After two very early trips to the airport, we are now on our own again. The boat seems very empty with out Gladys, Cristian and Jenni!

Jenni, Gladys and Cristian.......our perfect boat guests!

Jenni, Gladys and Cristian…….our perfect boat guests!

Having five of us, living at close quarters for three weeks, could have been a recipe for disaster, but we had a great time.

Chillin'

Chillin’

More 'chillin' on the foredeck.

More ‘chillin’ on the foredeck.

Despite the language barrier, Gladys, Marcus and I managed to make ourselves understood and Jenni and Cristian were our resident translators. Marcus found himself a drinking buddy in Gladys and she was my ‘galley fairy’……I hardly did any washing up the whole time she was with us!
The weather, sadly was not the best and any dreams of sailing over to the Bahamas were abandoned. We also had continuing problems with charging the batteries and had to spend some time sourcing, buying and fitting a new alternator and regulator.

The 15th was Marcus’ birthday, which we celebrated by going to the Elbo Room bar ……..he had to get into the act with the bouncer, who ID’d and tagged Jenn and Cristian.

Marcus getting his ID and a hug from the bouncer.

Marcus getting his ID and a hug from the bouncer.

We then decided to go ‘Down town’ for more celebrating, including a pool session and then on for. something to eat.

Birthday Boy with his drinking buddy!

Birthday Boy with his drinking buddy!

Pool doubles match.......a little too much coaching going on?!

Pool doubles match…….a little too much coaching going on?!

A good time was had by all.

Aside from the ever present demands of the boat, the other major hiccup was that Jenni’s Australian visa was proving more difficult to obtain than she had thought and so we had to go to Miami for her to get a chest X-ray done……….a great excuse to go to Miami beach for the day and on to Little Havana, the Cuban sector.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Little Havana, Calle Ocho.

Little Havana, Calle Ocho.

Cuban music......

Cuban music……

.....Colombian, Cuban and British dancing!

…..Colombian, Cuban and British dancing!

As I mentioned before, the beach front here in Fort Lauderdale is a two mile stretch of ‘promenade’ where people come to stroll, eat, sunbathe, cycle, skateboard, exercise or eat and drink at the numerous bars and restaurants. Jenn, Gladys and I went for a couple of jogs……. I’m glad to report my knee, that I injured in Grenada, was fine, but it gave me a good excuse for going gently!!

Posing on the beach.

Posing on the beach.

With the new alternator installed and a bit of a weather window, we decided to sail down to Miami and into Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbour. Another boat from the anchorage was planning to head south so we braved a very choppy entrance to Fort Lauderdale and left together.

Our buddy boat just off Miami.

Our buddy boat just off Miami.

We had a bumpy ride, but our crew took it in their stride!

Our happy crew.

Our happy crew.

Gladys at the helm.

Gladys at the helm.

Miami has a pretty impressive skyline………

Sailing by Miami Docks

Sailing by Miami Docks

and the entry back into the Intracoastal Waterway took us through the dock area. We are very restricted as to where we can go by our height of mast and draft. Unfortunately the fixed bridges on the waterway are 65’ high and our mast is 67’, but we managed to squeeze under a 78’ road bridge on our way down to No Name Harbour.

Did the chart say 78'?

Did the chart say 78′?

The harbour is part of a nature reserve and we spent two nights at anchor here.

No Name Harbour.

No Name Harbour.

Just testing the da it's in No Name Harbour.!

Just testing the davits in No Name Harbour.!

The weather was not good enough for a day on the beach, but the walking was good and we saw our first raccoons and there was great excitement as a couple of dolphins came around the anchorage to check us out.

Our much photoed raccoon.

One of our much photoed raccoons.

Maybe not so cute if they climb and poop all over your boat!

Maybe not so cute if they climb and poop all over your boat!

I think we looked like real tourists excitedly taking pictures of what the locals must look on as vermin!!

The lighthouse which is just south of the harbour, is the oldest structure in Miami, having been built in the 1880’s!…..very old by Miami standards. Just off the shore there is Stiltsville, a collection of buildings dating from the 1920’s 30’s which used to be the playground of the rich and famous.

One of the houses in Stiltsville.

One of the houses in Stiltsville.

Not being rich or famous, we left the tranquility of the nature reserve, for a return to our mooring at Las Olas Marina ready for Christmas. Luckily the wind chose to blow our way, and after another lumpy ride, we managed to dodge the big ship traffic and pick up a mooring ball.

This is our fourth Christmas on the boat……how time flies!!

Christmas Eve is always a time for partying and this year was no exception!

Christmas Eve........always an excuse for a party!!

Christmas Eve……..always an excuse for a party!!

We invited all the neighbours over for a drink and a good time was had by all.

Father Christmas managed to locate us and left us all got stockings.

Father Christmas found us all!

Father Christmas found us all!

Look what he got in his stocking!

Look what he got in his stocking!

Christmas breakfast.

Christmas breakfast.

Christmas morning Champers.

Christmas morning Champers.

Colombian presents. Cheers!

Colombian presents. Cheers!

We had a leisurely day with presents, food and drink and we invited Sylvain, a Canadian ‘single hander’ with engine problems, to join us at 5.00 for Christmas dinner………we finally sat down at 8.30, but it was well worth the wait. Marcus once again excelled himself in the kitchen.

Another good time was had by all!

Jenn and I ready for a Boxing Day jog in our new trainers!

Jenn and I ready for a Boxing Day jog in our new trainers!

On Sunday we took another trip down to Miami, as Gladys’s treat before she left. It seems that everyone who holidays in the US from Colombia, holidays in Miami, so we took her to the oldest ‘open air’ mall…….built in the 1950s

Just about sums these two up!!

Just about sums these two up!!

and then on to an Italian restaurant for a delicious authentic Italian farewell lunch….. Who would have guessed the chef was actually Colombian!

Two early morning runs to the airport, at crack of sparrow’s fart, came as a shock after such a relaxed three weeks. It’s a strange mix of sadness at saying goodbye, excitement for Jenni and Cristian’s big adventure and relief at being able to put the boat back into every day mode!

It was particularly hard say goodbye to Jenni and Cristian, as they are on their way to Hawaii and then Australia. We don’t know when we’ll see them again (:

Farewell at the airport.

Farewell at the airport.

It s now 2016……….how did that happen?!
We spent New Year’s Eve strolling along Fort Lauderdale Beach and then back to the boat for supper and out on the deck to watch the firework display……….all we saw was the moon rise! ………..We weren’t the only ones that were out there on the water to get the best view.  Unfortunately they’d changed the venue for the display, but not told anyone!!

The silver lining to this cloud is that we will both be able to remember the turning of this year!

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL. XX

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