will put Ocean Girl (the boat :-) ) up for sale as soon as I get her all squared away with outstanding projects. She served me well that beautiful boat, a wonderful companion and teacher to get me back into the swing of boat maintenance and repair. It is kinda funny, I have settled into life aboard Rain Dog easier than I did aboard Ocean Girl. Even stranger and hard to admit is that I have not missed Ocean Girl one bit, maybe it is a sign of just how lonely I was and how happy I am now. However, I will always cherish those nights cuddled up in the Vberth feeling her rock me to sleep and the wonderful sunrises I shared with her in my hammock.


Anyways here is the link to Rain Dog's site for those interested .
~RAIN DOG~

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harvest Moon

Our Harvest moon flag, the wind beat it to near death.




Here is a vid of the Matagorda Bay crossing. It was blowing about 20-25+ knots and we were hauling butt! Brian was down below taking a nap, Shel was at the helm sailing the hell outta that boat, and I was hanging on enjoying the ride.


video

We came in 2nd in our division for Harvest moon Regatta. I loved Port A and the ICW trip back to Galvestion. The race down was a bit rough and very wet. I learned that I do not like to race nor sail at 30 deg! So Brian and I now have a understanding, when he wants to race Rain Dog I will be his land crew waiting for him at the next port with a hot shower and cold beer. For all other cruising trips Ocean Girl (the Girl) is to sail at 15-20 degrees,call me a princess but when you cannot pee in the toilet for fear of getting it on the bulkhead (wall) it is time to reef! (sorry for the potty talk!)



The pack of boats behind us...272 boats started the race, 70ish dropped out due to heavy weather conditions and assorted gear malfunctions. One vessel was struck by a fishing boat (everyone was ok but boat was dismasted).



My guy, enjoying the calm before the hard sailing night.



There was a dolphin playing in that ship's bow wake but I couldnt get the shot (dagnabbit!)



My guy at the helm



Me. Salty, sweaty, hiding from the sun, happy as a clam.




The ICW was so pretty and the perfect refuge from a rowdy stormy Gulf.




Life is good :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cinderella finds her Prince Charming...

Well after beating the bushes for years and years I have finally flushed out my prince!! I have so much to say about it but words die at my keyboard. I guess it is so deep, theses feelings I have, that it is way too personal for a medium such as this. But I will say that I have waited a long time for this fellow, and nearly gave up the search.

I find it amazing that there really is such a thing as a soul mate. This admission is pretty funny coming from the gal that created a singles group with almost 200 members titled "single sailors seeking soul mate", but back then (before Brian ) I was running on pure 100% blind faith. I now have him in the flesh and find myself stunned and shaking my head in wonder saying there really is such a thing as a soul mate .

I apologize for the mushy stuff, a far cry from the boat repair and sea adventure stories, but this is the biggest adventure my heart has ever seen (period).



Brian..sigh :-) Cinderella finds her Prince Charming...I wont be single handing after all, yahoo!

More to come, when the words stop dieing at my keyboard.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birthday Fun (OLD POST ALERT!!)

It was my birthday weekend filled with boat fun and even a recounting of my birth....
Alecia, mom says I was the most beautiful baby of us three! She also says I was the most well behaved baby, never cried, always smiling, and never fussed...a sister must rub it in.
This revelation that I was in fact a perfect baby contradicts the earlier accounting's of my beginnings. And so, at 41, I finally find out that the "pumpkin head" joke was all huey! Let me explain to the good folks at home about "pumkin head". All my life my sis and brother said I was born with a pumpkin head. It was said that my head dwarfed my puny body, so big that it could only be compared to a prized pumpkin! So the pumpkin head name was born. I finally have proof that I was in fact a perfect baby (moms words!), and the most beautiful baby she has ever seen (again mom's words!).

I will try to post the famed photo that was used to support the legend of the Pumkinhead...but I think all evidence has been destroyed (I think I got it all :-) )

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11


Amazing how that familiar feeling of shock and disbelief is still there, deep down it is right where I left it. I wanted to post a picture from that day but I just can't, way too sad.

