(Brooding, sexy photo of 11 Purple Monkeys)
November 2015 – February 2016
Well, here we are… coming up on nearly three months on this adventure. There are some links within this post with more details on the places we stayed, in case you missed the original post.
We started out in West Palm, FL at Riviera Beach. Our boat was moored at Palm Beach Sailing Club for several months while we packed up our house and made arrangements to move aboard. You might be able to see a tiny green arrow in the photo above… and that is pointed at our very far away boat! That was our daily dinghy ride for the first week!
Pros: Inexpensive, safe (our boat was moored there for 4 months while we were in Oklahoma prepping to leave and nothing appeared to be missing/tampered with when we arrived.) There was a Family Dollar, Walgreens, KFC, liquor store and gas station within a very short walking distance. The showers and bathrooms were a bit of a walk/dinghy ride for us, but they were very nice, in good working order and clean.
Cons: Eh… I don’t think I have any. Other than the fact that when we left we had a LOT of bridges to go through, this place was just what we needed.
We arrived at the end of November with all of our belongings and a broken down van that ended up costing us a ridiculous amount of money. Between repairs, rental cars that we weren’t expecting to need and the loss we had to take when we sold her, that drained an almost $10,000.00 out of our budget that we hadn’t planned to spend. We knew that there would be unexpected costs that came up with the BOAT, but we weren’t expecting to have to blow that much because of van-transportation issues! (Very Costly Issue #1) At least she got us to Florida before she gave up the ghost!
As they say, a cruiser’s plans are written in sand, but our original plan was to move our stuff aboard, sell the trailer and take the boat pretty immediately down to Key Largo and do a haul out to do the bottom paint and engine repairs. We wanted to get as much done as possible in one fell swoop, because boat yards and marinas are EXPENSIVE. Our new little floating home had other ideas.
Thankfully, the night before we decided to really take off and go, Patrick listened to my wise suggestion and bought a membership with TowBoatUS. That little act right there came in handy way too soon. Our engine quit on us 24 hours later and we had to be towed for almost 5 hours to a marina for repairs. (Very Costly Issue #2)
We spent over two weeks at Lauderdale Marine Center taking care of engine repairs that also weren’t cheap. TowBoatUS came in handy in helping us get OUT of the narrow channels as well, they were great!
We finally got out of there in time to pick up our son Kainan and his girlfriend Kara for their Christmas break visit. We stopped by Islamoralda, FL for some time with GORGEOUS water, snorkeling and fun…
We eventually ended up in Marathon City Marina. Much more our speed, MUCH nicer people.
After that we went to Rodriguez Key, where we took a closer look at the bottom of the boat and discovered (ACK!) bare freaking wood on our main hull and thus necessitated a haul out, more repairs and new bottom paint at Catamaran Boat Yard. (Very Costly Issue #2) We were finally to our PLANNED expense of a haul out and bottom paint, but now we were doing it at the end of our budget, instead of the beginning.
After that, we were feeling the pinch in our bank account. We arranged to sell our cars back in Oklahoma sooner rather than later, since by this point, we were pretty determined to make this boat thing work. One way or another, especially after a visit to Molasses Reef on a nice calm day.
Eventually, everything came together. We got our provisioning done and bought what we hoped was enough food for all of us for 3 months. We were ready to go, as soon as the weather window opened up.
Our boat was packed to the gills with food and provisions, we were full up on water and diesel and just waiting when we had a routine visit and inspection by the Florida Water Commission & Local Sheriff’s Department.
And FINALLY, on February 16th, we left for our first crossing to the Bahamas.