Here in Ft Lauderdale for the last few days we have been very busy running around celebrating birthdays, Brenda’s that is, provisioning and doing last minute laundry. It’s been a bit overwhelming but great fun.
It’s nearly 9pm on Wednesday evening and we are just finishing up getting Pandora ready to head out to cross to the Bahamas tomorrow. The forecast seems to be about right although getting a fair bearing to cross the gulf stream and make it onto the banks may be a bit tough as the wind will be from the south. In order to make what is in essence due east from Ft. Lauderdale, we have to head on a south east course which is south of our destination in order to compensate for the strong set to the north that we will experience as we cross the gulf stream current for the 50 miles to the banks.
The weather forecast suggests that the wind will be out of the SE/S in the morning, just barely south enough to provide a good direction for us to sail so we will be hard on the wind. It seems that we will have to hold a course of something like 100 to 11o till we reach the banks. It is possible that the wind will begin to shift to the south west before we get to the banks which will help. However, if we can’t make the needed course we plan on taking a more northerly route and go north of the banks entirely into the Northwest Providence Channel and then head south around the Berry Islands as the wind clocks to the north, which is supposed to do on Friday. This is a bit further but will allow us to follow the clocking winds more easily and sail an more comfortable course.
Well, all of this weather stuff is a bit daunting as it is uncertain at best and will take us out over night, something that Brenda hasn’t done before. However, I love sailing at night and am hopeful that it will go well for Brenda too.
Well, enough about the crossing for now.
Ft Lauderdale is unique in part as it’s the only city we have visited by boat where there is a dock for our dink that’s right near a major shopping mall. In fact, when you pull up to the dock the mall, and it’s a big one, is just across the street. Pretty funny to enter a mall pulling a wheel cart with groceries. I felt like a bag lady. Got any soda cans I can return for you?
If that’s not unique enough, there is plenty of wildlife there too. How many malls can boast that they have their own native manatee population living right near by? These are beautiful creatures. Really big, beautiful creatures at that. How about iguanas? This guy was about four feet long. No, he wasn’t in a cage, just keeping an eye on us from the other side of a fence closing off a vacant lot. And, he’s not the only one there. Speaking of wildlife? How’s this for a sport? He came right by us where we are anchored and blasted around us a few times. This looks like just so much fun. The jet pack is attached to a motor that looks like a surf board. He came right by and hammed for the camera. I should note that our friends Linda and Richard that had dinner with us the other night in Boca sent us photos of a banana tree that they have in their yard. It’s a very special banana that Linda calls “Bob”. So, why “Bob”, you ask?This is because it has grown from a small tree that I gave her when she worked in the same company that I was at. It’s been nearly ten years since I gave it to her and when she moved to Florida she took it with her and planted it in her yard. But wait, there’s more. This banana, or should I say the banana from which “Bob” descended, was bought by me and Brenda when we were dating in high-school back in the early 70s. Do the math, that’s a long time ago and Bob’s no spring chicken any more. Hmm…
We kept the plant at home, then college and for over 20 years in our greenhouse. We had to give up all of our plants when we got rid of the greenhouse a few years ago. If you can become attached to a plant, this banana is one that meant a great deal to me and Brenda. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to hear about “Bob” and to see these photos. On top of all that, “Bob” produces hundreds of bananas each year, something that he never did for us. It seems that he’s happy with Linda and Richard. Perhaps some day I will be able to taste one.When Brenda and I purchased this plant way back when we never imagined that we would be aboard Pandora about to head out for this amazing journey. Who knew what life would bring?
However, perhaps the greatest highlight for us here in Ft Lauderdale was a perfect celebration for Brenda’s birthday on Wednesday. We enjoyed a great dinner out looking over the the water. On top of that we visited friends for “sundowners” earlier in the evening and our hostess surprised Brenda with a cake. Doesn’t Brenda look happy? I have never met anyone who enjoys being a birthday girl more than her. Happy Birthday Brenda!!!Wish us luck. We hope to be able to continue to post regularly using WIFI from the Bahamas, which I hear is widely available.
Stay tuned for more and please keep those cards and letters coming and wish us a fair crossing.
Yes, there’s more to come, way more.