They really should just call it Lauderdale

img_7082Normally we don’t post about food, because we eat way too much of it.  Ok, one of us eats too much of it.  The other one plays lots of pickleball.  But our last night in Miami Beach we had delicious pizza.  That’s it.  Just that the pizza was delicious.  And the late afternoon sun from the dock was pretty cool as well.

img_7078We were kind of sorry to leave Sunset Harbour because it’s the swankiest place we’ve been on the Loop.  Hey, they even deliver fuel right to the boat!  None of this hitting bottom on the way to the fuel dock.  (Yup, we’re looking at you Alton.)

Plus, Dana made another pickleball friend.  Jay is the private captain on Escapist, the 88-foot Burger docked across from us.  Ok actually all this finery made us feel a tad insubstantial.   Kind of like Elihu Smails must’ve felt when Al Czervik dropped Seafood’s anchor on The Flying Wasp.*

Anyway, yesterday morning was exciting because we had visitors from the Old Country.  Meaning Arizona.  Tom and Deb Sydenham joined us for the cruise up to Fort Lauderdale.  PSA:  If you’re looking for one of those historical forts with old cannons and civil war history like we’ve mentioned in several prior posts, Fort Lauderdale ain’t one of those forts.  Supposedly there was a small fort near Bahia Mar at some point, but if so almost certainly now it’s a tacky store that sells flimsy t-shirts and overpriced sunglasses.

No matter what Tom or Deb might say, we had a perfect departure.  Nobody forgot to disconnect shore power before starting off the dock.  And even if someone did forget, we caught it early and there wasn’t a fire or anything.  So don’t believe them.

003a4123The good news was that Tom and Deb brought bridge luck with them.  We slid in behind Reel Deal and Las Brisas (neither of which are Loopers) and hit every bridge opening on the fly.  The 2 hours we’d budgeted for diddling around waiting for openings was completely unnecessary.

We went so fast that Dana—lounging on the bow with Deb—couldn’t take pictures of the huge mansions and huge boats lining the ICW.  She did catch the gymnastics exhibition on a sandbar though.**  And the enterprising dude at the same sandbar with a snack bar on pontoons.

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Approaching Fort Lauderdale, we started seeing container ships and cruise ships again.  We passed a Chiquita freighter just unloading.  Day-O.  We acknowledge that it probably wasn’t the same boat Harry Belafonte wrote that dumb banana boat song about, but it indeed was a banana boat.  Day-A-A-O.

A small yellow plane pulling a GEICO banner passed overhead.  Do those things work as advertising?  There wasn’t much reason to take a picture.  Anyway, a short time later a small yellow plane pulling a GEICO banner crashed into a condo tower.  True story.  We can’t guarantee that it was the same yellow plane, of course, but we never saw it again.  Thankfully the tragedy wasn’t worse.

As soon as we saw the south basin of Bahia Mar, it was obvious we’re even less significant than we were at the last place.

Not surprisingly they hid us in the poor section, across the tracks back by the fire station and the water taxis.

img_7096-1The Jungle Queen also loaded up tourists within easy earshot.  Reminded us of Jody, way back in Peterborough, Ontario.

Incidentally, there are exactly the same number of jungles around here as there are forts around here.  More south Florida fake news.  What’s not fake are the glorious floating concrete docks.  There should be a law requiring them in all marinas.

Tom and Deb will be here until Monday.  We’ll probably stay until Thursday.

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* But the man worthwhile is the man who can smile when his shorts are too tight in the seat.  Do the honors Pookie.

** Brent (of the boat formerly known as Second Wave) gets credit for spotting the pooping dog. We completely missed it.

Spring Break 2019 – Uggggghh

img_7135When we started reading about the Loop several years ago, nobody said anything about spring break along the Florida coast.  We once were young and did spring break so probably should’ve expected it, but that was long ago and we recall it as a peaceful and quiet thing.  None of this loud music and swarms of drunk kids lining the streets.  Not us.

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Apparently there’s a movie from 1960 involving spring break in Fort Lauderdale and it suggests that in fact loud and drunk kids have been around for awhile, although in 1960 neither of us was born yet so we can’t confirm the movie’s accuracy.  We also haven’t seen the movie—“Where the Boys Are”—but supposedly some iconic scenes involved the Elbo Room.

