Number 8

11 January - 18 January 2004

Dear Friends and Supporters,


We are headed for Georgetown on Great Exuma Island. We sailed from Staniel (or Stanard, they can't make up their minds) Cay (remember, pronounced "key" in the Bahamas).

We have come quite a ways from Nassau.

Our first stop was Allen Cays. This is a small group of islands separated by a small harbour. These islands are famous for their native population of endangered iguanas, Cyclura cychlura inornata (and, yes, that is the correct spelling, even the seeming extra "h" in cychlura). They are found only in seven small populations on isolated islands in the Bahamas.

These iguanas are fairly large, topping out at about 3 foot, including the tail. They are NOT the almost cute green iguanas of the pet trade, but more like little dinosaurs, dark skinned, spiney backs, big mouths with big teeth. Never fear, they are mostly vegetarians, though, according to research done by scientists and students from Earlham College, of Richmond, Indiana (go figure, huh? Indiana?), they do occasionally eat nestling birds and insects. The lizards were quite friendly....they flocked to the shore, a few dozen at a time, hoping for handouts from the yachters who come ashore. They get them too! We watched a group from one boat give the little critters a whole big ziplock bag of lettuce (which we would have happily used for salad, lettuce is rarely available out here, and very expensive when it is). For more information about these interesting creatures, see or contact Dr.John Iverson at

We suffered a major setback there at Allen Cays. On Sunday morning, between midnight and 0300 hrs, with winds 30 knots and above, our inflatable dinghy broke loose, unbeknownst to us, and disappeared, apparently forever. We staged a search at 0300 hours when Jonathan, up on anchor check, discovered the loss. Quickly launching the 1/4 finished sailing dinghy with its little 3.3 hp engine, Jonathan and I motored off into the pitch black night on rough rough seas checking the local shores and beaches, but the dinghy had been blown and carried on the tide out of the harbour and onto the Exuma Banks (the shallow seas west of the Exuma Island chain). This is a major loss -- we will not be able to afford to replace the inflatable and its engine. Two other boats within radio range (25 miles) also lost dinghies the same night, none have been recovered. The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Associatiuon (BASRA) and the Bahamian Defence Force (they have a one-branch armed forces), as well as all the marinas south along the Exumas, have been informed and will be on the lookout, but so far, six days later, no luck.

As we have experienced in the past, we are impressed by the blessing of seeming foresight. Jonathan insisted back in Florida on having his own dinghy and a spare engine, so we are still able to continue on our way and still have means of getting ashore. The other cruisers were not so fortunate, and are hard pressed to enjoy their time in the Bahamas until they find replacement dinghies. Some may have to return to Nassau and pay inflated prices to replace them. The little sailing dinghy is not as stable and fast as the inflatable, but at least we are still "mobile" off the big boat.

In searching for poor lost "Scout" (the name of our lost dinghy), we saw sea eagle nests, occupied by pairs of sea eagles.

Oh, speaking of dinosaurs, we also saw (and walked) on "stromatolites". We found out afterwards that walking on them is a "no-no" but we didn't know (or even know what we were walking on). The stromatolites were at Highborne Cay. Stromatolites are an unusual and special type of reef. Unlike most present-day reefs, which are composed of coral, stromatolites are formed by tiny, mircospocic organisms which trap and bind sand grains together and/or precipitate calcium carbonate to form layered deposits of limestone. Stromatolites are living examples of earth's earliest reefs. Scientists claim to have found fossil stromatolites 3.5 billion years old. In fact, stromatolites were, until the 1960's considered only as fossils, miilions and billions of years old, until living stromatolites were discovered in Australia, and later in the Bahamas. Website:

Arden has news about our encounter with the 1960's....and James Bond!

As it is, we are off to go overnight to Gergetown, Grand Exuma.

PS: We have made it to Georgetown safe and sound. Arden took the early morning watch and brought us into the harbour in the dark dawn all on her lonesome. Getting to be quite the sailor, she is. Gutsy too!


