Fort Lauderdale to North Palm Beach – Back on the ICW and Loving It (April 10 – April 15, 2017)

Fort Lauderdale to North Palm Beach – Back on the ICW and Loving It (April 10 – April 15, 2017)

Many boaters choose to go on the “outside”. The “outside” means traveling along the coast on the Atlantic Ocean. For us, there is nothing better than doing “the Ditch”, otherwise known as the Intracoastal Waterway, or the ICW. After a year of passages where we saw nothing but water between islands, we love the sights and scenery the ICW offers. There is always something to look at, people wave hello all along the way, and the water is calm and easy to travel. There are, however, especially in south Florida, a lot of bridges! We are too tall to pass underneath almost all of them, so we need to time our arrivals carefully. Now, for me, who gets to sit on the bow and enjoy the ride, this is no issue at all, but John must control our speed to hurry up to make an opening or slow down so we don’t arrive too early. Still, the ICW is a joy and I can never understand why anyone would not want to cruise it.

IMG_6358Just a couple of the amazing homes along the waterway in Ft. LauderdaleIMG_6360IMG_6365So much boat traffic!IMG_6366Iguanas thrive in south FloridaIMG_6370If you look really closely you will see a real iguana on the head of this alligator statue.IMG_6373On the water taxi.IMG_6375The home of Wendy, from the restaurant, Wendy’sIMG_6381The beach, which was just one block from the marina, is so different from those we have been visiting lately.IMG_6383IMG_6385IMG_6388Taking time to enjoy happy hour at Coconuts.IMG_6390This boat was docked right across from us in the marina.  It used to belong to Johnny Depp but is currently owned by JK Rowlings.

We decided to spend a couple of days in Ft. Lauderdale. We again needed some relaxation time, we needed to check back in with Customs and Immigration, we needed to re-provision, and we wanted to take a little time to see the sights. Although we called in to Immigration when we first arrived, we were told that we needed to report to the office within 24 hours. To get there we took our first Uber ride, which worked out OK. Not great, but OK. Our first driver arrived earlier than expected and left before we got to the pick up point so we were charged a cancellation fee, and our return driver took the longest way home possible, thereby doubling our fee. Both were straightened out soon afterwards, however. The following day we used another convenience new to us since we left the states: grocery delivery by Publix supermarket. What a difference that was from shopping in tiny Caribbean markets and shops. The same day as grocery shopping we decided to do a little sight seeing. The water taxis that move around the city are really mini tours and a great way to hear about all of the rich and famous people who live or lived on the waterway. We boarded one of these yellow water taxis and enjoyed the ride.

IMG_7176Leaving Ft. Lauderdale on AfterMathIMG_7177IMG_7181This statue is in honor of the owner’s father, a race car driver who died in a crashIMG_7200

Wednesday, April 12th, we traveled up the ICW, enjoying looking around at the amazing homes and boats that line the waterway. It is so difficult to believe that so many people have so much wealth! Thursday we arrived in Lake Worth and spent two nights at anchor before moving today into Old Port Cove Marina. Tomorrow I will leave for Annapolis to greet our new grandson while John will stay here until I get back. No fear, though, John will get to meet the new little guy in a couple of weeks when we drive up to Maryland again.

For now, here is where we are today.

fl

Leaving the Turks and Caicos and Arriving in Ft. Lauderdale (March 29 – April 9, 2017)

Leaving the Turks and Caicos and Arriving in Ft. Lauderdale (March 29 – April 9, 2017)

IMG_6178-EditOur friend, Scott, is writing an article about sailors who have given up sailing and bought a trawler, and we were interviewed by him.  He asked for a picture of us so I set up the tripod and here we are.

The push was on. Our goal to return to the states by April 1st was looking pretty unlikely to be met. Holding up our newest grandson’s arrival in the middle of April was not a possibility, so we were off and on our way. Of course, as always, we needed to be respectful to Mother Nature and her whims; this meant pushing a lot harder through the Bahamas than we might have otherwise, but we made a firm vow that we will cruise to  those islands again and next time we will take it slow!

IMG_7060The inlet to the West Caicos anchorage.IMG_7067Sun sets over the Turks and Caicos.

We left Southside Marina in the Turks and Caicos on March 29th and traveled to a beautiful little anchorage in West Caicos. The island is completely uninhabited except by a security guard. In the recent past, Ritz-Carlton planned a luxury resort there, but all progress on the development was halted in 2008. Although we didn’t see it, the island is a good site for diving and apparently for flamingos, turtles, and other wildlife. For us, it was a quiet and lovely place to spend a night before setting off to the Bahamas.
IMG_6199IMG_6201IMG_6205IMG_6206

We met a wonderful family of five who were living on a catamaran along the way.  Their boys loved jumping from the top of our fly bridge, which is 20 feet off the water.