I was in Rhode Island on that day, working for Sea Ray Yachts. A coworkers Aunt was on the second plane and one of my customers had missed a morning meeting in the First tower.

God Bless America

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kayaking out to the lake

Had a little fun this evening kayaking out into the lake then sat drifting in the shallows watching the boats.. and the waves.. and the birds.. and the sky.. and the clouds....sigh, I love this life.



How funny it is, my love for the water. No matter the boat I am in nor the depth of water below the keel, as long as I am afloat my heart is happy.





When I got home I sat at the bow in my hammock and watched Venus try to keep pace with the Moon as it sets to the west. The moon was a mere sliver but extremely bright in the deep blue black backdrop of the night sky, absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ocean Girl has a sleep over!!

Here are some pictures of my niece and nephew when they came down for the weekend.



The hammocks were very popular watching the sunrise, sunset, and stargazing at night.




Erika Lily cleaned the boat while I yelled "swab that deck!"




Erika Lily likes to nap in the kayak too (just like her Auntie :-) )




Warren woke up with the sun and was the man about the marina, sight seeing and meeting the locals. Erika Lily is a natural onboard, she loves the boat and can't wait to go sailing. Erika Lily hints that I need a bigger boat, something with "four stories". She has what we sailors call "another foot itis", always wanting a bigger boat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

K-5





Well its been 5 years since that horrible event, Katrina category five hits the Gulf coast. I cried many times for the people who died, were trapped, or injured. I cried today just remembering and I still have to swallow the anger of how miserably we failed to help the survivors. I was a nursing student at the time and it was surreal to go to class, to study, to eat and sleep knowing that there were so many nearby that were in big trouble. Many times I fought the urge of leaping up out of my seat and run out of class to do something..anything! Yet all I could do was pray, gather up what I could to give, and call my senator to chew em out. I think back and admire the determined people who threw their boats on trucks and trailers and drove to the waters edge to make their way into the the city to find survivors. I admire the rescue workers who were givin few resources for a Herculean job.










May Katrina's failures never happen again.
1836 lives lost, countless injured physically and emotionally.




A lot of heroes, big and small...











A lot of hearts broken...







I had the privilege to get to know one survivor and her family. Her name was Chaqita and she was from the 9th ward, she stayed at the shelter next to where I worked as a teacher in the Child development center. Anyways, Chaqita got out of New Orleans with her 5 kids before the storm hit. But her brother stayed behind with their uncle who had refused to leave. The uncle died in the dome (hell dome), her brother survived but was very traumatized. Chaqita lost everything, lost her home, her uncle, didn't know where half her family was, and yet she was always graceful, thankful, and positive.

Chaqita and I bonded from the very get go. We come from totally different backgrounds but we talked and hugged like sisters. I still think of her and pray for her and her family. This photo below of a woman and her kids (Katrina survivor) reminds me of Chaqita, strong, resilient, and loved. If I could of hugged every Katrina survivor I would of, we all would of.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Family fun

My sister and her family came by the boat today. It was so great to have them on board. My sis wants to have a girls sleepover weekend (yahoo) and my niece and nephew are coming to spend the night next Friday (Yahoo).

Here is Erika Lily (my niece) in Erika Leigh's (me) favorite spot aboard OG -the hammock. Yes, my niece was named after me, and Lily is my Brother in law's sister :-).




Warren, keeping an eye on his little sister. And my sister Alecia, keeping an eye on both of em:-).



Noel, enjoying the cockpit and the shade:).

Crazy Eyed Jack




I guess this is the way of living a transient life, you are always making new friends and old friends move on to new horizons. I believe Harvey has moved onto another pier and now this roughneck arrived today. I was out kayaking when he picked Ocean Girl for his turf. He is a young blood and a bit mean looking, hard to believe he is of the same species as Harvey. Harvey could never look mean, he has a weak chin:).(I know I know, I need to get over Harvey)



ABOVE:
I found my companionway canvas ajar as if a certain bird decided to be nosey..




