Number 5

12 December - 22 December 2003

Dear Friends and Supporters,


22nd December. We are anchored in tiny "Lake Silva" (really a wide spot in one of the endless and innumerable canals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida). We had an absolutely wonderful sail (really sailing, no engines) from Savannah, GA all the way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Though we actually left the ICW in South Carolina, we came out into the Atlantic just off of Savannah, GA. It was stormy and the winds were high, but it was in our favor and we reveled in it. We sailed for two days and two nights, within a few miles of shore, taking advantage of the "counter current". This is a current that runs southbound close to shore, and is caused by the Gulf Stream that runs northbound further offshore.

Halfway down Georgia, we came into lighter winds and beautiful weather, warm and bright. Our arrival in Florida was heralded by dolphins dancing the bows and flying fish leaping between waves.

It is hard to describe the joy of sailing out of sight of land. The sea and the wind and the majesty of it all. I can stand on the deck and watch it pass for hours without being the slightest bit bored.

Jonathan had a scare during one of his night watches that was interesting. In the middle of the midnight watch, about four miles off the coast of northern Florida, with the lights of the costal cities faintly lighting up the eastern sky, the rest of the horizon taken up with the sky meeting the sea. At 0230 hrs, Jonathan burst into the main cabin, where I was sleeping on the pilot berth (really one of the "couches" in the "living room"), and said, "Dad, I think we've got a big problem, I can't see anymore". Naturally, I got right up and went see what the problem was. As I looked forward over the bows (remember, we are a catamaran, and have 2 bows) I could see the problem. The view, after about 500 yards, just became a single solid wall of iridescent steely grey. It looked for all the world like we were headed straight into a impenetrable fog bank. I was a bit concerned, though we were prepared for such with radar and fog horn, I didn't relish the idea of sailing blind in the fog. I watched for 15 minutes or so, trying to determine when we would arrive at the "fog bank". It just didn't get any closer. It took me nearly half an hour to realize that it was an optical illusion. The sea was glassy and the sky was overcast. The sea took on the exact color and texture of the sky eliminating any horizon creating the image of a fog bank.

You might be interested to know that judging distances at sea in the dark is a very difficult thing to do. A lighted buoy can look like it is miles away and suddenly be "right there". On the other hand, I have worried how to dodge a long line of cargo ships that I was sure were passing in front of me, only to discover after an hour and a half of fretting that what I was seeing were really high rise buildings on the shore 10 miles or more ahead with the shore curving around in front of us.

Today we are scurrying about getting in the last supplies and doing the last maintenance chores that need doing (and repairing the last of the lightning damage) before we leave the United States and set off for the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, Haiti, and then the Dominican Republic. We think we will leave Florida just after Christmas and arrive in the Bahamas for the New Year.

We have borrowed a car from Will and Linda Gifford, past residents of Saugerties who now live in the Fort Lauderdale area. They have been so kind to help us while we are here. They are associated with the Haitian Peoples Support Project and heard of us through them. Many years ago, when I ran the Pet Station (our pet store near Saugerties), they purchased a Pekinese puppy from me. I meet the little fellow, now in his advanced years but still a much loved member of their family.

Genie and Chris Taylor have been helping us with local information on boating and marina issues. Genie was our broker when we bought the Golden Dawn in May this year, and Chris, her husband, operates a training school for those seeking Coast Guard certifications necessary to professionally captain and crew various kinds of boats. We had a delightful meal with them at the infamous "Sushi Blues" restaurant in Hollywood, Florida, "blues" by the jazz/blues great Kenny Millions and sushi courtesy of his Japanese wife. This is Jonathan's favorite feed trough.

23 December: The water maker and air conditioners all checked out/were repaired, and now almost all is ready to go. We got a whisker pole (only 12 feet, but the price was right). Jonathan received a "dinghy" of his own for Christmas. It is going to need a lot of work and doesn't have any of the sailing gear, but it is his, and he is determined to rebuild it and make it into his own "tri-power dinghy" (sail, oars, and outboard).

We want to wish all of our friends and supporters, volunteers and "lenders-to-be", and our kind patrons, the blessings of the Christmas season and the very best of all that life has to offer in the New Year.


Yes, we finally made it to the bottom where closer to the equator we have taken off our mufflers and cloaks to don sandals and shorts. Its very pleasant to be hot again and let all those cracked fingers heal up.

My Dad asked me Sunday if I had any regrets - my whole life immediately passed before me and I was about to pick something out of the deck when I realized he meant about leaving on this trip. Happily I could answer NO, and even though I don't feel up to it sometimes, it has truly been glorious. Telling people we are on our way to the DR to work with the poor just lights them up. We seem to be doing what some wish they could do but can't at this time, so we gain supporters along the way.

Here it is Christmas and I have finally gotten my Christmas wish: a non- traditional (no mounds of presents, last minute shopping or anxious ticking off lists) non-commercial Christmas. One can really celebrate the Saviour's birth without all that additional rush and fuss and stuff. There are lots of lovely lights on the vessels roundabout and I count myself fortunate being away from traffic and malls.

We have been blessed with friendly helping hands, liberal dock masters and fair winds at last. I have learned that there is nothing that can not be fixed or replaced (especially with Kip around),that patience is a lot better than anxiety, and that acknowledging God's hand in all things is an ability I need to develop.

Jonathan has become chief tease and will not let Mom overreact or get stuffy. We are trying not to have too much fun and annoy the Captain.

I hope you all are having the time of your life, cause this is the time to have it. Know that God lives, Jesus was sent to teach us to love one another and live together in peace. Remember Him this day.


Hello everybody Ft. Lauderdale has been fun the "Sushi Blues" was a lot different being twice as big and nice but I still got to eat sushi till I was full (which is a rare occasion.) other than that not much has been happening except for buying a spear (Hawaiian sling) and losing in the same day by shooting at a target and having it bust the target off and go into the water. I tried to SCUBA for it but w/ no bearing and no buddy I found it difficult to search in a way that would produce a result ... and it didn't. Also just today I finally got a dinghy. We were in West Marine and I kept bothering Kip to ask people if they knew of a place or some1 that was selling a wooden dinghy. When he finally went he forgot and I yelled at him and he went and asked. The man said he didn't know of any1 but he was selling his but it was fiberglass. We went and looked at it and it was pretty beat up but for 100 bucks it was a veerry good deal. Most of the wood had been rotted off and the was a huge, fire ant nest in it. Along w/ the other resident, a striped brown and yellow gecko who I belive ended up on the boat. That's it for now, Bye I have to get back to saving the universe .. or something.

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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