December 2016

Nights / Rites of Passage

IMG_9322We are in South Carolina on Boxing Day, far from all that we usually associate with this time of year, reflecting back to a few weeks ago, early in December.  We had just made it down the Hudson River, past Manhattan, and had over-nighted at the Atlantic Highlands marina. We docked near the only cruising sailboats there, 2 other Canadian vessels also making their way south. Who else but Canadians would be out at this time of year?

The next day, we would commence our first through-the-night passage.


Season’s Greetings

IMG_9964Although we knew this would be a very different Christmas for us away from family, friends, and familiar surroundings, we had expected that any longings for those would be more than offset by Ariose having carried us to a palm-fringed beach to celebrate the holidays.

Well, with our (mis)adventures and delays, we’re not where we hoped to be. We are, though, just over the South Carolina border and are enjoying temperatures that permitted our 1st breakfast-in-the-cockpit on this Christmas Eve morning. We do miss being with loved ones, but are ever so grateful for all that we have and for the people in our lives (and for what lies ahead!).

So, with this Ariose Note, we would like to wish you and your loved ones season’s greetings and may 2017 bring you fair winds & kind seas.

Shirley & Tim




IMG_9123That’s a rather foreboding title for an Ariose Note about our cruising adventure. No, we haven’t sunk, nor have we been tossed overboard, although we have had enough salt water baths from waves crashing onboard to justify the “immersion” title. We feel as though we have plunked ourselves into an intense immersion course, one that is far more consuming than we had ever anticipated.

Every day, we’re facing demands, that take our full attention and energy. From sailing techniques (“Do we let out the foresail a little more? Yikes, too much!”); to navigating on the water (“Is that light our marker or is that one? Maybe that one??”); to safe anchoring then hauling up that 300 pounds of chain that doesn’t fit the windlass we installed (!!); dealing with tides and currents; and oh yes, cohabitating in close quarters (How small? Ariose’s cabin has about 10 square feet of floor space);  on board repairs while underway and ashore; on land navigating (“Do we really need groceries enough to walk to that end of town?”); feeding ourselves well from our mini-galley; even how to move around in the cabin while underway without being thrown around has been a learning curve, and on and on.

New York harbour challenge: wind, waves, freighters, tour boats, novice nerves.

Repairs on the go.

And where did we put the wrenches?

Navigating from the companionway.


Making it out from Atlantic City through massive breaking waves.

Add to that the energy taken by the ongoing challenges of getting and staying warm (-4 degrees C yesterday), getting and staying dry (seas, rain, and most vexing: endless condensation saturating everything on board), and dealing with sleep deprivation, all while trying to out-run winter and get ourselves to a comfortable climate. Every day we are learning.


Sunrise celebration of a successful night passage.

And as with any immersion experience, everything is intensified, including the rewards. Our first whale sighting, back and dorsal fin just off our starboard beam, managing to wrestle our genoa back onto the furler in rough seas after the shackle securing the sheets broke loose, that crack of dawn breaking on the endless horizon after a successful through-the-night sail growing into a gorgeous sunrise.  Wow. I don’t have words to describe the satisfaction, the joy, the awe…

So, keeping up to date on sharing our experiences on our blog has been pushed down our priority list. We are reassured by fellow cruisers we’ve had the pleasure to meet so far, those with many sea miles behind them, that there will be the luxury of down time ahead. We’ll do some catching up then. In the meantime, we just wanted to let everyone know that all’s well, and we’re pleased to discover that we are proving to be fairly quick learners in this immersion course.