Number 4

4 December - 12 December 2003

Dear Friends and Supporters,


Today is the 9th of December. We left Kingston, NY on the 7th of November. We thought we'd be well into Florida by now, maybe in the Bahamas, but continued heavy weather, contrary winds and a few minor mechanical problems have slowed us down considerably and cost about nine days lost travel altogether.

Last night, I posted all these newsletters to the Family-to-Family Project web site ( ). While I was preparing them for the 'net, I re-read them and realized that they are a bit like "Annual Christmas Letters" -- only in reverse. Instead of telling all (and only) the good warm fuzzy things that happen, our newsletters (at least my part) have tended to concentrate on the "problems and challenges". Arden tells me that men are, by nature, problem solvers, so find the problems the highlights of any trip. I guess she's right. I'm going to try to focus on the other good things that happen along the way.

After leaving Beaufort, NC, we have had some smoother traveling. We motored down the CW to the Swanaboro/Cedar Point area and anchored out for the night. The next day, 4 December, brought us down the ICW past Myrtle Beach, on a wet and rainy cold day. We pushed on for a safe anchorage, as the wind kicked up to 25 knots from the stern (we sailed ahead of it, even in the rain). We hit a drawbridge five minutes too late, and had to sit in place with the rain blowing into the cockpit, wind chill below freezing, for almost an hour. When we finally go through, we were thoroughly "wet and tired". Seapath Transient Marina in Wrightsville Beach hosted for the night at a discount rate in support of the Project, allowing us to get good hot showers and check e-mail.

We took an early sailing time on the 5th, and had an interesting day. At one point we saw some kind of furry animal swimming across the waterway. We turned the boat around to get a closer look, and it turned out to be a rabbit. When the rabbit saw us coming back, it turned around and swam back over to the island it had been on and as it hit the shore, smoothly shifted from swimming to hopping and was away into the bushes. We were lucky to find an empty floating dock outside of a restaurant along the shore . It looked like it had been hurricaned to me, but the locals reported that was closed for the season, so we had free dockage.

The next day was sunny, even if cool, and Arden, at Jon's urging, painted the boats name on our little inflatable dinghy -- "T/T GOLDEN DAWN" -- on both sides of the bow. The "T/T" means "Tender To" and in most places allows you to operate the boat under the registration of the larger vessel.

This was a good day for the naturalists as well. We saw, close up and personal, a bald eagle which scooped a fish out of the ICW and landed in a nearby tree to eat it. We also saw a herd of wild goats on the "spoil islands". Spoil islands are the land created along the waterway by the dredges that keep the waterway navigable. The dredges pump the sand and gravel from the channel off to one side, where it has built up over the years into islands parallel to the channel. Soon reeds and then bushes and pines get a hold and some soil builds up -- then rabbits and apparently, goats! We saw one herd of ten or so, all standing on top of a large diameter metal drainage pipe.

Travel conditions were good, so we put in five extra hours under an almost full moon, and came to anchor in Minim Creek, just north of Georgetown.

As it was the Sabbath, we decided to bypass Georgetown, reportedly a lovely little city with nice shops and beautiful old homes. We sailed on, tidied up the salon and held our family church service late that evening anchored up in a side creek just north of Charleston, SC.

Between us and Charleston was one last bridge that did not open between 0700 and 0900 (rush hour), so Arden and I got up before sunrise at 0530 and got the boat underway, passing through the bridge at 0630, bringing us into Charleston Harbour and the Charleston City Marina (privately owned now) at about 0800. We had a lot to do there, so we caught the 0900 marina shuttle bus to the old residential waterfront, and spent a glorious three hours walking and looking at the old homes (some back to the 1700's) enjoying the warm sunshine (hurrah for the sunshine!). We managed to get in some tourist shopping -- I got a Greek fisherman's cap, Arden got Frankincense and Myrrh perfume -- as well as hardware shopping and grocery shopping. The marina shuttle picked us up at the grocery with all our bags.

Jonathan, the Bosun's Mate, was hoisted up the foremast in his rock climbing harness to repair a small rip in the genoa sail (the large sail that unrolls from the fore stay). He was up there about an hour, and managed to get a good temporary "sail bandage" applied. I took the next watch aloft, and spent 45 minutes sewing the bit of sacrificial sail cover that had been blown loose by the 65 mph winds back in Cape May, NJ. Broke three sail needles, but managed to get it sewed up neatly just about the time I realized that I could no longer feel either of my legs. Somewhere along in here -- in the last couple of days -- the dinghy had been re launched, with its newly painted name and new towing harness and it is riding merrily along behind us, "surfing" our wake -- thus not requiring any extra energy to pull it through the water -- which adds about 1/2 a knot to our speed.

