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Delray—Dancing, Manatees, and Cousin Richard

One of our goals for this ICW trip was to visit with Allen’s first cousin on his dad’s side of the family, Richard Sorian. Richard drove to meet us at the Delray Marina off the ICW in the heart of Delray, a real beach town with lots of life, restaurants, and vigor. Allen and I enjoyed lunch, checking out family histories (emphasis on stories), touring a wonderful art gallery with Richard who recently left Washington, DC to live in the Ft Lauderdale area. 

Cousin Richard is a thoughtful, smart, and politically savvy person who looked wonderful having recently retired.  He bought a lovely home in Ft. Lauderdale and is enjoying the lack of stress from his previous work life in DC. He has taken up painting and finds himself experimenting with abstract impressionism.  It was such a pleasure to spend time with him. We can’t wait to see his new home as Richard is quite the connoisseur in home decoration. He is an artist in many ways!

We planned to spend just one night in Delray but decided to stay two more nights to wait out the strong winds (up to 40 knots) expected. Yes, it did blow, but we felt safe and comfortable at the marina and truly enjoyed Delray. One night we just took a walk since we had spent most of the day cleaning the boat and doing three loads of laundry.  Allen worked on the outside, and I worked on the inside of the boat. Dust settles everywhere!!  The best part about the walk was going to The Tin Roof where we danced with about 100 other people our age bracket to songs sung by three hip songsters—some blues, rock ‘n roll, disco, etc. Everyone was dancing and drinking and eating, and we had a ball!  (Wish I dressed for the dancing, but we had fun anyway.

True to form, Allen complained about the lack of buskers playing music on the side streets. Nevertheless, we had a great night at The Roof.

To top off the day with Richard, Allen and I spotted 3 manatees in the ICW.  We did not have time to grab our cameras, but we saw the manatee family for a minute, and it was joyous to see the family group before they went below to eat the sea grass for dinner. 

After Delray we moved onto Fort Lauderdale. Wow, what an insane place that is by water! Sorry we did not get any photos because we were too busy boat handling with the mix of Superyachts, down to pontoon boats everywhere. We went up the New River to the Fort Lauderdale Public marina. The New River is very narrow but deep with yachts berthed along both sides and superyachts being towed up and down it in the strong current. It was a real challenge to get over to the side and keep station while they passed with a tow boat in the front and one facing backwards in the rear! And Did I mention the drawbridges? Yes you need to keep station with the other boats while waiting for those to open, all the while the pontoon boats and other small powerboats weave around us, oh and the "Dinky Dinky Dinky Dinky Tiki Boat" too (Allen's name for a tiny pontoon boat with a bar covered by a thatched roof. Sing its name to the tune of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.)

The public marina is at the west end of the River Walk, and what a great walk it is. The first thing we came across was the Performing Arts Center, where we got tickets to the 8 o'clock showing of the Musical HadesTown. This is a re-telling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Euridice, set in 1940's costume and staging. The music is jazzy and the lyrics are great. Truly a wonderful version of the story which also touches upon modern themes of run-away capitalism. If you get a chance to see it, make sure you do.

As usual, Norma had some mailing to do so we walked to the post office, then to the nearby Dollar General to pick up a few things on our never-ending shopping list. We spent another night at the public marina and were joined by Ernie and Lilly from Aventura, a couple we met on the Salty Dawgs rally to Maine. It was a rainy evening but they brought their dingy up river from Lake Sylvia, where they had anchored that day after coming in from the ocean. We had drinks and heavy hors d'oveurs, and they left around 9:30.

The next day we left the public marina with the slack tide and got between a superyacht and a 60 foot motor yacht and made our way back down the New River. We turned into Lake Sylvia, which is a protected anchorage very near Ft. Lauderdale inlet. Man was it crowded! We proceeded to a spot that looked big enough for us to swing, but a lady on a nearby Ketch called over to warn us that a nearby Trawler had too much rope out and was swinging very wide. We dropped the anchor near Aventura, but a boat with a Brazilian Flag thought we were too close, so we moved again. (Turns out 2 other boats ended up even closer to the Brazilian Boat.) We ended up next to a Beneteau 40 named Bonita. We were close but the skipper came by on his dingy to chat with us; he was really nice and said it was okay to stay there. He also ended up giving us a lot of advice about going to the Bahamas.

Aventura invited us to go into town, but Allen wanted to stay with the boat to see how we settled on anchor with the other nearby boats. Norma went with them and ended up going over to Aventura to have a look at her. Aventura is a 50-foot Island Packet, a very good offshore boat. Allen did a few chores on the boat and got some lunch and was about to sit down when Norma and the crew of Aventura came back and asked for all of us to go into town. Things seemed pretty settled so we all headed off to the Raw Bar for some lunch, Aventura's laundry and a little shopping at Winn Dixie.

Overnight, the wind came up and shifted 180 degrees. Allen noticed Bonita resetting his anchor but did not think to do that also. Sure enough, that trawler had swung over to us her anchor line got caught on our rudder. With the wind and current we could not pull off of it using our anchor. We met the skipper of the trawler and got some fenders out. That is when we found out that he had all that rope out because his engine was not running and he was afraid of dragging anchor. Using his dingy, however, we were able to pull the stern of our boat away from the road but then our anchor snagged on his anchor line. Two other dingy came by to see if they could help and they did. We managed to get the anchor to the surface and they got it unwrapped from the trawlers anchor rope. We decided to leave the anchorage and as we went by Aventura, they told us it had been "bumper boats" where they were also.

We went over to see if we could get a mooring over by the Las Olas drawbridge. There were two unused but one was too close to a wharf and the other, near the bridge, had no pennant, so we decided to make an unplanned trip south down the ICW to Hollywood, where we are now. That trip is a tale in itself soi we will save that for our next installment. As a teaser, let's say it is best to plan that section of the ICW!

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