Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ft. Lauderdale

After 5 days at the Sands Resort and Marina, it was time to move on.  Rhonda did some investigating and found a nice new option for us. Heading south down the ICW, we were greeted by this reminder.

A few miles later, the New River branches off of the ICW and runs several miles west through some beautiful homes, downtown Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), and on to a large area of marine service facilities. The first part of the river has some fantastic homes.  Rhonda loved this one with the gazebo.

Some still had their Christmas decorations out.

The city runs 2 docking areas in the downtown stretch close to Las Olas, FLL Historical Society, the Science Museum, IMAX, The Center for Performing Arts, and lots of glitzy shops and restaurants.  Here's a distant shot of the city as we are approaching the area.

The New River in this area is more like a narrow concrete-walled canal and several signs in the area designated this area as "Venice in Ft. Lauderdale."  And here's a gondola for hire to prove it!

We followed 2 larger boats all the way to our slip (larger boats is quite an understatement - "Invicta" was 120 feet!).  This is such a crowded stretch with huge boats moving through constantly, you don't even have to contact the bridge tenders for openings - they just stop vehicle traffic as the the boat traffic demands.

I had asked the city dock folks to give me some pointers on finding our slip.  The guy said "You'll be next to Chosen One."  I asked for some detail on it and he said, "Don't worry, you can't miss it."  He was right, here she is.

And the strangest thing here - they have several young men and women, all dressed alike in little uniforms, constantly working, shining, and polishing on this boat.  It must be a service the city provides and I keep waiting on them to get to ours, but so far they haven't made it!  Hey, we are perfectly content with our relatively small 44-footer, cleaning and maintaining her ourselves, and here she is positioned behind "Chosen One" with some of the other "regular" folks.

Here are a couple of shots from the historical area.

And the condos of course.

Here's a stark contrast between the historical and the new.

A view of the canal from one of the bridges overhead.

I just happened to see a couple of iguanas on this platform while out on a morning bike ride.  The second one is around the corner.  Probably "pets" that got away or were released after the novelty wore off.

There are small park areas galore.  You never know what your "backyard" will look like when you dock at a new location but it will be hard to beat this one.  All of the locations you see in this post are walking distance or a short bike ride away.  The winding river/canal and all the sights you see here are quite a stunning combination - definitely one of the favorites of our trip thus far.

These are for our granddaughter Alexis - she loves elephants.

And the baby Dumbo.

Rhonda likes the large tour boats coming through the bridge just downstream from us.

And the highlight of the day - Scott and Rachel are in town for a few days.  Scott flew his company folks into Miami for the BCS championship game, so he gets to sightsee while they enjoy the Orange Bowl.  We went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

Tomorrow - gators and Biscayne Bay.

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