Moonbeam on next-to-last leg home
For almost three years now, Marco Islander Ken Bardon and his wife, Lil, have been making a dream come true on an adventure of a lifetime.
Capt. Ken has guided his Island Packet, Model 485 sailboat from Marco Island while circumnavigating the world. He is on the next to the last leg of his dream as he has pushed off from the coast of Spain and is making his way to the Caribbean Sea, where he will make his final push to his home port of Marco Island right after Thanksgiving.
As of Monday afternoon, all was proceeding as planned and the winds were providing the crew with perfect sailing conditions with just more than 2,025 miles into their next stop in the British Virgin Islands.
After a short stay in the BVI for Thanksgiving, the original crew that began the voyage in January 2013 from Marco will be Ken Bardon, Lee Henderson from Marco and Nancy Devires from New Jersey. Michael Cain from Fort Myers and Alan Picard from Canada would complete the crew of five as they make their back to Marco Island.
“The idea to reunite the original crew came from Nancy and we thought it would be a fitting way to celebrate the conclusion of the adventure which took Moonbeam around the world,” said Lil Bardon.
Should all go well, Moonbeam should be back in its comfortable dock at Solana Court sometime around the end of the second week of December, weather permitting.
The adventure began when he would push off from his dock on Solana Court on his way to the Panama Canal and a journey only few could dream of.
Lil would join her husband for various segments of the voyage, as would two other friends of the family.
Henderson and Rob Reiley, who both live on Marco, have joined Ken on various segments of the adventure.
Throughout the journey, others joined Ken as crew members on their odyssey.
Those that would join often consisted of friends they have met over their years of sailing, and sometimes new acquaintances made during their voyage circumventing the world.
Lil would join Ken for the transit through the Panama Canal, and would again join him as he island-hopped through the South Pacific and travel through the exotic islands of Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
“I’m not sure that pictures could do those ports of call justice,” said Lil Bardon as she reminisced one recent morning in her kitchen.
Great Barrier Reef
She joined him in Australia when they would transit up along the Great Barrier Reef and up into Indonesia. She has just returned from a summer of exploring in the Mediterranean Sea after joining Ken in Crete. She would depart Spain to fly home as Lee Henderson and Ron Reily would return to join with Ken for the leg of the journey across the Atlantic into the Caribbean Sea.
Civil unrest in the Middle East, specifically in Yemen, required Ken to ship the boat from Thailand in March to Marmaris, Turkey. He flew into Turkey and took a month to make the boat seaworthy once again before pushing off from Marmaris, heading to the island of Crete.
When Lil rejoined Ken in Crete, they spent almost five months sailing through the Greek Isles and up into the Adriatic Sea.
“It was so beautiful just cruising and visiting the many ports in Italy, Croatia, France, Monaco and Spain. We’d even rent a car on occasion and get to do a little interior exploring,” said Lil Bardon.
They met up with Lil’s brother and sister in-law, who were doing an auto tour of Europe. Lil and Ken rented a car in Italy and drive up to the Swiss border. There they had some quality family time together and shared stories of their individual travels.
“It’s an absolutely spectacular area to visit,” said Lil Bardon.
The Bardons had the opportunity to celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary above the city of Benalmadema, Spain, overlooking the port where Moonbeam was docked for their visit on Oct. 7.
Moonbeam stayed in Benalmadema for about three weeks. Part of that time was spent ensuring it is in perfect condition for the push toward the British Virgin Islands.
Lil returned home to the U.S. just before the crew left for the next leg on their trip back to Marco Island.
She flew into New York to spend some time with family and friends before returning to Marco.
Their route will take them along the coast of Spain and through the Strait of Gibraltar and then on a southerly route down the coast of Africa, past Casablanca and onto the Canary Islands before turning southwest toward their next port of call in Virgin Gorda in the BVI.
The fifth member of the cross-Atlantic run is Bob Linley, a good friend of the Bardons from Long Island, N.Y.