BELOW:

Now tell me this new guy doesn't look a bit intimidating...I think I'll name him "Crazy Eyed Jack". This is who we Texans would describe as "ornery".



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crack - what the hee-el is that!


Yep that is my strong language, but a gal gets a little excited when her beautiful vessel has a bo bo.
I was kayaking this morning enjoying the beautiful blue sky when my eyes light upon the prettiest boat in the marina....Ocean Girl, man oh man is she pretty! I decided to row around her a bit and take a look at her waterline and especially the bobstay fittings. I found this at the base of the bowsprit that meets the fbg of the bow. I don't know what would cause this, her bobstay isn't too tight, in fact I think her rigging is a bit loose. The new bowsprit is clear with no signs of stress. That area of the bow is so thick and strong with a big honkin steel plate glassed into the triangular nook of the bow. I will explore further but she should be fine. If the are is ok and stable, I will simply put some epoxy to waterproof the area and leave it.. but dang I wonder what the hee-el caused that?
If it was caused by an outside force it was probable the valliant across the way hit her, they are new to sailing and have had some close calls to OG bow. But OG has no other marks on her, if she was struck I think there would be other signs. Anyways, other than that Ocean Girl is coming along nicely. My volvo parts should be here in a couple weeks, she should be sailable once the engine is back in service.

Mashed Potato Mountain


Remember the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Remember how Dreyfus was obsessed with the mountain? Everywhere he looked he saw the mountain, he even sculpts the mountain out of his mashed potatoes. He finally gives in to the need to find this mountain, to follow the irresistible pull of his vision, no matter how illogical or crazy it seems. Once he is finally on his journey to find this mountain he meets others who have the same vision, the same need. It comes to light that people from all over the world find their way to that mountain because of this irresistible, unexplainable pull.

Well, I see many similarities to my sailor friends to the characters in that movie. My sailor friends come from all walks of life, from all over the world. We all have that same pull, that same need to be on the water. We all have laid awake at night plotting the moment we will have our boat and we all have dreamed of blue water. We leave our homes, some quit their jobs, give up their lifestyles, just to be with the sea.



Sometimes bewildered that we find ourselves here on the water, but all the while knowing that this is exactly where we belong. Inexplicable, illogical, and unexplainable to many (ie landlubbers). For some, this life afloat is as predetermined as the characters in the movie finding that mountain, to ignore the call is - unthinkable.

My co workers told me about a house that is for sale cheap, said it would be a great house for me. Frankly, it was the craziest thing I'd ever heard (borderline insulted to even suggest it). Why the heck would I live in a house? I looked at them incredulously and told them that even if they gave me a house I'd still live on my boat. Again, why the heck would I live in a house? What could possibly possess me to live on land? It could be a gold plated mansion and my answer would be the same. Living on land has zero appeal (ie unthinkable). I have told my friends at work that I choose to live on my boat but some just can't seem to fathom that I don't want to live in a big house with all the trimmings. I think some may think that I am too poor to own a house, maybe that is why I live on a boat. And some think I am just uninformed about a new invention called four walls and a roof,(sigh). I don't know, landlubbers are very weird (period).


A close encounter with a ship (excuse the pun), I think this is the Gulf of Mexico.


This week was a bit crazy at work. We had a patient code on the table, we performed CPR for over a half an hour. Thanks to an incredible team effort he is still alive today. I could never post all my thoughts about my experience as a nurse, but I will say that I work with some amazing and selfless doctors and nurses.
Erika

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Warren!


Here is a pic of the birthday boy when he was a bit younger, now he is a big strapping man of 15!! Keep an eye out for this face, I think he is destined for the theater.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pain, music to my ears :)




It seems since becoming a nurse I have a nasty habit of driving up to car accidents just moments after they happen. I average one a month sometimes two times a month. Tonight, coming back from my nephews birthday party I came upon a motorcycle accident. It was after dark and as I came up to him I could see him lying in the road, he wasn't moving (gulp). But as soon as I got out of my car and started over to him I could hear a blissful sound...pain, loud moans of pain, funny how comforting it was at that moment. Moans mean he is breathing, moans mean he is alive. I knelt at his head to talk with him as I mentally went down my "worry" list. How is he breathing, pulse OK? any blood loss, etc etc. This poor guy seems like he will be ok. He moved all his limbs, but his stomach was distended (beer belly?) so I wonder about internal injuries. He remained stable and I left when the ambulance got there.

