May 3, 2013, Ft. Lauderdale
I woke up this a.m. after finally getting a full night's sleep for the first time in about 10 days. In addition to that, I checked my email and found some amazing words of encouragement from one of my best friends, reassuring me this whole plan wasn't completely nuts. Between the two, I felt ready to face another day.
I'm finally getting the hang of the Ft. Lauderdale freeways, so it was a quick trip back to Just Catamarans today. Once there, I figured I should just bite the bullet, and so I told Alina we were ready to make an offer. Despite the fact she looked a bit worn out from our long day yesterday, she patiently sat me down and walked me through the whole offer process. After a few trips to check with Kent (the wonder boat technician) regarding pricing on some of the upgrades/changes we would want to make to the boat, she helped me arrive at a reasonable price to open our negotiations. At least we thought it was reasonable – we're still waiting to hear a response from the seller.
Once we got through all the paperwork to officially present the offer, we hopped back in the car, and this time headed north to Stuart, Florida. As we rolled along the interstate, it occurred to me that I don't think we've seen a hill in two full days of driving around south Florida. I flipped the GPS on to show us our elevation, and sure enough, on the entire hour and a half drive to Stuart, our max elevation was 50 feet above sea level. This is one flat state. It would be good for biking.
In Stuart, we had a look at another boat. This one has just finished a 2 ½ year circuit of the Caribbean, with three kids on board who are similar ages to ours. The owner again was a really nice guy, who gave us an extremely detailed overview of his boat. The best part, though, was hearing about their trip, and how great it was. Also, he had some really good advice about cruising with kids, and was very encouraging about what a valuable thing it has been for his whole family. I've just started reading their blog to get some more details about their route. The boat was pretty good too – it is nice to know we have other options if our offer doesn't pan out.
On the drive back to Ft. Lauderdale, it was pretty apparent that both Alina and I were getting tired after two hard core days of full on boat shopping. We were both pretty quiet by the time she dropped me off at Just Cats.
I needed some serious decompression time, so I took a short stroll around the docks at the Lauderdale Marina Center, then went and checked out West Marine – the flagship store of this major marine supply chain is here in Ft. Lauderdale. They definitely have everything you could think of needing for a boat – all at "marine grade" prices, which is to say at least double for anything over what you would pay in a regular store. ($50.00 flip flops anyone?)
After that, I figured I'd better see some part of Ft. Lauderdale that didn't involve interstates and boat yards, so I headed out to the Ft. Lauderdale beaches, and caught the sunset from there. I even took a few minutes to dip my feet into the Atlantic.
Then, back to the hotel to relax for a bit before bed. I have another 12 hours of flying to look forward to tomorrow, this time through New York and Minneapolis (two other places I have never been), before a three hour drive back home, so I better get some rest. Hopefully I will hear something about a counter offer en route tomorrow.