A week after arriving in Vero Beach, and having a great time there, we are now anchored in Lake Sylvia in Ft. Lauderdale. What a whirlwind! But in a good way! We had a wonderful time in Vero Beach and suddenly it was time to move on again. One of the highlights of Vero Beach was that Max was able to go and run to his delight in the next-door Dog Park. He loved it! At one point he was almost ganged up on by a group of other dogs, but he got out of it and took off like a shot! It was fun to see him run and enjoy himself!
Sharon was particularly busy at Vero Beach and was able to finish provisioning for the Bahamas and did laundry. That’s always a big task! We also changed the engine oil, changed the fuel filter on the outboard and even replaced the zinc anode on the outboard. Good to have the boat set and ready to go!
At Vero Beach City Marina the mooring balls can hold up to three boats and we ended up being rafted up, or tied up to, another Beneteau 411 boat like ours by the name of Cardea. Gary and Sue on Cardea were also again returning to the Bahamas and it was good to connect with them again as we had run across them a number of times last year. And it was interesting to swap stories about our same boats.
But on Tuesday morning we threw off the lines holding us to Cardea and headed to Ft. Lauderdale. Four miles into the trip we were excited to reach our 7,500th mile marker since leaving Muskegon, MI, in June of last year! Compared to when we thought a trip to Pentwater was a big trip, this was a huge milestone for us!
It is always interesting to watch the waterway change the farther south you head down Florida. The population becomes a lot more dense and the homes along the ICW seem to get more and more grand and opulent the closer you get to Ft. Lauderdale. As we were traveling during the week we didn’t see many other boats, which was nice so the waves were much less, and we were able to make good time. It was also good to keep going south as in Vero Beach and prior to there it was still quite cold!. Even on Sunday it only got up to the low 60’s, and with the wind it seemed quite chilly and damp even during the day. We realize it is still a lot better than in Michigan, but on a boat there are few places to go to get warm.
Tuesday night we anchored in a beautiful area called Peck Lake, which is just off the ICW. It is a large area but there were only a few boats there, so we got our pick of where we wanted to anchor. We left the next morning and instead of anchoring by Lantana we found a great little cove called Pelican Harbor that ended up being a great spot. We were surrounded by nice homes and we had the whole cove to ourselves. It was particularly nice to not have to fight to find an anchoring spot as we had gone through 17 bascule/drawbridges and that always tires us out. Most of the day we had the current with us, which is nice in making good time, but it makes it a lot harder when you have to try and “stay in place” for the bridges to open. Often we would end up making small circles to time it right to get through the bridge.
Today we left Pelican Harbor at 9:00 am and arrived here in Lake Sylvia at 1:30 pm. We had to go through 10 bridges, and even though we had to only go 20 miles it was slow going because of having to wait for bridges. Thankfully it is still warming up nicely to the mid-70’s and was mostly sunny yesterday and today.
We continue to be amazed at the homes along the ICW. For the most part, they are huge! One For Sale sign boasted that the property was reduced in price to now being only $4,595,000! And the boats alongside most of the homes are huge too. But even though the opulence is crazy they are fun to look at.
We have an appointment to get Max’s last vet check-up before entering the Bahamas tomorrow afternoon and it looks like we may actually leave early Saturday morning to make the crossing to the Bahamas. Our initial plan was to get to Miami and then cross over to Bimini, the thought being to get as far south as possible and let the Gulf Stream push you a bit north. But in working with Chris Parker, our weather router, it looks like Saturday through Monday are looking good to cross so we will basically go from here, instead of Miami, and then head south once we are through the Gulf Stream. We may even skip Bimini, stay north, and head across the Great Bahama Bank right away and check into the country either in Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Island chain, or at Morgan’s Bluff on North Andros. Kind of depends on how the weather is doing and how we are feeling.
Most of the winds look like they will be SE and not as heavy for the crossing, so that would be great. The Great Bahama Bank is almost a 100 mile trek so we want to be able to cross that without encountering any major winds or storms. If we check into the Bahamas in Great Harbour Cay we may spend some time checking out that area as we have not been there before. We will then head south and work our way down the Exuma chain to Georgetown. That might actually take a month or so depending on how the weather is and how we are doing.
Our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will certainly be different this year as we will not be with family. We continue to talk with our kids on a regular basis but it is nothing like being with them and the rest of our family. We will be using a different communication tool this year called My Island WiFi and is basically a router we can log into for internet access so it will be good on holidays to be able to talk with and see family.
We also have learned in the past couple of weeks that the coldness and dampness in the weather has really affected us on the boat. Now as it is getting warmer and we can spend more time in the cockpit in the evenings it is so much nicer. We are definitely looking forward to being back in the Bahamas and seeing even more things than we saw last year.