Home page

We spent a couple of delightful days in Nassau at the Nassau Harbor Club, cleaner than Nassau Yacht Haven where we stayed before.  It also had the benefit of a swimming pool, very cooling after a hot walk around town.  In the slip next to us was a sport fishing boat.  These guys knew what they were doing and had money to support their efforts.  They caught nice dolphin which they filleted and passed out to others along the pier.  They also hosted a cookout and prepared dolphin many different ways.

Pool at Nassau Harbor Club

Dolphin caught by sport fishermen

Looking at cut between Cat Cay and Gun Cay

From Nassau, we traveled to Chub Cay then to Cat Cay.  We passed through the cut between Cat Cay and Gun Cay  and anchored in front of Gun until departure time.  We left at 11:30 p.m. for Ft. Lauderdale, motoring with the mainsail up. The lights of the hotels along Miami Beach were soon visible from the Gulf Stream. We saw an incredible lightning show as we approached the mainland.  This storm caused many flights at the Miami airport to be canceled because radar went out.  Lightning was frequently horizontal or diagonal high in the clouds but sometimes jagged straight down to the water.  At one point, we were surrounded on all sides by clouds and erratic lightning.  Only the sky above us was clear with stars shinning.  Our boat's radar scans for 16 miles out and the storm did not show on the screen so they were not near.  Fortunately, the storm in front of us dissipated and the storm behind us didn't catch us.  The ocean slowly undulated but was much smoother and calmer than our previous crossing.  At night, you have to be wary of freighters and other commercial traffic.  The freighters are so huge that they cannot make quick changes in their speed or course so it's up to the sailboat to stay out of the way.  Between the lightning and traffic, it was a busy night.   We arrived at 7:30 a.m., having made much better time than we expected.  We had to circle in front of Las Olas Marina in Ft. Lauderdale and wait for staff to arrive.

After a couple of nights at Las Olas Marina, we went on foot then on bike in search of a slip.  We found one on the Isle of Venice, a 15 minute walk to the beach and ocean and a 10 minute walk in the other direction to downtown Ft. Lauderdale.  On the 4th of July, we walked to the beach in the balmy night air where we sat on the sand and watched the fireworks set off from a barge out in the ocean.  The explosion of color was beautiful, reflected in the water.  The night was balmy, the water calm. 

Isle of Venice condo and pool where we anchored in Ft. Lauderdale, owned by John Brown

Bob and I found jobs at West Marine.  He worked at the south Ft. Lauderdale store and I worked at the north Ft. Lauderdale store.  Our hours varied from week to week and we seldom had the same days off.  Some days we were like ships passing in the early morning hours and then again late at night.  The person who went in second drove the other person and bike to work.  The early person rode the bike home and the late person got the car.  This was so each person arrived at work without being soaked with perspiration.  The person who rode the bike home could jump into the tiny swimming pool and cool off.  It was quite a change to be working a job for little more than minimum wage.  The benefits were being around boat people, learning about boat products, and getting a substantial discount on what we bought for the boat.

Our home was still the boat.  We were parked in a canal with seven other boats behind a condo with a small swimming pool.  The entire street of this isle and an adjacent isle was condo after condo with boats docked behind in the canal.  The buildings were of various ages and architectures.  Ours was 50'ish and in serious need of repair.  Our criteria in choosing a slip were congenial neighbors, a permissive landlord, and cost.  There were other isles between us and the beach with multi-million dollar homes and yachts parked behind them.  That would not have been us and our boat.  We were definitely in the low rent district. 

The tide fluctuated several feet and when it was high, it was a challenge to get on and off the boat.  There was one shore bathroom for all the boat occupants so you have to factor in enough time for the shower line before going to work. We used the boat's head since the holding tank was pumped into the sewer system, not the canal.  We had access to a washer and dryer, cable TV and a telephone.  All the luxuries of home except we did not have air conditioning.  The heat index  frequently got up to 103.   We saw almost all the movies that were out.  Movie theaters have air, you know.  Despite the dorm-like conditions, it was beautiful to look out the hatch and see the tops of palm trees swaying in the breeze.  On those rare occasions we had a real dinner on the boat, usually grilled outside by Bob, we ate in the cockpit and watched the setting sun and its palette of color across the sky.

Hurricanes were always a threat.  You watched the weather channel for tropical depressions coming off the coast of Africa and followed them across the Atlantic.  At extremely high tides, the sea wall of some of the homes on the canals were almost flooded.  If a hurricane had hit, there would definitely have been some water damage.  High winds would have affected us.  Fortunately nothing hit Ft. Lauderdale that year.

We bought a 1987 VW Fox and had repairs totaling more than we paid for it.  Tags, registration, and insurance also cost more than we paid for the car.  We sold it when we left  but wheels were great for shopping and exploring the area.

We bought new toys for the boat and provisioned for departure on December 1.  The destination was Venezuela by way of all the islands between here and there, passing quickly through the Bahamas.  We bought a book, "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" outlining a route through the islands with only a few overnight passages, mostly day trips from island to island.  Departing in December, we had until June 1, 2000 to get below the 25th parallel, south of the hurricane zone , to satisfy insurance requirements.

We had the boat hauled at Playboy Marina.  Bob quit his job to spend full time on the boat.  I continued working to have the discount for as long as possible.  My job was to help some on the boat but mainly go-fer things Bob needed as he worked. 

Home page