Friday, 26 February 2016

Marathon to Fort Lauderdale

We left Marathon on Tuesday Feb 16th and head toward Fort Lauderdale.  We checked the weather the night before and all looked good for the three day and 125 mile trip.  We were up at first light.  We unhooked from the ball and stopped for fuel just before we head out to the ocean.  As we were filling an attendant came up to us and asked us where we were headed.  We told him we were headed toward Miami.  His reply was "Oh so you will run in to that front."  Ugh?  What front?  We didn't check the weather that morning because we didn't think it would have changed that quickly.  Lesson learned.  We checked the weather again and the front seemed to be over Miami which was approximately 100 miles away.  We figured we would get to our first anchorage around 3:30 and the front would not be near us, so we decided we would go.  As it turns out Miami was hit hard with tornadoes touching down.  About an hour in to our trip we heard some chatter on the radio that the area we were in was supposed to get a short but severe thunderstorm in about 45 minutes.  We checked the weather again....and yes it does change quickly.  We could see the storm approaching on the radar, yes we were gonna get it.  There was no avoiding it.
We tucked in behind an island and sought shelter, waiting for it to pass.  We watched as the clouds and the rain approached.  It was actually quite beautiful.

Two hours later the skies started to clear so we pulled our anchor and carried on.  After the short storm, it was a beautiful day.  Seas were flat calm. 

We came upon a whole pod of dolphins.  The ocean here is very shallow, under 6 feet even in the channel. 

We passed this sail boat that had run aground.  It appeared that it had been there for some time because the birds had made it their home.
The anchorage where we had intended to stay was just a little far since we lost 2 hours waiting out the storm.  We chose an alternate anchorage which was like a little piece of paradise.  Winds were supposed to blow 15 - 20 mph during the night so we had to make sure we found an anchorage that would shelter us from the wind.  This was perfect with little pieces of beach to take Dexter to shore.  The depth where we anchored was just 3.8 feet so this was as close as we could get to the island but it worked well for Dexter. 

The sunset here was beautiful.
We were up early again the next morning....50 miles to Miami!  We had a dolphin playing in our wake almost immediately.  We never get tired of watching these amazing animals. 
We were still about 15 miles away seeing Miami in the distance.
The boats here are amazing.  We heard a captain hail one of the draw bridges for an opening.  The bridge master called back asking how high was his boat.  The captain responded he was 26 feet.  The bridge master said he would fit under and she didn't need to open it for him.  His response....."This is a 5 million dollar boat, I will get closer and have a look."  There are many bridges in this area that require openings for boats to pass.  There is a fine of as much as $5,000 for causing a bridge to open unnecessarily.

This boat passed just as we were approaching Miami.  You can see by the size of the people, on the back deck, compared to the size of the boat just how big it is.
We found a very small anchorage but it was very popular.  It was just before Miami and very well sheltered.  We loved this spot.  It was very small but it had a restaurant at one end and it was very easy to take Dexter to shore.  We liked it so much that we decided we would stay two days......until we received a phone call from the watermaker people.  They were going to deliver our watermaker to us on Friday and call us Friday morning to let us know what time.

 We left the next morning heading to Fort Lauderdale.  The anchorage we stayed in was just before Miami so we approached Miami after leaving the anchorage.
 This helicopter was circling our boat.  Not sure who he was but at one point I thought he was going to land on the boat.  Just out for a ride.....I guess?
The canals through Miami were amazing.  The boats were huge with huge office buildings in the background. 

This boat looks like a tour boat that takes you to Bimini, in the Bahamas and back.  Similar to the Key West Jet.
This is a shot of the Miami port were the cruise ships depart.  They must all be at sea.  The boats all through the Miami harbour were huge.
I googled "image of Usher's boat" and I'm pretty sure this is Usher's boat.
There are speed limits and minimal wake zones in the canal.  Some boats pay no regard to the speed limits.  Guess they can afford the fines....if they can catch them.  These boats were flying and sounded like jet planes as they passed.

We are passing through Hollywood Florida now.  The canal is on one side and Hollywood beach on the other. The homes were beautiful and some resorts were even along the canal. 

