Monday, October 31, 2011

Miami, Florida

Oh alright, so I slacked off for a couple weeks. Well, we've still been on the move and we're now in Miami, Florida at the Dinner Key Marina ... And it's raining like hell.
Last week we picked up Lew Page in North Palm Beach and headed out for Fort Lauderdale, via the ICW. Man what a sight we had. The huge houses just got bigger ... and nicer ... and bigger still.

It took Lew a couple days to relax and forget about work but things finally started to go better with a few rums in him. "STOP TRYING TO WORK FROM HERE LEW !!!" "THE WORLD WILL GO ON!!"
We landed in a mooring field across from the Las Olas Marina in about 7 feet of water ... WHAT TIMING !!!!
Throughout the night 200ft mega yachts started arriving, some under tow, some escorted by Tow Boats US boats, and others ... they just used their twin screw, double bow thrusters ... and fully automated, computerized docking systems.

The Fort Lauderdale boat show was about to start in a few days and they were loading up the docks. I honestly didn't think it was possible to fit that many Mega Yachts into such a confined space.

Lew was so excited at this sight that he went up on deck watching most of the night .... and I must admit that I had my fair share of observing time. The loading went on well into the next day, but we had to get going and head on down to Miami.
As we motored down the ICW the homes continued to get bigger. Man there's no shortage of money around here. Some of the boats that were parked in front of these homes were so big that they made the house look small.

Except for this one. Word is that the owner purchased four $10 million homes on this piece of land and raised them. WHY you ask???
So that he could build this $100 MILLION home on the same spot !!!

Well, we can't put the 75 plus pictures of homes in here so you'll just have to take our word for it.
As we departed Port Elizabeth, the weather was very favourable with 4-6 ft seas on the quarter and 15-18 knot NE winds pushing us along at a wonderful 7-8 knots.
When does sailing become a race? ... when Lew sees a bout about 3 miles ahead of you and you know you can take him before the turn off into Miami .... and we did it with about 200 yards to spare.
The weather was very hot and sunny so it's time to cool off a little.

Welcome to ocean sailing Lew !!
"Come on Lew ... We're slowing down !! Get back in the boat before a shark eats you !"
So Miami it was ... until we heard a broadcast from the US Coast Guard that the main channel past the cruise ships was closed for security reasons..... so with a little alteration to port we headed off down past the container piers and straight into downtown.

Around the corner and past the Miami Yacht Club where we anchored behind some huge condos in South Beach.

What a great day that was. Being so close to South Beach warranted a swim in the ocean in the afternoon followed by a great walk and dinner on Lincoln Street, which is a two mile long pedestrian mall loaded with shops, stores and piles of places to eat. Fantastic!
With Hurricane Rhea hurtling itself around the Yucatna Peninsula, it was decided NOT to head on down to Marathon as there would be much more protection for us under the lee of huge high rises in Miami than in the lower keys.
With three days to spare and nowhere to go we headed down through Biscayne Bay to Key Largo where we spent the night anchored off a local Angler's Club and Marina. Nice place but they didn't accept visitors.
What to do next .... ??? Let's head back towards Miami in the morning, about 42 miles to the north, just in case Rhea comes after us as it was now a category 2 hurricane.
WE STRUCK GOLD upon arriving in No Name Harbour at the south end of Key Biscayne. For all you NS boaters ... this place is Rogues Roost .... only bigger and with a huge bar up at the end of it.
Lew was FINALLY settling down ... hehehe ... and a great time was had by all.

The fee .... $20 per night to anchor, as it was within a national park ... and payment was on the honour system.
Too bad we didn't land there first instead of Key Largo.

A great evening was had there then after a wonderful sail we arrived at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove (about 5 miles south of Miami) .... 585 berths plus 270 moorings ... but no fuel dock, and we haven't fueled up for a week. No problems, we're only down 20 gallons and our three jerry cans hold 15 so in they went. Now we have enough to get us to Marathon.
Last night proved very nice with dinner and a live band at Scotty's Landing Restaurant. We got back to the boat well after dark but just in time to experience the worst wind storm we'd ever seen. Instantly, it started to pour and the wind piped up in excess of 50 knots. You couldn't see anything and the three of us stood there in awe for a minute until the extra dock lines came out to keep the boat from getting beat up against the pilings. By the time we got this done (about 15 minutes) everything went calm, the rain stopped and it was a beautiful night. The local boat owners said it was great because now they didn't have to wash down their boats.
Today, Lew parted his way and flew back to Halifax. In his own words .... "From 90F to 7C, This in not a good thing". With a final drink of our favourite Mount Gay Rum, the taxi arrived and after some goodbyes he was gone.
It was a great week Lew. We'll have to do it again. By the way Lew, the thinder, lightening and rain and wind has returned tonight .... THANKS!
It's about time you RELAXED!!

Tomorrow it's departure time for Jan & I, as we leave this pretty city and head out into Hawk Channel (behind the reef) and sail on down to Marathon and into Boot Key Harbour.
Still no internet coverage so you'll get this update really late from Marathon.

October 30, 2011
In case you thought we fell off the earth, we didn't. We're having a really hard time getting on line ... and that's going to be rectified very soon.
Anyway, we made it to Marathon (Boot Key Harbor) in the Florida Keys, this afternoon. Had a tremendous thunderstorm this morning. WE WERE ANCHORED IN A LITTLE HARBOUR called Metacumbe Bight in 7 feet of water with 125 feet of anchor chain out ... get that one ... we weren't going to drag in any winds. Lew ... I found the leak at the mast and fixed it.
Don ... Thought I had the port water tank fixed but something let go again yesterday.

October 31, 2011
Here we are in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Fla.
I pointed to our home for the next while.

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