Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just like downtown

We are safely tied up at the Fort Lauderdale Downtown City Docks (map).  The docks line both sides of the river for several blocks and across three bascule bridges; I requested a spot east of the first bridge so we would not have to contend with any openings.  We're on the north bank, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Las Olas street.  I spun the boat around for a port-side tie and we put a scooter on the ground shortly after arriving.  Louise has already posted a few photos of our new digs.

En route from the anchorage yesterday we first stopped at our old friend, the Las Olas Marina, to use their pumpout.  All the T-heads were taken so I had to actually maneuver back into an inside slip first, but we went bow-in so it was fairly straightforward.  As a city facility, the pumpout is actually available free of charge to the public, but they don't have an easy-access dock for it.  The pumpouts here at the Downtown Docks are on the south bank, and there was not enough depth for us there when we arrived at low tide.

This is a great spot, with easy access to downtown, a Publix grocery store, and several transit options.  The price is right, too (for Fort Lauderdale, anyway), at about $1.40 a foot after discounts, including power, for a boat our size.  Next time we come through we might spend a few nights here and take in some of the local flavor.

On this visit our real objective was to get fuel and water, charge our batteries, and get me to Palm Beach for my eye doctor appointment today.  As I type, I am sitting on the Tri-Rail train heading north, after a free shuttle ride from downtown, just a block from our slip.  Louise will be joining me in Palm Beach on a later train, and Martin and Steph are driving down from Stuart to meet us for dinner.

We took two nights at the dock, and tomorrow morning we will move the boat a few hundred feet downriver to the designated fueling area on the south bank.  The fuel truck will meet us there to supply us with 300 gallons of diesel.  The price when I spoke to them yesterday was $3.45 per gallon, plus 6% sales tax -- the best I found anywhere from Fort Lauderdale to Miami.  We still have about 500 gallons aboard, but finding a place to get a truck to the boat is challenging so we're fueling now while we have the opportunity.

Last night we walked across the river to the Downtowner Saloon and ate outside, right on the water.  It's a real casual joint popular with the locals, a far cry from the uber-trendy places along Las Olas.  We both had burgers almost too large to finish.  We walked along the south bank for a ways on our way back -- lots of 90-130' yachts tied up along that stretch.

This morning we took advantage of having wheels to pick up a new BCD for Louise along with some dive weights, and once we get the regulator I just bought serviced, we'll have everything we need to go diving except the tanks.  We'll try to get in an instructional refresher dive in the next few weeks, so we will be ready to dive with our friends when they get underway (they have extra tanks and a compressor to fill them).  Louise is doing the grocery shopping now while the scooter is still on the ground.

After we fuel up tomorrow we will head south from Fort Lauderdale along the ICW.  I'm not sure how far we will get, which will depend in part on how long fueling takes.  We will most likely be anchored at one of the handful of spots on the way to Miami.

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