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.


29 thoughts on “Immersion”

  1. “Wow”, is all I could think of when I read your first few paragraphs! Brave too! I’m impressed with all you’ve done. Glad it’s getting warmer. I’m sitting here on southern Georgian Bay while a major snowstorm is happening outside. For your next trip, , check out the Kimberley Stove.
    Love your blog, so well done!

    1. Thanks, Mary. Ice in our scuppers this morning, but the forecast is for 70 degrees F tomorrow, and is that ever going to feel sweet! Believe it or not, we will miss the snow this winter, just not while sailing!

  2. Now from Glen and I,

    So good to hear everything is going well…( Relatively, that is). Hope you reach that warmer climate soon!!

    Lots of Love, Glen and Christine

    1. Hey Christine and Glen. This will be the greenest Christmas I’ve had in years! I will miss the snow. There is so much to catch our interest in this new environment that I don’t think that we’ll have too much time to lament the loss of frozen water though. Cheers!

  3. Thrilled to know that you are well, and so far are up to the challenge and we share your anticipation of warmer and summer days!!
    Love Dad

    1. Thanks Dad. Hope you have a great Christmas and get to see the rest of the family. Ours will be a little unique, for sure! Love Tim

  4. Hi Tim and Shirley!
    It is grand to hear all is well! We are pleased to hear that the efforts are all worth it and that you are enjoying the rewards! We all think of you two and are happy when we hear from you!
    Merry Christmas!

    With Love Christine & Glen

    1. Hi Christine, rewarding indeed! So many challenges Shirl and I have faced in the last month or more. Every day we rack up a list of new learning that has us feeling really good about our progress. Glad that you’re coming along for the ride.


    1. You bet Steve! Tonight it’s crickets and mosquitoes in North Carolina. Oh, and yes, we’ve seen some palms already! We were very happy to wake up to 60F this am and be warm all day. More of that to come! Cheers Steve!


  5. Hi guys,

    This was so great hearing from you as well as reviewing your route and progress thus far. Thank you so much for keeping all of us up-to-date. I must say, the two of you are much more adventurous than I thought. Who would of thunk about sailing through the US to the Atlantic and heading to the Bahamas in mid-November and December. I’m cold just thinking about it. Be well, be safe, stay warm and get as much sleep as possible.

    Warm regards,


    1. Hi Maurice

      I can say that there are many days that Shirl and I second guessed what we are doing. Was it a foolish decision to take to the water so late in the year? The propane heater has been our friend for sure and the daily work involved in navigating unknown waters on a small sailboat without many luxuries on a daily basis has kept us too busy to be cold.
      Interestingly, and to my surprise, we’ve met many others from Canada working their way down to warmer waters in a similar fashion. They all have an interesting storey to tell and if it wasn’t that we are all so focused on that perfect weather window to try and beat the chance that the North Atlantic will strand us somewhere for days or potentially weeks, we’d probably sit around and trade stories! All of us keep in touch as we travel and plan on meeting up in the Bahamas or one of those other warm, lovely places down that way in a month or two! Thanks for your thoughts Maurice.

  6. Great to hear from you guys, you certainly are troopers I must say! I think I would prefer to be on “survivor” where at least for the most part you are battling the heat!! We are off to Mexico tomorrow though to see my dad, so when you are wet and chilly, perhaps you can live vicariously through Art and I. Enjoy your adventure, as i do recognize there are plusses!! Safe travels my friend 🙂

    1. Enjoy Mexico, Deb! And this I can say with only a tinge of envy, as today we enjoyed – get this – 60 degree F temperatures! My scalp, covered for weeks under constant hat + hood, didn’t know what to make of the breeze. A cold front is on the way, but this taste of what’s to come was absolutely delicious. Tonight, we will be lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets, and kept awake by mosquitoes… but we’re not complaining.