Sunday:
Worked on the boat for a bit and worked at my storage shed putting away more tools from my dad (thanks dad!!) Dad gave me two big tool boxes of goodies, a Circular saw, and a huge bag of electrical stuff (yahoo!).

I think the heat got to me this weekend, don't know how hot it really got but boy was it hot! I think we are at the stage in this Texas summer where it is prudent to hide in the boat during the hottest part of the day and only come out in the morning or evening. I can't wait for it to cool down, 100 degrees with no wind makes for lousy sailing. Here is a picture of a great sunset at sea. I was aboard a Little Harbor, delivering her from St Thomas to Eleuthra Bahamas.


Cheers,
Erika

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The problem with righteous indignation..

The problem with righteous indignation is if you turn out to be wrong, man is it tough to admit it!
My big rant a couple weeks ago about being sold a bad battery turns out to be untrue. The battery does have a bit of an issue but not bad per say (told ya it is tough to admit it!). So I reinstalled all the batteries with new battery boxes (sweet)and a new battery charger (double sweet!). I bought the B&D smart charger 40 amp, it will float the batteries and even recondition them if need be. I did have a big scare when I went to use the alternator health test on the new charger. The health test indicated - "THE ALTERNATOR IS BAD" in big red flashing lights. I sat there, sweaty and dirty and thought..well I can just strangle myself with the alternator belt and be done with it! But before I could wrap the belt around my neck to end this boat repair saga I realized that the engine needs to be running in order to use the alternator health test feature -WHEW! (blonde moment #3 for August).

This weekend was a whirlwind of social fun and boat work. Went to movies and saw "The Other Guys" with my friend Brian, funny movie. Bunch of friends trickled by all weekend as I worked on the boat, it slowed work down but was absolute blast showing off OG to my friends and chatting wood care and anchors. Then tonight we had an impromptu BBQ up at the gazebo. So I was quite the social butterfly ( the hermit will resume her duties during my work week:) ).

I am babysitting Pasha (a pampered feline) and Como No (a big beautiful Cape Dory 40), their mom and dad are out of town. Here is a shot of pasha, she is so sweet and I have been sucking up to her all day in the hopes she will cuddle when it is beddy by time tonight.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My new Multi-meter


I post this so my friend Martin can teach me how to use it properly via a few thousand miles away (I love the internet). Next is my new Battery Charger, I am off to the store right now. This is how us sailor girls spend our Friday nights :) (yep, we are a wild bunch).
Erika

The sailor girls get pampered


Here is a picture of Ann, Leigh Ann, Becky, and I. Guess who is who :)
One sailed around the world, one is just back from a Bahamas 5 year cruise, and one owns a beautiful steel hull brewers design sailboat, and of course then there is little ole me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Psst, I think I'm being followed...by a little flying bug...yeah, I said BUG!






I noticed the little fellow the other day on my way down the dock as I was heading off to work. He followed me again today so I decided to tuck my camera in my purse just in case this wasn't a coincidence, sure enough he followed me. In his defense, I am pretty adorable and smell like roses :). Maybe he thinks I am a flower, which would be rather cute. On the other hand, I am talking about a BUG, a flying bug! Even worse than that, I am flattered he is following me. Hmm, this gal is getting stranger and stranger by the day, could this be early symptoms of senility?

On that same note, I have notice that I am increasingly becoming more and more of a dreamer. I give gravity and great meaning to the most mundane and innocent of things, like a fish who hangs out near my boat or even a little dragonfly following me. I am known to smile up at the sky and the sun, just close my eyes and tip my head back and kinda soak it all in. It is not unusual for me to stop in the middle of a parking lot and enjoy a beautiful cloud or smile and say hi to a little butterfly fluttering by. This behavior of mine is, so far, mainly localized to my marina and around my boat. I haven't started picking up cool rocks on the side of the road or giving a tree a great big hug, but don't put it past me neither. I feel connected to the wildlife around the boat, more than I have ever in the past. I see our little interactions as gifts, sent by God. But these gifts are not exclusive to me, I think my little friends would be happy to say Hi to anyone passing by. I think God would love to dazzle all of us. I wonder why more people don't stop and see what an amazing world this is. :).



