FLORIDA - 2016, January - House/Pet Sitting - Chapter 1 - The First Week

Recently I started of my second house/pet sitting assignment of the year.  I was here in December 2015 to keep an eye on the home of Liz, Guido, and Chaussettes the cat.  It’s located in the small coastal town of Lighthouse Point, Florida, which is part of the greater Miami area.  This part of Florida is commonly referred to as ‘South Florida’, encompassing several medium to small towns/cities, incorporated, and unincorporated communities along the Atlantic coast.

South Florida covers almost the entire southeast coast of Florida so there is something for everyone.  Normally this time of year the temperatures are comfortable and it’s usually dry.  It’s perfect weather for visiting outdoor attractions or enjoying the great outdoors.

This was one of those days.

After getting out of bed, I started the coffee and fed the cat.  First cup of coffee gone, second in hand I sat down to watch the weather; sunny, temperatures in the mid 70’s, with a slight breeze.  Now it’s time to eat breakfast and hit the south Florida waters and to ‘catch the big one’.

South Inlet Jetty
In December I scouted out a couple fishing spots and decided on the jetty at the inlet leading into Lake Boca Raton which is just north or Lighthouse Point.  The jetty is made up of large rocks with a decent concrete walkway on top.  On its north side of the jetty, water moves in and out of the intercostal waterway, while on the south side it rolls onto the beach.  I decided to fish off the southeast point of the jetty. 

Soon, another fisherman came up with gear in hand.  Introducing himself as Robert who lives in area, we started chatting about where the good fishing spots were.  Stating this jetty was about average, but he usually went out in a boat.  Well, that got the conversation turned to boats, and since I’d just bought one, I wanted to hear more.  He is a member of a Fort Lauderdale boat club whereby he pays a membership fee and doesn’t have to worry about boat maintenance and upkeep; boat usage is included in the membership.
Fishing wasn’t what we expected and without either of us catching anything of legal size, we decided to call it quits; that’s why it’s called fishing, not ‘catching’.  As Robert prepared to leave, he invited me to join him on a boat to which I agreed.  He said he’d contact me later and we’d work out the details.  About 45 minutes later I too grabbed my gear and headed back to the house.

Huge chair
The weather turned windy with clouds and intermittent rain, so fishing was out of the question for several days, but I had to get back to the water.  With the chance of rain forecasted to about 20% I took the 30 minute drive to the Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale; part of the Riverwalk along the Tarpon River. 

 Walking north along the river I came across a Fine Art Show in Bubier Park.  Although Esplanade Park is small, this is even smaller.  Neither park is more than an open spot of grass with a sidewalk surrounding it, and a few shaded benches to take a break.  It’s a good resting spot as you walk along the river, looking at the boats, watching people, and getting a little exercise.

 A ways past Bubier Park the Riverwalk had a series of detours which I elected not to take.  Why, because the part I’d already walked wasn’t that exciting and there wasn’t any winter activities scheduled.  Returning, I crossed the river and walk south.
Tarpon River; Fort Lauderdale canal

Protesters marching through Bubier Park
Overall, the Riverwalk was nothing more than that, a walk.  It is well maintained, has several restaurants, and a few shops; you can also take a free river taxi or paid cruise along the river.  The paths are wide enough to accompany walkers, bicycle riders, and Segway’s, with ample benches and shade.

With the clouds and wind remaining, fishing still lousy, and not wanting to spend endless days inside I made my way to Red Reef Park. 

Pulling up to the gate, the Park Ranger informed me it was a $16 USD per day to park.  Knowing I’d only be there a couple hours, I accepted his advice and drove latterly across A1A and paid $2 USD per hour with a max stay of four hours; I stayed two.

As you can see by the photos, the wind was wreaking havoc on the Atlantic Ocean.  Walking along the beach I noticed several man-o-wars had washed up but not much trash.  There were only a couple people braving the water, and without much sun, the beach was sparsely populated.

Beach signs I'm accustomed to (check the Vieques Puerto Rico postings for 'different' beach signs)
What do those colored flags mean?
The boardwalk to the beach
A beached man-o-war.  Pretty on the beach, but a bitch in the water

 Until next time,

PS.  If things go like Lighthouse Point has planned, there will be a parade next week; check back...

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