FL - Fort Lauderdale New River - 2011/02/26 - 12 miles



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Fort Lauderdale, the Venice of America, is the winter port for the uber rich and their mega yachts. One of the deepest ports on the east coast it is a major hub for cruise ships plying the Carribean. I paddled through the harbor and up New River through the heart of the city.







I started my paddle at the SE 15 th street launch ramp on the edge of Port Everglades. There was only modest traffic at the double ramp which was surprising given that it was a Saturday and this was the most convenient ramp for access to the ocean. The ramp is on the second canal after the high bridge carrying SW 17 th street across the harbor.



I exited the ramp canal and was immediately passing some tremendously large sail and motor mega yachts, worth high tens to hundred million dollars. I paddled past the four story high gleaming white yachts, under the high bridge with some current underneath my keel, and into the turning basin of Port Everglades. I had driven over the bridge the previous night when there was only one cruise ship in port. This morning there were 12 tied up at the many piers of the port. Apparently Saturday is the changeover day for the cruise passengers.



These 11 to 13 deck behemoths hold thousands of passengers each, containing theaters, pools and multiple banquet/dining halls. All was quiet as they were waiting for a new set of passengers and taking on supplies. But one wouldn't want to be paddling around the center of the harbor when these big boys are moving around. I crossed the harbor after the passage of several fish charter boats passed under the bridge. I got over to the eastern shore of the harbor, paddling south along the smallish homes that clearly had been there for some time. I am sure that given the location they weren't cheap in spite of their size. I turned the corner at the red beacon and headed east out the inlet and the two stone jetties. The Atlantic was completely flat this morning without even a ripple on the glassy blue surface. A small container ship came into the jetties escorted by a tug, headed no doubt to the Dania cargo port on the southern end of the port near the Dania canal. I turned around and paddled back into the harbor and the bridge once more. Two huge sailboats apparently from the same manufacturer, one a sloop the other a ketch, were tied up at the marina of the southwest side if the 17th street bridge. The marina on the other side of the bridge held 6 motor yachts of 150 ft or more. (See the video below.)



I continued past the docks and into the quiet pools and canals among nicely situated homes. These are the very same canals that I used to explore with my father's small dinghy and a 1.7 hp outboard motor that I bought when I was nine with money earned from pop bottle deposit money. Nearly every place had a long dock inhabited by impressive gleaming fiberglass motor yachts. i believe some of these multi-million dollar homes were bought just to have a place to dock the yacht.



I paddled up the New River which soon passes through the center of downtown Ft. Lauderdale among the high rise apartment buildings and the pastel flamingo pink bridges. The river was full of all manner of boat traffic in two streams of traffic like a freeway at rush hour. At SW 7th Ave. there is another double ramp launch site with parking, rest rooms and a kiosk payment system.



I returned to the little corner park across from Broward marine of SW 17th St. The Bill Keith preserve was just being constructed with a parking lot and trails through the little plot to accompany its nice little beach seen here where I took my kayak out and loaded it onto the car.

It had been an interesting paddle amid the unbelievably ostentatious and extravagant yachts that we are all now paying for in some way or another.



Play YouTube movie of this trip.....

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