The Elbo Room still sits on the same corner.  Packed with kids, stinking of weed, and playing God-awful rap music.

Although some of the signs along the main drag advertise the art museum, it’s pretty doubtful more than perhaps a handful of the revelers care a whit about Renoir.  The signs on the other side of the posts probably are more relevant.  Practice safe sex people.

Perhaps an even more telling sign of the times was on the ground under the HIV warning.

img_7138One only can imagine what some poor kid had to tell his or her parents:  “I don’t know what happened Mom I swear.  One minute I’m happily smoking pot and listening to rap music at the Elbo Room, and the next thing I know I wake up naked and handcuffed to a bike rack with a Miss Piggy tattoo on my face.”

Fortunately that poor kid isn’t Mallory or Shannon.  Mallory is working at an animal sanctuary in Washington state and Shannon is diving to remove garbage from Bimini for spring break, rather than hanging out with degenerates at the beach.  We couldn’t be more proud.  (And yes, maybe on some level we’ve turned into crotchety old people, but we play pickleball and could go out to the hot clubs if only we’d brought the right clothes on the boat.)

img_7126As previously noted, we’re docked at Bahia Mar.  Lots of cool stuff to see right here in the marina.  This, for example, is a $25 million jet boat.

165 feet and cruises at 37 knots.  And it wasn’t even close in size to the big ones lined up around the corner.

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While we can’t compete on size of boat, we felt a tad superior anyway.  The fools on one of those mega-yachts were using a frayed dock line that looks like it could snap any minute.  Shameful.  Maybe even more shameful than waking up handcuffed to a bike rack.

Not all the interesting boats were big of course.  A sailboating couple with two girls under the age of four docked a few slips down.  By itself that’s not too interesting.  What’s interesting is the family sailboat’s figurehead.

One of us wanted to get one just like it, but Doug felt that although our two daughters are adults, carvings that objectify mermaids have no place on Misty Pearl so he said no.

Aimg_7132 couple of times a day FoxSea cruised past our slip.  We figure the dude piloting her either is a loser or a winner.  We’re not sure which.  Either he lost a bet, or he won a Mary Kay sales competition.  We wonder if the shirtless tub in the back appreciates the irony of the name just below where he’s sitting.

The good news is that the city kicks the kids off the beach at 5:30.  That left a nice window for us to walk on the sand, although we still had to dodge or pick up garbage that the kids left behind.

First with Tom and Deb before they headed back to the desert, then the next night by ourselves at sunset.

img_7161Yesterday we bumbled into Maerin, a 43-foot sister boat that has completed the Downeast Circle Loop.  We’re hoping for tips from their blog since that’s what we might do next.

We rode Lime scooters home.

We strolled up and down the avenue that’s known as A1A.*

Before he left, Tom goaded us into getting a GoPro.  Hopefully some fitting subjects are in our future.  We had dinner with Bert (Tyro), one of our earliest Looper buddies.  We played some pickleball and tonight had one more Bahia Mar sunset from the flybridge.

Tomorrow on to Delray.  We hope to hit the 9:15 opening at the first of eleven bridges.

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* We know, we know.  We’ve already used other lines from the same Buffett song.  Too bad.  It happens to fit.

We said hello to Marina del Rey . . .

img_7189Okay, no we didn’t.  Marina del Rey is in California.  We know that because we’ve ridden bikes through it.  But we did end the day at the Delray municipal marina in Delray Beach, so this is probably our only chance to work in that particular George Strait song.  We do like a good George Strait song, and that’s one of them.

Out of Lauderdale this morning at 9, just as planned.  Only one arm on the first bridge was working, but we slipped through without worries.

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The local school bus was delivering kids to school, or at least that’s what it looked like to us.

At the second bridge, a 130-foot dinner cruise ship—Catalina—almost ran up our butt.  Over the radio the Captain sounded like a New York wiseguy, however, and we had no interest in winding up like Tessio and Carlo, so we stood down and let him pass us.

Turned out to be a good thing, because he ended up as our fullback all day long.  We just tucked in behind and tried not to fumble.

Along the ICW today we learned a few things.  For example, iguanas have worked their way north to bridge fenders in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.

No matter where you are, people put couches in places that look stupid.

There are sports we can take up after we’re too old for pickleball.

Some people own boats that cost way more than their house.

