Fall and Winter, 2001-2002
 
We spent the summer of 2001 in Hampton VA. Andi had plastic surgery on her severed finger and it finally healed well. Now, 9 months later, it's still alternately numb and oversensitive, but more or less operational.

On September 1st, our Lisa married Guild Copeland at a fairytale wedding in Virginia. We've added some wonderful new family to ours, and couldn't be happier.

In October, as we prepared to leave Hampton, Rob had a routine PSA test and learned he had fairly advanced prostate cancer. We stuck to our travel plans and sailed offshore to Wrightsville Beach and then to Charleston, breaking our boom on an easy jibe on the passage to Charleston. Fortunately, Selden Spars, the world's largest manufacturer of masts and booms, has a plant in Charleston and we were able to get a replacement fabricated and fitted in no time. Rob went to a urologist in Charleston, who confirmed prostate cancer by biopsy. After some agonizing, Rob decided to have his prostate surgically removed, and scheduled the operation for mid-January in Los Angeles, where we could stay with Lisa and Guild.

Meanwhile, we took Akka to the Abaco islands of the Bahamas , sailing direct from Charleston to Green Turtle Cay, then Marsh Harbour and Hope Town for Christmas, and then on to George Town in the Exumas. There we left the boat in the able hands of Les and Gloria Anstey, parents of our old fiends Mark and Leslie Anstey.

The operation turned out to be surprisingly easy -- the incision doesn't actually cut through muscle, so recovery is quite quick. All post-surgical lab tests came out with absolutely no further involvement. We hope that this in now behind us and we urge all men at age 50 or above to have a PSA. It is a simple, non-invasive blood test that can save your life -- do it.

In February, we reluctantly bade our L.A. family goodbye and returned to Akka in George Town. We spent 2 weeks cruising with old friends, and then it was time for the 22nd annual George Town Cruising Regatta -- a week-long party of fun, sports, games and -- oh yeah -- 2 sailboat races! This event has gotten bigger every year -- there were some 380 boats in the George Town area for the week! Andi played fun volleyball and helped organize the Kid's Day events. (Imagine an egg toss with over 160 competitors under age 16!) We got crewing positions on a Sabre 40 for the Around Stocking Island Race and came in 2nd! (The owner/captain and his cruising buddies were a bit taken aback by our intensity, but pleased at the result.)

After Regatta, we made our way north, back up to the Abacos. We find ourselves back where we were almost 3 months ago to the day. Cruising the Bahamas this winter has been uneventful and wonderful. The water is clearer than anywhere else in the Caribbean, we've caught our share of lobsters, tuna, and mahi-mahi, snorkeled some amazing reefs, and met a lot of great fellow cruisers. Top 5 places: Royal Harbour, totally landlocked and uninhabited, with lobsters aplenty; Staniel Cay, with Thunderball Cave as great as ever; Joe's Sound at the northern end of Long Island; Spanish Wells, a charming and prosperous fishing village north of Eleuthera; and Rat Cay, at the north end of Great Exuma.

Back in Marsh Harbour, we've begun the many tasks to ready Akka for an Atlantic crossing. We've hauled her to paint her bottom. Then we'll check the steering cables, inspect the rig, reinstall the autopilot, etc., etc.