We've been in Fort Lauderdale for a week now. I waited a few days to blog to get a real sense of the city and see how we felt about it. Fort Lauderdale is the biggest city we've been to so far (Naples and Key West being the only other two...)
We are at the Bahia Mar Marina, located directly across the street (A1A) from the Fort Lauderdale Beach. It's a beautiful location and makes for a lovely morning run. The marina seems to have more local boats than cruisers. This means that we don't have the "neighborhood", or community that we experienced in Key West. So there's less "gophering" opportunities for Martin and less interaction with other boaters. The city is pretty big and spread out so without a car we have limited to access to the area. Both streets and drivers are not particularly bike/pedestrian friendly so I'm a bit stressed getting around here. It feels more like a "real" town with some vacationers rather than a vacation destination. People don't say hello on the street but do a lot of looking on the beach :)
Fort Lauderdale is called the "Venice of the US" and is also known as the pleasure boating capital of the US. You see this most from "inside" the city where there are beautiful channels/canals lined with mansions and filled with megayachts. The waterways - ICW, canals and river are absolutely gorgeous. Then there's the eastern edge, touristy side of the city. There are the several miles of beautiful beaches with A1A running along side. The road is lined with bars, restaurants and beach-ware shops. Cars crawl down A1A "thump, thump thumping" while bathing beauties strut their stuff. Oh, and spring break starts next Saturday so I'm sure we haven't seen anything! I need to get out and get some pictures asap for the pic of the day.
Our time here feels less like a pleasure visit and more like a prep stop. We have a list of things that we need to get done before we can head out to the Bahamas. This includes things like: fix the shower leak, finish the bimini top, make some future travel arrangements, purchase spare boat parts, fuel up, pump out, and complete an inventory of our food stores/stock up on anything we feel we may need. The plan is to leave Wednesday if the NOAA forecast doesn't change.
What we've been up to...
Our highlight here was last Tuesday when we spent a really nice afternoon with Bradley and Debra (whom we met in Key West). It was so nice to talk with them! We were really lucky to catch them just before they headed back home to Santa Monica.
We've also been swimming a few times. We were really excited to find out that the Swimmers Hall of Fame is a block away and there is an aquatic park there open to the public with 10 25-yard lanes and 10 50-meter lanes. I've never swum in 50-meter lanes - it's awesome!
Last night we took the water taxi into downtown and had dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant. The taxi ride was really interesting, the driver gives a commentary, explaining who lives in what mansion you're passing and a bit of trivia about some of the mega-yachts.
The next couple of days we'll spend researching the Bahamas and finishing up a few tasks. I think we're both feeling nervous, and very excited to cross the gulf stream and see the Bahamas!