Ok so much to tell about finally crossing the Gulf Stream from Bimini to Fort Lauderdale.
Saturday February 25. Enjoyed a pretty leisurely crossing…. The wind even lightened so much that we ended up motor sailing for about 20 nautical miles. All we saw out there was a few big cargo ships, and some flying fish nearer to the Florida coast.
We were able to sail the last 5 miles and flew into Port Everglades at 9 knots under main and jib. Just missed helping at a Mayday call outside the harbour by a couple of minutes. A guy radioed that his boat was sinking! 3 people werevon board and they ended up in the water but the PD boat got to them quickly and the TowBoat US vessel was there quickly too.
We also dodged 6 cruise ships which all left port one after the other, some heading east, some heading south.
As we entered the channel into Port Everglades, we passed by the webcam above one of the hotels and Mom and brother Ed watched us head in and take the sails down. We made it!!!
Now what? We motored to a dock at a nearby state Park but we couldn’t stay as it was day use only. (Dr. Von D Eula Johnson Park, bug screens on immediately as the sun was going down, noseums are insane here). We turned and went north up the ICW to go under our first bridge. All kinds of questions: what is the vertical clearance of that bridge? Why won’t Customs answer the phone? Why isn’t my US Cell working? Dammit. Where can we tie up for the night? Is there any rum left? Important questions these…
So I checked our Navionics program. The bridge clearance was supposed to be 55′ and after some quick math, we passed safely under it with lots of room to spare. No need to wait for an opening.
We hung a right at the first Mega Yacht we came to into the Hyatt Regency Spa 66 Marina. Yeah, this looks like a place for us! We tried to call ahead but at 6:30, there was nobody there so someone at the hotel suggested we tie up and deal with it in the morning. Cool.
We motored along docks overflowing with 150′ multimillion dollar motor yachts. One, which we saw later, had a full-sized grand piano…with the lid up. Hmm. Yup, we belong here because we also have a lid that lifts up….in the head.
We tied up between two massive cruising catamarans. We were happily helped by the young paid crew from the cat ahead of us who took our dock lines. Then they kindly pushed a button and raised their dinghy (18’tender) on its platform to give us a little more room. How nice.
Whew! We were secure. No answer at all from Customs. So we decided to take down our Q flag (the yellow flag which we have to fly before we are checked in to a new country) and go get dinner. Screw it. We’re Canadians! What could possibly go wrong?
We walked about half an hour to a restaurant near the beach. It was packed but we found an outside table. We started with conch fritters since we were suffering from fritter withdrawal (Gino’s in Rock Sound were better. Lighter batter) Paul enjoyed some chicken (which he hadn’t previously stepped on or wasn’t questionable since it had been thawed for two weeks) Jim had ribs and Carleen had grouper. Yum!
Then we stumbled to the nearby shoreline drive where it was bar upon bar for half a mile. The guys spotted a self-serve ice cream place. You pay by the pound and all of the bowls were huge…like a quart. It was delicious once they smothered the soft scoops with fixins like chocolate sprinkles, Reece’s pieces and maraschino cherries, etc
We watched a kind of flamenco performance at one bar. A guy played 12 string guitar and sang. A girl danced. It was magical. A happening place down there on the beach.
It was a long walk back to the Hyatt Regency but it was worth it. What a great crossing and what a nice night out to celebrate this leg of our journey.