Fort Lauderdale – Florida

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 11am and the weather
was much better than it was further north, but I suppose we were in the
sunshine state of Florida. When we were got close, two lads were waiting to
catch our ropes and once we were moored, we went over to help Michael moor up
too. Once all the boats were secured we went to the office to sign in and pay
for our mooring dues, find out where the showers, washers and dryers were and
sort out electric. After everything was paid for, Michael showed us where to go
to get some shopping and where the washing machine is and of course a little
tour around the area. Michael had been here a good few times before and knew
all the best places to eat, drink and told us which areas to stay away from
too. There was a lot of tramps around and they had a bad name for themselves,
but I later found out that this is not always true.  

After our guided tour had finished we went back to the boats
to wash them down, fill up with fresh drinking water and connect them to the main
power supply. After all the jobs were done we went out for a well-earned drink
in what would become our local bar. My brother and his family were on holiday
on America and they drove about 3 hours to meet me. It was nice to see him and
his family but made me a little homesick for my family. At least I could call
and text them but its never the same. It was also a bit weird being here for Christmas and not seeing my kids open their presants on Christmas Day but I suppose I knew that before I left and they wanted me to come on this trip which is really nice of them too.  At least I got to see Simon’s and Kim’s daughter Sienna opening her presants and then I was sent a little video of them opening theirs which made me feel a bit better.
The Browns were starting to become my 2nd family now, and that made me feel more relaxed and the boat was becoming my 2nd home too and if I look a bit down, then I just said to myself that I was very lucky and not very many people get a chance to do this so in other words give I gave myself a shake.
We were moored in downtown Fort Lauderdale and it was such a lovely area with the shops, bars and restaurants only a stones throw away. The people were very friendly and there was a real buzz about the area. There was lots of dog walkers, joggers, wildlife and lots of tourists going past the boat all day long so we were never bored. We also had loads of jobs to do so we were never going to get bored anyway and that was one of the main reasons we were here. There was an old man who used to turn up everyday and feed a homeless cat, grey squirrels and birds. It was cool for me as it was easy to get a picture and some close up videos as well. 

We were only going to be here for a week but in
the end, it was longer than we wanted.

We did lots of jobs during the day and in the evening, we
either went out for a walk or had something to eat but most of the time we
ended up in a bar for a few night caps.

We had new batteries installed as the others had given up and we also
have a new water maker installed. If you don’t know what a water maker is, then
it draws sea water into the boat and filters it through its system and coverts
it into drinking water. It’s a god saver when you are in the middle of nowhere and
it saves you from spending money on drinking water too.

As we picked through the jobs list, we forgot to do was put
new marks on the chain for different lengths or depths for when we going to
anchor. We got all the chain out onto the pier and then the worst thing
happened, then windlass broke and it was getting close to new year. We took it
all apart in the hope that it could be fixed but we were told by a specialist
that it was dead. So, after 2 days getting it out and looking to fix it we only
had 3 days to get a new one and get it fitted.

In the UK we would source the item we wanted and get it
posted out. We can pay extra for next day delivery or wait for 2 days but in
America things don’t seen to happen like that and with new year on its way we
thought it was going to be another good few days here. Luckily for us we meet a
kind man called Vern who let us use his account to get the windlass cheaper and
the express delivery man turned up on time which was a bonus. Now all we had to
do was to fix the new one in and wire it all up and then Bob’s your uncle and
Fanny’s your aunt.   Everything was good to go but there was no
power at all, but Vern turned up to see if we were ok and found out that the
breaker was broken. Its was getting late so he said he would come on New Year
Eve to finish it off.

Vern held up to his promise and turned up to finish of the
job on new years eve which was really kind of him and it was a big relief to us
all. We slowly connected the chain through the windlass and started to get it
back onboard.  With everything working
perfectly and the boat all tidy, we let the ropes go and said goodbye to
Michael as he would not be joining us on our next leg. It was a total pleasure
to meet him and after our final goodbyes we were off.

Once out of the river we went to get some fuel and then out
into the Atlantic to sail towards the Bahamas. We first steamed south towards
Miami which was about 50 miles away and then we turned out to the Bahamas were
the tide and wind would take us to the perfect place to anchor. It was the
first time in my life that I have spent New Years Eve on a boat and to be
honest it was lush. Seeing all the fireworks going off over Miami was amazing
and to know that in 2 days’ time we would be swimming with fish in crystal
clear waters….

NEXT TIME……. Sailing to the Bahamas 


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