Your next vision is that of a forest of sail boat masts as you approach Summerfield Boat Yard and River Bend marine, obviously the two yards where most of the sailors go. Rounding the 90 degree bend you'll see the remnants of Broward Marine, Destroyed by fire several years ago. But the large sheds for mega yachts still remain and about a dozen such are docked here and being worked on at any given time.
At this point we're now moving into the area where the hard work of the boating industry gets done. Cable Marine, Roscioli and Rolly Marine are a few of the better known yards, along with New River Marine Center and Lauderdale Marina, finally ending with Bradford Marine, where at any given time you'll see a half dozen mega yachts dry docked for repairs, or undergoing the endless series of modifications that millionaires can't seem to resist spending their money on. Yep, come to Ft. Lauderdale, spend your money and help keep the natives happy and busy. This area is known as Marina Mile and is home to many fabricators and custom shops, everything from tuna towers to prop shops. If you can't get it done here, you probably can't get it done anywhere. We count nine boat yards in this area.
We're now approaching the end of our journey up this busy but seemingly laid back river as we come to yet another natural landmark, a large preserved section of mangrove jungle named Secret Woods. Here you get a good look at the way things used to be before Fort Lauderdale became a magnet to the unimaginably wealthy.
This is a great place to take the kids. You can tour this marshy terrain on a series of board walks through the old Florida jungle where all sorts of wildlife can be seen, especially the armies of land crabs that are constantly at work digging holes. If you're in a small boat, there's even a dock you can land at.
On the right are the Riverland Isles, another unique neighborhood that is a well-kept secret because it is well-hidden and isolated from the city proper. Once again, most of these homes are set within a large expanse of Old Florida jungle with few sculpted yards, but rather all natural landscape. And once again, there are many, many boats docked on private canals covering a very large area.
By the time you reach Bradford Marine, you're ready to turn around, head down river, and see it all again. No need to worry about getting bored with that, for you didn't begin to see it all the first time. This is probably one of the most amazing rivers set in the midst of a quasi-urban setting that often looks anything but urban. If you come to Fort Lauderdale without making this river trip, you are definitely missing seeing Fort Lauderdale at its best.
David Pascoe - Biography
Buying, Owning, Maintaining a Boat or Yacht.
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