We reached a major milestone a few weeks ago on the late November day when, upon completing the Erie Canal, we took a starboard turn onto the Hudson River, and headed due south toward New York City.
That’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.
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.
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.
We must be Canadians, the lock operators commented. Who else would be in the canals at this time of year? Who else, indeed. It was a challenging start to our journey.
Only two weeks later, while crashing through the north Atlantic’s December waves, no land in sight, we longed for READ MORE
Where the heck are they now? We’ve settled into Riverview Marina at the junction of Catskill Creek and the Hudson River to work on our mast and rigging for a few days. Until now, we needed to have our mast down due to the low bridges throughout the New York Canals. Now we can convert from a motorboat and set up for sailing. We’re preparing a slideshow of our transit of the Canals – quite a unique experience! We expect to be posting that in the next week. In the meantime, we’d like to introduce a new page on our blog call “Whereabouts”. It’s an abbreviated ship’s log for Shirley’s Mom and all others who may be keen to keep track of our route. You can get to it from the top menu bar of our Ariose Notes homepage.
We ended our last Ariose Note at the point of gently grounding on the first day out on our grand adventure. It was too shallow to get into the dock at Main Duck Island, en route across Lake Ontario to the New York Canals that were to take us south. We needed another option. READ MORE