Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Las Olas to Coconut Grove

When the holidays were over it was time to point Simple Life south toward the Florida Keys. Even though we'd planned to eventually cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas we wanted to revisit the Keys for a few weeks where we'd spent much of our youth.

The first stop after leaving Pompano was Las Olas in North Fort Lauderdale. The municipal marina offers ten moorings for hire directly off the ICW. Even though Las Olas was only eight miles from Pompano it seemed the perfect opportunity to visit Fort Lauderdale Beach. An early afternoon arrival gave us time to tie up to the mooring, dinghy to the municipal marina, and enjoy a walk along the beach and experience so far one of our best "people watching" opportunities.

We planned a long day of travel the following day from Las Olas to Dinner Key in Biscayne Bay. It wasn't only the thirty miles in distance that proved challenging, but the additional ten bridges which opened only on the scheduled hour or half hour with tempers easily turning tense between bridge tenders and us. It seemed that there was always at least one bridge tender who would see the boat coming toward the bridge, acknowledge our request for an opening and minutes later inform us that it was two minutes after the hour (even though the bridge didn't open). This caused half hour delays in our trip due to time circling around in front of the bridge waiting for the next scheduled opening! It was infuriating because there was limited maneuverability in the ICW and it wasted time and fuel.

The trip along this stretch of ICW is called the canyon for a reason. Cement sea walls line relatively narrow canals. High rise condos also line the canals. It resembles guiding a boat through New York City. Boaters in this area seem to lack the courtesy that we'd become accustomed to during the journey south. They were basically oblivious to the size of their wakes and the fact that the wakes bounced off the sea walls and seemed never ending. They waved as they sped by and expected a friendly wave in return!
We didn't wave...It definitely wasn't scenic nor was it a pleasant trip on a weekend. There was a whole lot of name calling and cursing going on aboard the Simple Life aimed at the "offenders." If Joe's back issue had been better and we were able to sail, sailing offshore would have been the preferred option.

You're probably getting the impression that everything is not always "sunshine" along the way. You're correct. It isn't always pleasant. The journey is long, at times difficult and challenging. Why then is it so wonderful?

Balmy breezes! Warm sunshine! Clear aquamarine ocean water! Dolphins! Manatees! Do you get the picture or should I continue? I can, but, I don't want everyone up north to become more depressed about their lives in the chilly northern climes.
Life here still has its challenges. We still need to cook our own meals, go ashore to do laundry, jerry can water back to the boat, grocery shop on a bike, etc. It isn't as easy as living ashore, but I must admit, it sure is more fun! Stay tuned and we'll see how life aboard progresses.

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