13/01/2012/10:42 am, Cooley's Landing, Fort Lauderdale, FL
We have had a delightful few days on the New River, walking to grocery stores and the theatre, taking land and water transportation to get to Total Wine, Bluewater Books, Sailor Man and the new West Marine store.
From Cooley's Landing near the 7th Ave Bridge, we caught a #6 bus to 24th St (State Road 84). This is Mecca for boaters because it has 3 marine stores and a great diner. (Bus is $1.75 each way or $4 for an all day pass.) Along with Steve and Sandi (Yonder) we made Lester's Diner our first stop to fortify ourselves for a happy prowl through Sailor Man - the well stocked consignment store. (We didn't see the pulled pork man, Pat - he must be waiting for you!) With a few new bits and pieces in hand (no really awesome finds) we checked out the huge new West Marine store to ooh and aah at all the brand new and pricy items, and then hoofed it across the street to Boat Owners Warehouse where we found new products at reasonable prices. Jim bought another macerator pump for our holding tank and thought about getting a fresh water pump just in case the need for one arises. We haven't gotten it yet so we hope the pump replacement disease felt by our friends on Estelle isn't catching! This process of keeping spares is a never ending and tricky one. It is expensive and space consuming to keep spares of all the parts of this boat aboard, and yet there are some items that make a part failure a quick and easy fix if we have them on hand instead of a time consuming and possibly expensive one if we need to locate and ship the replacements.
We walked all the way to Bluewater Books on another day (Cordova at 17th) and spent a happy hour checking out books and charts before wandering a few doors over to the Total Wine store. Friends have told us about this chain but we had never been in one and wow - our arms were loaded by the time we picked up bottles of well priced and unfamiliar wines. They had lots of the standards that we could find at Publix, but it was so much fun to find bottles we'd never heard of before. Based on last night's consumption, Lindeman's Bin 85 (Australia) beat out Conte Priola (Italy) in the Pinot Grigio category and Sobon Estate (California) was the Sauvignon Blanc of choice.
With our arms loaded we looked for an easier way home and found the water taxi right down at the bottom of 17th St. The inbound one brought us up the river to Stop 13 by the Broward Art Centre and only a block from home. We were even lucky enough to claim Steve as our token Senior and get a family fare for the ride!
Last time we were here, we spent an evening at the Broward Art Centre listening to the comedy of Capitol Steps. This year, we enjoyed the Jersey Boys - and what a treat it was - fantastic music and great cast. It is almost as much fun looking at the beautiful people at places like this, and being able to walk out the door under an almost full moon shining over the water to stroll along the boardwalk to our snug little home on the river was the icing on the cake.
Another familiar face was Shel - our neighbor last time. He is still here, living on his boat and greeting all comers with a cheery good morning.
As usual, watching the boat traffic is excellent entertainment here at Cooley's Landing. Tug boats fore and aft guide humongous yachts up and down the river, other tugs drag barges that take the full width of the river, and then there are all the regular 70 and 80 foot boats that in any other environment would seem huge but here are merely standard. We met a stunning new 155 ft motor yacht coming down river when we were on our way up. And this familiar face beamed at us from the wall near 3rd Ave Bridge! Theodore was here for the boat parade and is staying till February we heard. It is such fun to see our delightful NS ambassador down here. He's not quite the elegant Bluenose, but he attracts attention.
We're leaving Cooley's Landing on the high slack tide at noon to move down to Lake Sylvia for the night. We are all of us just superstitious enough to refrain from starting a passage on a Friday - let alone Friday the 13th, so we'll head out through the Port Everglades inlet and point south to Coconut Grove (south Miami area) tomorrow.
Cooley's landing info: Slips are $1.30 per ft (not quite sure) with a 15% Boat US discount. Power is $10 for the first 3 days and a free mobile pumpout is available. Clean showers and a laundry with 6 washers ($1.75) and 4 dryers ($1.50) and a change machine that works round out the amenities. But of course the best part of this place is location, location, location!
