Monday, 10 December 2012

No 41 Fort Lauderdale

Hi from Clare,                                  Sunday 9th December 2012

So now we are ready to leave America. Like most of our cruising buddies we are looking forward to spending less money. Just about every cruiser we sailed the Atlantic with has postponed boat repairs until reaching America. The advantage is that we speak the same language and customer service and product quality is assured. So for Eye Candy, new sails, boom bag, dinghy, life lines, anchor chain, clears in the dodger, canvas repairs, toilet seats and of course our own wine label - see photo.

Our very own Label and the Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Cruising Club gang we had lunch with
Karyn, Steve and Clare are together in the back

We have spent the last week in Fort Lauderdale with American friends Karen and Steve who ran us around shopping for boat bits and supplies. By using their membership card we shopped at the discount store Costco which is the most amazing shop. They sell to hotels and restaurant and so the quality of meat, fish and fresh produce is excellent. The only trap is bulk sales, pity we don't have a freezer. However we happily bought bulk canned products. I spent $850 there and at least that much again in the supermarkets for items I didn't want in bulk. Then the fun began, I managed to find places for everything except a slab (36 cans) of Coke Zero. It is sitting under the kitchen table and for the moment it's making a nice foot rest. I updated my inventory list on the Ipad - if it crashes I will be at a total loss as I have things crammed in every available space.

The entertainment in our anchorage at Lake Sylvia, Ft Lauderdale

Why bother you might ask? Well supplies in the Bahamas are scarce. Many islands have no or very little shopping. There are good supermarkets in Nassau and George Town in the Bahamas and at Marsh Harbour in the Abacos however these destinations are far apart. What I have read about Cuba and heard from the cruising community is food shopping is limited and very expensive for the tourist; often four times the normal price. Some items like toilet paper you just can't buy. Anyhow we are now prepared and I understand the expression "shop till you drop."

Although we worked hard, life was made easy thanks to Steve and Karen's hospitality and generosity. We popped in and out of their home nearly every day for hair washing or clothes washing, trips to ship chandlers, hardware stores and speciality shops. We had dinner on Eye Candy one night so they could enjoy bobbing about on the water while their yacht 'Threshold' awaits them in Turkey. However, we spent many more enjoyable hours chatting over a coffee or a cold drink on their balcony. We were so welcome in their home it was actually sad to depart and leave the friendship behind. Thinking about it now, we have so much food on the boat we could have brought them with us :.

So we are now in Miami. Last time we were here in 2004 I was robbed so we are being doubly cautious. Yesterday we walked through the local mall and down to the beach. Miami is a happening place and the shops stretch for miles; I can't believe how many shops. The thing that struck me was the amount of shops selling the same products. If two thirds of the shops disappeared, the selection would not be reduced e.g. there are a multiples of sunglasses shops, camera shops, electronics shops etc and I saw three Starbucks Coffee shops in the same street. People are buying and the restaurants are busy. I looked at what people were eating and the food was expensive and very ordinary. The wine was flowing freely, the three Starbucks were packed and the ice cream parlours were doing a roaring trade. One woman who walked passed us was on the phone saying "the outfit cost $2,500 so I ordered it." When considering the news reports about how much debt the country has, the whole scene is frightening.

Miami beach scene

We are now enjoying gorgeous weather. Lovely sunny days in the high twenties and warm nights sleeping under one light blanket with the hatches open and plenty of air flowing through the boat. We are back in shorts and T-shirts and the water temperature is 24 degrees. The sea water is clean and Andrew has started up the Water-maker. There was a slight leak and a drop in output so Andrew spent a few hours yesterday crunched up in small inaccessible places to remove the Clark pump and replace four O-rings. I think he thought the job was a lot easier eight years ago when he first installed the Water-maker.

I think we will be leaving tomorrow afternoon for the Bahamas. We have to go 40 miles east across the Gulf Stream with the current traveling north. We will do an overnight passage and basically land in the Bahamas wherever the current takes us. Our plan is to make landfall at Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands, so we will see how we go. There are many other cruisers anchored in the Miami area all waiting for that elusive window to make the crossing so we won't be alone out there.

Love Candy xx

At 11:53 PM8/12/2012 (utc) our position was 25°47.23'N 080°08.80'W

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