28 March 2021
I'm not talking about tackling daunting waves. We couch surfed all over Florida, had a great time and didn't even get wet.
While Uproar was in transit from Tahiti to Ft. Lauderdale, we flew to Milwaukee. It was great to visit family and friends after cruising for almost six years. But Wisconsin in January and February is not for the faint of heart....or those whose blood has been thinned out in tropical paradise. We planned to leave about a month before Uproar arrived in Florida and visit friends along the way. We are so lucky to have great friends who rolled out the red carpet for us.
First stop was Indianapolis to visit Theta Chi brother and roomy, Larry Fortress. Larry and Mary had just moved into a new home. Very nice place! Of course we visited a brew pub and shared a famous Indiana pork tenderloin sandwich. Larry and I played pool well into the night and even sang a few bawdy songs.
Next stop was New Orleans. Laura Livermore was giving a felting demonstration at a local craft store. We were planning on visiting Glyn and Laura at their home in Pensacola, FL but why not add NO to the journey? We stayed in an old apartment near Frenchman's Street and had a great time in the much subdued NO fun zones. Lisa and I were also able to have lunch with Jay Peterson, also Theta Chi brother, and his wife Joan. Jay is also a sailor and showed us around the marinas and his beautiful boat.
We followed Glyn and Laura back to Pensacola and stayed a week with them. This included a lot of exploring of this area and a sail on their boat, Peregrine. They have made Pensacola their winter home but we will surely see them back in Wisconsin this summer.
Next stop was a weekend in Apalachacola. Not sure I spelled it right but we enjoyed this touristy/fishing village and stayed at the ancient, Combs Inn. Lovely place and we enjoyed the local color.
Gregg and Jo Fettin are friends we met in the Caribbean about four years ago. They are now living in Ft. Myers, FL and loving it. They have a beautiful condo and gave us a weeks worth of fun in the area. We spent a lot of time at beaches and exploring the adjacent islands. Gregg and I spent a fun half-hour while the ladies were shopping, sitting in the chairs outside the shop and waving at the slow traffic. We got smiles and giggles from most of the cars and seven even honked a greeting at us. At least we thought they were amused. This is perfectly in line with Gregg's favorite expression, “Stay Crazy!”
Gregg and Jo took us to the downtown Ft. Myers gallery night, a great street celebration that happens every two weeks. Good music and food. We ran into Chas and Karen Volmer....of course in a bar! Chas and Karen are snow birds from Milwaukee who we have known for years (and sailed with). We knew they were in the area but didn't contact them, knowing we would get together in the summer. They spent the rest of the evening with the four of us, a great time and unexpected bonus.
Then we drove across the Tamiami Trail to Fort Lauderdale. At one national park, we hiked a boardwalk over the everglades swamps and saw what we have seen in movies about the swamp. Very cool trees, birds, turtles and of course gators.
Lance, best childhood friend, and his wife Laura hosted us in their condo in Fort Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. What a fun area. Lance and Laura Moll have lived in south Florida since college and entertain a lot of visitors. They treated us to the sights and food of the area for two weeks! Highlights were all the beaches. Hard Rock Hotel and just hanging out with them, watching the boats on the Intercoastal. During the last week, Uproar arrived and we had a lot of work to get her ready to sail. Lance and Laura were our supply base. They had been receiving Amazon packages for weeks and even received our new mainsail months before. They helped with logistics of storing and moving a lot of stuff around their pool store and condo. We couldn't have done it without their help. They even drove us to Port Everglades for the moment we had awaited, for Uproar to arrive on Yacht Express, the ship shipping ship. Everything went smoothly with their help.
In Ft Lauderdale we were able to have lunch with Jen Wirth and her fiance, Joe. Jen started sailing on our race boat, Veloce when she was a teenager. She is now three years running, Blue Water Sailing School's best instructor of the year. We met several sailors in the Caribbean who she had taught sailing. We met several others who requested her but she was booked. If you want to learn to sail a cruising boat and learn all that is needed to charter a boat safely, spend a week sailing with Captain Jen!
Sheilah Holznagle worked with Lisa on IT projects for years in Milwaukee. Being on the front lines of these projects formed a fast friendship. Sheilah and her husband Steve now live in Ft Myers. We had dinner with them in Ft Myers and they drove to Ft Lauderdale to go for a dinghy ride in the canals and have lunch at 15th Street Marina.
Steve and Lili from S/V Liward have sailed in French Polynesia for years. They spend cyclone season in Jupiter Florida. We visited them there for a tour of the area, Steve's favorite surfing beach and a few outdoor venues where Steve plays guitar with a singer. They served us heaping plates of stone crab claws for dinner! Friends we make cruising truly become friends for life.
Lance and Laura met us two years ago in Fakarava, French Polynesia. Lance and Laura were on their 40th anniversary cruise on the Paul Gaugin, joined by Laura's sister, Chris and her husband Mark. We had a fun time with them in Fakarava, sailing to a reef to snorkel with the sharks. Chris and Mark along with their friend Nancy visited the Lance and Laura Lodge for a long weekend while we were there. We did move into a hotel for the four nights against their insistence that there was room for everyone.
We enjoyed more fun times with them including a dinghy ride through the posh, Ft. Lauderdale canals.
Uproar spent a week at Cooley's Landing Marina after unloading from Yacht Express. I can't properly describe the work needed to re-rig sails, canvas, solar panels, etc. Provisioning for three months in the Bahamas is an unbelievable task. Our poor Fiat was loaded to the gills when we left Milwaukee and loaded several times over with supplies. It took only three or four trips to liquor stores to fill the bildges with wine and spirits.
Noah Alberte, our 15 yo nephew, joined us for the passage to the Abacos, his first ocean passage. Lisa picked up Noah at the airport, got covid tests done and a long list of logistics to resume living aboard Uproar. Lance helped with the final step, following me to a storage facility where we parked the Fiat 500L to rest for the next three months. When he dropped us off, we were ready! And we made it here!
Thanks to everyone who not only entertained us for over a month but who helped us make the transition from dirt dwellers to cruisers again.