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Slow Progress in the Intracoastal Waterway

 Location: North Palm Beach, Florida


After 16 hours of travel Thursday, we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale just at dark and docked at Pier 66 Marina amidst megayachts from all over the world. Little Steel Magnolia stood out from the crowd and made us proud to be aboard her.

Friday was a layover for much-needed repairs and maintenance. Having John Fortenberry and Judy aboard is proving to be a blessing, not only for the delivery help, but for the enormous amount of help they each provide in maintaining, provisioning and keeping the boat in good order. John and I headed out early Friday to West Marine, the NAPA store and the hardware store. We then spent the day on maintenance work while Judy headed out to the grocery to reprovision for the remainder of the trip. We changed oil in the generator and main engine. John took on a huge number of minor repairs getting the forward toilet working properly, fixing my bathroom vent fan, etc. etc. etc. Virtually everything on my list of problems is now solved.

After Mexican food for dinner, we turned in and got away this morning just after 8 am after turning in the rental car. Seas are rough on the outside so we were forced to follow the intracoastal waterway north. The area is full of extraordinarily rude fast powerboat owners who never think of the havoc caused by their wakes. There are drawbridges every few miles, all on a schedule requiring long waits. By 4 pm we had only covered some 45 miles to North Palm Beach. We stopped for fuel and decided to go ahead and spend the night at the marina here. 

We plan to get an early start tomorrow at around 6 am and, now that the worst of the bridges and traffic are behind us, we’re hoping to cover 70 to 80 miles tomorrow up to the Melbourne area. Unfortunately, the forecasts call for high winds and seas for several days, forcing us to stay inside on the waterway and slowing our progress considerably. Still, we’re only 245 miles from the Georgia border where my insurance company wants the boat before June 1 (hurricane season). It’s looking like we’ll make it easily, despite all the delays.

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