Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rain Dog and Ocean Girl are Cruising

Just a quick post to anyone who might be checking in here. I'm blogging here -- My husband and I are cruising aboard a 34 Crealock by Pacific Seacraft. I'm recovering from a long illness ( Brain tumors) but am healthy and strong enough to go cruising. My hubby Brian does a lot of the work most days, but I'm getting stronger and my seamanship skills are slowly coming back to me. We are headed for the Bahamas, then East coast US most likely. Anyways, I hope this finds you well and living your dreams :-)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Switching to WordPress


I've moved our blog to wordpress. Hopefully this will be a better app for my tablet (iPad). I want to switch to a kindle, get away from the trappings of apple, apparently wordpress is good for kindle too. Some of my biggest issues with blogging on a tablet are: posting vids and pics, and replying to comments.

Anyways, blog will be under construction and discombobulated now and then as I find my way around. Some posts I'm working on are:

Custom composting head

The perfect doggy pee mat for life at anchor and underway.

Slip covers and a little help for the old tired cushions

Snubber, following in Estarzinger's wake :)

Radio cabinet for the nav station

Lifeline netting and weather cloths to help keep pooch aboard.

Cheap cockpit mosquito netting, it ain't pretty, but neither is a mosquito bite!

Replacing the Pacific Seacraft dorades with low profile solar vents

Winter projects

Replacing the Hatches, Bomar series 100

Bottom job, hull repair, seacock rebuilds.

Monitor wind vane refit ( really just cleaning, lubricating, and replacing lines :) )

As you can see, we are grooving right along with the boat projects. Now that I have a better blogging app, I will try to catch up.

The picture was taken heading up the ship channel near Port Aransas, Texas.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Waterproof Ham HH

Brian bought a Handheld HAM radio with external antennae.  We will use it aboard RD, Buttercup, and in the car :-).

Isn't it adorable! All the marine frequencies are already programmed in, there is like 280 channels on the marine band!

Switching to poo.
We are so happy with my makeshift composting head, we decided to rip out the existing head and go with the dry composting set up. The permanent set up will be enclosed in a teak bench. Brian will rip out the head and hoses on Monday. I'm doing one big write up, so will post when project complete.

Here is the temporary dry head. You add a little peat moss to start the composting process. No smell, except for an occasional whiff of earthy dirt. :-) I also have a handful of cedar shaving to keep the bugs at bay.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hammin It up

We got our Ham license this last weekend. I took the test for a tech, and Brian took tech and general. We have an Icom 725, which I thought was SSB but is a strait up Ham. We do not have an antenna rigged yet, so still looking at options. Brian is making a radio cabinet this next weekend.
Will update when installed 

Took the armature radio test over in Burnet, Texas. Drove Buttercup to Inks Lake State Park right outside Burnet, but didn't get a chance to look around. The HAM Folks were really nice and very knowledgable. We are going to pop up there in a month or so for an open house. Pretty cool aye? Bunch of nerds talking Propagation and solar storms :-).

This weekend we will be aboard Rain Dog. We hope to construct the frame for our composting head. I'll spare you the details, actually, I won't spare you :-). Will post when project complete, so gird your loins, we're gonna talk about poo.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scrubbing Teak and Ramblings

Scrubbed the exterior of the boat today as Brian replaced the shower sump system down below. The teak on Rain Dog was especially dirty because I'm the only one allowed to touch it ( queen varnesha's rules). So, the teak has sat and gotten dirty, while we were trying to save my health, save me. 

Today, a nice breezy but hot day, I was finally able, finally strong enough, to clean the boat and the teak. I was finally healthy enough to do a boat project, from beginning to end. The teak wasn't the only thing neglected, poor Rain Dog was looking rather bedraggled, my illness had taken it's toll on the boat as well. But there was something so cathartic about scrubbing off all that dirt from the teak, scrubbing away the grime. Sounds like a cliche, but I felt like I was scrubbing away more than dirt and rinsing away more that what was on the teak. Scrubbing away the bad memories of the last couple years, scrubbing away all the fears, the unfairness of it all. 