Well, it was a sad day to see our dinghy disappear. We will be forever looking for it I am sure, as we head south and east on the last leg of our trip. We are limping abit with Jon's sailing dinghy but most fortunate not to be stranded without anything. Word to the wise: have spares of essentials! Of course there are no spares if one of us got lost which was the grateful thought at the time of losing the mass of rubber and engine to the thief in the night. The sea is both our comfortable cushion and adversary. About that same time a Japanese woman had fallen overboard in rough weather without a life jacket and was seen no more. There but for fortune ...

I am thinking that living at sea is the "raw bar" of life. Nothing is processed to be more comfortable or edible. The elements are closely surrounding one and can be exquisitely beautiful or terribly challenging. With all the inconveniences and "harshness", I still prefer our island on the sea to the more protected uniformity of living on land. But I am not fooled into thinking this life solves all the distress of civilization. There is a scarcity of fresh water. There is no recourse when some wild Haitian trader vessel bashes into you on its course out of the harbor (really happened). There is confinement and the constant closeness where everyone knows everything like living in a very small town. It took 4 hours to produce a meal from conch from start of hunt to something on the table.With all the problems the greatest challenge on land or sea is to have charity one for another. Without that we have nothing no matter how beautiful the water or good the wind. Its hard not to get offended, hard to turn the other cheek, very difficult to be patient with another's foibles, extremely tough not to judge or criticize when things are not done how you like them. In short, its the greatest test to be kind when one does not feel like it. The lessons we all need to learn are universal and will determine if we have a good voyage here in mortality or not.

We had a fine day of snorkeling at Thunderball Cave where in the 60's they filmed a James Bond movie.We swam into this large grotto type place with holes at the top letting in the sun and surrounded on all sides by coral walls. The underwater garden was alive with color and movement as we gazed for long minues on multicolored fishies and strange growths. We seemed to be intruders; the fish swam right up to us but never bumped into us or let us touch them.

We press on towards the goal, hoping our crusade to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters will come to fruition soon. Thank you all who have supported us and prayed for us and understand the cause.


This is my report: I have been snorkeling alot and decided its very fun. Mom and Dad still refuse to scuba and they wont let me go by myself. I went out with some friends we met named Johannes and Matczak who were on a 25 foot sailboat that looked like my Rhodes 22, named AfterBlue. They taught me how to use the spears. We went out twice and the first time I didn't catch any fish. After we were there a shark came as it was attracted by the blood from the fish they caught.The second time we went out a great barracuda followed us through each stop cause we couldn't find a good coral head. Then I got in the water and in 30seconds I dove under and shot a little jack. Brought it up into the boat and and got it off the spear. Went home and the dinghy ran out of gas on the way but I had brought extra gas. When we got home there was much rejoicing. Dad cleaned the fish and we all ate. Since then I have been snorkeling and spearfishing and catching lots of fish.By lots I mean four and I caught a snapper called a Schoolmaster. Went to the cave where James Bond movie was filmed. Outrside the cave I got a huge 9 lb grouper. Decided it was a yellowfin because it had yellow fins. The end;. By the way Mom has not caught any fish from her trolling but lost lots of hooks and spoons.

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)

IMPORTANT NOTE: We no longer have USA cell phone service. All communication to us must be:

1) BEST = via e-mail at (we will hopefully be able to get e-mail at every landfall - please text messages only [not HTML messages], no attachments or images)


2) via phone message left on our Saugerties, NY phone (845 246 0131 - these should reach us within one week - please state clearly if the matter is urgent and our sons, Brett and Ben, will make every effort to contact us at the first opportunity)


3) via the "Contact Us" page on our web site at (the comment section is limited to just 256 characters -- we will have access to the Internet less often than simple e-mail.)


4) via postal mail sent to our Saugerties address -- Kip, Arden and Jon Hansen, The Family-to-Family Project, 153 Malden Tpke, Saugerties, NY 12477. Mail is forwarded to us periodically. Any mail sent after this e-mail will not be forwarded to us until we have arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This may be a month or so.


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