Ariel At Home

11 March 2011 | Turks and Caicos
25 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
24 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
24 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
23 February 2011 | Turks and Caicos
22 February 2011 | Turks and Caicos
21 February 2011 | Horse Pond Bay, Mayaguana
21 February 2011 | Horse Shoe Pond, Mayaguana
19 February 2011 | Horse Shoe Pond, Mayaguana
16 February 2011 | Sumner Marina, Rum Cay
12 February 2011 | Port Nelson, Rum Cay
11 February 2011 | Hawke’s Nest Marina, Cat Island
10 February 2011 | Half Moon Bay (Little San Salvador)
09 February 2011 | Rock Sound Eleuthera
08 February 2011 | Alice Town in Hatchet Bay
07 February 2011 | Royal Island Eleuthera
06 February 2011 | Royal Island Eleuthera
05 February 2011 | Leaving Grand Bahama Yacht Club
04 February 2011 | Grand Bahama Yacht Club
04 February 2011 | Grand Bahama Yacht Club

A Night on the Town

11 March 2011 | Turks and Caicos
March 11, 2011
A tourist remains an outsider throughout his visit; but a sailor is part of the local scene from the moment he arrives. - Anne Davison

We had a great evening on Friday with the South Side Marina Managers Charlyn and Simon Anderson. Dinner commenced at the Coca Bistro. The setting, a feast for the senses, was magical with palm trees growing amongst the dining tables. Forgotten were the trauma and drama of the past weeks at sea. Music filled the air. The breeze caused the palm leaves to dance overhead. Candlelight glowed as dusk overtook the sky. Conversation featured our companions' summer plans of life on an 85ft barge traveling the canals of France. Their dialogue painted incredible pictures in my imagination as I considered another form of cruising life.

After dinner drinks featured the Anacoana, Grace Bay Club
Next stop was the Infiniti Bar, a breath-taking spectacle, as the bar seemed to disappear into the ocean. The Lounge featured private areas around fire pits or scenic beach views. Sipping drinks in this surrounding seemed to whisk us off to another world. The sound of the surf crashing on the shore was natural rhythmic, yet served as a reminder that the force of the sea was powerful. Light twinkled in trees above. Torches lit paths. Solar lights highlighted various sculptures or natural wonders. The night sky provided its own brilliance and issued a challenge to locate star formations. I sighed. Contentment reached out to welcome Ed and I to the Turks and Caicos.

The evening ended at Mango Reef, Alexandra Resort and an opportunity to meet the featured singers from this resort. Charmaine and Daniel are talented friends of Charlyn and Simon. The decadent dessert arrived with four spoons.
The magical evening ended as we returned to the SV Ariel to sit in our cockpit and count the lucky stars overhead. Sleep was an illusion interrupted by a local party that filled the air with music or sound depending on your musical taste, until 4AM when a deluge of rain halted the festivities. We were grateful for the downpour in many ways.

R & R means Repairs & Rest

25 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
Feb 24, 2011 Wednesday
"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters." - Howard Bloomfield
The new Disney Land for Female cruisers is located at the IGA Supermarket in the Turks and Caicos. I entered. I stopped. I stared. The fruits and vegetables were amazing. A rainbow of colours assaulted my senses. I gazed longingly at every fruit and vegetable known to mankind. I wanted to load my shopping cart with every fruit and secure another cart to load with every vegetable. Insanity was a measurable state in my mind.
At home in Picton, Ontario I regard grocery shopping as a chore to be tacked onto a trip into town at the end of some enjoyable task. I procrastinate grocery shopping. My mind files excuses not to be forced to load a cart with supplies, haul said booty to the car, drag the bags into the house and store all the products away for future meals. From the time I enter the parking lot at Sobey’s, I am participating in a race to leave.
Imagine my shocked reaction to a grocery store. I wandered the cheese case housing every type of cheese from around the world. The bakery counter smelled like a Grand Mother’s kitchen. The aisles were stacked with every product. I had arrived in Food Heaven. At the checkout my cart held fresh produce and meats. I was content.
A reaction to a grocery store may seem certifiable until you cruise the outer islands in the Bahamas where we were often met with the response, “we have no fresh food until the boat comes in.”
Our inquiry, “when will that be?”
“Maybe Thursday or maybe not.”
Sometimes eating places were open but there was no food or drinks to be purchased. The SV Ariel was well stocked. Some days I felt like hoisting a flag announcing that we were converting into a grocery boat. “Come and get it.”
Entrepreneurship is not encouraged if you are a foreigner. A lack of supplies is an everyday occurrence. Some islanders informed us that they order their supplies directly from Nassau and the mail boat deliveries their fare. Such is life in the Bahamas.
While I was ogling the food at the IGA Supermarket, Ed resumed his role as chief handy man aboard the SV Ariel. Before he commenced the running light problem, he analyzed the situation. The morning was devoted to thinking. The afternoon was the action time. He traced wires. He sourced wires, not easy to accomplish on a boat of our maturity. He worked. He quit. He abandoned his fix and ran brand new wires that he had stored in his extra supplies. The running lights returned to service and one job was checked off the “To Do List.”
For a reward, Ed had to look forward to a Potluck Barbeque with boaters from all the marinas on the Turks and Caicos. Life was grand. R & R is our future in the Turks and Caicos. Repairs and Rest are our current sail plan.