But now, here I am, standing on her beautiful decks. The boat bobbing in her slip, the marina buzzing with activity. Here I am, scrubbing the teak. I feel such joy. I laugh, I can't help but hear Brian down below, singing and talking to the dog :-), " Scupper, I need some longer 3/4 inch hose", "Scupper, where is my screwdriver?". There was harmony aboard Rain Dog, both of us working and doing. Both of us finally back where we belong. 

So many days of feeling the ocean, the boat, slipping away. But now, the simple act of scrubbing teak, it will be a while before I take it for granted.


This is the part where they tell you to relax. Of course being a nurse, and an OR nurse to boot, I know too much to relax :-)

Me, after my last and final surgery. Now I can relax :-) ( Cedar Sinai in LA) 


Back aboard Rain Dog. 


Nice and clean. The teak still needs some work but it shaping up. The grain is still too deep, which attracts dirt. When I first started to work with this teak the grain was like the Grand Canyon! I have lots of bungs missing too. I think one more good sanding after the bung repair and then a bit of seasoning with oil and saltwater baths, then it will be good to go. I like to keep the exterior teak bare. The teak likes it, Brian likes it, and I like it too.


Brian also installed our new beautiful Alpinglow lights..sweeet!


And I removed all our screens from the ports. These screens are made by Schooner Bay, very good quality but our ports are of irregular sizes so they ever quite fit right. Now, after a couple years, they seem to have some corrosion along the edges, so schooner bay wants me to send them back to inspect and repair. Great service! I had a set of Schooner Bay bronze screens on my Cape Dory 30, they were a work of art! Not loving these black ones on Rain Dog. May have to start from scratch, first will see what Schooner Bay says.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hanging Out Aboard Rain Dog

Went down to Rain Dog for the weekend. Scupper LOVES the boat and seemed immediately at home.

Brian, in his happy place :-)

A fish was munching on our waterline uh er buildup. scupper is always ready to make a new friend

We spent the weekend working out head issues and planning her haul out. Not sure if we are taking Rain Dog to House Of Boats or over to one of Kemahs self service boat yards for the rudder, keel, and seacock maintenance. I'd love love to do the seacocks rebuilds, but we will see how I'm feeling.
Brian may drop the mast too, and get the rigging and associated hardware replaced.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer 2013...

Well, we are still in Austin, Rain Dog is still in Port Aransas, I'm still trying to recover from my surgeries, and Brian is still awesome :-). We live in Buttercup, our big RV was too much.

Buttercup at the very very happy. . 

Brian and the boys were supposed to move Rain Dog to Kemah and put her up for sale but we just cannot do it, dagnabbit, we love that boat. 

What was pushing us to sell was wether I can take the active life of cruising. But now that I'm cured, and getting stronger, I think I can handle it. I'm getting so much better in fact, I went sailing just yesterday on Lake Tavis. We anchored out and swam in the nice clean warm water. Plus, my new physical therapist has decreed that I must swim two times a day, she said, in a rather militant voice, "Erika, you must act like a mermaid, swim, swim, swim!" She didn't know I was a total water fanatic. It is so like God to make my path to recovery a watery path :-). 

Below: Sailing on Lake Travis aboard our friends Catalina. The water is down 60ish feet! Island are popping up everywhere.

Plus, our new pooch, Scupper. He loves the water, boats, sailing, rarely barks, and is just the sweetest thing. At the helm is our friend and sailing buddy Joe.

Scup is happy, healthy, and pretty fearless. Except, he does fear windshield wipers... We can accidentally jibe the boat, no prob, thunder and lightning striking all around, no prob, but a swipe of the truck's wapdappers( that is what he calls em) and scupper is running for Brian's arms. Oh well, we all have our quirks.

We have a big wedding in August, my nephew is getting married. :-). The bride and groom are lower left and right.

Until it cools down, we will focus our energy on Buttercup, making her boondock ready ( thats "anchor out" ready for you sailors out there). Then we hope to get back on Rain Dog's refit. I finally got Brian to agree to ditch the PVC water and holding tank covers for fiberglass( yippee! ).

