|Ft. Lauderdale from the Atlantic|
“A shake down cruise is a nautical term in which the performance of a ship is tested”. This generally means that the crew gets familiarized with the new vessel and simulates working conditions before heading out to sea on a long journey.
We endured our shake down cruise on our new boat. It was a whopper of a trip to say the least and somewhat of a logistical nightmare. However, we did enjoy our time in sunny Florida, spent 24 hours with Craig’s mom and stepdad and learned a WHOLE lot about our soon to be home.
|Olivia and Kate|
|Maggie and Olivia|
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, picked up our car and headed straight to the New River City Docks where Anything Goes was docked. The girls and I finally got to meet the sellers, Peter and Julie, and see Anything Goes (AG) for the first time.
We decided to stay at the docks for the night because it was getting late, the drawbridge closes during rush hour and we needed to get some grub. All the talking, explaining and bending ourselves into a pretzel to see hoses and engines was exhausting after all. We met Peter and Julie for a lovely alfresco dinner along the river. We had a front row seat to the water taxis, yachts and mega yachts cruising up and down the river. Craig and I sort of felt like groupies…. hanging on their every word, asking questions like there was no tomorrow!
I must say that Florida definitely lives on a different time table than we landlubbers do (or at least this organized landlubber). Or maybe it’s a boat thing. Which ever, I kind of like it. We hadn’t planned to stay at the city dock an extra night. No problem they said. We obviously weren’t arriving at Bahia Mar Marina on time either. Again, they said no problem. I definitely like that.
The following day was filled with more boat systems and questions. Craig was going to drive AG for the first time! I could only imagine the superabundance of emotions he was experiencing. When Craig gets excited or nervous about something, he rubs his hands together with a Cheshire cat like smile. This is how I knew he was excited to be behind the wheel but also nervous as hell (forgive me, nothing else works here). He did have a great teacher however; relaxed and patient. Peter gave very calming commands so that Craig could pull off the dock without a scratch and turn AG around on a dime. This was an exciting time for all of us!
Craig’s mom and stepdad came for a quick visit. They were vacationing in Florida and timed it so we could see them. It was a bit challenging to know when and where to meet, as we didn’t have a lot of unscheduled time. We thought it would be grand to take them for a little day sail. You know, show off our stuff and get a little practice in while we’re at it. HA! Sometimes Mother Nature has a different plan in mind. I think she set out to teach us a lesson. We have always heard that winds from the north don’t mix well with the Gulf Stream that runs north up the coast. It tends to make for very big and confused seas. Though the seas didn’t seem confused, they were pretty big for us rookies. We kept at it until nearly everyone except grandpa Paul and Kate were seasick. Olivia threw up and the rest of us were feeling pretty yucky. Needless to say, we didn’t eat lunch and we headed back to the shelter of the marina. On the bright side, our shortened day at sea afforded us time to take a stroll along the beach, eat frozen yogurt and watch the outrageous kite surfers.
|Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Paul|
The next few days we spent motoring up the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) to drop the boat off in Stuart, 80 miles north. The ICW is like a river that parallels the coast and is a “safe” route to get from one point to the next, up and down nearly the entire eastern shore of US. We were not about to test Mother Nature again and sail north on the Atlantic. We anchored twice and even had time to dinghy to the beach and play in the waves on the ocean side. We arrived in Stuart unscathed and feeling a tad bit more confident. We had to pick up a rental car and clean the boat and get it ready to leave for 3 months.
|Motoring north on the ICW|
How do you take the simple task of driving 1.5 hours south to Ft. Lauderdale take 4 hours?? I’ll give you a hint: waterfront dining and forgetting something on the boat. Yep, that’s what we did. We went out of our way to find a restaurant on the water. Why? Frankly I don’t remember, but it seemed like a nice idea at the time. Maybe we were feeling nostalgic for the water. Afterwards we realized we had forgotten something on the boat. So we had to drive all the way back. Argghhhh. It made for a very long, exhausting night. Arriving late to the hotel and getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight home is not what I call fun.
All in all, the trip was a victory. We learned some valuable lessons, got a feel for the boat and know what we still need to do before we leave.
|Kate peeking out the hatch|