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Brian, holding a Jack that he caught and ultimately threw back – Jack isn’t much for eating

Anchored just south of Peanut Island in West Palm Beach at daybreak, we felt like the last kids picked for dodgeball as we watched every boat around us raise anchor. A weather window for safe passage across the Gulf Stream had opened, and for these boats, the time was right for sailing to the Bahamas. Our hearts ached to join them, but our prep wasn’t quite complete. We headed south to Ft. Lauderdale instead, where a reservation for two nights at the Las Olas Marina awaited us.

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Dinghy dogs hanging out at anchor in North Palm Beach

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Dinner aboard Nightingale Tune in North Palm Beach with Bo and Allison from s/v Selah before their passage to the Bahamas (they plan to sail around the world!). We’d been talking to these two via Facebook and text messages for months and couldn’t wait to meet them in person. In addition to owning a Brewer 42 (sister boat to our Whitby 42), we found lots of common ground with non-boaty stuff as well. I can’t wait to see them again in the Bahamas!

Missing that window made us get serious about knocking out final errands, as we’re determined not to let the next one pass us by. Outfitted with a tiny Fiat, the only car left for rent in all of Ft. Lauderdale, we checked things off our list and tested the limits of how much that clown car could hold. Nico went to the vet to get his papers for customs clearance (he behaved himself this time), then we picked up extra tools for boat repairs, re-upped food supplies, and bought an embarrassing amount of wine, beer, and mixers (for six months – I swear!). Between that and five loads of laundry, we filled the entire day and didn’t do half of what we’d hoped to finish on the boat. There’s just never enough time.

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Seasoned Bahamas cruisers told us that beer goes for $50 for a case of 12 cans. We decided to spare the cruising kitty by stocking up Stateside.

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No land trip is ever complete without a trip to the Home Depot. The tool collection has overtaken most storage on the boat.

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We checked out the boardwalk and stopped at The Elbo Room, which is famous for being a prominent backdrop in the movie Where the Boys Are.

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Rico Rally reunion in Ft. Lauderdale – Justin, Jon, me, Brian

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Rough motor to Miami with big chop and wind on the nose

The best part of Ft. Lauderdale by far was our reunion with Justin and Jon – the Rico Rally is back together again! Together, we endured a very uncomfortable motor down the coast with the wind on the nose, pounding into the waves all five hours of the trip, outrunning a cold front forecasted to hit tomorrow afternoon. The weather won’t clear for any of us until Monday at the earliest, so we’re holed up and rafted together in Miami to make the most of this unexpected time together.