Getting ready to go south

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sun 17 Apr 2011 21:44
26:08.013N 080:01.258W   Getting ready to go south
We have been in Ft Lauderdale for the last week - working very hard at getting the last few things done. This included quite a bit of shopping and some rather expensive repairs.  I have been trying to stock up on all the items that we know will be hard to find or will be very expensive/ poor quality in Central America. This included lots of spices, condiments, toiletries and paperware.  We cannot buy too much meat as we are not sure of the regulations into Cuba - and our freezer is not that big.
On the maintenance side, we had to have the 'brain' on the AIS replaced as it was not functioning properly - we are still not 100% sure that we wont have problems, but cannot test it until we head out to sea again. It should work, its just the range that may be a problem, and the irritating alarm.  While that 'repair' went relatively smoothly, the same can't be said for the watermaker. Once we finally got hold of the agent, and got him on board, it was already late in the week.  In took many frustrating hours and a huge amount of money to ensure that it is running perfectly. Unfortunately its one of those things you can't do without.  Mike has also been checking and buying spares or all shapes and descriptions - every cubby-hole seems to have some kind of filters in it!  Mike is now exhausted but very ready to go.
On the social front, we have managed to see our friends from Sea Wolff & Shangri-la again - and then today Amarula arrived, docking right in front of us. We have not seen Dave & Dawn for ages and it was good to have a quick catch-up on their journey through South & Central America. Matt, the dockmaster on the New River is getting quite used to all the South Africans visiting.
Tomorrow morning we will head south to the Keys - we hope to make Marathon by sunset and will then sail further south to Key West on Tuesday. We have to check-out of customs and will then cross over to Cuba. The distance is not very far, but we have to cross the very busy and fast flowing Gulf Stream again.  We are really looking forward to this trip.