This is the little guy, I live at the end of this rather long pier, he followed me all that way.

Here is a close up of him,I call him Harpy, I assume its a him, be a bit unsettling if I was being followed by a girl dragonfly! :-)




A dragonfly helped me rebuild an old vw engine ya know. Now wait, before you seal the commitment papers to the sanitarium let me explain. I was 23 or 24. I had just bought a VW van from an ex boyfriend, yeah I was a clever one. The van threw a rod about a month later. My ex agreed to help me rebuild the bad engine, I guess his guilty conscience got the best of him. Anyways, I rebuilt the engine and got it back in the van. The big moment came to start her up, I had worked so hard on it and was feeling quite proud of myself. Well, I started the engine and it ran so rough, something was very wrong. I quickly shut the engine down and proceeded to tear it down and carefully put it back together again. My confidence was shot and I relied on my friend watching over me. So we got the engine back in the van, and I go and sit in the driver seat, take a deep breath, and turn over the engine...The same horrible noise. I shut the engine down and just stared out the windshield frustrated and in complete dispare. Why did I think I could do such a big job? who did I think I was? I am no mechanic, I am just a young girl who couldn't afford to mess this job up. I sat there in the drivers seat, smelling of grease and gasoline, and let those negative thoughts roll over me like big black waves...

Then, a little inch long lime green dragonfly landed on the tip of my nose and looked right at me! As God as my witness, he stared right at me. I was so startled I just stared back. We were eye to eye (s) and he had a firm grip on my nose and just peered at me. He had a bright lime green body with iridescent purple wings, he was so beautiful. After a few moments he flew away and I sat there feeling a bit stunned. Then I leaned my head back and laughed, I laughed from the very depths of my soul. I felt the world come back into view, I felt those negative thoughts wash away with every teary laugh, and even more amazing is all my doubt flew away too, the moment that little green dragonfly perched himself on my nose.

I got out of the van and went back to the engine and looked again, turns out I had the spark plugs wire (thingy) all wrong. We fixed the mistake and my engine started up with a purr and a sigh of relief.

I was ready to walk away from that van in frustration, I was going to quit, but for a little green dragonfly. God sends us little messages of encouragements, and the messengers can come in the most surprising form :-).



This picture is as close to him as I could find, my little guy was much cuter and his wings were sparkly clear purple (if that makes any sense).

By the by, my nose is not that big. At least not to be considered a landing site, though my brother with his barbie doll nose would beg to differ:).

Prepare for the eyes to glaze!

Sorry to post such a mundane and eye glazing post but this way my sailor friends can give me input. Battery readings of each cell and the current volts
The higher the number the healtier the cell, good readings start around 1250. B1 looks bad to me.

B1 (2/10)

1175 1180 1175 1180 1180 1180 12.6v 12 HOURS post charge
1200 1210 1200 1210 1200 1200 12.5v 48 HOURS post charge
1200 1210 1200 1210 1200 1200 12.5v 72 HOURS post charge



B2 (3/10)

1225 1200 1210 1220 1200 1175 12.9v 12 HOURS post charge
1225 1225 1250 1250 1225 1225 12.9v 48 HOURS post charge
1250 1250 1250 1250 1225 1225 12.8v 72 HOURSpost charge

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Every time I brag that there are certain things that I am totally uninterested in learning about God seems to kick my butt into learning about it. So in light of that discovery I'd like to state that I love my electrical system, I love learning about it and can't wait for my next day off to dive into the wonderful world that is OG's house batteries.

