Well you'll be pleased to hear that this was a much happier sail than our previous ocean leg from Charleston to Fernandina Beach. We listened carefully to the weather report, which wasn't perfect (northerlies and 4-5 ft waves) but we wanted to be further south and felt we could manage OK. Once we made our way out of Lake Worth, conditions proved much better than expected. The wind was north westerly, making for comfortable sailing, and we didn't see any waves more than about 3ft - and they were assisting us. It was coolish, but not freezing - all in all, a very pleasant day's sailing/ motor-sailing at around 7 knots on an uncomplicated southerly route.
Things became a little more exciting as we neared Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale's inlet to the sea. Massive container ships, yachts, powerboats, tiny fishing skiffs, luxury liners - and a line of tiny toy yachts sailed by six to ten year olds being herded like ducklings across the main channel by minders in rubber dinghies - all negotiating their way through the maze of channels, canals and bridges. Slowly and carefully we made our way up the New River, calling up each of the four bascule bridges which opened obligingly on demand. The New River is narrow, but extremely deep as it runs through an earthquake faultline that opened up only a few thousand years ago. Cooley's Landing is an ideal (and very reasonably priced) small marina right in the middle of the downtown area. The slips are right on the river so there is a serious current running at times. We did not judge this well and faced a bit of a challenge getting Common Sense safely docked. Fortunately the local live-aboards are very familiar with the problem and come out in force to assist whenever a newby arrives while the tide is running.
Once recovered from a long day's sailing and a hair-raising conclusion to the passage, we were able to enjoy a hot shower, a good meal and a comfortable night's sleep, things for which I have a new and growing appreciation. I'll post a full Fort Lauderdale blog soon, but as a taster here is a picture of Steven Spielberg's 200 million dollar yacht Seven Seas.