Greetings from Michigan! What??!! You actually read that right as I am writing this from our house in Kentwood, MI. As a surprise to our oldest daughter, Lisa, on her birthday (today!) our son-in-law, Ryan – Lisa’s husband, put together an amazing plan to have Sharon and I, and our youngest daughter, Kristi, and her boyfriend, Jordan, all fly home for her special day. So yesterday, Dec. 14, Sharon and I flew very early out of Ft. Lauderdale Airport back home for the celebration. And Kristi and Jordan flew very early out of Boston to come home. And the reunion of our family was beyond fantastic!
The six of us did dinner last night at the Jolly Pumpkin restaurant last night after catching up all afternoon. And this morning we spent more time telling stories, laughing, and just spending time together. When you are apart for almost six months there is a lot to catch up with!
The extended Ellens family will be coming over here to our house tonight both to celebrate Lisa’s birthday, and for us all to be together again. How cool is that?!
Sharon and I will be flying back to Ft. Lauderdale this coming Tuesday and it is our great hope that the boat did OK without us. J It was very strange leaving her in her slip Friday morning as she has been our home since leaving in the end of June. But the marina staff will be checking on her and we know she will be good. Unfortunately Max was not able to travel home with us so he is staying in a local kennel awaiting our return. We have never left him before at a kennel but trust he will do well. We hope he remembers us when we pick him back up!
Some of you may have wondered last week why we were stopping in Ft. Lauderdale instead of going on to Miami, and it was mainly because we could get a slip in Ft. Lauderdale to leave the boat as we couldn’t find one in Miami. We also looked for a slip for about a three week stay as we will be joining our Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave and their family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Clearwater, Fl, which is on the other side of Florida by Tampa. It is apparently the busy season for marinas in Florida, so getting a slip for a longer period of time is tough to get.
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale this past Sunday, Dec. 9. The Friday before we were anchored with the Rally group in Peck Lake, and then went to Lantana, Fl, on Saturday, Dec. 10. Because of the many bascule bridges and strong NW wind it ended up being a very tiring day. My notes are back at the boat, but we went through around 13 bascule bridges and 3 fixed bridges to reach Lantana. The tricky part of the bascule bridges is in the timing of them to be able to keep going without waiting too long. Most of them were “on signal,” which meant you would hail the bridge tender/tower as you approached and then wait for them to open it to proceed through. But there were a couple that opened on the hour and half hour, so the distance between had to be timed in order to prevent having to hover in place.
Sunday morning we pulled up our anchor early and headed to Ft. Lauderdale. After filling up with fuel we hit the bridges again. Most of the 15 bascule bridges we went through were timed, so would open on either the hour and half-hour, or on the quarter past the hour and three quarters past the hour. Maybe they are timed more for power boats that can go faster, but we found we had to really gun it to get to the next bridge on time, but we made them without having to hover much, so that is good.
The closer we got to downtown Ft. Lauderdale the larger the homes and the boats got. It was crazy to see the opulence in the homes we passed along the way. I can’t even imagine the amount of money it would take to buy one of them. And the boats we passed just got larger and larger, and it wasn’t uncommon to see 70 – 100 foot boats parked along the waterway. Wow.
We eventually cleared the Las Olas Bridge and pulled into our marina. It is a well maintained and gated marina and will be a great place to be for the next three weeks. Just to the east of the marina is the main sidewalk area of Ft. Lauderdale with the beach and ocean right there. There are restaurants and shops all over and it seems quite clean. The morning walks are amazing along this sidewalk as the air is usually warm (low 70’s), the sun is coming up and you can look out across the beach to the far reaching expanse of the ocean. Most often there are joggers, bikers, swimmers and the occasional surfers to watch enjoying the incredible beauty.
Monday and Tuesday seemed to pass in a blur of activity of cleaning, straightening and organizing. The boat needed a very thorough wash down and scrub and it was wonderful to have the time to do it. Inside the boat we were able to do some cleaning as well. Of course we haven’t been in super-hot weather down south yet, but even in the moderate temperatures with the higher humidity the mold has started to grow on the ceilings. Sharon found a great spray that will clean and prevent mold build up, so we worked on that for a bit. We are sure we are only at the beginning of mold build-up, so it will certainly be something we will have to watch!
An interesting question we have been throwing around is when to get rid of all cardboard and can labels? We hear from other bloggers that one has to do that to prevent bugs, so we wonder when we need to start? When you think about it, there is a fair amount of cardboard, such as boxes of spaghetti, crackers boxes, beer cartons, on a boat – not to mention spare parts I have that are in cardboard boxes. And other sailors remove all labels from all cans (using Sharpies to mark the contents on the top of the cans). After provisioning for the Bahamas that would be a lot of work. So we’ll see what happens with that!
Our Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave drove over from their condo in Marco Island on Wednesday to spend the afternoon with us. It was so great to see them again! They are fellow boaters, and have been a huge support to us along the way. They continually lift us up in their prayers and seem to know just when we need someone to reach out to us for encouragement and support with their texts and calls. They had recently been ay my Mom’s for Thanksgiving Day with our extended family so delivered a bag full of Christmas things from Lisa and Kristi (as they didn’t know we’d be coming home at that time). Thanks Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave for coming over!
Time to wrap this post up as it now brings us to today in Michigan.