Sunday, April 29, 2012


Fort Lauderdale, FL

The other day during our exciting transit of the East River, I was grumbling about not feeling all that welcome in Fort Lauderdale.

That evening at our anchorage I looked out to see a small yellow powerboat anchored just off our port side and shouted a simple 'hello.' That's how it all started.

Yesterday morning, we heard a tap-tap on the hull. Meet Bob of the yellow powerboat.

Meet Bob.
He had come bearing a sailboater's frankincense and myrrh: a 40-pound bag of ice (huge) and a 12-pack of beer. Really? Geez, thanks, Bob. Come over later.

Thus we became part of the family of Bob, his wife Etel, John, Lily, Paul and Sherry plus two dogs in bags. They rafted up to Cara Mia, this time bearing a whole case of beer and plate after plate of food, which they ate very little of and then insisted that we keep. Enough food and beer to send our marine refrigerator into a 24-hour recovery frenzy.

Then they insisted that we come aboard for a joy ride around the very busy weekend waterways of Fort Lauderdale, stopping at a bar where we met Gabriele from Venezuela, who drew us a cocktail napkin map of the best sailing spots in his country and subsequently bought us a round of drinks.

Etel and her doggies visit Cara Mia.
I had a chat with Etel once we were rafted up again to Cara Mia. Her family fled political unrest in Nicaragua when she was young, taking refuge in Honduras. Her parents sent her to Guatemala alone to attend a girls' boarding school, then to Mexico for college. In her twenties, she came to the U.S. alone seeking political asylum. She lived for two years in San Diego before moving to Fort Lauderdale, again on her own, where she met Bob. Her five siblings still live in Honduras, and her parents have been able to return to Nicaragua and reclaim their property.

Etel is a sweet and inspiring reminder of how very much we take for granted.

Bob, the self-appointed aquatic emissary of Fort Lauderdale, insisted that we must come visit his home, was offended that we might not spend the night (or two) and promises to come hang out again today with Venezuelan Gabriele in tow.

He pressed me for a grocery list, so he could bring us a 'few things,' but I refused (several times).

After we waved goodbye and they motored off, I said, "What's in this bag?" It was a plate of fresh calamari.

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale!


  1. Sweet deal! I have felt the love here for sure, people actually say hello, and chat it up even in the local grocery store. We could get used to this!