Lake Boca Raton to Ft. Lauderdale-New River

Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 We set the alarm for 7 AM so we would have enough time to do what we needed to do plus take Auggie to shore and still make the 8:40 bridge opening. We pulled the anchor and made the bridge opening with time to spare. That put us on the Hillboro River with seawalls lining both sides.

Those seawalls cause the boat wakes to bounce back and forth between the sides causing turbulent boating conditions. Hence, “idle speed–no wake” enforcement on weekends and holidays. I’m sure it can get crazy in there! This house had a really nice pool with statues of dolphins and an eagle or an osprey around it. Very cool!

As we approached the Hillsboro Inlet, we saw more large yachts and the Hillsboro Lighthouse. Notice the red helicopter on the top of one yacht.

The 36 ft. tall Hillsboro lighthouse has one of the most powerful beacons on the coast, visible for 28 miles at sea.

As we crossed the opening to the inlet, the incoming current was strong and we picked up speed as we got swept past it.

Beyond the inlet, we needed 3 bridges to open in succession within 4 miles of each other. The first bridge had 4 boats waiting on the other side as well as the 2 of us going south. We made the second bridge with a couple minutes to spare.

As we arrived at our last bridge, the Customs and Border Patrol came flying past us.

As we passed under the bridge, we were welcomed by this sign.

We arrived in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at 11:00. They have a very pretty skyline with some interesting looking buildings.

Under the last 2 bridges, we noticed these critters sitting on the fender boards. We wondered how they got out there.

We had made all our bridges and traveled at idle speed (to kill a little time), so we wouldn’t get to the New River too early. We wanted to arrive at slack tide to make our docking go a little easier and not have to fight against the current. As we traveled through Ft. Lauderdale, we saw this beautiful yacht parked in front of an empty lot.

This gorgeous sailboat AND yacht were docked in front of one small house. I guess he needed a place to dock his 2 boats. It wasn’t about the house at all.

We made our final turn through the downtown area.

This bridge had a beautiful mural painted on one of the walls. It reminded us why all the sportfishing boats love Ft. Lauderdale and the fishing here.

Get a load of the size of this yacht’s “garage”. You’ll find all sorts of water toys in there.

This is the outside of that 165′ high speed yacht. What a sleek looking vessel!

We motored into the New River which cuts through the middle of downtown. The New River winds its way through a stretch of older, grander homes and then into the commercial area.

In this area, we passed over southern Florida’s only traffic tunnel, which carries U.S. Highway 1 beneath the river. The tunnel sits to the right of this museum.

The city offers dockage along both sides of the river. We made reservations a few days ago anticipating that we would be arriving on the weekend and it might get a little crazy. We were given spot #72 on the north side of the river and will spend the weekend here. The skies were sunny, but there was a strong southerly breeze blowing all day. It didn’t affect us much in the ICW and we didn’t think it would have much effect in the protected New River. Boy! Were we wrong! Our plan was to drive up to our spot, turn around to drive into the current, and let the wind push us against the wall. No problem! We’ve done it many time before. We always try to use the wind in our favor. So…..we found our spot, spotted the dockhand on the shore, started to turn around in the river, but the gusty wind was blowing us AWAY from the wall! We had to get the boat shoehorned between 2 other boats and drive it to the wall besides. At least, there was a dockhand standing there to help catch our lines. Well, on my first toss of the line, I threw it and he missed. The line fell in the water. Recoiling to throw again, I toss it a second time. He barely caught it, but he got that line tied off with a lot of shouted directions from me. Then I had to hurry to throw the stern line and lastly the bow line. Bob used the lines and the engines to move the boat closer to the wall. With a lot of pulling on the lines and motors pushing the boat to the wall, we finally got tied up securely. The wind worked against us the whole time and must have gusted and swirled in and out of the tall buildings down at the river level. Thank goodness no other boats were coming down the river. The docking may have been messy looking, but a “good” docking is one where nothing gets crunched. I’d call it a success, even though I had to sit down for awhile because my hands and legs were shaking with my heart pounding. Bob had to go below to “change his shorts” after that ordeal and Auggie slept through it all. Until…..the bright green iguanas came-a-calling.

They like to hang out on the grass along the river and blend right in. I’m waiting for one to decide he wants to come on board and walk across the lines to get on the boat. Wouldn’t that be a surprise!

We all took a walk to the dockmaster’s office across the river to check in. This is a view of our boat tied to the wall in the New River.

On our walk back, we had to wait while the bridge opened to get to the other side. From our vantage point on the bridge, we could watch as the Jungle Queen tour boat passed beneath us.

From the platform, Bob also noticed a baby dove nestled in the crotch of this palm tree. It didn’t move an inch, except to blink its eyes.

Once back at the boat, we cooled off and watched the river traffic from the back of our boat. It gets kind of crazy when everyone wants to get under the bridge at the same time.

This yacht was being towed from the front and back down the river. Some insurance companies don’t allow you to drive your yacht down the New River because it’s too dangerous. The tow guys made it look easy!

We enjoy being on the New River because of all the different kinds of boats we get to see going up and down the river. You can do lots of people/dog watching. There are lots of things to do. We’ll spend at least 3 nights here–maybe more, depending on the weather. Today we just got our bearings and checked in. Tomorrow we’ll do some sightseeing and check out the festival in the nearby park. We’ll make sure to watch the basketball game with Wisconsin vs Kentucky. Go Badgers!!! I took Auggie for his evening walk along the Riverwalk. It was a little difficult to get off the boat because the tide was low, but we figured out a way to do it. We’ll sleep well tonight!

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