I have had a very lazy start to the year and I’m afraid the blog has taken a hit as far as time allocation goes!

Sunset at anchor in Middle River.

Sunset at anchor in Middle River.

We are still in Fort Lauderdale and have been busy getting the boat back into full working order…………we have finally got a working generator, which means that with all the cloudy days we’ve had so far in February, we can now charge the batteries. Hooray!!!

I have escaped from the boat to find wifi and as I write this Marcus is busy re-installing the newly repaired motor for the bow thruster. Not such a vital piece of kit when we were crossing oceans and island hopping, but very desirable when trying to navigate in close quarters in a canal!

The other newly repaired item is the deck wash pump…….it should no longer take us 45mins to scrub the chain clean of all the marine life that takes up residence when we drop anchor. With my new hose and hand gun, I should have it clean in a jiffy…….stowing a foul chain makes the boat stink and the muck can contain larvae that hatch into a plague of flies (as Marcus found out when I was back in Blighty in the summer!)

After Jenni left us we moved from the mooring buoy, up to Middle River to anchor and retrench a little. With the cost of a new alternator, a small generator to bridge the gap whilst it’s big brother was being mended and the car hire we were in need of a cheaper month or two!!!

Water Skiier passing by!

Water Skiier passing by in the anchorage!

At the end of January we welcomed our next guest, Graham. Graham was our Best Man some 31 years ago and came out to spend ten days with us. Unfortunately the ‘sunshine state’ had become the cold wet and windy state!, but there were a couple of good days and we managed to sail down to Miami and revisit No Name Harbour.

Graham at the helm.

Graham at the helm.

Graham on dolphin watch!

Graham on dolphin watch!

Another visitor dropped by in Miami.

Another visitor dropped by in Miami.

It was great to see him again and, as with all good friends, it was as if we had seen him yesterday, instead of 4 years ago. There was a lot of reminiscing, drinking and laughter and the boat seemed quite empty again when he left.

Our good friends, Stamen and Durita, have made their way up from Cuba and are anchored near us in Middle River. We went out in the dinghy to meet them and show them the way to the anchorage. They really are like family and we had a lovely time catching up with their news and finding out about Cuba. Durita’s niece came out from The Faroe Isles, to stay with them for a week and we had some greatl meals and outings together.

Stamen, Berit and Durita on board for dinner.

Stamen, Berit and Durita on board IK for dinner.

Sun Downers on board Gaia.

Sun Downers on board Gaia.

An outing to the local Greek festival.

An outing to the local Greek festival.

A third of a bottle of Mitaxa and Marcus can't actually remember these new friends at the festival!!

A third of a bottle of Mitaxa and Marcus can’t actually remember these new friends at the festival!!

As I said, the weather has been uncommonly cold and we even experienced our first (and hopefully last) tornado! We woke at dawn to an electric storm that seemed to be heading north of us, but then the storm was on us.

News footage of the tornado.

News photo of the tornado.

What really got us moving was  the sound of last night’s draining dishes clattering into the sink as the water was churned up into short, steep waves. The wind picked up dramatically and was roaring in the rigging, with winds of 50 to 60 knots. We started the engine, as we were being swept a little too close to the dock, but the visibility was nil and the wind was shifting wildly, so Marcus just held us on station until for about half an hour, until the winds subsided and we could re anchor. Later we learnt that two boats had been picked up and sunk in Lake Sylvia, which is less than a mile from us!

The 35' catamaran that was lifted up and capsized by the Tornado!

The 35′ catamaran that was lifted up and capsized by the Tornado!

Apart from one boat in the anchorage dragging, we all came through unscathed, but it does make you think about your insurance policy!!

I have spent some time designing and sewing a cover for the binnacle, as when it rains,water finds its way down the wiring of the chart plotter into the leg of the support and down onto my side of the bed!

New 'custom made' binnacle cover.

New ‘custom made’ binnacle cover.

……..whilst I was at it, I made a new sleeve for the dinghy oars………..

The oar bag.

The oar bag.

………and a cover for the new Honda generator.

Generator cover.....with vents!!

Generator cover…..with vents!!

As well as work and visitors we are enjoying some of the finer things in life…….I borrowed Stamens Kayak and took a trip up the nearby canals.

Up the creek without a paddle.....so I used half and oar and practiced my didgeridoo embouchure!

Up the creek without a paddle…..so I used half and oar and practiced my didgeridoo embouchure!

Yesterday we took a blanket and an hour long bus ride (for just £1.20 each) in search of a bit of culture…… up to a free outdoor concert in Palm Beach county.

Florida State Youth Symphony Orchestra, as seen from our blanket!

Florida State Youth Symphony Orchestra, as seen from our blanket!

It looks like we’ll be here for another week or so as we wait for the weather to improve, but with good friends in the anchorage we are having a good time!

 

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