Today I tested each cell of both batteries, logging what each read. Tonight B1 will get a full charge. Tomorrow night if I am not too tired from work I will fully charge B2. I like to watch over them while charging, it is not my charger so am a bit unfamiliar with it. I believe one battery is bad, this testing should give me a hint to which one it might be, and heck I might as well admit it, this battery stuff is kinda interesting :-).
I also tried to buy the Gates green stripe alternator belt for "honeybunny" my engine, but the auto parts store I went to did not have my size..sigh. So I will put the same belt back on, it is in perfect shape so I am not to worried about it. I am waiting to hear back from my volvo parts folks on the water hose, I hope to have it by thursday so I can install it this next weekend. This boat will sail one day soon, just gotta keep my nose to the grind stone. I guess it would be good to buy a maintenance log, this boat stuff is more complicated than I remember. Guess it was selective memory.


I cleaned out my storage shed today to make room for some tools my dad gave me (thanks dad! you rock!).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Harvey's lil secret

Well brace yourself, Harvey is not who he said he is and Sue Ellen is playing on the wrong side of the tracks! The whole sordid affair came to light just a few nights ago when my friend Dennis pointed out that Sue Ellen is a black crowned night heron. This observation lead to the discovery that Harvey is a green Heron, a totally different subspecies..sigh. So the love was doomed from the start (snif snif), aint that just the pits. My dream of hearing the little pitter patter of mini Harveys running around the dock bumping their heads and falling in the water are shattered. Sue Ellen seems to be completely unaware that she is playing with fire, she was just seen following him around this very morning. Hmmm, I now remember how elusive she was when they first met, now I know why. He must have worn her down and she finally melted into his arms (uh er wings) and gave way to the bliss of a forbidden kiss...sigh. As you can see I am a bit of a romantic. That is Ocean Girl (the girl), a single gal waiting for her prince charming to swoop down and sail her off into the horizon (oh and fix he ac system too :-) ) but I will not fall for a subspecies (landlubber) like Sue Ellen fell for Harvey. I still love Harvey, but his figure is a bit tragic now... less like Cary Grant and more like Groucho Marx.

I am off today and will work on my dc system. My Volvo water pump to heat exchanger hose came in and was the wrong size of course, this is the way of Ocean Girl (the boat) it can never be the right part on the first try.


If I held you any closer I would be on the other side of you. ~~Groucho Marx

Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops. ~~Cary Grant



A few hours later....
ok will try again to upload a vid from OG. Here is a clip of a cool storm that blew through over the weekend. Funny how the vid doesn't really show the whole picture of this blow. The boats were "dancing" in their slips. Also notice how the water is almost completely undisturbed, the wind seemed to be about 20 feet off the deck and only a few puffs actually reached the sea level. God I love the weather, so very interesting. I made another "tour OG" vid but it is still too long (too many megabites or somethin) so will make a mini tour as soon as I get OG the boat and OG the girl tidy, it is 12 o'clock and I am still in my pajamas,(giggle) my plans of work have fallen to the wayside. I'd be a lazy bum if I didn't work so hard.


A few more hours later.....
DAGNABBIT, the vid failed again.. dag-nab-bit! Ok this tears it, it is my mission now to find out how to properly post a video, and the best part is I can do it in me pajamas :-) don't tell my mom, she hates laziness when there is boat work to be done.

Cheers,
Erika

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A riffraff has moved in and we aint happy about it!


Actually I kinda like him, but Harvey and Sue Ellen are feeling a bit put off. The new arrival has taken Harvey's favorite fishing spot (photo). This new guy doesn't have the flare Harvey has.
Harvey was so funny the other morning, it was raining and he was just sitting right outside my port looking so wet and bedraggled, so pathetically adorable! I got a picture of him but I had forgotten to put my memory card back in the camera(Blimey!). Before I could fix the oversight Harvey got wise of my plan and flew off in a huff. Man that would of been a great picture! I know he is just a silly bird but he provides so much amusement, he is such a character. I hope this new guy doesn't run Harvey off, lord I sure would miss him. BTW still don't know what kind of bird Harvey is...?




Here is a shot of Sue Ellen, she is such a pretty lady :-)