Docking and Dinner

24 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
Feb. 23, 20011
"Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit."
- Brooks Atkinson
The lines were secured. Many hands made the process simple. Our new home was located in a piece of Paradise. The skies were painted blue decorated with fluffy white clouds. Layers of clothing were abandoned in favour of light summer clothes. A drink of celebration quenched our thirst. Our new surroundings beckoned but we were content to lounge in the cockpit. The customs official was summoned to clear our presence in the Turks and Caicos. Fortunately, the Custom Agent came to our boat and we were cleared to be guests for 90 days with a cruising permit that can be renewed once within the year.
Fishing and diving boats shared the dock space in Southside Marina. A successful lobster fisherman approached our boat as prospective customers. Fresh lobster was on the menu for supper aboard the SV Ariel. We decided we were definitely going to enjoy our stay in the Turks and Caicos.
The five o’clock bell peeled inviting all boaters to gather under the gazebo for Happy Hour. We were off to meet new friends and swap boating tales. The night was brilliant with stars. Constellations danced across the black sky. Stillness mixed with silence invited a night beckoning a restful sleep, one we longed for after two days at sea. Another day was waiting and tomorrow promised to be a new beginning for the SV Ariel.

Conquering Fear

24 February 2011 | Southside Marina, Turks and Caicos
Feb. 23, 20011
"The sea is a matrix of creation, and we have the memory of it in our blood." Hilaire Belloc
There exists a fear so great that once it starts there is no way to stop it. Fear builds from a slight apprehension, a gut feeling that something isn't quite right, until fear takes over every muscle and bone in your body. You are paralysed by fear, yet you continue to move and react. That is the resilience of being human. I have felt fear. I have been overtaken by fear. If I share my fear with you, perhaps it will lessen. If time passes and days witness the normal routines, the fear will lessen. If I surrender the fear perhaps it will vanish. If I am brave enough to return to sea, perhaps fear will be left at a port. I am changed because I have lived through fear, yet I remain the same, a person with a strong will to survive time and time again.
We laugh at our experience at Mayaguana secured to the dock at Southside Marina in the Turks and Caicos. The sound is healthy and fills the space around us with warmth and comfort. Yet to my ear, the sound is hollow, not quite true, almost real but lacking conviction. We anchored the SVAriel and changed the course of sailing into a disastrous crash. We should be proud that we reacted instinctively to our fear, not giving into panic, but trying every humanly possible exercise to save our friend, Ariel, from crushing coral. For now we rest surrounded by warm gentle breezes, stretched white sand beaches. Lapping turquoise water, securely tied to a dock, contemplating boat jobs and repairs. Life seems gentle and easy but we know the truth. Life changes in a moment. How you deal with that moment determines your fate. Mere seconds alters your life. I was fearful. I am fearful but I know that from somewhere deep inside, answers arise. There resides a strength that when called forth creates survival.
When I was required to face such fear, my friend Ed was a great person to share my fear with. Ed sliced fear in half, took a share and never, ever gave into fear. He was calm in his panic. He was quiet while shouting commands. He reacted while paralysed. He was comforting when panic overcame. He sat quietly beside me, gently hugging me while I sobbed, telling me in a gentle voice how well I performed. He assured me that he knows everything will be fine in our world. We are okay. I believe him.

