Shore Leave – Ft. Lauderdale is a wrap!

Looking back at my previous post, it seems we’re about a week behind where we said we’d be…which is pretty good in the cruising world!

The past week or so has been a flurry of activity – the boat went in the water last Friday, and we started getting onboard to do our fixes and cleaning and organizing.  We only had one hiccup with the engines (a rusted bolt that needed to be replaced), and we had to have part of our port throttle replaced so that we can finally rev the engine in neutral (a problem we sort of remembered mentioned in the survey, but not something we really needed to worry much about).  Both issues are all fixed now, and while we know we have (ahem, let’s get real, Brian has) a fair amount of engine maintenance and cleaning to do, none of it has to be worried about right now!

We moved ourselves and the cats back onboard on Thursday, and we were so happy to be home.  While it was great to have 10 days sleeping on land, spending time with Brian’s dad, and enjoying the creature comforts of living in a house (laying in BED watching CABLE TV!  Baking in a REAL OVEN!  FLUSHING toilet paper!  LONG HOT SHOWERS!), the driving back and forth was getting to be a drain – we put 650 miles on the rental car in the 2 weeks and 2 days we had it, and I will be happy if I don’t have to drive in South Florida or, for that matter, anywhere, for a long time.

The one thing we had to do as a priority was send Brian up the mast to reattach the wind direction indicator on our Garmin anemometer.  I wasn’t looking forward to this because frankly, it scares the sh*t out of me.  Thankfully Johan from Just Catamarans was kind enough to come by and give us a little advice and really, just moral support (similar to when we had to dock in the tight slip when we arrived), and I think that now I can confidently say I’m far less fearful of doing this on our own.

While we had a list of boat projects a mile long, the one I was focused on was provisioning.  You know, grocery shopping.  But grocery shopping when you don’t know if, for four months, you’ll find your favorite snacks or cold cuts or good meat and if you do, it’ll wipe out your bank account.  This is what we’ve been warned about in the Bahamas, and while some assure us that yes, they do EAT in the Bahamas, others have warned us that some of the stuff we dearly love (Diet Pepsi and beer, anyone?) may be super expensive.  So we took both perspectives into account when we planned our trips to Costco, Target, Publix, and Total Wine and Liquor.

At Costco we focused on paper products, nicotine replacements (yes, if you didn’t know, we both smoke, but the plan is that we quit right after my 40th birthday in March – now you can all harass us if we don’t!), meats to freeze, 82 lbs. of cat litter, and snack packs of chips and hummus and cheese.

Then on to Target for 60 lbs. of cat food and the other miscellany one buys at Target (FINE.  I may have bought myself another bathing suit.).

Brian was horrified at the damage I did at Publix but I really did focus on the things we would actually eat – we did not buy anything we’ve never been known to eat before, and while we did buy a SodaStream to cut down on the soda we brought along, I still snuck in a few 12 packs of my beloved Diet Pepsi.

Now, on to the booze.  I originally told Brian I wanted to load 30 cases of beer on board.  He shut that down pretty damn quick (hence the SodaStream so I can at least have fizzy vodka drinks).  We loaded up with about 10 cases, which once I got done unloading into a few large plastic bins and our big cooler bags and random cubbies, didn’t seem all that bad.  It was an interesting moment asking the sales clerk at Total Wine what the “best vodka that comes in plastic bottles” was.  And I found that they have the cutest little boxes of wine these days – they pack 2-3 bottles in each box!  So while we don’t have enough beer to last us the 4 months, it should offset some of the pain of paying $40/case for Kalik over there, and I guess we’ll need to learn to like wine and liquor a bit more.

So after many trips of lugging heavy stuff down the dock, and then into the boat, and then organizing things Jenga-style, I think we’re pretty much good to go in terms of keeping ourselves fed and, ahem, “hydrated”!  Tomorrow we leave for Biscayne Bay in Miami, where we’ll test out the anchor at No Name Harbor tomorrow night, move to a mooring at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove for a few nights waiting out Wednesday’s cold front, and then, fingers crossed, we’ll cross by the weekend to Bimini!  Speaking of which…I finally got our InReach satellite communication device thingy up and running for when we’re out of cell/wifi range, so click here to see where we are once we get over there!

That might look like a lot of beer, but only if you've never met us.

That might look like a lot of beer, but only if you’ve never met us.

Our "wine cellar" - the equivalent of 12 bottles of wine fits great on this teeny shelf in the port aft cabin!

Our “wine cellar” – the equivalent of 12 bottles of wine fits great on this teeny shelf in the port aft cabin!

Good thing the cats peed on the mattresses in the port forward cabin a while now serves as a most excellent pantry!

Good thing the cats peed on the mattresses in the port forward cabin a while back and we had to toss them…it now serves as a most excellent pantry!


    • Only 3 little cube ones and two larger ones…but we aren’t the biggest wine drinkers so it’s really just a backup for when we run out of beer or when we want to class it up for sundowners with other cruisers 😉

  1. Hey guys, I forgot to ask you if you remembered the quarantine flag. Also the little Bahamas courtesy flags only last about 6 weeks…It looks like Monday or Tuesday you can cross over. There is north wind but too little to be of concern…Have fun!

  2. One magical tip on the boxed wine – it comes out of the box. And you just drop it in your fridge/freezer/cooler. It’s all flexible and molds to whatever space you put it in. Bonus- you get that cardboard off of your boat, so hopefully avoid bugs/save space. Have fun – love following along as you prep!

  3. I’d love to hear your depiction of Dinner Key now. A year after Jim Morrison was arrested there, your cousin Sarah and I moved into a houseboat at Dinner Key with our (heretofore absent) father. The girl on the sailboat next slip to ours was
    mute, but she taught us many things…

    • Wow, didn’t know that! We were there in the spring and it seemed nice, pretty built up actually. One of these days we’d both like to hear about the houseboat and the mute girl…

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