A Bit of a Kick in the Teeth: March 4 2015
We are well but this boat thing definitely has a roller coaster ride for the emotions. We have been two months touching every system with maintenance, look see or repair. It has been divide and conquer all the way. For example, I have handled all the linens, towels, etc. inventory as well as food inventory and cooking. While Chris has lubed, tightened and mended every system on the boat. Oh, and I have slid into some of the Rosie the Riverter jobs such as cleaning residual grease on the stabilizers, searching out and replacing bow and stern thruster zincs, disposing of used oil... We have been at it non-stop and feel great for the knowledge and progress – the boat is now a more familiar friend. We think we are at the end of the prep and can target some playing - bought snorkel gear over the weekend and took a last ride in the old dinghy. We hope to get to the Bahamas end of this week or next. Phew...but you have heard this all before...fingers crossed it pans out this time.
The real sign we are coming out the other side is that Chris made pizza for the first time on the boat. It was delicious and he has not lost his piazzalo touch (Mar 2). All that remains is the new dinghy to be delivered.
Drat! Famous last words. We were kicked in the teeth after I returned from the supermarket with the final load of fresh veg...no dinghy until…time unknown. The dinghy folks have been a bit quiet and now they are not returning our calls at all. The credit card has been crunched and delivery was promised. Aaagghh. Weather windows closing...friends with tickets to George Town, Bahamas…old dinghy sold and gone. Chris was so angry he was scouring the decks with all the strength in his bones…might have even lost some gel coat in the process. The bright spot in the day was the ear-to-ear grin on the proud new owner of our old dinghy. He was positively tickled! We felt great about the transaction.
Well, that was yesterday and we have shaken it off. All will happen...and we are barefoot. Let’s go explore some of the non-industrial and non-commercial Ft Lauderdale. No more hardware stores or hydraulic pipefitters or marine stores or anything boat related. We rented a car for $26/day and off we went (Mar 4). John and Travis were in town so we met for lunch at 15th Street Fisheries (http://www.15streetfisheries.com/). It is a casual spot on the water with a great view of the boat activity in Ft Lauderdale…and massive tarpon swimming below the wooden patio. Travis and John leave tomorrow for a trip back to Boston after fun Florida cruising in the winter. See ya down the road, guys.
With another day to wait for the delivery of the dinghy we headed for the tourist track (Mar 5). We visited the Bonnet House in Ft Lauderdale followed by an air boat ride in the Everglades. The Bonnet House is the former home and grounds of a wealthy New England family now donated to the State of Florida. The matriarch conducted the transaction in her nineties with one stipulation…she be allowed to winter in the home until she died. She lived to be 109 and is remembered fondly by several docents. It is an eclectic house built by the owners for their own tastes and relaxation. No stuffy high society rules here. The house has interesting tid bits like massive hanging orchids lining the interior courtyard, brightly painted walls and doors, menagerie animals scattered around…charming bamboo bar/shell display room. Erin wants one of those! The only thing we missed were the monkeys…originally from a nearby bar who ran away when the bar burned down.
However, we saw plenty of critters on our next stop at Gator Park in the Everglades. We boarded an air boat and off we went. Our tour guide was quite a character and was on a first name basis with the crocs who all came out to say “hi” when he called for them (and tossed them a small snack). We saw adult and baby crocs, several birds, a water snake and marveled at the stunning panorama of the everglades…nothing but nature as far as the eye could see.
The whole time we were visiting the sights we were on pins and needles hoping the dinghy would be ready. We called in the morning at 9.04am and were promised a call back when the delivery status was known. Not able to be patient any longer we called at 4pm. The dinghy was ready and could be delivered tonight. What?! Our heads spun as we tried to calculate our next moves. All sounded good but we were in bumper-to-bumper Miami traffic. A heads-up would have been nice but that was not the way of this dinghy odyssey. We scrambled to return the rental car, get dinghy driving supplies from the boat and deliver ourselves to the designated boat ramp (no more rental car so it was Uber to the rescue). It was a stressful time with a few snippy comments between us as we sorted out the order of operations. It was a mad scramble from start to finish...including the local water police who watched us take delivery of the dinghy only to "politely" mention the need for registration, etc. Really?! The sun was setting and we had to get back up river. We accepted the advice with smiles and moved on once Johnny Law had finished his chat. Thankfully, at 8pm we were sitting and smiling in Tamarindo Café, a favorite Cuban restaurant, with margaritas toasting our new dinghy secured on the deck of the boat AND our impending departure for the Bahamas the next day at 6am.