The morning started decently enough — we’d successfully re-anchored after dragging our way across the bay (culprit: a garbage bag wrapped around the anchor!), launched the dinghy in the dark at 6am, had a rental car, grocery order, and covid tests lined up, and Jon dropped me on the corner of a marina on time to pick up the car.
Enter challenge one: Fort Lauderdale does not really want you to anchor and dinghy ashore; they’d much rather you pay $300/night for a marina OR even better swap your sailboat for a small zippy thing. We went through 11 opening bridges in 16 miles to get here, getting literal breaking waves on deck from the small boats powering around and beside and in front and behind us, all the while absorbing the message: “you do not belong here”.
Anyways, all that to say that after Jon had dropped me off and returned to Brio II, I discovered my first mistake of the day: I was completely locked in. Fences, all around. Signs about private property, security cams, all the bells and whistles. So I did what any stressed-out cruiser who is reeeeally excited to sail to the Bahamas would do: I hopped a fence. It wasn’t graceful, but so far I haven’t been arrested and it got me to the rental car on time.
Now the challenge was to drive around and pick up Jon and Zephyr. We’d intentionally chosen this anchorage for its proximity to a state park with – critical detail – a dinghy dock. I hummed a happy tune as I drove the rental up to the park gates.
“Park closed for bike race – no entry”
Ah. Snafu number two. Some mad chart-searching and brainstorming with Jonathan later, we found another dinghy dock two miles away that might do the trick. I drove over to check it out, and sat on the peaceful dock as I waited for the boys to make the journey by sea.
Ah. Snafu number three: the fuel line on the dinghy engine decided to snap off at the fitting, leaving Jon and Zephyr helpless in a current-fueled canal, getting washed sideways under bridges as Jon tried to troubleshoot and Zephyr tried to help.
I swear I married Jon for more than his mechanical troubleshooting abilities, but damn do they come in handy sometimes. The other day as we motored up to a bridge he declared, “something doesn’t sound right” and then dove into the engine compartment to discover that the engine crank was trying to fall off. One emergency anchor / soft grounding in the mangroves later, he’d solved the problem and we were back on our way.
The fuel hose problem was solved by sticking the hose right in to the open gas can. A simple solution made less fun by the boat wakes. But it worked! The boys made it to me and the car, and we were off to actually start our day of errands.
There was more, of course — smoke-filled corner stores that were supposed to have Amazon packages but couldn’t turn any up, grocery stores without any chicken thighs (HOW CAN WE LEAVE WITHOUT CHICKEN THIGHS???), banks that don’t want to give you money (it is verrrry hard to not be in your bank’s home state sometimes), etc, etc.
Suffice to say, we got it done, and I even found some chicken thighs. “Do you think other people have more sane lives?” Jon asked, as we argued about where 25 lbs of chicken could possibly go on the boat. “Definitely not,” I said, “they just argue about less interesting things.”
But please send chicken recipes, stat.
We make a Tuscan chicken stew with thighs that’s to die for…I’ll try to get it to you!!! Be safe!!
Ooh yum – that sounds delicious!! Please do share the recipe! 🙂
Leah I have loved following your adventures. So great to see your progress on Brio II and to see Zephyr grow. Take heart. You can overcome all the obstacles. It just makes the first night at anchor in the Tropics that much sweeter.
So true Heather!! Thank you. It’s the contrasts that keep it interesting, isn’t it? 🙂