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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seagulls, the lousy thugs of the sea.

Babies have arrived and they are so sweet. I am talking about the baby ducks! I feed them (and momma) when they wander over to my boat. This morning the seagulls found the clan and took off with over half of them. I just couldn't watch the carnage, I went down below and turned my radio up. My instinct was to hurl projectiles at the thugs but I know it is part of the circle of life.... Circle of life be damned! Seagulls are thugs, the stinkin vultures of the sea. Hmm, maybe I am taking this a bit hard:-) but you would too if ya saw these adorable chicks. I didn't cry over their demise...yet.

Last weekend I locked my mom down below Ocean Girl. She brought her sewing machine and couldn't come out until all my canvas whims and necessities where sewn. The list included a Companionway cover, curtains for the main salon, curtains for the forward storage nooks, two squares of canvas (2x2s and 4x4s) for general purpose, A cup holder (yes canvas cup holder, I'll take a picture when installed), and a keeper for recycled grocery bags. There was more to do but I needed a nap (she was making so much noise!) :-)

Well gotta get to work. It is kinda weird, everyday going from this quiet floating life of sunshine to the crazies of the OR with no windows. But at least there are no thugs flying away with cute little chicks...lousy thugs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh Lord! It is 1 o'clock in the morning and Erika is feeling philosophical!

This morning I was thinking about the moment I decided to go back to sea, it was while I was driving to work and the song “Cool Change” came on the radio. I know that song has been played to death but I never tire of it. Anyways, this morning I was thinking about how I had locked away the ocean girl in me to go to nursing school. I had lived on boats since I was 19 and then at 35 I decided to become a nurse. However, if I wanted to go back to school I had to live on land (yuk). So ocean girl needed to sleep and it was a painful separation. I locked ocean girl away for years, and for years she slept. For years I didn't know exactly where the wind was blowing from, didn't gauge the force of the blow. For years I only noticed the rain if I was going outside, didn't worry about hurricanes, didn't own a West Marine catalog :-). Honestly as hard as nursing school was, the separation from the water was the hardest part and I don’t think I could do it again. In ‘07 I graduated from school. Funny though, the ocean girl in me stayed silent, waiting. I did catch a glimpse of her the first time I stepped into the operating room of all places. The surgeon was performing an open heart. Among the machines and instruments, the beeping of monitors and the soft voice of the surgeon as he skillfully repaired a beating heart, I had the feeling of standing on the deck of a sailboat looking out into a raging ocean. It was that same feeling of life and death, of witnessing something grand and mesmerizing, and it was also that same terrifying beauty. I even told my nurse friend about that moment of feeling as if I was offshore again, they thought it a strange connection but it made perfect sense to me. It was a sign, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Then a few weeks later I was driving to the hospital and that song came on the radio and filled my little car with these words ..Cool Change... now that my life was so prearrange, I know that it’s time for a cool change… and I realized I had accomplish my goals, I was a nurse. The ocean girl in me had been patient long enough, she demanded my attention, and got it. Actually, a more accurate discription would be that ocean girl yelled "what the H E double L are you doing living on land and how fast can you get your butt to the ocean!". I was going back to sea!! I felt like I was released from a burden. The ocean girl in me sprang up like a genie from a bottle, joyous in her freedom, reveling in the beauty of a her dreams come back to life. Within 8 months I bought my ocean going boat and was living aboard. Whew!

Moving aboard was as much a divorce from land as it was a marriage to the sea. I don’t miss the four walls of a home, couches, paintings, or big screen TVs. I don’t miss driveways, mailboxes, doorbells or staircases. It is not a dislike of these things, it is just a lack of connection.

Now the boat, the sea, I can wax on and on about the things that give me joy while living aboard my beautiful vessel. I love the foot pump in the galley. I love the creak in the cabin sole as you step past the aft bulkhead. I love the wood, varnished and bare. I love the patina of my bronze ports, the feel of the cool fiberglass beneath my bare feet. I love my old brass anchor light, creaking lines, and the view from my bunk up into the sky. I love sailing, the thrill of surfing down a wave, the heel with the first puff of wind, the thump of the sails as they fill. I love the feel of the helm as the water flows past the rudder with an exhilarating hum. I love marinas, the rows and rows of vessels bobbing in their slips, each vessel, custom and production, unique. I love transoms and boat names, hailing ports and cleats. The long walk down the dock is a stroll through an art gallery of form and function, so many interesting designs with their tumblehomes and shears.

Obviously I am not a land girl, probably never will be. I am so very grateful that I have my sea life back, every morning I thank God for it. I am an odd duck, for some reason it is not natural for me to be on land. Don't get me wrong, land is fine and dandy, but it is not for living on and especially not for sleeping on. Yep, I am an odd duck, but a happy one.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pampered and lovin it, Meeting My Friend (the stranger), Where de water go?

Well busy week for OG (the boat and the girl). Thursday was pamper day ahh. OG the boat, got a good hull scubbin and interior sprucing. OG the girl, got a swedish massage (say sveeedish massage). And last but not least, Tiberius (my car) got a wash and oil change. So we were quite the pampered ones on Thursday (life is so tough!)

I met my friend this weekend (aka the perfect stranger). His name is Wayne and he is cruising aboard a beautiful steel hull Bruce Roberts 50. Right now his vessel (Learnativity) is in New Zealand. I met him through my mom (long story kinda, will explain one day). Anyways, we have been emailing back and forth for a month or so and when the opportunity for him to visit the states appeared he arranged to fly into Houston for a day. We had a lot of fun talking boats and and cruising. I showed him OG and he gave me some great advice about refrigeration (he is quite the handyman). See photo of the little New Zealand lamb :)

Last night a northern hit and took all the water (see photo, that is my neighbor across the way). OG is now hard aground after bumping most the night. This is the first time we have been aground all winter. I thought spring has sprung, did old man winter get the memo?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone..

Not much to report here on OG. Work has come to a stand still, though the to do list has lengthened (ho hum). I have been sick since feb 24th, yes FEB 24th! I picked up some killer stomach bug from hell. I either got it from my yacht club restaurant (asparagus) or I got it from some bag lettuce. Nurses tend to wait till deaths door before going to a doctor, and since I am a nurse I had to live up to the reputation. But by day 9 I finally saw a doc who informed me that I have a stomach bug(surprise!) I am now on meds (day 3) hoping I will feel better tomorrow.

The addition to my To Do lists are
1.)Buy life jackets (forgot I threw out the old moldy ones)
2.)Get anchor onboard, they don't work very well stowed in the dock box (kinda important don't ya think?)

I really need to buy a new anchor, right now her only anchor is a 25lb plow. I like the Manson 25lb, they are made in New Zealand I believe. I will have 70 feet of 1/4 PC chain and 250 of mega plait for her rode. I posted a pic of a SS version of the new style Manson anchor. The roll bar over the top is supposed to make it self-righting. It is rated for everything (mud, rocks, sand, coral,and grassy bottom). I am trying to pick out a swivel for connecting the anchor to the chain but the SWL and BS are hard to find or inconsistent. I like the Kong swivels. When I worked for West Marine they carried the Kongs, back then they were works of art (form and function)I wonder if they still are.