Moved up to Ft Lauderdale this morning. Route is in protected waters of the ICW and lots of condos, hotels, and restaurants on the water. Nice Scenery. Lots of low bridges here that open either on the half hour or the 15 and 45 after. Strong currents will make you work to wait on a bridge opening. We opt for staying close to Port Everglade Channel, the outside corridor to the Atlantic (yes mam, the same one the big cruise lines use) . It looks possible for the next day or two to leave for the Bahamas.
The other option is to move up New River.It runs through downtown and Millionaire Alley. Marinas there warn that there is a 30 minute window to every slack tide where you may be able to get into one of there perpendicular slips. We park the boat at Lauderdale Marina and take the greatest bargain in town, the Water Taxi. For $13 a day, ($10 for old folks like Brad) you can travel and jump on and off at any stop. BARGAIN OF THE CENTURY! Ft Lauderdale is the Yachting Capital of the World. Awesome Mega Yachts every where you look. The taxi has a guide that does a running commentary about what is what!
Millionaire Row Mansions on both sides of the New River. One side the rich and famous and the other side the attorneys that sue and defend them.
You sit back and enjoy the sights. AND I FINALLY SAW MANATEE!!!!!
Looks like tomorrow (Thurs) is our day for crossing the pond! We will leave at daybreak and probably do an 8 hour day to check in Bahamas Customs at West End on Grand Bahamas Island. Then we will travel 2 more days getting to Marsh Harbor, our destination. We will travel with “Good News” and get a little help (push) from the South wind and the Gulf Stream. Now might be a good time to say “Thank You” to all of you that read our “blog” and drop us a line every now and then. We LOVE hearing from you all!!!! The Bahamas are cost-prohibitive when it comes to cell service & broadband. I’m not sure what the situation will be, but I will probably have to work from an internet café or business center. That means we will be updating less often. But we WILL update. So be patient with us here on the “Life is Good” Tour! We cycled over to the beach today & had lunch at the Oasis Cafe that seats its guest in gliders overlooking the beach. Will eat in tonight and go to bed early!!
Loopers say “You can’t trust Mother Nature and NOAA is a liar!” NOAA (pronounced Noah) is where we all get our marine weather forecast. Our forecasted 2’-4’ waves turned into 6’-8' waves before we got to West End. We were wishing for smaller waves or a bigger boat. We know that generally speaking, the ship can handle more than the crew can. We weren’t afraid but it wasn’t a comfortable day either with the boat tossing around so much you could not walk 2 steps without hanging on or bustin' your butt! We have a few new boat bruises. The only sure fire remedy for sea sickness is sitting directly under a big oak tree and that’s just too high a price to pay! We both did fine, but lunch options were limited because if I opened the refrigerator door, everything would have fallen out in the floor. So I grabbed a pack of crackers & a jar of peanut butter, made & ate one at a time while holding the jar between my knees so it wouldn’t roll away. Loopers on “Good News” led the way & indeed the news is good! We arrived safely in the Beautiful Bahamas in 7 hours. We are at Old Bahamas Bay Marina, West End, Grand Bahamas! Crossing well done! Welcome to the Islands, Mon!!! (And they have WIFI!)
Slap us if we complain! We are weathered in! IN THE BAHAMAS!! Not a totally bad thing even though we have 3-4 more travel days to get to where we want to stay for a month, Marsh Harbor. It was a nice day, but we could see the weather, winds, waves changing and we know we will be here for probably 4-5 days or so. Luckily, we have friends here (Loopers and other boaters we met along the way) and we know the Super Bowl Party that we will have on our aft deck will be well attended. We are at a beautiful resort with all the wonderful amenities, beach, spa, work out room, 3 restaurants, condos, water toys, bars, entertainment, Managers Cocktail parties, etc. etc. etc. From our bow, you can see John Travolta’s place on Grand Bahamas. Sadly, it was the location of the tragic death of his teenage son earlier this month.
It’s Saturday so let’s go to town! There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas!
