It’s Sunday morning and we are sitting pretty in the heart of Boca Raton. This place is just a perfect example of overstated elegance. Can you say “mine is bigger than yours”? It’s good to be back aboard after a great month at home in CT.
We arrived in Ft Pierce late on Wednesday evening after a long day of traveling and spent the next two days running around with our rental car to pick up last minute items that we need to spend the next four plus months aboard in the Bahamas. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of stuff. For example, we have on board nearly 20lbs of coffee. While there are some groceries available in the Bahamas, they cost about double what they cost here. Given the amount of money we have put into groceries, I can’t even imagine spending double that amount. How about $40-$50 per case for beer? Makes you want to drink rum. That’s about the only thing that’s cheap over there. Me, I’ll take that.
So, after two days of running around we were happy to shove off to begin moving south again on Saturday. That day we only made about 20 miles and stopped exhausted for the night in Stuart in a really lovely harbor, Manatee Pocket. We had a really nice dinner at a local eatery on the water. Sitting outside on a deck in balmy January evening weather was certainly a contrast to Essex. Well, I we did have to wear sweaters, but they were light weight. I don’t want you to think that it was total Heaven. Close, but not total Heaven given the sweater thing and all.
Here’s the sunrise that greeted me on Sunday. Not a bad view to begin the day.After resting up we headed out early on Sunday to make our run to Boca Raton. Actually, we weren’t sure where we were headed that day but as the day progressed we found out that our friends Melinda and Harry were aboard Sea Schell (their last name is Schell, get it?) in Boca so we thought that it would be fun to connect with them there. I wouldn’t have thought it possible to make it all the way, nearly 60 miles in one day but we made it.
Normally, we could have easily made that sort of distance but in this case there was 20, count em, 20 bridges between us and our destination. And nearly all of them had to open (on their own schedule) for us to pass. And, I should add that if you are only a minute late they generally won’t hold it for you. Remember, this is Florida, the home of transported New Yorkers. Here a minute is a New York Minute and they ain’t foolin’.
To give some context to the number of bridges, in all of Georgia we only went through, actually under as they had 65′ clearance, a total of five. Florida is certainly different than Georgia, that’s for sure. And here, most are low so you have to time the openings with most opening only twice an hour. Believe me, it’s tough to make the openings on schedule and several times I really had to put the peddle to the metal to make it in time. I expect that my fuel consumption yesterday was higher than normal.
One thing that’s different here than other areas that we have visited on this trip is that folks with money, or at least those with money that want to show the world that they have money, are here in Florida. There is just no end to the display of wealth. Home after home line the waterway, each bigger than the last. And, if a big home on the water isn’t enough, how about putting a 100’+ boat out in front just in case you want to spend a few days on the water.
When you get to Palm Beach you know that you are where the .001% hang out. This is a yard that is host to the really big guys with one yacht larger than the next. White is the color of choice it seems, but this grey one is a cut above with it’s own helicopter, color coordinated of course.How about this for classic grace? What a beauty. I’d live on this one. Jeeves, please fetch me another latte, post quick. This “expedition yacht” looks like it can go nearly anywhere. I wonder if it does or if the owner is too busy making money to spend time aboard. Really a sharp looking yacht to my eye.It seems that not everything afloat is totally over the top here. This must have been a tear down that wasn’t torn down. Perhaps the deal was “it’s yours if you take it off of my property by the end of the month”. Only his crane operator knows for sure. Hmm…Speaking of cash and carry, I wonder if these guys were on the prowl or a dead hedge fund manager, perhaps one that had just taken a look at what his tax bill was going to be under Obama. It was fun to go by the Breakers, an old time classic hotel built by Henry Flagler. Brenda and I stayed there on business in a different lifetime. It’s spectacular place, let me tell you. Even more opulent than Pandora, if you can believe it.Speaking of opulent, how about those hedges. I’m thinking that it must take an army of workers to keep them in proper trim. All I can say is “nice patio”.At least there is some sanity here although not much. I wonder if the owner of this cute little tug is at peace with having the most diminutive vessel in town?I just love lighthouses and this one that marks Jupiter Inlet is particularly nice. All and all, this next chapter of our voyage is getting off to a great start. While yesterday was long and tiring given the need to constantly time the bridges and dodge boat traffic on a busy Sunday, we really enjoyed the day, 20 bridges and all. Did I mention that we went through 2o bridges in a single day? Trust me on this, that’s a LOT of bridges.
And, to cap off the day, we were able to enjoy a lovely dinner aboard with our old friends, Linda and Richard, that moved to Florida years ago. Linda had worked in the same department that I did for many years and we hadn’t connected since the moved away. They had never been on a boat before so meeting them on a dark dock to run them out in our dink was quite an experience, I am sure. They must have really wondered what they were getting themselves into when they looked over the side of the dock to this little rubber boat bobbing below. “OMG, he’s going to take us out into the dark in that….?” Good news, a wonderful evening with no loss of life.
Today, to Ft Lauderdale and it looks like we may have our weather window to cross over to the Bahamas as soon as this Thursday. Fingers crossed.
In the mean time, it’s a lovely sunny day with puffy clouds. Oh, did I mention that the water temperature is just shy of 80? Perhaps I’ll leave it at that for now.