Doug’s ability to land a drone on Misty Pearl’s deck isn’t all that special.

And apparently Deb and Tom don’t get credit for our run of good luck after all.  The Florida DOT has the bridges synchronized so that once you get through the first one it’s pretty clear cruising.

img_7190Orin from Green Eyes greeted us as we docked.  We’d never met in person, but we first saw their boat in Charlevoix and have seen them on Nebo along the way since.  Nice folks.  He and Sherry came over for a visit, after we visited the Silverball Museum, dedicated to the preservation of pinball machines.

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In human years, Benny’s getting somewhere between shuffleboard and gravestones.  We’ve been relegated to pushing him around in a stroller when he gets tired of walking.  He seems to like it.  Doug wants one for himself.

Anyway, the Delray Beach municipal marina is much more like the places we’ve come to love on the Loop.  Smallish.  Reasonably-sized boats.  Wooden splintery docks.  Poop bags for the boys.  A nice view of the neighborhood.  It fits us comfortably, like an old shoe.

Hey Palm Harbor, how about a little heads up?

When we pulled in to Delray Beach yesterday, we got busy exploring and forgot to put a red dot on our big pilothouse Loop map.  Which meant we didn’t put a number on the red dot missing from our big pilothouse Loop map.  Which meant we forgot to celebrate our 100th stop since leaving Washington D.C.

Delray Beach was a pretty awesome spot for an important milestone.  Because today the plan was to cruise only three hours or so, we had time for a leisurely breakfast and a walk to the beach.

img_7203Now this is our kind of beach.  No rap music.  No marijuana hanging in the air.  No garbage.  None of those pesky kids.  Just clean white sand and coordinated umbrellas in a pleasing shade of blue stretching to the horizon.   Some of this even was codified.

We understand outlawing ballgames and some of the other stuff, but the “no pet” thing brought flashbacks of those those miserable slobs at Half Moon Bay.   Because Delray Beach is such a nice town, however, we’re pretty sure that if the city council members knew Oscar and Benny they would’ve included an exception.

Even this stretch of A1A was pleasant.

Then off to the north again.

Since we’ve been Looping we’ve seen bridge houses and lock houses of all shapes and sizes and conditions.  The bridge tender at Ocean Boulevard works in one of the coolest.  They looks like the kind of towers where an evil king might imprison his daughter for having the temerity to fall in love with a common bridgekeeper.

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As we approached West Palm Beach, another tower loomed off to the side.  It looks like the kind of tower where an evil resort owner might position Marine snipers with orders to mow down anyone who has the temerity to say something unflattering about the size of his, um, “tower.”

The common wisdom is to stay put on weekends in Florida in order to avoid the crazy boaters.  Fridays aren’t too bad, but as time passed today more and more folks came out to enjoy the day and to give the state law enforcement guys some action.

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They take their no-wake zones seriously around here, although we got off yesterday with just a warning.  (In our defense we were desperate to catch the next bridge and we go too slow to make up any lost time.  Plus our cruising speed basically is what would be considered a no-wake speed for most boats.)

Anyway, we got our slip assignment just outside Palm Harbor.  Palm Harbor has a great website with a map of  numbered slips.  We’ve noted before that this also should be required by law.  We pulled up the map and found A209.  Hang a left, nice easy shot down the last fairway, then slide right in.

What the map doesn’t show is the huge breakwater protecting the nice boats in the marina.  THAT’S BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE.   And exactly no place on the glossy website did anyone bother to mention what felt like a 10-knot current ripping perpendicular to the A-B fairway.*  Perhaps we’ve had a more harrowing docking experience, but when we later discussed it at lunch nothing came to mind.  At one point in the process Dana helplessly closed her eyes and waited for the certain crunch that only sheer luck prevented.  But we’re in.

We have some basics—like Little Debbies—aboard Misty Pearl, but we’re not sure we’re provisioned enough to last in West Palm Beach through the weekend.  Supposedly the restaurants around here are quite persnickety.  Doug’s Big Orange windbreaker with the Power T obviously would make a more-than-acceptable dinner jacket but Dana foolishly failed to bring along anything that reasonably might serve as a cocktail dress, so we might be screwed.

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* Yes, we probably should’ve recognized that there wasn’t protection from the fast current we’d been riding along the way, but we’re really not much into self-recriminations.

