About Janet & Dave, the shorter version:
by David Heath (N7ACG), Alegría
The Final Passage of Janet Erken (N7AWL)
It is with indescribable sadness, that I tell you that Janet Erken, N7AWL, made her final passage.
Janet and I, with our good friend Mike, built our 38’ (12 meter) sailboat, Alegría from a bare hull in our backyard near Seattle, WA, USA and launched in 1976. In 1977, Janet and I, with Mike, Mike’s son Brad and a Canadian friend, Olga, left on a two-year trip down the West Coast of the U.S. to Acapulco, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Vancouver Island, Canada and back to Seattle in 1979.
Mike, Brad and Olga went off to lead normal lives, but we were hooked on cruising. In 1981 we sailed back to Mexico for five years. Then we went to Costa Rica, Panama, through the canal, up to Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Texas. In 1989 we trucked the boat 30 miles inland to my folks’ ranch, south of Houston. This was to do some repairs, for a few months. But, it was 8.5 years before we launched. In 1999 and 2000, we sailed to Baltimore, MD, USA and got stuck there also, but in June of 2005 we sailed to Europe via the Azores. We spent our first European winter in Portugal, our second in Spain, our third near Rome, our fourth, the winter of 2008/09 in Marmaris, Turkey. Since the fall of 2009 Alegría has been at Finike, Turkey.
In April 2010, we flew to Houston, to help my mom. But, while in Houston, Janet’s “digestive problem” was diagnosed as ovarian cancer. She had chemo and surgery and we thought that she was successfully treated. She officially joined the “in remission” group in March 2011. My mom passed away Jan 4, 2011. Unfortunately, Janet’s cancer came back in Nov 2011. Janet passed away January 17, 2013 while being treated in Reno, NV.
We had been friends since 1971 and grafted at the hip since 1980 and I certainly hope and pray that that I will never experience anything anywhere near this painful again in my lifetime.
I returned to Alegría in Finike, Turkey on March 2, 2013. Various friends had been watching Alegría for almost three years while we were gone. Fortunately Alegría had only minor problems like being very dirty. And a million, manageable boat projects that I am working on.
Many thanks for everyone’s prayers, good wishes and tireless help.
(photo: Janet, Mike, Dave, Brad, Olga as we entered Mexico the first time. 1977)
- Entering Mexico 1977