21 January 2007

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

January 21, 2007

Good Luck Patriots!

We've had an interesting time in Ft. Lauderdale over the past week and a half. We've spent the majority of our time running back and forth between Sailorman, West Marine and the boat working on various projects and getting a new (to us) SSB transceiver installed. On Thursday we pulled the anchor up and went for a sail on the ocean to make a practice run through the inlet in the daylight and to test out our self-steering at various points of sail. We were by far the smallest boat out there and our major obstacle was not the 4 foot northerly swells but the seemingly 8 foot waves put out by wakes of overtaking and passing mega-yachts.

The 17th Street Bridge in Ft. Lauderdale.

A cruise ship at dock in Ft. Lauderdale.

When we returned to our anchorage we were greeted by the Ft. Lauderdale Police--marine division, who informed us of the 24-hour anchoring restriction on the waterway in Ft. Lauderdale. We were prepared for them and Kristen waved a new law passed by Jeb Bush which overrules any anchoring restrictions for non-liveaboard boats. We then engaged in a lively discussions on semantics and, as usual, you can't argue with the police, so we moved the boat. On their behalf, they were just doing their job as their chief requires of them, and they were as agreeable as they could be in that situation. We are now staying at a mooring ball at Las Olas Municipal Marina where we have full use of showers, internet and an on-site laundromat. Luxury! (at a price, of course...).

It is unfortunate that Ft. Lauderdale is so unfriendly to cruising sailboats. It boasts that it is the "Boating Capital of the World," yet the marinas are all priced extremely high and there are only 10 mooring balls that cost $30 a night (most mooring balls along the east coast are $10-15 with $20 in Annapolis, although you can anchor as long as you want in Annapolis). The city itself is wonderful for any kind of boat because the saying is true "if you need something for your boat, and you can't find it in Ft. Lauderdale, then it doesn't exist." It is just a shame that the most useful city in terms of boating on the eastern seaboard also is the most inaccessible and most inhospitable city for all but the largest mega-yachts, powerboats and sportfishing boats.

All of our Ft. Lauderdale woes, however, will soon come to pass. We are leaving for the Bahamas on Monday morning at 1AM! Yes, just 14.5 hours from now! The winds are steadily shifting to the south right now and will blow from the southeast and then the south at 10-15 knots while we are out on the water. The seas are forecast to be 2-4 feet. From everything we've read, it appears to be ideal conditions for the crossing. Our first stop is Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End where we'll spend a night at the marina, check in with customs and then proceed onwards across to the deserted cays we've been looking forward to!

Hans pre-haircut, acting very nervous.

Hans mid-haircut.


Kristen at work sorting out all the spares on Whisper.

Key Lime Pie

January 21, 2007

Key Lime Pie is the pride of Florida bakers; it is also Mandy Brown's (SnowDay co-captain) favorite dessert. On our way to Ft. Lauderdale with Snow Day, almost two weeks ago, we stopped in Lantana and all enjoyed the best Key Lime Pie in Florida (as featured in Bon Apetit magazine). Well, on Friday, we rented a car to make our final provisioning runs, and we just had to provision our stomaches with some more Key Lime Pie. Mandy, we thought of you...don't you wish you were going to the Abacos so you could have stayed with us in Ft. Lauderdale?




Going north is not such a bad idea, sometimes!