Docking in the Turks and Caicos

23 February 2011 | Turks and Caicos
Feb 22, 2011
“The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use.” - Dom Degnon
Every morning the silence was interrupted at 7:30AM by the VHF radio conversations between Simon Anderson of Southside Marina and boaters seeking either weather forecasts or the protection of his marina. Simon provided explicit directions beginning with the latitude and longitude of waypoints to guide crew to the required red and green markers at the entrance to the marina. High tide at Southside Marina occurred at 12 noon on this day. The decision was simple and the SV Ariel set off to a new destination.
The clock on the chart plotter registered the passing of minutes. At 11:30AM I had reached my limit for the unknown. If we could not enter the marina at high tide, we needed to seek an anchorage in yet another direction. A vivid picture was painted in my imagination of Ariel reaching the red and green markers of Southside Marina, missing high tide and either being refused entry or worse, running aground, being stuck in the entranceway, awaiting the next high tide at 8PM. I saw myself leap off the boat, swim to shore, wade past the choral reef, hail a taxi, and proceed to the airport to board a plane, dripping wet. “I must remember to put my passport in a plastic bag,” I said aloud.
“Pardon?” inquired Ed.
“Nothing, just talking to myself,” I responded. Ed shook his head and continued steering.
“I can not take this confused planning for another second. I have to do something,” I said.
“Look up the way points for Southside Marina and I’ll plot them in and maybe we can estimate how far we need to travel,” Ed suggested.
“I have a better idea,” I said. “I’m calling the marina and Simon can advise us of a course of action.”
“Okay,” agreed Ed.
“Southside Marina, Southside Marina. This is the sailing vessel Ariel, Ariel,” I spoke into the VHF radio microphone.
The response was immediate. “This is Southside Marina. Switch and answer channel 18. Copy.”
I responded, “Ariel switching to channel 18.”
“Southside Marina here. How may I help you, Ariel?” questioned Simon, the Dockmaster.
“We would like to come into your marina today. We are a 37ft sailing vessel with a 6ft draft. We need high tide and we are hoping to reach you a little after high tide. Would we be able to clear the channel and do you have a dock for us, over?” I held my breath hoping for an affirmative response.
A further question reached across the miles, “What is your current position?”
“Ed, where are we? I can’t say Turks and Caicos.” I hissed, being careful not to engage the microphone.
“We are passing the commercial docks and Sapadilla Bay,” Ed informed me.
After repeating Ed’s response into the microphone, I held my breath waiting for the pronouncement from Simon, Yea or Nay. Instead he advised, “Ariel, you must go as fast as you possibly can and perhaps you will be able to enter the channel. Likely you will miss the highest tide but we should be able to get you through. Call me on Channel 16 when you reach the second waypoint. If there are any problems, I shall come out in my run about boat and guide you in. Southside Marina standing by on Channel 16.”
Silence. I looked at Ed and said, “You heard the man. Speed up. Make Ariel travel at top speed. Never mind fuel consumption and babying the engine. I know Ariel can travel at more than 7kn if need be and believe me the need is real. We are discussing saving what little sanity my sleep deprived body has left!”
Ed’s answer was heard in the response of the engine as he pushed the throttle into full position. Ariel stopped doodling along and roared into high performance speed. The sailboat was a motorboat.
