Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Family Vacation -- Part 4

Water Taxi and the 1% Tour
We found another unique way to get around the Ft. Lauderdale area; the water taxi. During one day of our stay we decided to utilize the water taxi system as a kind of sight seeing tour and to travel a bit farther than our feet and the trolley could take us.  The water taxi makes use of the Intracoastal Waterway and really couldn't exist without it.  For $20 a head and a bit less for the minor we purchased all day passes that allowed us to travel any route and switch boats unrestricted all day long up until the late evening.  Convenient for us the system had recently been expanded allowing us to catch the taxi right across the street at the hotel marina on the IW.
Our goal was simply to take the boat north enjoying the scenery along the way and stop off somewhere for dinner in Ft. Lauderdale.  Each water taxi is crewed by a captain who of course drives the boat and a first mate.  The mate's duties include aiding in docking, collecting fares and helping passengers on and off as well as acting as an on board tour guide and comedian.

As we traveled north the waterway opened up into Lake Mabel and we passed Port Everglades were this behemoth the Oasis of the Sea was tied up.  This boat is the second largest passenger ship in the world and belongs to the Royal Caribbean Line.  They must have been testing the life boats as one of the yellow and white craft can be seen floating beside the towering bulk of the liner.
Everybody has their opinions I'm sure but I don't care for ocean liners.  I think they are big and ugly and I had to laugh when I recently read of them referred to as gigantic floating feeding troughs.  If I was going to spend some time at sea I'd like to travel aboard a ship with masts and sails and rope and rigging; a vessel with some soul. To each his own I guess.
The second boat we rode on had a cabin with windows that slid up and down.  Luck was on our side when an afternoon thunderstorm opened up with torrential rain like a monsoon.  August is the rainy season so it's to be expected.  Eventually the storm past and we managed to stay dry the rest of the day.

Downtown Ft. Lauderdale.

The Intracoastal Waterway butts up against many of Ft Lauderdale's exclusive neighborhoods. Definitely the playground of the one-percenters.  We saw mega yachts everywhere even though our water taxi tour guide said that with hurricane season drawing near most of the big boats were evacuated off to safer harbors.

The yacht and the house in the background pictured above belong to the family who publishes Easy Rider magazine.  Just imagine the parties that have gone on in that place.

If I were stinking rich I'd have a big sailboat and a crew to run it.  As far as motor yachts go I like the classic looks from the 50's and 60's like this one:

I'm not a fan of the Gallant Lady pictured above.  I don't like the ultra modern styling of this boat. Too much fiberglass for me.  If I'm remembering correctly the guy who owns her was the first to import Nissan automobiles into the U.S. years ago.  He has a fleet of six of these yachts!

Cracker Bay  Owned by country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  This is what all those sold out concerts buys.

Spanish style architecture is prevalent and I like it.  I'm going to have to start playing the lottery so I can set myself up a little winter place down here.

We enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner at a dockside restaurant and then caught the water taxi back to Hollywood Beach as the sun set that evening.  It was a fun day.


  1. I'm with you on the feeding troughs. I spent my early years sailing. The Star Clippers is the way to go. But...my wife gets sea sick very easily. On the bright side I won't have to cash in my savings to do one of these high end Star Clipper cruises.

  2. Hey Mark I checked out the Star Clipper. Wow! that's the way to cruise. Then I saw the rates -Ouch. The trans-Atlantic crossing would be incredible. I've always wanted to do that. I could probably even deal with the long flight getting home after an adventure cool as that.

  3. Yes, not for me either, but like you said something for everyone. I'm certainly not opposed to people enjoying themselves this way, but I don't think you'll ever find me on one.