|FYI — month 200x|
|By Brad Dunn|
Word with... Bruce Kessler
Q: When you set out to cross the Pacific, what surprised you the most about the journey?
A: Well, I have been fishing and cruising offshore my whole life. But that first leg to Hawaii was the longest stretch I'd been on. It's awful empty out there. Everyone said, "Just follow the vapor trails of airplanes, and you'll be fine." We were out for 11 days, and it was overcast the whole time. We had no sun to navigate by, no stars, and back then, almost no GPS. We rhumblined the whole way. You could say I had some anxiety. But, in the end, we were never more than three miles off course.
Q: Did you see any other boats?
A: Just one: a big cargo ship. When I called the captain because we were on a collision course, he said, "Don't worry, skipper, I just wanted to see what kind of fool was all the way out here in that tiny boat."
Q: After Australia, you decided to keep going west. Why?
A: I thought about shipping my boat home. Someone said I should just cruise up to Singapore, where it's a lot cheaper, and I said to myself, "If I can cruise her that far, I might as well go all the way." We were out there for about three years. Looking back on it now, Joan and I agree that taking this voyage was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
In the midst of a massive slip shortage across most of the Sunshine State, Perico Harbor Marina in Bradenton wants to add 173 boat slips to its facility of 15 and, on top of that, build a dry storage area that could house another 240 boats. But the marina is surrounded by a complex and fragile marine ecosystem that environmental groups say would face serious damage if the expansion is permitted.
Florida's Department of Environmental Protection says that the seven acres that would have to be dredged during expansion contain vital sea grass beds, an oyster bar, and a stretch of mangroves.
To alleviate the problem, Perico says before construction begins it will transplant two acres of sea grass, the oyster bar, and the mangrove colony to a nearby area.
The proposal embodies a growing conflict in the boating world: boaters seeking a much-needed boost in slip supply versus environmentalists seeking permanent marine preservation. The only certainty is that this project, like many, will likely be bogged down for months in the legal system.
Got an interesting boating story for this column? Write to FYI, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: email@example.com. No phone calls please.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.