After our early morning exit from Vero Beach (and the demise of my lens) we were working our way south to West Palm Beach when we got waylaid at a drawbridge by some dredging work that blocked the channel. We were stalled for almost two hours and ended up traveling the last leg of the trip in the dark. The massive houses with holiday lights along the way kept us entertained.
My Aunt Barbara and Uncle Dick live in West Palm and Aunt B was kind enough to ferry us around to do some major provisioning (yes… we really did fit all that stuff in the boat!) and to take me to get a replacement camera lens and pick up some extra stuff for our extended travels. They treated us to dinner and we had the unexpected pleasure of seeing some of my other relatives too. We saw Judy and Norman and Anita and Bob and caught up on who’s doing what these days. With my lens not working (and my relatives being camera shy) my photos of the evening really stink. Apologies to my fabulous and photogenic relatives…. we had a great time and Skip still wants to be part of the family after meeting part of the family. It was so good to see you all!
The marina at Riviera Beach (near West Pam) was full of characters – some of whom we met doing umpteen loads of laundry and coming and going with Aunt B. We spent the rest of our time there cleaning the boat and storing provisions. We also had out first manatee encounter! Awwww…. so cute!
This lucky manatee was drinking from a hose that had been left dripping at the dock; the kids on the dock were crazy excited to see it. We’d seen shadows of them in the water the day before but this was our first look at a manatee close up. It’s huge and sort of cuddly at the same time.
After a few days we said our goodbyes and headed for Fort Lauderdale. This mega-enormous cruise ship was on the way out of the channel…. with shrieking passengers whooping it up at the outset of their holiday vacation… when we were on our way in. (Captain Stubing? Gopher? Bad 80’s television anyone?) Notice how small the channel looks when it's full of cruise ship?!
I didn’t get a shot of the gargantuan ship coming right at us because at that point I was driving the boat as Skip was taking down the mainsail… but take my word for it, the sight of a ship this size aiming at you will make you pee a little.
|Met Life blimp over southern Florida|
We found a great little anchorage in Fort Lauderdale, in a spot called Lake Sylvia which is right smack dab in the middle of some really swanky homes. They only let you anchor for one night.., trying to keep a lid on the riff raff (us) and what not.
We were picking up our life raft here and had directions to the meet up spot that took us under a low bridge… a REALLY low bridge…. over to the dock. Clearance was reported to be 7 feet... but with a 4 foot tide that left a 3 foot clearance when we went through. We ducked and made it through.
As it turned out it was the wrong raft that we ended up having to switch out down the road in Coconut Grove.
There are some really big boats here with some really big toys. This guy’s toys looked impressive....
until we saw this boat and these toys.... let’s play!
We rolled out both sails on the way to Miami – the wind and weather were perfect. Our sails got a little airing out and we watched this parasailer getting a little air too.
|On the way out of the Fort Lauderdale channel|
Miami is a busy working port and the industrial side of it was a good test for my new lens. Again, the stairs give amazing perspective on these huge pieces of equipment.