I always said if the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets were all lined up just right, we'd make a side-trip to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, it was not to be, this trip. After our March home visit (that stretched into six weeks including travel time in our rental mini-van), we returned to Cable Marine in Ft. Lauderdale to pick up our "refreshed" Souvenir. On April 11th, we moved the boat back to Las Olas Municiple Marina, parked with the "Big Boys" in slip A8. We were next to "Atso" an 80' Sunseeker Predator, and within a few days, the three 100 footers on the dock were transcended when the 172' "Battered Bull" tied up to our end-T.
We planned to stay "a couple" days while we did our final planning and preparation for the Bahama leg. This included some excellent "in person" advice from Capt Carl Moughan (referred by Bruce Paddock). However, checking with marine weather showed a stubborn high pressure ridge over Florida that resulted in a N to NE wind forecasted to last several days. With somewhat variable strength, this created anywhere from 2' to 6' seas across the Gulfstream -- too much for Souvenir and her crew. In fact, the morning Battered Bull arrived from Nassau, Capt Ned had witnessed 10-12' seas rounding the north side of the Berry Islands...."It was nasty out there!" A week later, there appeared some hope with a brief window with 5-10 knot west wind forecast for 4/22. So, the decision was made to depart Las Olas that Tuesday regardless....heading to the Bahamas if the forecast held up.......or forgetting the Bahamas, and starting north up the east coast if it didn't.
Unfortunately, this commitment was put on hold with an Easter Sunday call from home that Diane's 92 year old mother was in the hospital with congestive heart failure. Diane was on a plane home by noon the next day, thanks to good luck availability with our World Perks Miles. Stay tuned........
Meanwhile, this gives me a chance (staying on the boat with Billie Jo) to review some of the good times we've had in Ft. Lauderdale and upload some photos. First, along with the NE wind, the weather has been fantastic; mostly sunny in the 80s, with an occasional shower -- just enough to trigger an easy "chamois job" on the newly buffed and waxed Souvenir. It also ruled out any sympathy from family and friends back home when informed of our "predicament" being "stuck" in Ft. Lauderdale.
One evening, we had a wonderful Italian Seafood dinner at Bravo with Jim & Rosie Basta (boating friends from our Windmill Marina days) who coincidentally were being visited by Dave and Karen Norris from Naples (way back boating friends originally from Afton). Then a couple days later, Bastas offered us a grand tour of the Ft. Lauderdale canal system in their "flat-boat." It was a beautiful day to view the spectacular canal-front homes and boats (ranging from a unique "Airstream Houseboat #10" to megayacht Meduse), and we did the "whole enchilada" including the New River and boat-yards along the Dania Cut-Off, with a great lunch at the Rustic Inn (the "rustic" part was certainly accurate!). Not much evidence of any economic stress around here!! Literally dozens of mega-yachts and gorgeous homes (no doubt winter "get-aways").
A gorgeous "little" boat, an 84' Kuipers, is docked in our marina. It's name is "Beothuck" (be-ah'-thick -- which is the name of a Canadian Indian tribe):
Meanwhile, I connected with a former 3M boss, Drew Davis, living in a new home up in Palm Beach Gardens (about an hour drive). He and his wife, Judy, and her sister, Kathy, found time to drive down for a visit and a wonderful lunch at the Bimini Boatyard. We look forward to stopping in the Lake Worth/Jupiter area on our way up the coast to visit their new home.
Another surprise visit, helped us connect with our "family" at Easter time, when our son's NYC room-mate, Derek, happened to be in town. He was hungry for seafood, so we returned to the Bravo for their Linguini Scampi. Excellent, again!
As it turned out, Diane got back to Ft. Lauderdale on April 27th from her quick trip home to tend to her mother. So we decided time had run out on making the Bahamas this year, and began planning and preparation to head north up the east coast....moving on to Stage 5!