Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Land of Canals

Spook went swimming yesterday morning first thing, not by choice but by a mistimed jump from the boat to the bulkhead. Have I ever mentioned Spook does not like to swim? She can, and does so very well, but it is definitely not high on her list of things to do. So there she was, swimming around the boat, trying to get up on the seawall, which was 6 feet of concrete, looking very concerned and panicked. I had to hop into the dinghy, paddle around, and with one hand around her tail and one hand in her collar, haul her into the dinghy. Very wet, very unhappy dog.

After her brief adventure, and a good walk in downtown Ft Lauderdale, I made coffee and waited until 9 for the 3rd Avenue bridge to open. It was a bit tricky getting off the bulkhead with the current running and the location I was moored at - the bridge fender ahead of me and a tree that had branches overhanging the canal behind me - but I got under way and started to wind down and around to where Sven und Gabi were. It took about an hour to get there, they are way up the New River at a boatyard, but it was a very scenic trip. I saw lots of beautiful and interesting boats, and some incredible houses. There are canals cut off the river everywhere, seems like everyone here wants to live on the water, and has a boat of some type.

There was also a lot of interesting wildlife - I saw my first manatee, one of many I would see throughout the day, a bull shark, I heard quite a few parrots, and saw many many feral iguanas. A friend of mine once sent me an email describing how the feral iguanas, adversly affected by the cold snap here, were falling out of trees in a state of suspended animation. It seems that when they are that cold they basicly shut down and start to hibernate, and so here were all these frozen iguanas falling out of trees. Very funny if you are a person observing it, not very funny if you are a frozen iguana.

I got up to the boat yard and moored on a bulkhead across from Sven's boat, and rowed in to see them. I spent the day helping Sven out, and enjoying the warm weather. Yesterday started out very mild, and then got quite warm. I think it topped out around 80 degrees, and it was no time before I was in shorts and a t shirt, and then just shorts. Who knows, maybe I will be able to get a bit of a tan.

Later in the day Sven and his father, Claus, and I went looking to see if we could find a dock for me to tie up at, as alot of the properties around here have empty docks. We had a bit of luck finding availible places, but, everyone of them wanted to charge me 30 or 40 dollars a night to tie up. In the end, I anchored in the basin of an abandoned marina just off of the boatyard, good deep water, out of the channel, and lots and lots of manatees. We must have seen 8 of them as we got Arden anchored. Manatees are huge. The ones we saw were all 8 feet or longer, massive in girth, and every one of them had scars on their backs from boat propellers. You might think that manatees are slow moving creatures, I certainly did, but they are not, they are pretty agile for as large as they are, and they can swim very fast. What gets the manatees into trouble with boats is that they lay right under the surface, and kind of float there lazily. If you come along in a boat slowly they dive away, but I can see where they would get overtaken by a fast moving boat and get run over.

Sven has been marketing me quite actively, there is a fellow here on a boat that Sven almost bought, that needs help getting his boat squared away and ready to go. There are alot of unfinished projects from another technician that need to be completed, and there is plenty of work, a few weeks worth I think, on that one boat alone. There is also the possibility of crewing on a 105 foot mega yacht sloop - we will see how that develops, but if it did, the money would be incredible, and the adventure would be as well. So who knows. Looks like I may be making a bit of money, just in time for the trip back north.

1 comment:

efmclean said...

how did you get that snap of Arden from high up - nice shot...