December 10, 2013
We decided that we would leave Fort Lauderdale at the 10:00 opening of the 17th Street Bridge. Mark and I had to fuel up, so we got to the bridge at the 9:30 opening. We fueled up and exited the marina before the others made the 10:00 opening. Silver Lining was able to follow us as their mast is less than the 55 foot bridge opening so they could transit without having to wait for it to open. We had hoped the seas would be calm, but they weren't so we just motored into them. We did not put our sail up as we were only going about 25 miles. We arrived to the anchorage at 3:30 and then had happy hour at Last Flight Out to discuss the day and wind down.
December 11, 2013
Last night as Mark and I were watching TV and it decided to quit. We got the white screen of death. We could still hear the dialog clearly but no picture. I consulted the WEB and found out the TV was history. Good thing we were in a large city with a Best Buy, so we were able to purchase a new one.
Today we explored Miami Beach. We had quite a long dinghy ride up a canal to the very small dinghy dock available across from the Publix (grocery store). We went to Lincoln Road Mall. It is a road they closed off to traffic that is now an open air mall with lots of eateries and shops. Arne needed to go to Radio Shack for an antenna for his SSB radio. Then we went to lunch at a Cuban Restaurant just off Lincoln Road Mall. After lunch, we walked the 12 blocks to Best Buy. Karl, Elaine, Linda, and Paul tuckered out at 8th Street so Bev, Arne, Mark, and I continued on. We made our TV purchase and this time bought an extended warranty so if the same problem happens we can get it replaced. We decided with the awkward TV box that we would catch a bus back to the area where we left the dinghy. We consulted a bus driver who was nice enough to show us where to catch the bus for 25 cents. It was worth it! We stopped at Publix and bought some ice cream. We got in our dinghies and left the canal then tied up to an apartment complex wall in the shade and enjoyed our ice cream and then headed back to the boat.
December 12, 2013
This morning we went to Scandia for coffee and to listen to the weather on our SSB radio and to see if we could help Bev and Arne with their new radio as it is similar to ours. We could not get their SSB to work so they decided to go back to Radio Shack to return it. They decided to purchase one like Silver Lining has and ship it overnight to their friend's Miami address. These SSB radios have been trial and error. We have all finally gotten ours to work.
Mark and I took the 25 cent bus to Ocean Blvd. on Miami Beach to watch the people and to have lunch. We had a wonderful lunch at the Kitchen. Then we finished walking down Ocean Blvd. back to Lincoln Road Mall. Then we went to the Fresh Market and Publix again then back to our dinghy. Just as we were leaving the dock we ran into Lorraine and Phil from Changes. A couple we met in Vero Beach. They had just arrived in Miami and were awaiting the weather window for crossing. The weather has been sunny and warm, nice for doing the tourist thing. However the seas and winds have not calmed down so that's not great for leaving for the Bahamas. The winds this afternoon were gusting to 21.
December 13, 2013
Today we didn't do much except to go back down to Ocean Blvd. for lunch with Bev and Arne to the same restaurant we went to yesterday, The Kitchen. Excellent food and there menu is 50% off at lunch time. Karl & Elaine stopped by at the restaurant but didn't eat with us as the menu offered no gluten free items that Elaine could eat.
December 14, 2013
We were up to listen to Chris Parker's weather this morning. The winds for sailing are good but the seas are supposed to be six feet. We have decided not to cross because the seas would be too rough. So we will wait on the next window. Things are not looking good. Last Flight Out has decided they will go ahead and go since they are picking up guests in Nassau on December 21. They will be going with three other boats in our anchorage that are from Pennsylvania. The other boats are Blue Heaven, Serenity, and Sequence. They will be moving to Hurricane Harbor to leave in the morning. We relaxed most of the day spending time on Scandia in the morning and then Lorraine and Phil from Changes came to our boat to visit as did Scandia and Silver Lining. We decided to meet at Silver Lining later for happy hour. After dinner we went Changes to visit and we watched the Christmas Boat Parade and then we caught the fireworks from our boat. It was a festive evening.
