My back hurts from sitting on the sofa. It was comfortable for the first hour or so, but you can only change positions so many times before you've gone through them all.
I'm back in Ft. Lauderdale, back at the Cafe Rustica where I spent a lot of afternoons last spring either before work at the River Taxi, or after school at MPT. The same dude is still running the place, the music is still excellent, and the atmosphere stimulating. The only difference is that Mia is sitting across from me, instead of 4000 miles away on the other side of the Atlantic. This is a good thing.
We arrived in Pompano on Sunday night, after deliriously navigating through the 22nd and final drawbridge of our longest day yet on the ICW. It was only 63 miles, short by comparison, but took an agonizing 14.5 hours of hurry-up-and-wait motoring. Most of the bridges on that southern section of the waterway are restricted, and it's easy to get in sync with their hour and half hour schedules - if you're a powerboat. Arcturus was about half of a knot slow, and we continually arrived at the next bridge exactly as it was closing. We waited the full half-hour four times, adding two hours to our journey's last day, a day when we were tired but excited, a day when all I could think about was that frosty German bier and two pound pork shank waiting for me just behind our new dock. That thought alone, after ten days without meat or alcohol was enough to drag those half-hour waits into infinity.
But we finally did make it, and Checkers, as it's known, was still open, even though it was 8:30 on a Sunday night. We were the last patrons, but we were without a doubt the most appreciative of the lot that day. The Bavarian music played over the speakers, and that first bier was a waterfall running down my gullet. Mia and I had eaten so little in the previous ten days that I actually couldn't finish the pork leg, a first. I did manage to drown a second liter of bier though, and it was delightful.
We've got the rest of the week to figure out how to stop Arcturus from sinking at the dock - the packing has been leaking so badly as to fill the bilge in little over twelve hours. Without an automatic pump, we resorted to manning the hand-operated pump in the cockpit, pumping nearly 100 strokes per hour underway, an exhaust leak adding to our troubles. On Sunday we fly to St. Lucia for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, where we'll greet the incoming yachts en route from the Canaries, 2800 miles across the ocean.