Eight action-packed days have passed since our arrival in Fort Lauderdale. This is by far the longest stay in any one location of our journey thusfar. It is both a productive and enjoyable visit, due largely to the hospitality extended to us by Joyce, Brian, Stephani and Robin. Time has evaporated since our arrival here last Thursday afternoon.
Perhaps most noticeable is the fact that the weather has been perfect…a mixture of clouds and sun with daily high temperatures in the upper 70s and lows in the lower 70s. A constant ocean breeze keeps the palm trees swaying and the cabin well ventilated. Sunny skies are the rule here, not the exception…a definite morale booster in winter.
Sunday begins at First Pres where the seats are comfortable, the choir is powerful and the message is inspiring. Following the service, we stroll past the shops on Las Olas Boulevard and pause for coffee and pastries at the Italian bakery. Later in the afternoon, we meet Joyce and Brian at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club where a fundraiser is underway for the local opera society. We are seated in the wings, eavesdropping on the band without actively participating in the event. After all, we are dressed in shorts while the opera society patrons are attired in evening wear.
On Monday, we visit the largest West Marine in the world, a vertiable supermarket of marine supplies. Our visit takes longer than anticipated and there is no time for lunch before our early afternoon appointment with officials at the local U.S. Customs and Border Control office at Port Everglades. Here we finalize our local boater option registration. This registration permits us to clear U.S. Customs upon our return to the U.S. from the Bahamas by a simple telephone call rather than reporting in person to the local Homeland Security office. This appointment also takes longer than anticipated. It is now mid-afternoon and we are starved. A panini lunch at a sidewalk cafe on Las Olas Boulevard is the perfect cure. Later this evening, we dine with trawler friends Laura and Bill at an eatery on the Riverwalk, near Kindred Spirit’s dock space alongside the New River. We first met Laura and Bill in St. Marys City, GA where we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner together.
Tuesday is a dawn-to-dusk work day. The morning begins by delivering our damaged dinghy to the inflatable repair shop in the suburbs. Then it is on to Costco and Publix for provisioning. While Pat attends to the laundry, I shuttle the provisions to Cutter Loose in our newly patched dinghy.
Wednesday begins with additional provisioning followed by lunch with Stephani and Robin. In the afternoon, we relax by the pool at Stephani and Robin’s lovely home in the western suburb of Cooper City, returning to Cutter Loose at dusk.
Thursday is our final day in Fort Lauderdale. The day begins with a bike ride to the now familiar Las Olas Boulevard for coffee and pastry, then on to Publix on Andrews Avenue for final provisioning. In the early afternoon, we board Captain Brian’s Reef Rocket shuttle and blast off for John Lloyd State Park where we enjoy an outdoor lunch at a beachside restaurant. After lunch, we bid farewell to Joyce and Brian and agree to meet again at their home in Tavernier on the southern edge of Key Largo.
We wish to thank Joyce, Brian, Stephani and Robin for the generous hospitality extended to us during our stay in Fort Lauderdale. We will miss their company. But we also know that Cutter Loose will call once again in this fabulous port, probably sooner rather than later.