This was absolutely one of the places I have been wanting to visit while here in Florida. My mission was to spot an alligator in the wild. Everglades National Park is HUGE– it takes up most of south Florida. After a bit of research I learned that one of the best trails to view alligators was about 45 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale. So after our overnight in South Beach we drove inland to an entrance to the everglades. The trail we followed is called Anhinga, named after a swimming bird that populates the area. In the slideshow, keep a watchful eye for the gator pics. I can tell you that they were so close to the trail we could have reached out and pet them. At one point, I was crouching down on the trail taking a photo of an alligator from behind when another tourist came up to me and told me that there was another alligator right behind me. As I slowly turned around I realized he was inches from my behind! In the slideshow, that particular alligator is the one with only his eyes and head peeking out. Nevertheless, I got my behind out of there! Also, enjoy the video footage of an Anhinga in action. This Anhinga was delightful spearing fish with it’s beak and then tossing the fish in the air and swallowing them whole. We tried to get the whole action on video, but what you’ll mostly see is the Anhinga swallowing his meal. Enjoy!
We had a brief photo op at the beach today with Hurricane Sandy 150 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.
Then, we tied up the boat really well, which is docked in a protected canal only a quarter mile from the ocean, and high tailed it about 10 miles inland to stay the night at a Holiday Inn Express. One of the six computer models I looked at for Sandy’s trajectory showed her making a sharp turn straight west and slamming into Fort Lauderdale.
Better safe than sorry.
Things to do when you are on the sailboat
When you are on a sailboat you can do lots of fun things. You can sail so you save the fuel. Fishing is a fun thing to do on a sailboat. TV is not needed on a sailboat because you can just use a computer. Have you lived on a sailboat?
We took three days to travel around South Florida last week because we were all starting to get a little antsy around the boat. We’ve never been to Miami, so we spent one night in South Beach, which is about a 25-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale. We stayed in the historic Art Deco District (boasting a high concentration of 1920s-1930s architecture) and stayed in the historic National Hotel that was built in 1936. In the slideshow you’ll see the breathe-taking pool area. Just beyond the pool area is private access to the beach. Pay attention to the slide that shows you a snapshot of the back of the hotel — all boarded up and broken down looking. The hotel is undergoing a major renovation and that’s how we got such a great rate! The stench in the room was distinctly moldy smelling. We could not have spent more than one night there! We also ate at a restaurant in the historic Spanish Village where Latin restaurants line a bustling alleyway. Hostesses stand in the alleyway in front of the eateries greeting passersby and waving menus in attempts to get your dinner business. We enjoyed some authentic Cuban cuisine at Havana 1957, a full-service restaurant open 24 hours a day — like many of the businesses in South Beach.
Here we are watching the second presidential debate from the salon of our boat. We decided not to have a tv on the boat, but we did bring two computers. We watched the debate last night on Yahoo!/ABC News live stream. It was seamless quality. We also have indulged in watching Shark Tank with an ATT U-verse account and that worked well too. I won’t go into who I believe won the debate…
We’ve been talking a lot about the work we’ve had done on the boat before moving aboard. Here’s what it looked like the day before we moved aboard.
You’ll see new floors installed in what is called the “engine room passageway.” The old floors were crumbling because of water damage. Also you’ll see Kevin overseeing some work done by a contractor, David. This poor ol’ chap first started working on our boat days after we closed on it. On his first day, he was standing on some scaffolding around the boat while it was in the shipyard and he fell and broke his leg — he needed surgery to have a steel rod embedded. That happened back in June. He’s doing well now and walking with a bit of a limp.
Two boats down from us is a lovely family living on a motor vessel called Felicity. They have been living on and off boats since their 9-year-old daughter, Gia, was 3 years old. Madeline, Zach and Gia have struck up a very nice friendship! Pictured here are Madeline and Gia swimming at Casa Del Sol, like they have on most days.