|When you stay so long in West Palm Beach, they give fireworks to celebrate your departure. Actually, the fireworks were for a private party.|
You can see a lot when you stay in one place, but at some point you realize that it may be time to move on. We planned on staying in West Palm Beach for two days, and ended up spending two months.
|Young sailors honing their skills at the Palm Beach Sailing Club. We came here for showers, laundry, and internet.|
When do you know it is time to go?
- First and foremost, when the weather says, “go soon”, it may be time to go.
- When you start to recognize all of the town “characters” on your walks to the library and grocery stores and they acknowledge you as a local not a tourist, it may be time to go.
- When you have stocked up on the most essential food items and have replenished them multiple times, it may be time to go.
- When you say, “We know West Palm Beach”, you know it must be time to go.
- When you realize all of the things you did with extreme urgency, such as the passport renewal, could have been done without expedited service, it may be time to go.
- When you realize with your “old timers status” in the anchorage that you can now suggest to new arrivals that they have anchored too close, it may be time to leave.
- When you lose your lock to your dinghy at the same dock, not once but twice, it may be time to leave.
- When you have a nickname for every boat owner in the anchorage – that ranges from the dead mans’ boat, the vultures boat, the howling dog boat, the Auzzies, the Brits, the sausage makers boat – it may be time to leave.
- When you have checked out every episode of multiple seasons of “House of Cards” and “Orphan Black” from the library, it is time to leave.
- When you find that most things work most of the time, it definitely is time to go.
We left West Palm Beach for Fort Lauderdale cruising on the outside (yes, sailing) with the intention to wait a few days for a good weather window to cross to the Bahamas. As we have learned many times, cruising is less about schedules and more about intentions.
While we were in West Palm we helped rescue a wayward sailboat that had dragged anchor while the owners were ashore. As a reward the owners offered us a couple of nights gratis at Pier 66 Marina in Fort Lauderdale. We simply had to tell them when we wanted to stay. We had access to all the luxuries including swimming pools (yes, 3 of them at the adjacent Hyatt Hotel), laundry, internet, and interesting neighbors (mostly the crew) on mega yachts. We delayed our departure during one weather window to indulge ourselves with all those amenities. We then returned to an anchorage nestled near the Las Olas Bridge in central Fort Lauderdale and near the canals with many extravagant estates (you just can’t call these homes).
|Hanging out amidst the megayachts at sunset at the Pier 66 Marina. What a nice treat.|
Sunset at our anchorage just north of the Las Olas bridge.
Fort Lauderdale is all about boats, boats and more boats. From the cruise ships, the countless mega yachts, the long distance sailors, and the weekend day cruisers, Fort Lauderdale is the center of a boating industry probably unrivalled anywhere on the east coast. So if you want boat stuff, you can probably find it here. Going ashore and leaving a dinghy is difficult in this area. Fortunately, Southport Raw Bar offers boaters a deal. You can use their dock for $10 and if you eat there, you get that taken off your bill. It was a pretty good deal. We had ready access to many stores, virtually anything you could want.
of the many yummy lunches we had at the Southport Raw Bar – an avocado burger
with bacon mayonnaise. Mmmmmm. And Tracy ate the whole thing!|
The negative side of shopping by dinghy is of course you have to carry all that stuff you are buying back to the dock. We walked a lot. We shopped the marine hardware stores (Sailorman, West Marine, Boat Owners Warehouse, and MacDonald’s hardware) several times, and stocked up on spare parts. We needed a spare alternator belt and it made us walk more than we could have imagined. Nobody carried it in stock and with ordering and returning the wrong part, and then re-ordering and picking it up from yet another store, we walked 12 miles for that damn belt! But we kept saying, “think of how difficult it may be to find it at sea!”
|Sometimes things are not in stock, and you have to walk 12 miles.|
We finally tested our water maker (de-salination unit) and made our first gallons of water just like magic! This will be a real treat in the islands. We found a nifty rod holder for the fishing rods to secure them in the cabin and keep them from being lethal projectiles during the passage. We re-stocked our food stores at the grocery stores several times. We continue to think this is our last provisioning for a while.
Quiet times at anchor. Tracy catching up on her journal.
We have again secured the dinghy to the deck and the outboard motor to the stern. We are ready, Layla is full and it is now time for us to leave THIS anchorage.
Now we just wait for that elusive weather window…
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