Photos to follow.

Time flies when you’ve got family onboard!
We have been here in Fort Lauderdale for 10 days now and what with boat repairs and shopping trips, we have been fully occupied!!
Our trip up from the Dominican Republic was not without dramas. One day out of the DR, the alternator on the main engine stopped working. Thank goodness for the sun panels, as without generator or alternator, there was no other way to charge the batteries. We had to conserve as much power as possible, so we turned of our voraciously power hungry fridge and beer fridge and used the wind steering, instead of the auto helm. When we’re motor sailing, the Hydrovane needs watching the whole time, so we were doing two hour watches day and night………not so much fun :(
Every morning at 0700, we tuned into Chris Parker’s weather forecast on the SSB radio……….surprise, surprise……..when we were off the north Coast of Cuba, the weather window that he had given us three days before to get up to Florida, had closed, so we had to detour to the most south westerly island in the Bahamas, Ragged Island.
We drew into the anchorage at midnight, navigating our way in with the iPad over very shallow shoals.

Our dinghy dock on Ragged Island.

Our dinghy dock on Ragged Island.

Ragged Island is home to 50 people and it would seem they are reliant on the sailing tourist season, fishing and salt production for their income. There is an airport with a very new and over sized run way, for the daily mail plane.
Going for take off on the airport runway.

Going for take off on the airport runway.


………we can only think that it was funded by the U.S. for military use, being so close to Cuba. To get to the village
we had to cross the runway and the guy who gave us directions said, “Just look left and right!”
His name is Wilson and he owns the most eccentric bar we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately it wasn’t open, but he hopes to have it running for the tourist season. He apparently salvaged the plane from the airport after a drugs run ended abruptly with a crash landing. He towed it down the track to his land and propped it up on four supports, build the walls between the supports and adding a room on the wing and hey presto! ….. A quirky tourist attraction and a great bit of up cycling!
Salvaged plane and its owner.

Salvaged plane and its owner.


We stayed for two days and the it was time for the next weather window to head north and hopefully cross the Gulf Stream. Again the best laid plans of mice and men failed! We ended up having to detour to Bimini in gale force winds! We battled bravely on through 25-30 knot winds and 10ft waves breaking over the deck until, at 0300 hrs on Sunday morning, the anchor chafed through its securing line and was beginning to pay out over the bow and was being slammed against the boat.
With life jacket, lifeline and head torch on,, Marcus braved it up onto the foredeck and we ‘hove to’, while he manhandled the anchor back on board and secured it and the chain. Job done, he went down for a well earned sleep and we stayed hove to for the next three hours, until the winds dropped consistently to below 20 knots and then we were off again.
The entrance to Bimini is a bit like going into Bembridge!…….the channel is convoluted and varies in depth with moving shoals of sand.
The entrance to Bimini.

The entrance to Bimini.

We watched a boat come out and asked him for the best line in and, with his advice and the trusty iPad, we docked at Brown’s Marina for a well earned rest and a top up for the batteries and water tanks.
Bimini has one town; Alice Town. We walked the entire length of the town in twenty minutes. Transport is varied, from bicycles and motorbikes to golf carts and large american style cars and the cost of living is astronomical compared with the DR!!
The weather kept us docked until Wednesday, when the winds moderated and came round to the east and we were able to leave for Fort Lauderdale.
Crossing the Gulf Stream is said to be one of the most perilous stretches of water if the there’s any north in the wind. The wind over tide effect builds such big and steep waves, that they are described as marching elephants!!……..we didn’t want to mess with them.
As it was we had an uneventful crossing and pulled into the harbour
Fort Lauderdale at last!

Fort Lauderdale at last!


and up under our first lifting bridge into the Intra Coastal Waterway.
17th street bridge lifting for us.

17th street bridge lifting for us.

We took a mooring just before the next bridge and have been here ever since.
After a day of buses and taxis, we managed to check in and Jenni and Cristian joined us in their hire car, ready to go and pick up Gladys from the airport.
Mission, seemingly Impossible, completed!
The weather here has been foul……..until we arrived and brought some sun!
Jenni and Cristian spent their first week or so in the U.S. with friends, Tyler and Nic, who live in North Palm Beach. Far from out staying their welcome while they waited our arrival, Jenn and Cristian have been given the ‘Best House Guests Ever’ award by their hosts!
On Saturday evening, Tyler and Nic stayed over and we had an unexpected treat of watching the Christmas torchlit boat carnival pass up and down the waterway right by our mooring.
All aboard for the boat parade.

All aboard for the boat parade.


Boat Parade.

Boat Parade.


And another.

And another.


We are still plagued by having to keep our battery consumption down, but a new alternator and regulator are on order and we’ll hopefully be up and running on the battery front by the end of the week!
Once ashore, we are right in the middle of Fort Lauderdale beach, with all its bars and shops as well as a white sandy beach with a palm lined promenade running along the back of it……
On the way to shore in the 'second car'.

On the way to shore in the ‘second car’.


At the marina.

At the marina.

great for drinkers, shoppers, sunbathers and exercisers, all of whom we have onboard!

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