End of One Journey, the Beginning of the Next
23 December 2015 | Ft Lauderdale FL
Ft Lauderdale was always our final destination on the ICW so when we arrived here last Friday, it was a milestone. We booked 1064 miles from Norfolk VA to Ft Lauderdale in about six weeks. The contrast between the spots further north along the way and east coast southern Florida is remarkable. Here as we passed miles and miles of upscale, expensive homes, and yards and docks of multimillion dollar yachts we wondered how people achieve this level of excess. We agreed we have no interest in that lifestyle. Even though we were traveling during the week, the boat traffic was hectic, beginning at Ft Pierce. There wasn't much commercial traffic, but lots of huge powerboats and fishing motor yachts. Unfortunately, we got a bad impression of Florida boaters when one after another passed us without slowing down, giving us terrible wakes to deal with. How Rude!!
We did find lovely places to anchor, beginning with Ft Pierce, where we camped out south of the bridge in a calm bay. We had our first swim since leaving the Chesapeake. The next night we anchored between Hobe Sound and Jupiter Island in an 'indent' in the ICW. The water was cool, clean and refreshing. Here we met the boat that would become our anchormates for the next few stops - Symbiosis a Tayana 37 owned by Scott and Noi out of Maryland. Noi is Thai and a fantastic cook, who shared her talents with us a number of times. Pelican Lake was the next night, a lake off the ICW completely surrounded by condos and ringed with docks. We had the middle of the pond to the two boats for a peaceful night. Finally we traversed the last of the multitude of bridges and headed up the Middle River in Ft. Lauderdale, where we are anchored now. This river is a modest size, surrounded by homes and condos, and has a section just beyond our anchorage full of huge mega-yachts for charter. There is a nearly park with docks for the dinghies near a grocery, restaurants and a mall. The wind has been blowing first out of the north northeast and now out of the south for days.. in the low 20s with higher gusts. Whisper does a lot of dancing on the anchor, but the anchor hasn't budged since we set it down.
Not many boats have left the anchorage since we arrived with this weather. Last night we invited all our neighbors to Whisper for a Solstice party to celebrate the shortest day of the year. Luckily, there are only 6-8 boats, as we pretty much filled the cockpit with guests. Everyone shared stories and plans, and of course, we hope to meet up again when we resume our trip.
For now, we will be staying at a dock, thanks to Bill's good friend, Brian, until we are ready to head across to the Bahamas. We met with a canvas shop owner to arrange to have a bimini built (a sunscreen for over the driver's station to those non-boaters) and our solar panels installed. Brian has made his car available so we will be able to provision and shop for the items we need for the many projects we still need to finish before we leave. But for now, we are looking forward to spending Christmas with Brian and Maria. Life is very very good.