We’ve Been in Ft. Lauderdale too long to think about now. We only intended on staying a week here but it has been 16 days. Turns out that there is really only one way to get to the Bahamas and that is awaiting favorable winds to cross the Gulfstream, since it can get quite nasty with any sort of cross-chop. It has been an interesting stopover never the less.

The first week we were here, the Melges 32 Gold Cup was being played out with the boats docked just across the ICW from us. The conditions were incredible, 20-25 knots and some serious surf, so we took a day to go an watch them. We took the dinghy out to John Loyde Park, about 4 miles away, and sat on the beach. We got to see a couple of jibs pop and even a kite let go. They were a little too far off to see the real action but it was fun to watch just the same. On the way back we got soaked as we had to cross Port Everglades and there was some chop in there. The dinghy doesn’t go so well with two large people and only a 5 hp motor. Fun anyway.

Most of the rest of the time has been spent on one boat project or another. We finally got the radar to function and installed some spreader lights. We went to change the aft motor mounts only to find that the brackets holding the mounts to the motor had both cracked through. Luckily there didn’t seem to be any other damage, and who knows how long they have been broken. A long time anyway judging by the corrosion, and that could have resulted in some serious damage. We thought we were pretty much out of luck on this one, but the local Perkins dealer had them available. Once installed the engine ran quiet as never before and the leak in the shaft seal is greatly reduced. How the boat performs with the hammer down remains to be seen. We have also added a filter to the head vent in hopes of reducing the noxious odors that go along with carrying a shit-tank. One morning, the Y-valve was clogged in the sewage system and I had to take it apart and rebuild it. It was fouled with years of calcified poo. Now the toilet pumps much easier but it was a pretty disgusting job.

We rented a car for a day to provision and drive around to my childhood home. Everything in my old neighborhood is in reality much smaller than I remember. The greater Ft. Lauderdale area has grown too, it is now pretty much one giant strip-mall parking lot all the way out to the Everglades. We went out to the Everglades too and went for a long walk on a dyke and swilled down some beer hoping to see a gator or something and only got to see buzzards and an otter (he didn’t dance, just scared Nathan). Otherwise we entertained ourselves by destroying fire ant nests. Vile little creatures. Florida is also full of silver-haired confusion agents tying up traffic and paying by check everywhere they go.

We provisioned and picked up some fishing gear too. The world’s largest West-Marine opened up so we had to stop by. Now we have a rod, tackle and net and whatever else we might need. Also, I am now the proud owner of two pole-spears and can’t wait to try them in the Bahamas. Speaking at the West-Marine was none other than Brad Van Liew, the most recent winner of the Velux Ocean Race, a single handed race around the world. His talk was pretty interesting and we cornered him afterward and chatted for awhile. Quite a character.

Other than the above, it has been a pretty boring stopover. The City of Ft Lauderdale decided to have a Christmas parade in honor of Slick’s visit, so we had front row seats to some serious ridiculousness. We have been constantly disappointed by the quality of food in Florida, both pizza and Chinese. Maybe the marina is really hard to find, but it is chronically late every time. I also cut my hair off the side of the boat, much to the entertainment of pedestrians on the bridge. We wanted to move further south but we didn’t see anywhere that enticed us enough so we just hang out here. Occasionally we go to the beach or a dive bar, but mostly wait for the wind to change. There could be much worse places to be stuck I guess, even if we are basically under the Los Olas Bridge. It looks like it is coming this weekend though, so then we will be off to the Bahamas???