Where to sail on Fla''''s East Coast...
Have you considered Marathon in the Keys as a jumping off spot? There is some nice gunkholing in that area, and it isn''t that far from Key West, which has some interesting sight seeing as well as night life. If you take that route, you might want to consider heading to Bimini, and then on to the Abacos via the Berries rather than to Freeport. I don''t recommend Ft. Lauderdale, only because marina space is very limited and quite expensive. The edge of the Gulfstream is generally about 3-5 miles offshore from Ft. Lauderdale. You will know it when you see it - both from the depth and from the color of the water.
We have made the trip probably a half a dozen times - feel free to email me if you have any questions.