  7. Looks like you’re just moving out of the cold air mass and into the warmer air. The temp difference is only 2 degrees initially, but looks like you’ll be getting the warmer weather in a day or two (and afternoon thunderstorms on Monday at Hatteras…..yay, another potential adventure). 🙂

    Start taking pictures of some of the birds you see, and I imagine you’ll also soon be seeing flying fish as well.

    1. You got that right! Last night we anchored out in the middle of the North Landing River and woke up to 60F. Finally, we were completely warm and didn’t even have to get the heater going. Tonight, we’re listening to crickets and swatting mosquitoes after dark at the marina. Cape Hatteras is not an outside passage we were up to at this point particularly considering that the North Atlantic turns more ferocious and unpredictable this time of year. So, we are on the ICW and motor sailing our way in relative protection from the open Atlantic. I have been taking an interest in the birds but unfortunately didn’t bring my good camera, electing to take a gopro instead. Something I’m regretting. ~ Tim

      1. There are a couple of people who send me bird pictures when on their trips, but the pictures are taken with a point and shoot so there’s a little black spot on the ground or in the air that I try to identify. Suppose that is good practice for actual birding. 🙂

        According to there’s 4-6 m waves behind you so you’re heading in the right direction, but you don’t need me to tell you that you’re going in the right direction as you flee from cold temps and snowstorms (we have another starting right now and visibility down to 100m).

        1. Don’t worry Kevan! I’ll spare you the little dots. If I do get close enough, I’ll fire you off a good photo. Most interesting to me was that there were so many common loons out on the Atlantic ocean! Kinda made me feel right at home in a very unfamiliar environment. I even heard one call. As you might imagine, there are lots of young of the year birds not looking much like their parents. For example.. cormorants with lots of white on the breast.
          Nice not to have to worry too much about waves although, some of the larger sounds do have some challenges of their own. I imagine once we’re more on the outside like on the cape Hatteras section we will be separated from the Atlantic by a very thin vale and probably experience more wind and maybe waves. Another boat from Alaska (that has been sailing for 20+ years) that we met up with in Norfolk were waiting for a 3 day weather window to make it past the cape which is notorious for groundings and confused seas. They couldn’t use the ICW due to their keel of 6+ feet. The further we go south, the better the temperatures get!! I can handle the +5s at night, especially when the daytime highs go up to 10-15!…..I’ve been watching the weather in North Bay plummet to minus double digits with a ever-so-slight grin on my face!!! Cheers my friend!

    1. thanks, Jo. Feeling brave & adventurous on the good days, and proud to make it through the trying ones. Will you also be enjoying a green Christmas this year?

  8. Hi Shirley and Tim, I hope I have finally figured out how to respond to your blog which we are enjoying so much. So…. Way to go guys! Just the temperature alone makes this section of your journey more challenging than anything we had on ours. Some of this is a natural adjustment to open water cruising but Keep your chins up… more comfortable + less intense days are ahead. Lisa

    1. Glad to have you along, Lisa (& Steve). As you know, it was your adventure that played a part in inspiring ours. We’re in North Carolina, and the mercury is rising … looking forward to those more comfortable and relaxing days you promise. ~S

  9. Hi Tim and Shirley. You two are very brave. It sounds so exciting but very intense. Please be safe. We really enjoy reading of your adventures. Merry Christmas to you. You are always in our thoughts. Brooke is loving living in Vancouver. She shares an apartment in the west end with two friends she met in university. She has a full time job. Chris and his girlfriend Breanne bought a house this summer in Beamsville. Take care you two. All our love Andy and Janice.

    1. Thanks, nice to have you along. You’re right about the intensity……new challenges are keeping us on our toes on a daily basis. We are meeting the challenges and learning a great deal from them. Nice to hear about Brooke getting out on her own and about Christopher and Breanne working on their dreams! Life is an interesting ride for all of us! Cheers. ~Tim

    1. We’re now in North Carolina, and although near-freezing temperatures are on the way in an unusual cold front, we’ enjoyed balmy 60 degree F heat today! I still needed a jacket, but only 2 layers of clothing underneath instead of the usual 6 (and that’s not an exaggeration). Freedom!

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