Approaching the port of Fort Lauderdale, although it's actually called Port Everglades.  We passed the dock for the cruise ships that depart out of Fort Lauderdale.  There was one ship there.

 The yachts are getting even bigger
We had reservations at the City Marina in the New River, Fort Lauderdale.  The river had homes worth millions if not billions  This home, 20,000 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms.

 Another home along the river.
This shot shows just how narrow the river is....

When we were settled in our slip we sat on the back deck and watched the expensive boats go by.......and then.......

Wow!!!   I said to Steve...too bad they spent all their money on the boat, now they can't afford fuel......and then......

There was a tour boat that went past a couple of times daily.  It was always packed.
This boat is parked in front of us.  Steve talked to one of the crew.  He is an engineer and works full time on this boat along with 2 others that are also full time.  When they travel there are 2 more hired crew that join them on this yacht.  He told Steve the reason these boats are under tow is it is very expensive to get insurance to drive a boat that size on the river.  It is cheaper to pay $1000 for the tow. 
Back to the watermaker.  Beards Marine, the company that are servicing the watermaker are just minutes from us in Fort Lauderdale.  We had two technicians come and install the new part that should have us up and running. To date we have had one of the switches replaced, the main part which is the ETD and the circuit board.  The technicians were installing the new ETD and now they think we need a new pump because we aren't getting enough pressure to make more than 1/2 a gallon an hour.  A new pump is ordered but the technicians are very busy.  Steve has to install it or we wait.  Steve had tech help just a phone call away but he's getting to know these things inside and out.  Two days later the new pump arrives and we have water!!  Problem....we have too much water.  Now it's making 20 gallons an hour.  Steve called California and they sent us the wrong pump.  They said if we left in place it would likely blow the filters.  We wait another two days for a new pump. New pump arrives........ ...installed and it's working!!    We have more grouchy showers!!  Can't say enough about the people and the service we received.  They always answered their phones and even called to see how we were making out, delivered parts we needed and picked up parts we didn't .....even though we are probably one of their smaller boats.
The next few days are going to be very windy so we decided to stay put.  We love this area.  Every day is like a parade of a boat show. 

We dropped the dinghy and took a ride up the river.  Saw these little critters at the rivers edge.

 More big boats and beautiful homes. 

This is what it looks like underneath I 95
We drove through a Marina at the end of the river where all of these big boats are headed as they travel up river.

 This is what one of these boats look like under shrink wrap.
There are thousands of boats in this area.  There are many smaller canals off of the river with many boats moored.
We took a walk up to the bridge where we could get a good view of our boat and the other monster boats.  If you look closely you can see the tiny little Bayliner behind the yachts.  The boat with the blue haul right in front of our boat is a boat for charter.  Yes you can charter this boat for one week.  It sleeps 4 couples.  The boat is named True North out of Boca Rotan.  If you are interested you can google the name for inside pictures.  Oh....and if you would like to charter her....$45,000 a week plus expenses which probably includes a salary for your crew.

True North for charter
"Champagne Cher" was moored 3 boats in front of us.  Before it was sold to it's previous owners, John and Cher McIlmoyle, it was owned by Tiger Woods.
There was a museum very close to our boat.  Auto Nation Museum of Discovery and Science.
  It has an Imax Theatre and over 200 interactive exhibits.  I thought it would be fun so we walked over to check it out.  We had so much fun.  This place had short 3D films.  You would watch them in a buggy type seat that moved.  One film was a rollercoaster, and it felt like a roller coaster.  I think I even screamed.  Another was a space shuttle and an airboat ride.  We laughed very hard. 

There were also exhibits with marine wildlife.

Steve loved the flight simulators.
We have been making multiple trips to grocery store, daily.  Stocking up the boat with food, beer, wine, everything that is very expensive in the Bahamas.  We even bought powered milk.  Not sure how that will go over.  We have one more grocery run then we head just a little further North and wait for a good day to cross 50 miles to the west end of the Grand Bahama Island...."One Bay at a Time."