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Fort Lauderdale, Loggerhead Marina, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be our staging area for the Gulf Stream Crossing.

Saturday December 5, 2008

Loggerhead Club and Marina.

Loggerhead Club and Marina.

We left Cape Canaveral after dinner on Friday evening and motor-sailed through the night, doing our regular four hour shifts at the helm. The water was calm and the wind was light once again.  Our goal was to make it to Fort Lauderdale by Saturday evening because our friend Andrew McAllister from the Port Credit Yacht Club was flying in from Toronto on Sunday morning. Andrew is a great sailor and he is planning to help us sail across the gulf stream to the Bahamas this week. Saturday morning was sunny and warm and we enjoyed sailing down the coast. We had to keep careful watch as we sailed through hundreds of fishing boats, some trolling long lines.  Some of the recreational fishermen were quite arrogant and acted like they owned the ocean, making it hard for us to to sail through. They did not change their course at all, even when on a collision course with us. We had been sailing the same course all day, and you could see us approaching under sail for hours, yet they would motor right into our track and expected a sail boat to dodge their motor boat. We felt like we were dodging between fishing boats all afternoon. One fisherman was flying a kite (attached to his bobber), we did not notice his kite as we tried to squeeze between the fishing boats. He made it quite known that he did not like us sailing through when he screamed at us. Our mast just missed his kite and we continued on our way. 

 

Private Recreational fishing yachts, 65-70 footers.

Private Recreational fishing yachts, 65-70 footers.

 

On Saturday afternoon the wind picked up to twenty knots on the nose of the boat. The waves were uncomfortable on the bow and we started to think we would not make it to Fort Lauderdale in time as we were only at West Palm Beach (forty miles to the north). We tried to tack, up-wind but as we got further from shore we were in the gulf stream which has a strong northern current. After a few hours we realized that we hadn’t gone far.  We decided to pull in to Palm Beach for fuel and possibly continue down the intra-coastal waterway the rest of the way. With full fuel and water tanks we decided to brave the wind and waves and motor the rest of the way to Fort Lauderdale down the coast. The waves were rough and the bow crashed down on them. We were very surprised to pass three small fishing boats out in the rough weather. About an hour later we heard a mayday on the radio. Someone was in trouble and called the coast guard for help but they did not give their location or the name of their boat. Then we didn’t hear anything more from that boat. The coast guard sent out a message to all boaters asking if anyone heard the mayday call so they could narrow down the location of the troubled boat. Ed radioed the coast guard to let them know that we heard the call for help and we gave the coast guard our location, and the approximate location of the fishing boats we passed. The coast guard was thankful for our information, as there really weren’t any other boats on the water. Not long after we saw the coast guard helicopter fly by us as they searched for the boat in distress.

 

Modern day Venice, every back yard has a slip with access to the ICW and the Ocean.

Modern day Venice, every back yard has a slip with access to the ICW and the Ocean.

Fort Lauderdale is the boating capital of the world. I would guess about 80% of the population owns a boat or has a friend with a boat. Much of the city is built on canals and is also considered the modern day Venice. 

 

Black Diamond tied up on pilings, all set for the tides that can be as high as 4 feet.

Black Diamond tied up on pilings, all set for the tides that can be as high as 4 feet.

A view from our slip, with a $15 Million dollar home on the end.

A view from our slip, with a $15 Million dollar home on the end.

At approximately 11:00 pm, on Saturday, we pulled into Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades and continued south on the waterway to Hollywood. We had to call ahead to three bridges to let them know that we were approaching from the north so they could open for us. We went through the first two bridges without any problems. We arrived at the third bridge at the same time as a large barge being pushed by a tug boat, heading towards us. The bridge keeper asked us to talk to the tug boat about how we would pass each other because the barge was almost the width of the bridge and could not stop. The Captain pushing the barge told us to wait close to the bridge and quickly pass through just before he arrives. We waited at the bridge, but the bridge keeper took too long to open the bridge. Once the bridge was open the barge was right there and he quickly called us on the VHF radio to tell us to move out of the way because he was coming through. This was not an easy task to ask of us, as there was a three knot current pushing us towards the bridge. Ed quickly turned the boat around 180 degrees and tried to hold the boat close to a green buoy against the current as the barge passed. Unfortunately, the current pushed us slightly behind the green marker and we felt the keel lightly bump something hard.  Ed and I agreed that travelling on the Intracoastal Waterway is much more stressful than travelling down the ocean. Once the barge passed us we turned we continued through the bridge to anchor in a small lake called South Lake in South Hollywood, a suburb or Fort Lauderdale. We spent the night at this anchorage which is around the corner from the marina where we were suppose to meet Andrew the next morning. This saved us $160 for the slip fee.

 

The marina is in a gated community, with heavy security.

The marina is in a gated community, with heavy security.

 

Access to the Golf course on the grounds.

Access to the Golf course on the grounds.

For $160 per day, or $500 per month for a slip, you too can live next to these millionaires.

For $160 per day, or $500 per month for a slip, you too can live next to these millionaires.

The next morning we pulled into Loggerhead Marina, the beautiful grounds made it feel like a Caribbean resort. Andrew arrived and we met Stewart Saunders and his wife Susan for lunch. Stewart and Susan have a large vehicle and were very kind to drive all of us. They drove us to the Bass Pro shop where the kids enjoyed the Christmas displays and the aquarium full of interesting fish. Alexander became obsessed with a large eel, and now says that eels are his favourite animals. Stewart is a knowledgeable fisherman and he helped Ed choose the right gear need for fishing offfshore and in the Bahamas.

 

Just hanging around.

Just hanging around.

The boys enjoying the heated pool.

The boys enjoying the heated pool.

They love the little island in the middle of the pool.

They love the little island in the middle of the pool.

The next day we rented a car so we could run around and pick up provisions for the boat. We decided to buy everything in Florida because everything is extremely expensive in Bahamas. In some of the remote areas that we are planning to travel to, food and supplies just aren’t available. Ed and Andrew took our propane tanks to be filled, on another trip they filled the car with 500 bottles of water along with other drinks, while I shopped for food at the grocery store. I started making a shopping list at home and knew exactly what to buy. It was a difficult task shopping for five weeks of food for a family of four, plus guests. The carts were full with five times the amount of food of a normal shopping trip. People gave me the strangest looks at the grocery store as I put four and five of each item in my cart. At the checked out the lady packing my bags asked me if there was a hurricane coming that she didn’t know about! We spent about $1,300 at the grocery store, filled 6-7 shopping carts, 2 Ford SUV loads of supplies.

We spent three days at Loggerhead Marina, we made good use of the beautiful swimming pool while we waited for a good weather window to cross to the Bahamas.

500 Bottles of water, a dozen fruit of the grape, and a few cases of liquid barley and oats.

500 Bottles of water, a dozen fruit of the grape, and a few cases of liquid barley and oats.

Not shown here, but we also loaded 6 grocery carts of food on the boat too. We figured about 1,200 pounds in total.

Not shown here, but we also loaded 6 grocery carts of food on the boat too. We figured about 1,200 pounds in total.

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at er@radonicrodgers.com

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2 Responses

  1. Ethel and Bob Thayer says:

    Hi Guys
    Enjoyed reading about you adventures en route to Fort Lauderdale. the provisioning sounds like hard work!!!

    We can see by the GPS that you have not set out for Nassau yet so we are presuming that the weather is an issue.

    Stay safe,

    Ethel and Bob

  2. angela says:

    I am so glad to read about your trip and not be there when the waves are that high, but again very happy for you to experience all this wild adventure.

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