Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Benson Wedding in Fort Lauderdale - Part 1

Julie and I took off for Florida to see Seth Benson (son of our friends Bill and Loris) get married. It has been a long while since I have spent time on the beaches in Florida.  I'll cover the actual wedding stuff in another blog entry.  This will just deal with the non-wedding part of our trip.

The weather was probably common for Florida this time of year:  lows around 70, highs around 80, scattered showers, and quite blustery.  Julie manages to look wonderful, even standing out in the gale.  I feel lucky to have "married up".  Bummer for Julie.
How can you tell you are in Florida?  When you go to a small drug store, the aisle for sun tan lotion just keeps on going into the distance.  Not nearly this much on the shelves in Park City, although our county does manage to lead the country in skin cancer.  Perhaps we could learn something?
We saw quite a few kite boarders out blasting around in the ocean. We were impressed at their skills, given how windy it was. That was until we came across this one.  As best we can tell, it wasn't someone surfing a bit too close to the beach.  It looked like someone had brought their kite up into the parking lot to go home.  Like I said, it was very windy.
It got worse though.  The trapeze part of the kite was about 30 feet  up in another tree.  In between the trees, the line was wrapped around a light pole.  I can't imagine how they got everything down, but the next day it was all gone.
Boats, boats, and more boats. 

The cruise liners just keep getting bigger.  On Saturday, there were eight of them in port and they are all the size of small towns. I understand ballast for ships, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why these don't blow over in a stiff wind.
Right before the wedding this "little" one headed out to sea. My guess is that this one is half the size of the one above. Just the same, it is about 5,000 people more than I ever want to be on a boat with.
Jim and Bobbie are two of our neighbors in Park City. Their primary home is in Fort Lauderdale and they have a condo in April Mountain.  We met up with them several times during our stay, including a visit to their beautiful house and a dinner at Grill 66. 

Just as we finished dinner, we were looking out the window and saw the boat on the left come in to dock.  It is the 257 foot long Pegasus V.  They had three small boats helping nudge it into its spot on the pier.  I guess my technique of "steer  it towards the pier until you hear a thump" isn't as effective with a $100M boat. The bumpers that go between the boat and the pier were the size of a small car.  We took our wine outside and watched for about 30 minutes as they were docking.  When we left, they still weren't done.  Glad it comes with a crew of 27.

There are some gorgeous photos here, where they also mention you can rent the yacht for $650,000, as long as you get it in the off season.  It does sleep 12 though, so you can split the costs with some friends. 
Jim described Fort Lauderdale as "ground zero for yachts".  Even though I grew up just outside of Annapolis and had a house at the beach in NC, I saw more yachts this weekend than I have seen in my entire life.  It was nothing to have a 60 foot boat docked behind your house.  100+ footers were everywhere.  If you had a 30 footer, it was probably just a tender to get to your bigger boat or a little fishing skiff to get around. 
I know that fishermen always have to hurry up and get to the fish, but I have never seen this before.  I always thought the offshore boats with three 250 horsepower engines were amazing.  How about four 300 horsepower outboards?   You catch a few fish, but burn several thousand gallons of fuel doing it.
All the kites, boats, and such just don't compare to the joys of a simple walk down the beach.  Bill, Jim and I enjoyed our last day in Florida.
Kathy Compton is a big fan of breakfast places and so we made a big adventure out of brunching each day.  I wasn't smart enough to get pictures, but we ate twice at the Floridian and once at Lesters.  These are both greasy spoon diners serving ginormous servings of breakfast.  I recommend them to anyone visiting Fort Lauderdale.

It was a nice visit and a great place for a wedding, but Florida will never be my state of residence.  Other than the appeal of the water and boating, I just don't see the attraction.  I guess it's good that we all like different things or we would all end up in one place, and that would be a bit crowded.
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