We left Charleston this morning - not too early - having spent an hour or so chatting with a young couple - Steve and Amelia - from Annapolis, MD who are headed to St John, USVI (the hailing port of the Golden Dawn).

Amusingly, as we motored towards the first bridge south of Charleston Harbor, I found the marina's electronic key to the shower-rooms in my pocket. They had informed us that there was a $40 charge for failure to return it, so I jumped in the dinghy and raced back with the key while Arden sailed on without me. I was back in 20 minutes to rejoin the happy crew of the Golden Dawn.

Today, the 9th is warm and sunny and we are making good time south with a tail current. Our plans to go out into the ocean and sail along the coast were put on hold by a NOAA gale warning for tonight. Thursday looks like the weather window we need to shoot out and down to Florida in a 48 hour run.

PS: We did it! Got the weather window we needed and are now, as of 0500 12 December, off the coast of Florida. I send this out over cell phone.

Ok, so if men are problem solvers, what are women, problems? Joke.No they are bringer of good things like hot mint tea when its rainy and cold, tasty dinners put together with whatever is around, a wash cloth and bucket of warm water when showers are few and far between. Thus I earn my honored title of First Mate.I also took the helm for a whole day on Sunday to give Skipper a break. And didn't run us aground once!

In meeting other boaters I have formed several categories so far.There are the single handed loners who prefer doing everything by themselves. Uniformly men. Kind of a respectable hermit life. Then there are the families with any number of children and dogs. We met one gang going to New Zealand with two youngish boys and two largish dogs. We passed on "Stanley the Geo-Bear", who is travelling around the world from boat to boat, to them. The third group are the young couples who have small sail boats with tiny engines who have left the Northeast for the Bahamas or farther south and seem in no hurry to be anywhere. Sometimes a dog is part of this family too. In a great hurry to be somewhere fast are the motor cruisers or floating condos sector of society. Frankly, I find their boats boring and sterile but a notch above being boring and sterile on a beach in Florida. Then we have the rich guys who have a posh boat for "meetings" and other forms of entertainment. These are mostly in marinas and only go out on special occasions.

An amusing sight in Charleston was a huge Greek statue rendition of naked godlike characters commemorating the Confederate attack on the Federals at Fort Sumpter, which you recall was the start of the Civil War.I was staring in amazement when Jon gives me a yank and says "stop ogling the metal man and let's go". I was cracking up over that the rest of the day.

I had to cut Kip's long hair to go with his new Greek cap. He now looks like a proper Captain. Jon's hair continues to grow blonder and curly and pretty soon he's going to look like a Greek statue! Mom has lost about half the mane due to fire and snarls but hangs on to her lone braid as its too old a friend to chop. Speaking of hair, I missed getting arrested by a hair when I innocently threw some compost in the water just as a cop boat was approaching. Kip had me read the rules threatening jail and 25 thousand in fines if caught throwing anything in the waterway. Dumb me. I guess I don't feed the fish and birds anymore.

I like to see the various birds all lined up on docks as we pass like they are watching the passing parade. When in the marina the masts make a forest and the birds perch on them and sing in the morning. Dolphins have appeared from time to time even in the waterway. So far we only had one night with flies and mosquitos as its been too cold but they are waiting for us in the DR, I just know it. Today the warmth of the sun actually penetrated to the body which was a real treat. No more complaining about the cold now that you Northerners have snow to deal with.

We miss you all and as we approach Christmas will feel our isolation even more. No turning back now. We must make time and get to work building Zion in the DR! Jon declines to write today but rest assured he is a free wheeling spirit enjoying his dinghy rides, computer games and teasing Mom.Walking and looking at historical sites is not his favorite but he's a good sport and keeps us smiling.

Hi everybody (the) dad is forcing me to write something so I will first tell you how much fun I had scuba diving and using the chisel to get the rope off. Then we had some good days and some bad .... all the way through I've been searching for a good beat up wooden dinghy to buy, fix up, and outfit to sail. But I still haven't found anything. Yesterday (Monday) I had to fix the sail. I was up for about a half an hour and put some kind of super sticky tape over the tear. I can't wait till we get to Florida and I can finally find myself a dinghy!

Our best wishes to you all, Let us hear from you,

The Hansens

Kip, Arden, and Jonathan Hansen


The Family-to-Family Project c/o Kip and Arden Hansen 153 Malden Tpke Saugerties, NY 12477

(845) 246 0131 (home - messages) (845) 987 2759 (cell - sometimes you get us, sometimes it takes a message)


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