We could not have asked for a better place to spend the holidays. Fort Lauderdale has been great in so many ways – the weather has been near perfect for 2 weeks, short of the LO that came through two days ago; as we write this, the north is getting dumped with snow, and the Arctic HI has now made its way down to South Florida. For us, this translated to rain and wind from the Northeast followed by a quick switch to sun and cold with winds from the West. Definitely nothing to complain about, compared to the rest of the East coast, but 40 degrees with 20 knots of wind is a little chilly for us!
One of the benefits of being a member of a recognized yacht club, like KYC, is club reciprocity… this has allowed us to make our home at the Lauderdale Yacht Club for the past few weeks. It is a great club with a pool, bar, restaurant, and is close to Publix, the laundromat, West Marine, and the beach. It’s also the lowest price dockage in the area – which helps with this ‘extended stay.’
Girls enjoying the pool at the club
A pre-Christmas visit from our dear friends the Poling’s, from Nashville, got us off the boat to spend time with them at their resort, and do a little down town city tour. A long weekend with them provided us with a much needed break from the boat life and a rest from the speed at which we had been traveling, in order to out-run the cold northeast weather, constantly nipping at our heels. We shared many laughs and we all were sad to see them leave.
Tali with Aunt Charchar in front of the Christmas tree
The kids relaxing in the pool
Christmas week also brought another visit from our good friend, Rich, from NJ. He and his parents drove down from their home town of Orlando for an overnight, which allowed us the chance to spend more time at a resort and catch up together.
Cockpit selfie with the Paulsen’s…..we are getting good at these!
So what is Christmas like when you live on a boat? It’s flexible… First step – church for Christmas Eve – we found a beautiful Church with an early mass and a priest that Chris even liked (for those that don’t know – just like the angel vs star on the Christmas tree, Catholic mass vs. Lutheran service always generates a lively discussion at home). We ‘splurged’ on a nice farm to table dinner and then came home.
The normal activities took place after we got back, the last Advent calendar door was opened and read, cookies and egg nog were set out for Santa, and the carrots were left for the reindeer. A special added touch that night….a 2AM wake up call from Savy saying she was going to throw-up… Yes, the stomach bug can even find you on a boat. But Santa persisted, none-the-less, and Christmas morning on our floating home was a special event.
Santa found us!
After the presents were opened, Becky cooked a a great breakfast, and we were happily joined by some cruising buddies we met on our way south (be sure to check out their blog at http://www.svliberator.com). We sat on the dock together in the sun (to avoid the stomach bug that invaded our boat) , had bacon and eggs, toasted Merry Christmas with some Mimosa’s and then headed to the club pool. The Yacht Club was ‘closed’ for Christmas, so we had the entire facility to ourselves-the whole pool and deck to ourselves! So after swimming and relaxing, it was time to borrow some tables and chairs from the club and set up our Christmas dinner table on the dock right next to the boat. Some friends of our cruising buddies came, and some of their friends joined us too. Between the two boat galleys, a multi-course Christmas feast was prepared for 12 people, including salad, pasta, and Becky’s prime rib. If you can make a prime rib (cooked to perfection, of course) in a propane stove in a boat galley, you can do anything – the standards have definitely been raised! The night ended with part two of the stomach bug for Chris.
We packed the Christmas crackers from home and shared Becky’s family tradition with our friends, who had never heard of them before
The plan was to leave on the 26th for our friend’s dock in Key Largo, but Chris was in no shape for the coastal offshore passage. So we took a couple of recovery days, and then we drove to Key Largo to catch up with our good friends from home. At the same time, we had a weather window opening up to make the crossing to the Bahamas in the next couple days.
We had the best time with the Goldsmith’s at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, topped off with a fantastic offshore fishing trip (Thank you guys so very much!!!!). It was our first night away from Intermezzo in 2 months, and it was weird to sleep in a stable bed again!!!
Once we got back from our little night away, we were full-on prep to depart for the Bahamas – water, fuel, food, last repairs/maintenance items. Becky had 32 rolls of toilet paper hidden throughout the boat, and enough non perishable items to last 6 months, so we can leave right???? And then……the window closed. From Chris’ standpoint, it felt like de ja vu for his preparation for his Private Pilot checkride – you study, you prepare, you stress a little and don’t sleep too well; then you wake up and the weather isn’t good enough to fly. This happened to him 5 or 6 times before he actually had the checkride. We think, this is going to be the same experience. So, the toilet paper was added to, and more non perishables were brought on the boat…..
Now that we were standing down with no window opening in the near future, we started to explore Fort Lauderdale a bit, including the Everglades, logged some pool and swimming time; but mostly it was low key.
We saw 3 alligators on the air boat tour in the Everglades
For New Year’s, we spent the day at the pool and then went out, as touristy as you can get – a Mai Kai Polynesian Show and dinner with our cruising buddies… It was a great time and the girls and the adults were both entertained!
Girls’ special pineapple drink!
So here we are, riding out the gnarly weather, but a window to cross to the Bahamas seems to opening up for early next week. Our time at the yacht club is coming to an end on Sunday, so we’ll either head to Miami to anchor out weather permitting, or get a slip for one or two more nights.
We never expected to be tied up to a dock for this length of time, but the experiences we’ve had while we’ve been here have been great. We’re careful not to wish away what we wake up to each day, but at the same time, the Bahamas are calling us and we’re excited to get there.
We wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!
Stay warm and stay safe!!!