IMG_6213Sunset at MayaguanaIMG_7093A painted sky sunset at Acklin Island.

IMG_7102Sunrise at Acklin IslandIMG_7111This rock is known as “Elephant Rock” and is at the entrance of Little Harbor, Acklin Island

The next night we anchored in Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana, our first Bahamas stop. The anchorage there is a bit rolly, but the water is just so beautiful that we didn’t mind as much as we might have otherwise. The following day we made our way to Little Harbor on Acklin Island, another gorgeous place to stay for the evening.  Continuing the push, we traveled to Clarence Town, Bahamas on April 1st. At this point we were beginning to get a bit exhausted from our long days with their corresponding early mornings.

When we arrived in Georgetown on the 2nd of April we knew we had to take a couple of days to get a little rest in. Not yet cleared into the Bahamas, the next morning, after sleeping a little later than 5:45 AM, we put the dinghy in and John set off for town. In every country we had visited over the past year, including the Bahamas, only the captain was allowed off the boat until checked in, so John took all the paperwork with him and went to shore to take care of the job. Of course, this time, they wanted to see me as well, so before long John was back and we were off to shore together. This all worked out well, though, as I stopped at the market to get a few things that were on my grocery list. We stayed another day so John could change the oil on AfterMath’s engines and we could take a little dinghy ride around the harbor to say goodbye to some friends we had met in the Turks and Caicos who were ready to fly back to Georgia.

IMG_6227Here they come!IMG_6228IMG_6240IMG_6241IMG_6250IMG_6257IMG_6266One of many caves on the shore of Big Major Spot

After a couple of days of projects and recuperating, we started out again on our marathon journey home. Our next move, on April 5th, was to Big Major Spot where we anchored and once again visited with the swimming pigs. Before we started our journey, this was one of the attractions I was most excited about, but when I met the pigs with food in hand a year or so ago, I found them to be pretty aggressive and generally obnoxious. This time we had read that some irresponsible tourists had given the creatures alcohol and several had died. We also thought you were no longer able to feed the pigs, so we went to shore with no food in hand. This turned out to be a good decision. They swam out to meet us but when they found that we were just offering pats instead of bread, they were much better behaved and much more agreeable to be around.

IMG_6289IMG_6292IMG_6283

One of my favorite stops on the way south was at Allen’s Cay where the beach is loaded with iguanas that come to see what you have to offer. This was my only real request of where to stop on the way north and time and direction wise, it worked out very well. This time I brought a cut up apple and some long wooden skewers to the beach and truly enjoyed feeding those prehistoric looking lizards.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0060.JPGThanks to Allen Roberts, who sent us this great picture taken from his drone at Rose Island

 

IMG_7118Another early morning departure with our new friends.IMG_7133It’s always nice to buddy boat with others, and these people were great company.IMG_7122The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Nassau

Once again, back on the rat race, the next stop was at Rose Island on April 7th, a tiny island near Nassau and Paradise Island. We loved the anchorage where the water was calm and clear, as it always is in the Bahamas and where we enjoyed the sight of the busy islands near us with their thousands of lights shining from the buildings at night.

IMG_6302Chub Cay for a short stopover.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0116.JPGAnother drone picture by Allen RobertsIMG_7139While Allen photographed AfterMath by drone, I photographed his drone.IMG_6313

IMG_6336Ft. Lauderdale!  It just seemed a world away from the Bahamas.IMG_6342IMG_6344This sandbar is actually a privately owned island.  The owner pays $2400 a year in taxes.IMG_6350IMG_6353

Then came Saturday. We planned on stopping on Chub Cay, a long enough ride from Rose Island, but John did another weather check and it became pretty apparent that if we stopped for the night we would not be able to make it back to the states for a long time. At this point I had a ticket to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Annapolis so that I could be present at the new baby’s birth, and we were going to do everything we could for me to be on that plane. It seemed the only way to make it happen was to keep on going all the way to Florida. We stopped for about 3 hours at Chub Cay to time our Ft. Lauderdale arrival well and headed out on yet another overnight.  Thankfully, the moon was shining and it was calm.  After 31 hours of driving the speed of a riding lawn mower, we pulled into Ft. Lauderdale only to find that the docks were all full due to an annual music festival called Tortuga Fest. Persistence paid off, though, as I took over the calls. I was able to find one marina where a boat had just left for the weekend. Thankfully, we could dock and get some much needed rest.

As for the plans to meet our new grandson, I will fly up on Sunday and return on Thursday, thereby allowing me to cuddle with him right from day one. John will stay on AfterMath with Kirby as we really didn’t have any idea where we would be at the time, but he will get to meet the little guy in a couple of weeks when we will go to see Jeff, Sarah and family and also take a trip to Connecticut for the memorial of a dear friend of ours.

So, we are still a little worse for wear as there always seem to be more time limits that you would think of two retired boaters, but we love our life and wouldn’t trade it for the world.