Bender's Cruising Chronicles #6-Ft. Lauderdale to Marathon

Ft. Lauderdale's 17th St. Bridge and Cruise Ships Happy Spring, Ya'll!!!
Another month has flown!!! Ft. Lauderdale was great! We were "stuck" there for a bit more than 3 weeks waiting for our windlass repair, undergoing refrigeration repair and anchor wash-down installation. There was a constant stream of boat traffic to our port side ranging from multi-mega yachts to skiffs and to starboard, what a colorful array and parade of people and dogs! We were there for so long that the people in the $7 million condos in front of our dock would speak to us each morning and afternoon as they were strolling the waterfront. The beach was a quick run/walk/bike ride away. We were right there at Las Olas with its upscale shops and right in the center of downtown.
One weekend we went to the beautiful performing arts center for a Doo Wop concert with pioneers of crisp harmonies that ruled the charts "back in our day". So many of the old musicians---many in their late 60's/early 70's were there. What a fantastic evening to see Little Anthony and the Imperials singing "Tears on My Pillow" and "Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop"; Kenny Vance and the Planotones; The Dubs with "Could This be Magic"; The Jive Five; Gene Chandler singing "Duke of Earl"; The Heartbeats and the Limelites with "A Thousand Miles Away" and "Daddy's Home" and many others that we loved 50 years ago. No apologies to younger generations, but that just had to be the best music ever!!!!
A Walk for Animals was held in the park one Saturday with live bands, people galore, and an incredible display of extravagance on animals (many wearing visors, sunglasses, fancy fluff for collars, etc.) being pushed in strollers filled with blankets and toys ---all in a successful effort to raise one-half million dollars for their cause.
Ft. Lauderdale has droves of squaking green parrots. They are everywhere! Another abundance there are luxury cars. It became common-place to see numerous Rolls-Royces, Maseratis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Bentleys. The streets were jammed with them!!! Jags became somewhat run-of-the mill and no more eyebrow raising than seeing a Ford or Chevrolet!
We met up with friends from Charleston and new cruising friends that we've known only since beginning this adventure and had a great time with them. Bill went to an antique car show and loved that. He stayed there and drooled to his heart's content. The first Sunday of every month in the downtown park, the city hold a Jazz Brunch and what a treat that was with 5 music venues of all genres. We loved that, too!!! And the art show occupying several blocks on Las Olas which was closed to traffic--that was also fun!
I had a serendipty one day when a fellow who, unbeknownst to me, lives in Ft. Lauderdale, came to our boat, recognized the boat name, and stopped to say hello. Chris and I grew up in church together, he lived just a few blocks away, and he rode with him everyday for 3 years to high school. Hadn't seen him since but I'd have known him anywhere. What a fun treat that was!
We had an interesting and different experience when we left Lauderdale. When we refuel we have always pulled up to a fuel dock...of some sort...but enroute to the inlet to enter the Atlantic, there was a fuel barge anchored near Dania. We came up beside him and refueled right there! Those guys can refuel at 250 gallons per minute!!!!!!! That was another of those "firsts" for us!
Along the way we've made brief stops in Miami, Boca Chita, No Name Harbor, Key Largo, and Islamorada where we spent a week waiting for wild winds to quell so that we could head for Marathon where some friends have been awaiting our arrival for several weeks. One thing about this cruising---you can have an itinerary but you can't have a schedule. Who would've ever thought we'd have been in Ft. Lauderdale for over 3 weeks and we certainly didn't plan to stay in Islamorada for so long but...again...what a great place to have to wait out weather!!!
Only in the Keys!!!
We've been in Boot Key Harbor for a week and the mooring field accomodates 268 boats. What a sight this is!!! The dinghy dock is huge and always packed. Bike racks outnumber what an elementary school would have and they're over-flowing with bikes. We are finally meeting up with our friends, Bob and Emily Wiggins, from Seneca, SC, who've been patiently waiting for us. They are seasoned cruisers/live-aboards and are a wonderful resource for us. They've been everywhere numerous times and know where to go, what to avoid, restaurants to not miss, etc. She and I visited the Turtle Hospital yesterday. I had read Mary Alice Monroe's novels, Beach House and Swimming Lessons, about the turtles on SC coast (Edisto and Charleston)~~their nesting, volunteers working to preserve sites where the females lay their eggs, and work at the turtle hospital in Charleston, so this was especially intriguing for me. Some of the sick or injured turtles will never be returned to the wild due to the severity of their injuries so these are available for adoption. The most unbeautiful turtle of them all, a little female named Bender, was one of those. So now her name is Bender Bender!!! We have an adoption certificate and pictures of her!!!
Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field
We are having to hurry (which is much like trying to outrun a turtle) because we need to be in Punta Gorda by April 14th or we would love to spend more time in this area. The water's a clear aqua, warm, and beautiful for snorkling and swimming. Bill looked at our miles traveled and days since we cast off our lines and we are averaging a little less than 6 miles a day!!!
We'll soon be headed off in search of another rainbow so will "report in" next month!
Miss ya!
Bill, Laura, and the old dawg
Moored in Boot Key Harbor

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