26 March 2012 | Fort Lauderdale, FL
EVS: Sunny and Warm
March 26, 2012
We departed Nassau on Friday, March 23 after a couple of days at the dock, exploring sections of the city we have not seen, and preparing for our departure (yes, that involved Piña Coladas and conch fritters). We pulled away from the dock at about 8:15. From the discussions along the dock the night before, we anticipated an armada. After requesting and receiving from Harbor Control permission to depart, we were off and heading north through the Northwest Providence Channel, to Northwest Rocks, the Bahama Banks, to the north of Bimini and then across the Gulf Stream to Florida. It was a trip of over 175 miles, which we made in about 24 hours (motor sailing because the winds were light). We were in the company of Living Well all the way (until they headed toward Miami after passing through the Gulf, while we headed to Fort Lauderdale). The other vessels departing at about the same time soon became dispersed and out of sight. The crossing was very gentle and uneventful – the way we like them. We had a line out in hopes of catching a Mahi Mahi or something else delectable. We hooked something that doubled the rod and took the line out despite the drag being set. We slowed down and Van tried to bring it in, but it did not want to come. So, we decided to drag it a while and tire it out before trying to bring it aboard. That was not the fish’s plan, however, and it broke the 50# test line and took a goodly chunk of that as well as the lure. We decided that, whatever it was, we probably were not equipped for dealing with something that big. So, there you have our fish story.
We arrived off Fort Lauderdale about 8:30 on Saturday and were inside the breakwater by just before 9:00. We missed the 9:00 opening of the 17th Street Causeway Bridge, and so had to wait for the 9:30 opening. The number, size, and opulence of the boats (and houses) in this place is unbelievable. We do not know whether it is wealth or simply a display of wealth, but it is hard to imagine. Boats commonly exceed 120’, and many are over 200’ long. It appears the crews are the ones who spend time on them because, despite our arriving on a weekend, very few were occupied or off the docks.
We fueled Gratitude, took a slip at the City Marina at Las Olas Boulevard (just inside the A1A highway along the famous beaches – and yes, it is spring break), showered, and called Dave and Mary (Sanity II), who have a condo here in Sunny Isles. We spent a few hours exploring Fort Lauderdale, the New River, and having lunch with them. Then, the tired crew of Gratitude went to bed. (The Admiral slept soundly for over 12 hours; she was tired!)
Sunday morning we awoke, much refreshed. We had a leisurely breakfast aboard and then walked up Las Olas Boulevard to the First Presbyterian Church located near the heart of Old Fort Lauderdale on the New River. Very good service, huge choir, and welcoming people. (We were invited to lunch by a couple who just sold their sailboat because, at 86 (!), they found it too much to manage in high winds. We had to decline, because we had plans with Dave and Mary.) We caught the Sun Trolly back to the beaches and changed, grabbed our overnight bag, and called Dave and Mary who picked us up and took us on another tour and back to their condo for dinner and the night. They have a corner unit on the 18th floor with views to the north (including the ocean) and to the west (including to downtown Miami). They are right over the Intracoastal Waterway, so there always are boats coming and going and activities to watch. Dave made a wonderful shrimp gumbo and we enjoyed catching up with each others’ lives since we separated in the Bahamas several weeks ago.
This morning (Monday), Dave and Mary chauffeured us to look at dinghies. We finally selected and acquired a Walker Bay 310 Genesis with some extra goodies that should make it quite suitable for our needs. It will be delivered tomorrow and, if all goes according to plan, we will be away from the docks at 12:00 and en route to Miami. When Dave asked us if we were going to name this dinghy, we said yes, it would be the New Attitude.
We had a great time visiting with them, but have to move along (not to mention the fact that their son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters will be moving from here to Minneapolis soon and they have to babysit for a few days while the parents house shop). After Miami, we will head to Rodriguez Key and then to Marathon for a few days. If all goes well, we may do some work on Gratitude to prepare for our departure toward home next month. (It is much easier to do some things on the water, where it is cool and there are places to play, than in the boat yard.)