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider

Saturday in West Palm Beach means the Green Market.  Yum.  We loaded up with deliciousness for later.

Sunday was the day for exploring.  We had a list.  First up, the Downton Abbey exhibition.  We admit it’s lame to go look at stuff from a TV show that’s been canceled, but despite Lady Mary’s unexpected trampiness and the unacceptably untimely death of Lady Sybil and Cousin Matthew, we decided to go.  As far as the lobby.  Because tickets were $35 each.  So we got to see a model of Downton and some costumes, but at least it was well worth the nothing we paid.

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The murals around town are plentiful, and because they’re free we enjoyed them immensely.  On the walk back to the taco place we passed our favorite.

At the taco place Dana spotted a couple who looked just like Jeff and Terri from Change of Pace.  Wait a second.  It WAS Jeff and Terri.  And Marshall and Judy (Let’s Go).  We last saw Let’s Go at Green Turtle Bay.  Now they’re all off to the Bahamas.  Safe travels.

As we crossed the bridge towards the beach, Misty Pearl sat in her slip pretending like getting in there was easy.

Next on the list?  The Flagler Museum.  This Flagler guy was a big deal around Florida.  The museum used to be his house.

It actually was pretty cool.  Most of the stuff was over the top, of course, but Doug did decide that our next house simply must have a drawing room.

Dana walked down the grand staircase like Daphne after Daphne discovered that Harry Bright Dashwood was her father but before she went bad and ended up in a rehab place for “mental patients.”  Our bet is that it was the first time—ever—that someone walked down the grand staircase in a Bobby’s Fish Camp t-shirt, although Bobby’s does have the self-proclaimed “Best Catfish in The South.”

img_7225Finally, a quick walk down to the beach.  It’s an okay beach but nothing like Delray.

We missed the sunset last night because we were watching Justified.  Plus—being from Arizona and all—the whole time-change thing confused us.  Thanks to that time change, however, this morning we were up to watch the sunrise as we prepped to get underway.

As seems to be the case every day we travel, we passed some interesting stuff on the cruise up to Stuart.  For instance, we saw a $10 million boat being towed by a $10,000 boat.

003A4193That friends is why you should change your fuel filter regularly.   But seriously.  The big boat probably has four huge engines and redundancy across the board.  Hard to figure out what could have crippled it unless terrorists were involved.

At the north end of Lake Worth is the marina where Tiger Woods keeps Privacy, which at 150-feet is about average for the boats around here.  Unfortunately we had to make a hard left on the ICW and would’ve had to wait a long time for the next bridge opening if we’d gone to rubberneck.  Anyway, it’s right behind these buildings, unless it isn’t.

003A4218Tiger Woods’ house is in Jupiter.  Not the house in Windermere that Elin got in the settlement, but the other one.  Here it is, concealed by the trees.  Don’t celebrities know that it’s rude to hide the stuff that gawkers want to see?

Know what else is in Jupiter?  The Orchids of Asia Day Spa.  We didn’t stop by, of course, because we aren’t that kind of people.  People like Robert Kraft, that is.  We’ve no idea why it didn’t occur to the billionaire owner of an NFL franchise—albeit the cheatingest franchise in all of sports—to follow Tiger’s lead and just pick up a desperate Perkins waitress for a parking lot quickie.*

There aren’t many lighthouses to be seen along the ICW for obvious reasons, but we did spot one today.

It’s actually one of the prettier ones.  Our friend Erin recently informed us that Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state.  She’s from Michigan, of course, so thinks that’s a bigger deal than it really is, although we do find them dang cool.  And we admit that we enjoyed climbing up a few of those cool ones ones on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We also hit a stretch of the ICW that strangely reminded us of Canadian canals, but with more mangroves.

Immediately upon docking we spotted a gray American Tug that looked very familiar.

How’s this for crazy?  Before we settled on Misty Pearl, we visited the American Tug factory in La Conner, Washington.  We got to climb aboard a gray boat that was awaiting final touches outside on the deck.  Yup, same boat.  It gets even weirder.  While inside the factory we saw the freshly-painted hull of a green boat that at the time lacked innerds.  That boat coincidentally just left here.

Tomorrow we’ll explore Stuart.

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* When they were little, the girls used to think the line that titles this post was quite funny.  Robert Kraft probably would find it even less funny than we did.