Our Final Trip

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Boats in “alley” off the ICW in South Florida

We got to Lauderdale Marine Center from Lantana in a day. It was easier than I anticipated to wait for the bridges. The weather at the time precluded running outside in any case. Our next trip, in a few months, will take us to the Bahamas. Running outside will be necessary for that. We’ll just have to wait for the right weather.

We left Lantana on Sunday the 20th and headed south on the ICW. The south Florida east coast is all hotels, condos and houses with the occasional bridge and office building. We avoided any severe waits at the few hourly bridges and got to the mouth of the New River a bit after noon.

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Homes along another alley off the ICW

Before going up the river we took a detour a mile to the south to travel through the Everglades Cruise Port, which must be the largest in the world. To get there we had to pass under the 17th St. drawbridge. This is 55 feet high closed, but commercial ships taller than that were waiting to get through so we had to squeeze around them to the side. Sunday is a big day for ending and starting cruises, so about eight ships were in the port. The largest we saw was the Royal Princess.

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17th St. Bridge with cruise port beyond. For those of you familiar with our former hometown of Coeur d’Alene, ID, Hagadone’s Lady Lola is white yacht at right, just to the right of the yellow water taxi.

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The Royal Princess was the largest ship we saw.

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Everglades Cruise Port in Ft Lauderdale

We returned north and started up the New River. This flows east through downtown Ft Lauderdale. A number of boatyards catering to superyachts are located beyond downtown, so there is more traffic for its size on this river than you would expect. Boats larger than about 100 feet are moved by “tugs”. One small boat with big outboards pulling at the front and another applying tension to a line off the rear. I think these big ones only move against the tide flow, so all go only one way at any given time. It would get interesting if two of these met just about anywhere on the New River. Boats our size just get out of the way when we see the big ones coming.

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Downtown Ft Lauderdale from the New River. Not much room here.

Water taxis and sightseeing boats, some 3 decks high, also move along this river. There are three or four drawbridges, but we just barely squeezed under all of them. This last day was one of the most scenic on the trip.

When we finally reached our goal it was Sunday and no one was around. We finally reached a security guard who said to come in and take any bare spot we could find along a dock. Funny way to arrive at a place like this. They call this the largest boatyard in the world. There are larger places for commercial vessels but they are called shipyards.

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