My dad arrived around midnight, having driven from the Orlando airport to meet us at the marina in Stuart. The next morning we used his rental car to buy some groceries, soda (10 12-packs), and beer (maybe 150 cans or so?). At the time it felt like we were making a significant dent in our provisioning for the Bahamas but in retrospect it was just a small start. It was enough to fill up half the rear seating area of the rental pickup. Then we rode the marina bicycles about 20 minutes to Total Wine to stock up on some liquor.
After a day or two of rain, the weather was OK for sailing outside so we departed early in the morning to head south. The bridge right by the marina was just opening for some other boats so we skipped our planned stop at the fuel dock for diesel and water and just kept going. Sailing conditions were brisk with a sustained 20 knots coming from shore. By staying within a mile or two of shore we kept the waves below a foot or two but they were still splashing off the hull and then the wind would blow the spray sideways into the cockpit. We might have enjoyed being even closer to shore. As we approached Port Everglades we determined that we would be stuck there for 3-4 nights due to weather so we decided to push on to Miami. We fired up the engine to make maximum speed (there was plenty of wind but it is only desirable to heel so much) and were able to anchor in marine stadium just before dark.
The next day (Christmas Day!) we set off towards No Name Harbor for a cruisers potluck that afternoon. We got the anchor up but then noticed that the engine exhaust sounded suspicious and quickly determined that it was not getting water for cooling. So we dropped the anchor and Randy and I jumped in with snorkel gear to find out why the seacock was jammed (I hadn't been able to close the valve even). I found a plastic bag that had been sucked in, pulled it out, and we were back in business. We had a bit of a tailwind so had a nice leisurely sail for the few miles south to the harbor. It looked pretty full based on our count of masts visible before even going in the harbor so we anchored outside. The potluck was great fun and many of the other cruisers were also waiting for decent weather to cross over to the Bahamas.
More rain and winds were predicted so the next day we went over to the Dinner Key area and found a mooring ball available at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Their mooring balls are protected from the waves of Biscayne Bay so we had a very comfortable few nights there. We spent some time exploring the area and some time preparing for the Bahamas. Anna decided that a major reorganization was in order so everything came out of the back bedroom storage shelves. Almost everything got repackaged into plastic bags and stowed away in a much more compact manor. Lots of work! With many items no longer in their boxes we needed some structure so that things would sit nicely in the shelves, so we ended up with a bunch of small plastic totes and a few milk crates. The totes stack pretty well and so far have stayed in place during some moderate heeling.
There was a possible weather window right at the end of my dad's stay but we had a prescription that needed to be picked up still and didn't quite feel ready. So he didn't get to see the Bahamas with us and had extraordinarily rainy and windy weather...sorry we couldn't deliver an excellent vacation!
In the few days after Randy left we did so much more provisioning that it seems comical that we thought we were ready before (I'm sure we would have survived just fine, but still...). We overflowed two shopping carts at Wal-Mart and right before crossing filled a cart at Publix. AND we still did a couple last minute grocery runs after that. Time after time Aaron would declare that there was no more room, then we would agree that we needed some stuff, and then we would rearrange yet another compartment and create just a little more room.
And then finally we went over to No Name Harbor with intentions to leave early the next morning to the Bahamas. (And did a quick trip to the grocery store and liquor store there for MORE stuff!)