If you’re supposed to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, where are you supposed to keep family? For brothers-in-law David Jenkins and Blake Eder, the answer was as close as possible. For most of 10,000 nautical miles, from Alaska to Maryland the two have shared the extra-close-confines of a 40-foot ASPEN C-120 powercat. We met up with the duo as they crossed Florida via the Okeechobee Waterway. –Garrett Cortese
How did this whole journey come about?
DJ: Before this all started I didn’t have a ton of boating experience, but I wanted to. My family took a cruise through Alaska several years ago, and it was great, but the whole time I kept wishing I could get off the boat so I could go see more and experience more. I didn’t like being limited by the cruise’s schedule. As I started researching boats I really liked what Aspen and owner Larry Graf were doing. I reached out and we started putting this together.
BE: I came on as the captain because David didn’t have a captain’s license. Being that we were brothers-in-law it made sense that I’d be on board to help complete the journey.
You’re on the backend of the journey, what’s been your favorite part so far?
DJ: Whenever my wife, Sue Ellen, is on board is the highlight for me.
BE: I’d never been to Alaska before, and the weather was bad, but the scenery is just incredible.
DJ: When we were up there we got to see this double rainbow that I can’t even describe. It was so close and vibrant, it was like two shafts just rising out of the ocean right in front of us.
What about the craziest thing you’ve seen so far?
DJ: We were cruising through the Gulf and we somehow hit a shark.
BE: I didn’t see it – I must’ve been looking at a chart or something – but I felt it, and then I heard David screaming. I thought it was a wave or something.
DJ: I couldn’t believe it. I was on the phone and looking out at the water. I see what I know is a shark and we’re headed right for it. I started screaming “We’re gonna hit that shark! We’re gonna hit that shark!”
BE: We were real close to some whales that were breaching up in Alaska, that was crazy to see, too.
What’s your favorite thing about the Aspen C120?
DJ: The catamaran design. Just passing other boats here on Lake Okeechobee, you can see how water and waves affect them, and on this boat you can cruise through it.
BE: It’s been unbelievable to drive – it’s handled a wide variety of conditions remarkably well.
Did you ever think you would know your brother-in-law as well as you do now?
DJ: Oh no.
BE. No, no, no. I’ve told Sue Ellen this, and I think she agrees, there’s nobody else in the world that could’ve done this trip but me.
DJ: We’ve been telling the same jokes for so long that now we just have them numbered. Rather than tell it again, we just say a number and start laughing.
BE: We’ve gotten along great. I think we’ve done a superb job. It’s been a lot of fun.
DJ:That’s true, but I’ll be glad when the trip’s over… That was number 2…