Delivering letters to Santa at Macys – very important!
Eleanor helping with the painting watched by her OCD mother. Not painful at all…..
Hannah earning some pocket money.
Stocking up supplies.
The Watermaker – drilling a hole in the side of the boat with a little help from the girls.
Eleanor steadying the dinghy.
Stewart on the receiving end.
1 x shiny new watermaker.
Solar panels finally fitted at the stern.
Wiring in the solar panels.
Eleanor using her ship’s knife – she is extremely pleased with it.
Hannah trying out the floating dock.
The girls practising with their rods.
We are almost ready for the off. Most importantly the letters have been delivered to Santa! The watermaker was fitted about a week ago. Because we needed to get into blue water to save the watermaker from the dirt of the inland waterways we had to wait until yesterday when our friendly and excellent Spectre rep, JT, was free to commission it and to be given our instructions on how to operate it. On/Off, remember to flush it after ever use and change the filter monthly. How quickly can we balls that simple an instruction? Start the book someone!
The framework for the solar panels was finally fitted this week after an awful lot of faffing around by the metal company we went with. They have done a lovely job but did it really need to take a near month from flash to bang? No idea how they make a profit. Watching them fit it (three of them all gabbering away in Spanish – one doing all the work and the others giving helpful suggestions) was initially amusing. Once we’d had to help worker bee with a towel dry and antiseptic to clear the cuts he got from the oysters not once but twice having dropped vital parts overboard and had to dive for them, Stewart started to get a little frustrated. In the end it took 6 hrs to fit a two part frame and two solar panels on to the davits – but all done with a smile. Stewart has been wiring those in to the batteries with a little help from the girls. Small hands (and bodies) help when trying to feed wire through the guts of the boat.
I have continued to stock up on provisions as the Caribbean islands tend to be more expensive than the US. We are working on having three months worth of basic provisions and we will top up with fresh as and when we can. I have spent the last week or so doing daily trips to the supermarket working my way down my shopping list by category. I look as if I am planning for some sort of apocalypse, as I fill my trolley with dozens and dozens of canned veg or with pounds of rice and pasta. I have had some strange looks but mostly people are genuinely interested in what we are doing.
We will hopefully be supplementing all we have stocked up with by eating a LOT of fish on our travels. Stewart has bought two very nice fishing rods and the girls also have one each – no surprise that Hannah’s is pink! They have been practising casting off the boat which occasionally requires Stewart to untangle lines caught on chain, next door yacht, a wooden post (God knows how) but thankfully not each other yet. No fishy catches to report as yet.
The bridge of the inner waterway lifting
Under the bridge
A nice little pad…..
….with a mooring for the nice ‘little’ cruiser
Not sure what is bigger – the house or the boat!
‘Cakewalk’ – for sale if you have a spare $150M
One of the issues we have had the last couple of weeks is that whilst we have had the main down and tarted up, trying to get the full sail fibreglass pole battens back in has proved to be an impossibility with just the two of us. Slightly restricting. However, needs must and with the waste tanks getting a little full, we needed either to get to a pump out station or have a quick trip out beyond the 3 mile limit, a legal necessity if you are clearing out.
On the basis that time wise it was one or the same, we decided that we would go out, at least use the time to check out engines, genset and a host of other bits and pieces.
We ran down the inner waterways, past Las Olas Bridge and then through 17th St Causeway. Both are timed raises and the 15 minutes between bridge raises turned out to be about 5mins too much for us so we had the chance to wander about in the last basin looking at some of the magnificence/extravagance on show. Two boats stood out
http://www.teamp2.net/ which past us coming back in from charter
and then http://www.burgessyachts.com/en/sale-purchase-category/yachts-for-sale/motor-yachts/cakewalk-00005340.html . Currently on sale for the small sum of $148m!!
There were plenty more. God knows how much money there is tied up here in Ft Lauderdale but the figure must be enormous.
Once we were out we had an uneventful trip until having done the necessary, on being asked to turn Skylark for home, Lou announced she couldn’t turn the wheel. After a few minutes of “oh shit…”, a look under both hulls looking for the seemingly inevitable rope jamming the rudders (finding nothing – used the GoPro properly for the first time – magnificent!) we found to our embarrassment that the autohelm had been knocked on at some point. A couple of red faces later and we headed for home, smelling somewhat better than we had in the morning.
Ready to go
Members of Troop 11110 who took us under their wing
Hannah and Emma
Mia (a Girl Scout) with Eleanor and Hannah
Learning all about Bees
Learning about pollen (or fizzing candy!)
The international nature of the Girl Guiding movement offers us an amazing opportunity to tap into a social circle for the girls. Eleanor has been a Brownie for nearly two years and Hannah was enrolled the week before we left into the 2nd Andover Brownies pack. On arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Stewart was tasked to find the local Brownie troop – with 20,000 Girl Scouts in South East Florida, this was not going to be easy. With the sheer number of troops, it is hard to pinpoint where and how often troops meet.
Fortunately we managed to get hold of the regional coordinator. Even more fortuitously they were holding an event that Friday where 120 Girl Scouts were coming together from across the region to learn all about bees. She kindly allowed us to come along, even though the event was fully subscribed.
The girls had a great evening moving round six stands doing a variety of craft, tasting and learning. Troop 11110, headed up by Marjory and Crystal, befriended us and took us under their wing. They were so friendly and the girls were really interested about British Brownies. We are really hoping to be able to make it along to their next meeting on 18 Nov.
Check out that hat
Louise’s idea of a perfect US breakfast
Swimming pool on one side. Alligators on the other
H already exhibiting all the trademark characteristics of an Ape.
Great time with the Tuckers
On the Hogwart’s Express.
Thankfully these already in the flat….
It had to happen. Starting the boat trip from Florida? 100 miles from Disney World? A bit of time before we could safely head off after the Hurricane season came to an end?
No way was I going to get out of it. We have been here 6 days now and I have to admit, I’m even enjoying the experience although I am being allowed to get in some of the better rides.
It has been great to meet up with the Tuckers, friends from home who are out on holiday here. The girls, both young and old, have been v happy to catch up and me as I got all the courtesy flags from Steve who was kind enough to bring them out from the UK for me. Saved me a fortune.
What we have found out:
E and H are both speed junkies in the making; Lou definitely isn’t (although in her defence she has managed most of the rides without screaming too much….)
H IS 48″ tall. Well, at least when she stands tall and perhaps, just perhaps, stands on her tiptoes. Only one of the Disney Cast members has picked her up so far.
Typhoon Lagoon (with the worlds biggest wave pool) is brilliant; Blizzard Beach less so.
Harry Potter Land is v well done. However, the Butterbeer as sold in Disney is truly, truly repulsive. Doesn’t seem to stop small children from enjoying it simply because it is called Butterbeer. See photo of H throwing it back.