Five Cays loomed ahead. These were a group of rocky formations jutting out from shore that would prevent Ariel from have a direct passage into the marina. The waypoints directed us around the jagged outcrops further out into the water away from the Turks and Caicos. At the furthest distance away we would be granted permission to turn and travel back to shore to the illusive marina. There was no safe alternative. The motor slowed and I glared at Ed. He answered before I could even question the slower speed. “The area is a minefield of coral heads. You need to watch the water and tell me when you see one so I can steer around the coral head.”
I resigned myself to the fact that he was right. We just could not go barrelling through a field of coral sticking out of the water, so I began my chant. “On the port side, two ahead. Starboard, three large ones in a row. Port one under water.” The air was filled with my warnings and the minutes ticked by.
Simon, from Southside Marina, interrupted our communication with a warning to a boat in the far distance that he was too far west of the recommended route. Simon said, “Halo Halo. This is Southside Marina, Southside Marina. Switch and answer channel 18.”
We switched our radio to channel 18 because any information about accessing the marina could prove useful. “Halo you are way off the path. Please turn east, repeat ease 30 degrees and I shall be right out to guide you in, over.”
Halo’s radio responded, “Roger that. Halo standing by on 18. Turning to the east and waiting for your boat.”
I was impressed because I had never heard of a boat coming out to guide a vessel into a marina. Perhaps there was hope after all. The radio communication between boats and the marina revealed that there were four boats racing for the high tide access. We pressed on. One boat was visible at a distance to our starboard side. We had chanced a shortcut by not going the full distance to the waypoint. The gamble paid off as I continued to call out the coral heads.
“Ariel. Ariel. This Southside Marine. Switch and answer on channel 18.” said Simon.
“Ariel on channel 18,” I replied.
“I see your vessel and I am on my way out to guide you into the marina. You must stay close to the red channel markers and hug the green marker. The channel is shallow at that point. You will be crossing a sand bar. With a little luck we shall plough right through. Just follow my lead and stay close behind me. Southside Marina returning to Channel 18.”
“We are safe. We are there.” I exclaimed with a whoop of joy.
Ed cautioned, “Not so fast. We have a sand bar to cross and we missed high tide.”
Before we could debate the pros and cons of pressing forward, Simon’s run about boat was in sight and we were committed to tempt the fates and enter the marina. The first red markers hugged the starboard side of Ariel welcoming her. The next red marker recorded our first bump with the sand bottom and disappearing water beneath the keel. The next two encounters with the sand bar transformed the SV Ariel into a hopping rabbit, but she was still moving trying her best to keep pace with the motorboat guide. The last green marker loomed in the channel and Simon increased his speed. The distance closed between Ariel and the marker. The final obstacle stood at the entranceway to the docks. An increase of power from the engine met with a resounding hard “thud.” The first bumps cleaned the keel but the last contact had scraped paint off the keel. The great news was we had arrived at Southside Marina safely. The SV Ariel and her crew were ready for a well-deserved rest. The “to do repair list” loomed in our near future but for this moment we were content to secure Ariel to a dock and explore a new destination, the Turks and Caicos.