December 15, 2013
Mark was up looking at the weather information this morning and thought we should leave with Changes. Then Last Flight Out called at 7:15 and said they were at marker 3 and the seas were relatively calm with only 2-3 foot seas. We decided to leave so we called Scandia and Silver Lining to tell them of our plans and give them the report from Last Flight Out. They ultimately decided to leave too. We pulled anchors and had to go around Government Cut because of the number of cruise ships in port to reach Miami Yacht Club where we fueled up, watered up, disposed of our trash and were on our way. We left at about 9:00 am. A very rushed unplanned departure. None of us had prepared food for the 24 hour run to Nassau. None of us had called any relatives to let them know we were leaving either. I made calls after we got out on the Atlantic. The seas ended up being 4-5 feet but they were about 9 seconds apart which was not as bad as the seas coming from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. The bad thing was that Scandia and Silver Lining could not use their auto pilots. They had to steer which made for a very long tiring day. The seas finally calmed down when reached the Bahama Banks. The moon was out and the night turned out to be beautiful. There was a mass exodus of boats living the US for the Bahamas. We didn't see that many during the day, but at night we could see all of the lights of all of the boats going to the Bahamas.
December 16, 2013
We arrived in Nassau, Bahamas at about 10:00 am. Scandia had made reservations for us at the Nassau Harbor Yacht Club. You must stay at a marina to clear customs and immigration. We opted to stay a couple more nights at the marina next door, as it is less expensive, to be able to make some minor repairs (alternator bolt sheared off, frig issues, radio issue) and help Silver Lining make a major repair to their back railing that came loose while in the rough part (gulf stream) of our trip. Last Flight Out will stay until they pick up their guests here on December 21. Scandia left for Shroud Cay as there was only room for three boats at this marina. We will meet up with them at Staniel Cay for Christmas. We were in bed by 7:30 pm as we were dead tired from the long trip over.
December 17, 2103
We were up at 6:30 am. Eleven hours of sleep was wonderful after the crossover. We were moving to a different marina today and Bev and Arne were leaving since we could not negotiate a deal with the Yacht Club. The manager didn't come in until 9:30-10:00 (island time) and since the winds were supposed to pick up Bev and Arne left and we all moved our boats next door. Elaine, Linda, and I decided to go to the Straw Market after lunch while the guys worked on Silver Lining. They had to purchase parts for the repairs. The ladies caught the bus for $1.25 and got a tour of the island before we reached the market. It is the area where the cruise ships dock. We shopped all afternoon and walked back to the boat through the old town area that is mostly shut down, then by Potter's Cay, where the boats come in with their fresh catch of the day and with conch. It is also the produce market.
December 18, 2013
Today they guys were taking the day off from working since all of them had worked on Silver Lining and/or their own boats. We decided at breakfast we would go to Paradise Island for lunch and go to the straw market there. We left about 11:00. We looked around at Potter's Cay since the guys didn't get too and then went to Anthony's for lunch. Mark and I shared a grilled grouper sandwich and fried calamari. The sandwich wasn't great, but the calamari was. Then we went to Atlantis. It is a beautiful casino resort owned by a rich South African and a Canadian. It is beautiful. The cruise ships offer excursions to the beach there and to the wildlife aquarium and whatever else they have. We didn't tour the grounds as it cost $40.00/pp and we weren't that interested. Then to the straw market which wasn't much either. Paradise Island sure has changed since we were here 31 years ago. The hotel we stayed in has changed hands two to three times per a lady at the straw market.
December 19 and 20, 2013
We did tourist things these two days. We went shopping again downtown both days, which is where the ships come in. There are at least 5 ships every day we have been here. The most we have seen was 8. We went to a rum distillery, and two forts. We went by the famous Junkanoo Beach, we had lunch at Awawark Cay. We found a place where all the locals eat. It was wonderful. We shared a grilled grouper-pork chop platter with spicey macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and of course fried plantains. We have walked everywhere and the walks are quite lengthy. We are getting in shape from all the exercise. We were invited to Sloop John Dee for happy hour. We have traveled with this boat since Georgia. It was nice to meet them and get to know them better. We met their friends on Dream Catcher. Nice couples. Tomorrow, we plan on finally leaving since the wind has calmed some.