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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ft. Lauderdale aka Las Olas Marina

Laura and Bill from Monkey Girl completed their loop at Ft. Lauderdale, where they live. We spent time at their lovely home and visited Monkey Girl in her new home aka boat slip! It feels strange to visit Monkey Girl behind a condo development with little sign of life. She now cruises, maybe one day a week. What a change from her earlier life of cruising daily. But living at home is a pleasure for Laura and Bill in their lovely home.

Jim helped Bill install some hurricane shutters over two windows. Bill also replaced a garage door that had to meet the "hurricane proof" requirements. If these tasks were not completed, Bill and Laura's insurance would increase $2000 per year. Guess the insurance companies are getting more serious about preventing losses!

We rode our bikes often - sometimes to Laura and Bill's home which is 2.3 miles from Los Alos Marina. We have ridden in neighborhoods and along the beach. The beach in Ft. Lauderdale is incredible.

Jim remembers the Elbo room like it was yesterday, but as we know it is not! He was 20 years old and the people were all HIS age! Not now! Still bustling, but we have changed. The bar has not. The beach has not! What!!!

The Jungle Queen is a large cruising boat that follows the New River for many miles. Laura and Bill Peters have been wanting to cruise on the Jungle Queen for 9 years! Now is the time! We love the twists and turns and were glad we were not onboard Crawdad. Pete and Anna, from Blue Yonder, cruised up the river for a slip when they were in town. Not nice with all that traffic, narrow river and bridges that need to be raised for Crawdad. We did enjoy seeing the Science Center, Art Museum and Syphony. Ft Lauderdale and Las Alos are very impressive. We especially enjoyed the Publix Store with the parking garage downtown.

We ran into a really nice couple from Ottawa, Ron and Donna with their sweet dog, Winnie, who we had originally met in Ft. Myers. Ron is especially helpful with boating projects and a real pleasure. He helped as we left the Marina. Ron and Donna are on their way to the Bahamas for a month. They had been waiting over a week to leave for the Bahamas, but the weather has not been condusive. Crossing the Gulf Stream is a serious endeavor. As the Gulf Stream flows north, the wind cannot be out of the north, NW or NE. Also, the winds should be variable or calm. If there is a north wind, the waves are incredibly dangerous. Leaving the Bahamas to return to the US has the same issue. The right weather window can take many days or even weeks to appear. This makes timing difficult when going to the Bahamas.

The Los Olas Marina (Ft. Lauderdale Municipal Marina) is friendly and accommodating. A Guy Harvey painting is on the face of the drawbridge immediately above Los Olas Marina. Guy Harvey is famous for his paintings of game fish, especially Sailfish. Included are a few shots of the mooring field and our mooring ball.

We planned to stay 3 days, but stayed an entire week! One reason we stayed longer was our dear friends Laura and Bill. We have such a great time with them it was hard to leave, knowing we won't see them for some time as their Loop is complete.

Secondly, we had a wonderful visit with fellow sailors of 30 years, Ray and Winnie Adams. My summer sailboat racing was cut short, since we left for our first leg in late July. The timing in Ft Lauderdale was fortuitous as we met up for a day with Ray and Winnie, on their way to a cruise in the Caribbean. They bounced around in our dinghy (Crawdaddy) with us heading to our mooring ball and visited with us on Crawdad. Sorry about the wet pants Ray! Pretty windy out there with lots of waves!

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