Grand Bahamas is the 4th largest. There are 3 notable areas, West End, Freeport & Lucaya.Freeport is mostly industry and Lucaya is mostly tourism. It was about a 30 mile ride on their Public Bus System (14 person van) to get to Lucaya. We filled 2 vans with boaters and it was $16 round trip per person, and our driver, Arthur, let us decide what time we wanted him to come back and pick us up. “No worries, Mon!” It’s a beautiful day even though the wind & waves make it a bad day to travel by boat, and there is a chill in the ocean breeze that had us grabbing long sleeves. We shopped at duty free stores and had lunch at a wonderful Greek Restaurant. Bought our airtime card for the Bahamas phone (Thanks for the loan of the phone Reb & Diane)! We spent the last 2 hours in the Isle of Capri Casino where we won about $900. We traveled back to West End with the crazy bunch from the marina & Arthur wanted us to try the locally brewed beer, Sands Beer, so he brought some for us to drink on the way home. Lots of fun! Lots of nice people.
Our route to Marsh Harbour consist of a 52 mile travel day to anchor off Great Sale Cay for a night. Then a 70 mile day to Green Turtle Cay. We will have to go outside in open ocean for the next leg through Whale Cay Channel to Marsh Harbour, so that will have to be a fair weather day passage. We will be totally dependent on weather and ocean conditions for timing. There are currently 2 fronts coming our way. Mid week forecast show some gale force winds near the Abacos! We are enjoying where we are. So in the meantime, it’s Super Bowl Sunday and there are festivities starting around 5pm! What a coincidence! That’s also cocktail hour! Our friends from “Good News” & “Night Star” joined us for a Super Bowl “bring a dish” dinner on our aft-deck.
Grand Bahamas is working on becoming a major container shipping port. This will help their economy greatly. At present, West End does not have much industry except for the resort we are staying in, Old Bahama Bay Resort & Marina. Most of the locals are fisherman. If you travel the one road along the coast that leads to West End, you will find little boats anchored out and piles of conch shells on the shore. The locals dive for conch, bring in a boat load, pull the mussel out when they reach shore, throw the shells in a pile, and sell their product at makeshift stands right on the side of the road. They also catch fish, crabs and lobsters. We bought live lobster fresh from the sea for $5 each from a local. A fisherman on the boat next door gave us some Grouper filets. A seafood feast followed for the Salvage Crew & Good News. Can you imagine fresh lobster for the same price as a Big Mac Combo? The "Surf & Surf" Dinner was an Awesome meal!!!!
Weather Update! Looks like it could be Friday before the winds & waves let up enough for a pleasant passage to Abaco. But other than some days that require a sweater, it’s pretty dog gone nice here. We took public transportation into Lacaya again today and had a great time with Mary & Andy and Joe & Judy. Walked and visited shops all around town, ate at the Latin restaurant “Agave”, spent 45 minutes in the casino and won enough to pay for the whole days expenses, stopped at the produce market & the “City Market” grocery store on the way home. We came home with a van full of groceries but it took us some time in the store. We chose carefully. Prices are high because everything has to be imported. Took Judy awhile to decide NOT to buy Dove Chocolate at $10 a bag. Her daughter is coming soon and she opted for paying the additional fee for extra luggage and having her daughter bring it from the states, full of chocolate. Don’t know how she will make it until then. And Brad was full of surprises and fun today. See pictures for details.
Fronts passing through cause high winds & waves! On shore, we enjoy the work out room and other amenities of the resort! Tried our hand at fishing in the afternoon but to no avail. There is a fishing tournament here for the next few days. Not as many entries as usual because of the weather. It’s fast trolling for Wahoo! It’s a surprise to find out the Wahoo can swim 50mph! We will watch the weigh in tomorrow afternoon. We are pulling for “China Girl” from Palm Beach who are in the slip next to us. Andy & Mary joined us for dinner & I have one great salad recipe to share that Judy was kind enough to give us yesterday. It came from a recipe book from the “Columbia Restaurant” (Tampa, St Pete, Long Boat Key)
Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook
Mix & Chill Dressing:
1/8 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp worcestershire
salt & pepper
1 tsp oregano
Chop & Layer
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 c swiss cheese (julienne)
1/2 c ham (or turkey or shrimp)
1/2 c green spanich olives
2 tsp grated romano cheese
Toss together, 4 servings.