I also hope to start working as an RN this fall. I want to take an RN refresher course since the brain surgery left me with a few memory gaps. But the up side, I was tested for hours and hours to see where I stand and my cognitive skills and intellect are intact, my IQ squeaks in at "superior intelligence" :-). So that gave me the hope to be able to be a nurse again. 
Brian is very happy at his new company 'The Advisory Board'. He is a rock star computer programmer, doing some pretty cool coding. He works at home a lot too :-).


Monday, May 27, 2013

The Martians have landed! The Story of Scupper's Beginning.

And his name is Scupper.

We found him at a shelter. When i first saw him he was very quiet and watchful, seemed smart and ready. He was a  little scruffy of a dog, unique amber eyes. I asked to see him out of the cage, but they refused, stating the dog would be featured as " pet of the week"  in the Houston chronicle 9 days from that moment. she went on to inform me he was not up for adoption at the present moment. Naturally, I had to have him. I argued all the rational points to why it was best to adopt out this dog now, rather than wait for some stupid doggy spotlight in the papers. I got a sympathetic but firm sorry, no go.  When that didn't help I demanded, in my most imperial tone, to speak to whomever was in charge. I asked the rather tired looking face if she felt it was right to keep a dog from a loving home? To be the instrument of pain for this poor little sad dog? 9 days in this shelter compared to being home, cuddled up in mom and dads loving arm? Guilt didnt work, outrageous indignation didnt work, tears didn't work, I would have to wait for my little ball of fur. 

Adoption day, the first day scupper was allowed to be adopted out, happened to fall on St Patties day.  Concerned someone would get to him first and break my heart, my husband formed a plan of action that required the work of several intrepid souls :-). Get there early and come in force, just I case we had to brawl it out with someone who also wanted him. My sisters family, Noel, her husband, Erika Lily, their daughter, and Warren their son, all came early with us and stood at the doors to make sure we were the first to get in. Scupper had been moved so it was a little tricky finding him. But in the end we beat out this older couple who came that day to see him, whew! I'd feel bad about it but scupper is my dog, my husband is somewhat luke warm to the idea of a little dog, but he is game.

Below, not quite the home he was expecting.....

The boys bonding...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sewing group

Started a sewing group over on Cruisers Forum, come check it out :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spinnaker Flying

An asymmetric spinnaker came with the boat when we bought it. It looks like it was rarely if ever, used by the previous owner. Perfect fit for out boat and came fully rigged with ATN sock. We can set it flying and douse without ever leaving the cockpit once it is raised. Sure make sailing a lot more fun when the wind is blowing 5. For now we fly it off the Genoa halyard. Next time we drop the mast we will install a proper spinnaker halyard.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Kaela, our wonderful dog, passed away last Saturday night. She passed away at 17 years old, in her sleep, after having a stroke. She died at home with Brian and I hugging her. She never seemed in pain or scared, she seemed ready and peaceful.
We love you baby girl.

Link to a little vid I made to remember her by

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I fell down the rabbit hole :-)

Well, can't believe how long it's been and how much has happened since our last post. I'll try to catch you up without boring you to death :-).

Summer 2012 Brian and I went land roaming. My doctors said I needed time to heal( I had brain surgery for those just tuning in :-)). So we headed north, camped in the great Wind River mountains of Wyoming, explored the miles and miles of deserted beaches of Lake Superior. We then headed towards the east coast to John Hopkins for some more medical tests. My health was not improving, in fact, I was deteriorating. John Hopkins was able to DX a CSF leak. Cerebral Spinal leaks will cause all sorts off issues. This leak was caused or occurred because of the brain surgery. There are few specialists who have success repairing leaks of this nature. Cedar Sanai in Los Angeles, California specializes in CSF leaks. So off to LA we went. Thankfully, we have a friend who lives 9 miles from Cedars :-). The surgery was major, but it has completely cured me. My poor brain and body have been through the ringer, so lots of Physical therapy to get my strength back.
Through out all this crazy ride, my hubby Brian has been wonderful. It funny how many great times we have had while battling my health issues.
Brian and I are planning to get back to Rain Dog to complete her refit. We will head to the Bahamas for our next sabbatical, hopefully in December-January this year :-)