Monday, 13 February 2012

STILL in Fort Lauderdale...

Hi everyone
Well we haven't moved very far. In fact we're right here where we were exactly a month ago, in Cooley's Landing Marina, Fort Lauderdale. The Bahamas are out there, just fifty miles across the Straits of Florida; tantalising, but still a couple of weeks away, I fear. I'm learning one of the hard facts of boating life: that 'a couple of weeks' is a very open-ended measurement of time, particularly in the vocabulary of marine mechanics and the postal service.

Still, we have been using the time productively. We've ticked off nearly all the items on the 'Safety Requirements' list for the ARC Europe rally. Our Viking liferaft has arrived and we've watched the DVD on how to deploy it. It looked like a breeze with this very competent family happily launching their raft in lovely calm blue water, then expertly setting off flares and tucking into a jolly picnic with supplies from their emergency grab bag.
Other new safety essentials: a fire blanket; a throwable rescue rope; crotch straps and hoods for our life-jackets; up-to-date charts. We've installed boards for storage of extra fuel and water on the deck. On the communications front, we bought a contraption for extending wi-fi internet coverage (see pic) and, importantly, a satellite phone so we can let everyone know we're OK from the middle of the Atlantic. This brings to about 27 the number of small black hand-held communication devices on board. I find myself talking into the TV remote control more often than not.

Still anticipating the installation of two solar panels, which should make us pretty self-sufficient for power, and arrival of a Hydrovane self-steerer. The reviews on these are extremely positive, implying that it is almost like having an additional crew member (one who works uncomplainingly and doesn't need to be fed. One reviewer even called it 'the hand of God' - that's gotta be a recommendation.) Because of this, people say the Hydrovane should have a name - suggestions welcome.;

We have managed to have some fun while all this has been happening. Amongst our adventures: dinghying around exploring the canals; a terrific concert featuring the Four Tops and the Temptations in their current incarnations;  great food, dancing and a lesson in church history at the local Greek Festival; Jazz in the Park when the whole riverfront comes alive with music; Terry has been doing the hard yards on his Beer Tour ... Apart from a couple of rainy days, the weather has been perfect. There are worse places to be stuck.


  1. I can't see any beer in the emergency grab bag. Or maybe that is the stuff your taking out to make room for the beer. Good thinking Carol.

  2. Hi Padraig - don't worry, the beer has its own lifejacket... I've got a feeling you're going to fit in very well aboard Common Sense.