The Beginning of the End

22 February 2011 | Turks and Caicos
Feb 21, 2011
"It's better to be ashore wishing you were at sea, than at sea wishing were ashore." Anon
Second Departure of Mayaguana
Destination, South Side Marina, Turks and Caicos
ODO 894
Engine 373,9
Breeze light from the east
Large fish swam on the surface
Hand steering all the way
Ed at helm until 10PM
Deb steered until 1AM
Ed back on until 5AM
Arrived at Sellars Cut, a two mile long marked channel through the reef leading into Turtle Cove Marina
We rode a huge rolling NE sea all night. The sea was high enough that the skyline of Provo would disappear for a few seconds. Then the boat rose to the top of the roller for a clear view of land before sinking back into the trough of the wave. Thus we motored with land appearing and disappearing in a timed sequence.
At Sellars Cut in the Turks and Caicos, the red and green markers were not visible. Our destination seemed close but yet so far from our reach. The anchor splashed disappearing into a vast roller. The waves demanded considerable contemplation, as their end destination was a reef, bouncing up into ten-foot sheets of green water. The gentle, continuous, timed rollers disguised their power. We travelled 52kn between 7:30PM on Monday and 6:30AM on Tuesday. The entrance to Stellar Cut appeared to be dangerous especially for a sailboat with a 6ft draft. If we managed to survive the raging reef the next section of the channel was formed by an "S" bend with an 8ft depth. The news was unpleasant for bouncing through this area.
Perhaps on another day without having accumulated so many repairs aboard Ariel, we would have fought our sleeplessness and our intense fear and pointed the bow into the challenge. We were not made of staggering strength that day. We succumbed to the threat.
The crew mutinied. "I can't believe you could not have figured out that this was no place for Ariel until we are parked in front of massive rollers. Could you not have planned another destination instead of traveling all the way here to inform me we need to motor four more hours to reach an accessible harbour? I'm losing my mind! I want off the boat now!" I demanded. I refused to cry again so soon after my last outburst. Rage seemed all that I had to offer this sinking situation.
Ed's defence was, "I didn't think these rollers would be so fierce at the entrance to Stellars Cut."
"You didn't think! I get that!" I said.
Silence split the air and the anchor rattled into place on the bow under my direction from the cockpit control. The windlass foot pedals on deck remained silent. Ariel began her counter clockwise trek to the SW side of Provo to Sandbore Channel. The new sail plan directed Ariel east through a series of reefs into Sapodillo Bay and onto the shallow banks on the south side of Provo.
The rage clouding my thoughts completed all the emotions that I had experienced in this quest to reach Provo. Excitement gave way to fear, which bowed out to sadness, which drifted away to be replaced by anger. Where has the elusive bird of happiness? Suddenly I realized that Ed had not apologized for leading us through such a gross error in navigation. I was prepared to begin a rant about his neglect when I looked at him, really observed him and was shocked to see someone different from Captain Ed at the helm. This person worn a mask of fatigue, worry and concern. He was quiet, sadly quiet. He was scanning the horizon while hand steering Ariel back along the path I had just navigated. He hid his frustration beneath the knowledge that we had no choice but to back track, traverse the island and approach Provo from a different direction to locate a safe harbour for Ariel. Ed had not purposefully mislead us. He was as shocked as I to encounter 10ft wakes racking the reef with a crescendo of spraying water. There was little to be positive about but I was sure Ed would have rather been sleeping in our bed than steering the boat for another four hours. I sighed and tried to think a least one "Happy Thought." The steering and chart plotter were working. I was content for now.
A welcoming British accent interrupted the gloom aboard the SV Ariel. An offer of current weather conditions and news from the Turks and Caicos was offered compliments of Simon, the dockmaster at Southside Marina on VHF channel 18. We listened. We were impressed by his professional and sincere welcoming broadcast. We smiled. I said, "Maybe we could dock at Southside Marina and make repairs on Ariel." Ed began researching the possibility of accessing the marina with our six foot draft. We required high tide. When was the next high tide? Where we too late for today? Could we enter the channel at Southside Marina?
Vessel Name: Ariel At Home
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana/Cutter
Hailing Port: Picton, Ontario
Crew: Ed Close/Deb Arnold
Ariel At Home's Photos - Main
Boating Friends at lunch at a great beach side restaurant - a must go to spot in the Turks and Caicos
7 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
The "To Do List" -stay repair-auto pilot repair-new wiring for running lights-fix steering-fix dinghy davit polls Ain't Sailing Grand???
5 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
Our new home in the Southside Marina in the Turks and Caicos
14 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Art, beaches, friends and sharks. Just an every day in Paradise!
15 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
Pictures of SV Ariel from ThaiLyn and Peter Sheldon
13 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
The pirates' playground compliments of Holland America Cruise Line
6 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
Our new boat buddies
6 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
Exploring Rock Sound
11 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
Ariel at anchor, Sailing to Hacket Bay, sights of Hacket Bay
8 Photos
Created 9 February 2011
This day is done and so are we. We call for a water taxi (ferry) from this marina and head back to the boats.
4 Photos
Created 4 February 2011
The Bahamian Sea Tale of a Ship from Pirates of the Caribbean - Fact or Fiction?
17 Photos
Created 4 February 2011
A new boating perspective in the Bahamas
9 Photos
Created 4 February 2011
The Grand Bahama Yacht Club is a beautiful resort. We enjoyed our stay in the delightful surroundings. A great place to forget about passages and just indulge!
26 Photos
Created 4 February 2011
Boat Buddies on Radar
14 Photos
Created 3 February 2011
A Fish Fry with ThaiLyn and Peter Sheldon from Peican Rose
6 Photos
Created 3 February 2011
This is how Captain Ed fills the fuel tank of the SV Ariel in the Bahamas
4 Photos
Created 3 February 2011
The Dream
7 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 24 January 2010

On The Waves

Who: Ed Close/Deb Arnold
Port: Picton, Ontario