Ft. Lauderdale

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 24, a 43nm cruise from Lake Worth, and about 18 bridges we had to have raised. Ugh! We’ll do an outside run on this leg if the weather permits, it did not! Conditions outside were lousy, so we opted for the bridge dance over the sloppy seas. We have been alternately anchored in Sunrise Bay or in a transient slip at Coral Ridge Yacht Club, where friends Chris and Joyce aboard Celebrate are members and have a slip.

Our original intent was to stay a week or two, making use of their vehicle to provision up the big stuff in preparation for crossing to the Bahamas around the end of February. It’s been nearly a month!  During that time, I’ve been helping the girls with boat projects as well as my own. The Ft. Lauderdale area has some of the best availability of  parts and resources.  I was able to restore full function to our ailing watermaker boost pump that has been discontinued and for which parts are no longer available by having a local machine shop fabricate new acetal bearings for the impeller. The pump is now working like new, the water maker is back up to rated capacity! The bearings were just over $100, not inexpensive, but a fraction of the cost of a $750 replacement pump, not to mention the aggravation of re-piping the replacement.  Besides, all that, we always enjoy the location, with close proximity of shopping and lots of other activities. Still, we’re starting to get a little antsy for new digs!

In past years we’ve enjoyed spending time in Miami Beach, and would have made the day cruise to spend some time there,  but this year that visit has been called off. The City of Miami Beach recently passed an ordinance that prohibits landing of any vessel, embarking or disembarking passengers, or tying any vessel to public property in the City of Miami Beach. The traditional practice of cruisers tying to the seawall in Collins Canal is now verboten, and the City will remove any vessels in violation of the new ordinance, requiring payment of several hundred dollars’ worth of impound fines to recover it. Swell! They obviously don’t want cruisers visiting, so we’ll oblige! The ordinance was passed under the presumptive guise of reducing derelict liveaboards. They already have such ordinances in force.  So cruisers can still anchor there, but aren’t permitted to go ashore. This heavy-handed approach is typical of the south Florida anti-cruiser mentality. In addition, if there was any doubt, the Florida State legislature has under consideration legislation that prohibits anchoring in several locations popular with cruising boaters; included are the Miami Beach anchorages along with two in Ft. Lauderdale. This legislation is euphemistically being promoted as “recreational boating area restrictions”, but the truth is that it is the result of several monied and well-connected homeowners whose view from their multi-million-dollar patio is being sullied by the appearance of cruising vessels, so they’ve imposed upon their cronies in the legislature to prohibit anchoring in those selected areas. The public trust is being subrogated in favor of the view of a few millionaires’ view from the porch. I’m unsympathetic. As a Florida resident, I’ve written my legislators protesting this clear violation of the public trust, for whatever good it will do. My quarters’ worth of email vs. millions to lobbyists; not much of a contest. I’d encourage any fellow cruisers reading this to contact Florida legislators, or participate with the efforts of Boat/US, MTOA, SCCA or other cruising organizations mobilizing to protest and hopefully defeat this onerous bill.

So the game plan now is to look for a weather window to cross, provided one materializes. Our Florida weather has been terrible, one frontal passage after another with the cycle of a few sunny days followed by 20 kt winds, rain, more wind, and a few pleasant days sprinkled in to keep us interested! We’re discussing the possibility of abandoning plans to travel to the Bahamas altogether; reports from cruisers there indicate similar conditions. If that pattern persists, it won’t be a pleasant stay: developing! With apologies to our readers from the north who’ll have difficulty mustering any sympathy for our weather whinings!

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