10/01/2012/10:47 am, Cooley's Landing, Fort Lauderdale, FL
We had an excellent last day in Ft Pierce - doing the stowing and planning needed for an offshore passage. As a special last evening treat, Jim and Nancy (Solitaire) drove down from Vero Beach to pick us up and take us to a sweet little Mexican Restaurant, Pueblo Viejo, where we filled ourselves with enchiladas and all the fixin's. It was a great way to end our stay here.
We made reasonable time to Lake Worth, unfortunately mostly by motor, and tucked into the little anchorage just inside the inlet for the evening. It was far less crowded than when we were here 2 years ago - probably due to the fact that the last couple of days have been great ones for crossing the Gulf Stream and boats looking for a window to the Bahamas had gone.
Another day of motor sailing brought us to Port Everglades inlet (Fort Lauderdale) and we edged our way into Lake Sylvia for the night. We hadn't been in here before and would only do the entry and exit at mid tide or higher. There are high spots in the bottom, and even by hugging the wall on the way in, we saw 0.1 a couple of times. Once in, there was plenty of room and it was a pretty place to be for a night. Our neighbours were Dave and Paula (Misty Seas) from Nova Scotia so we felt especially at home.
We headed out in time to catch high slack tide at Cooley's Landing and made the beautiful cruise up the New River. It's worth coming here just for that!
After 2 nights anchoring and a couple days motor-sailing down from Ft Pierce, we are now tied to a dock again at Cooley's Landing - up the New River in Fort Lauderdale. Sandra and Steve (Yonder) are just down the dock, and we are about to catch a bus to go shopping at the consignment store here - Sailor man. Let the good times roll!
07/01/2012/8:25 am, Harbortown Marina, Ft Pierce, FL
It was great to be home in Nova Scotia and now it's great to be home on Madcap.
We had a smooth trip south and arrived at Fort Lauderdale about 0015 hrs Thursday morning - just in time to pick up our rental car before the office closed. Jim managed to stay awake as we drove north but we were both very happy to tumble into our berth when we reached the marina at 0300 hrs. It was a cold one too - the temperature was in the 30's F and we piled on the blankets and plugged in our little heater.
We put our socks and shoes, long pants and sweaters back on when we got up at 8 but managed to lose most of them over the course of the day (replacing them with sandals and t-shirts of course!!)
Rather than get straight into boat work, we decided to take advantage of the car, and make a run down to Stuart to visit Steve and Sandi (Yonder) and what a good decision it was. Along with their friends, Gail and Al, from Fort Pierce, Pete from Port St Lucie and Joe (Gemini) on his way to the Bahamas, we gathered on the lovely patio of Sunset Bay Marina as the sun went down in a gloriously vibrant show of colour. Gail wanted us to experience Planet Ozone (planetozone.net) so we piled into cars and drove down Highway 1 a couple of miles to this fascinating gas station/deli/café. It is a "green" building with a marvelous variety of tasty products on the grocery shelves and delicious, affordable items on the menu. Do pay it a visit if you are in the Stuart area - we dined on lamb, chicken, grilled shrimp with veggies, rice and lentil pilaf, wonderful fresh tasting baba ganouj and tabbouleh. It is easy to eat healthily with examples like this.
Friday brought a trip to Publix for reprovisioning, and because we are in healthy, simple food mode, it didn't even cost us as much as I had expected. I was comparing prices between this Publix and the one in Fernandina Beach though, and things are more expensive here. At this point in other years, we were packing the boat with every snack, specialty food and paper product we would need for 3 months in the Bahamas, but this year is different. We'll be in the US for several weeks yet, and have many more opportunities to top up the larder. I do believe we're done for now - the lockers are full and I have all sorts of possibilities for a varied menu.
Jim got to choose the protein for tonight's dinner and arrived back at the cart with salmon - so roasted potatoes, green beans and poached salmon followed by a couple (maybe more like a small handful) of Mireille's chocolate covered blueberries made our first onboard dinner of 2012. We're off to a good start!
The last of the boat jobs (for now) will get done on Saturday and we'll head out the inlet and down to Lake Worth on Sunday. Jim is fashioning a rail mount for our outboard motor and I am sprucing up the hand rails on the cabin roof. The weather warms every day, the winds are light, and we are set to get moving.