A Travellerspoint blog

Sailed in to Miami Beach B... O... A... T...

Didn't Get to Sleep Last Night


With apologies to the Beatles and to Michael Jackson, who probably still owns the copyright, Back in the USSR was going through my sleep deprived brain as we were heading into Government Cut, the channel into the Port of Miami. Blog readers might want me to start getting more sleep.

What a trip! It looked so simple on the charts.

After a nice visit with Les and Jean they dropped us off at the boat in Melbourne and we motored to Fort Pierce. No big deal. The next morning we set out for Miami.

Palm Beach is about the eastern most point on Florida's coast. Fort Pierce is west of Palm Beach, more or less in the lee as far as northerly ocean currents are concerned. As we approached Palm Beach, and left the shelter of that lee, it was like the boat had started going through jello. We lost over 40% of our speed.

I have read about the Gulf Stream and am very aware of the issues we will encounter crossing to the Bahamas. The NOAA broadcasts said the the "western wall" of the Gulf Stream was 15 miles east of our position. No matter! Even on the attenuated western edge it must have had at least 1.5 knots of northward velocity. We never got the speed back until the water was less than 100 feet very close to Miami. I guess that this is a good example of the difference between book learning and practical experience.

About 10 PM that night I noticed that we were about to have an oil pressure problem with major downside consequences. Addressing this was something that I should have done in Fort Pierce, but I wasn't paying attention to the accumulated motor hours. So, we found a Walmart parking lot and pulled into it for an hour to make repairs. Of course, in my Mr. Badwrench way, in fixing one problem, I created another. We were able to get that corrected too. A quick stop at a Dunkin' Donuts for caffeine and sugar and we were on our way.

Later that night I saw that the depth sounder was "stuck" at 601 feet. The ocean bottom in not that level for that long and my charts indicated a depth of more than 800 feet. Not a big deal on the ocean, but big trouble everywhere else. So I activated the three R's: reset, restart and reread the owner's manual. Nothing seemed to work. Since nothing worked and I was out of R's, I formed a new hypothesis: 600 feet is the most that the poor thing can register and the digit 1 means that it's more than 600 feet deep. Fortunately, this was the case. In the shallow water of Miami it worked just fine.

Traveling overnight is hard on 60-year old bodies. But there are minor compensations like meteorites, moon rises and sun rises. We saw this to our east Sunrise_in_Miami.jpgand the reflections of the sun on the buildings to our west. Miami_Sunr..he_West.jpgPretty nice.

We are anchored rather out than in a marina. Marinas are dear everywhere except Dudley's in Swansboro, NC, where they charge $0.75 a boat foot. Miami is on another plane. We called one place that wanted $4.50 per foot. They asked if we were going to stay and were told that unless they had a 50% off AARP coupon there was no way.

The anchorage is incredible, as well as being very sheltered. I knew that there was a front coming through and that we needed a good, safe place. What I hadn't counted on was how pretty Sunset Lake is. Anchoring_..et_Lake.jpgIt's a lake, of sorts, formed by a four islands. I'm not too much of a fan of Florida in general and Miami in particular but this place could make me change my mind, maybe.

It's just a 1/2 mile dingy ride to a dingy dock of sorts. From there it's one block to a major street; 25 cents will get you a bus ride anywhere in the South Beach area. Carol and I took the plunge and put down 50 cents to go over to the beach. We had last been here in the 60's before we were married. We used to go there for cheap dates when 25 cents bought two hot bagels and the second run theaters were 50 cents per person. Much has changed; South Beach has gotten younger and we have gotten older. When last we saw it, South Beach was a strip of old hotels with cracked and peeling stucco in faded pastel colors where "old folks" named Max and Irma came on vacation from downstate New York to wither and grow old in noonday sun. Now, almost every hotel has been renovated, updated, decorated and speculated upon. It's a classy place where the young have displaced Max and Irma and there isn't a bagel shop left on the beach. On the bus ride back we saw two or three buildings where Eisenhower was still president but mostly it was Extreme Makeover on steroids.

The weather is still dodgy so we will probably not leave until Thursday, Christmas Day. It should be about three easy days to Key West but we might stay over in Marathon for a day or two. There's no reason to hurry .... we're on boat time.

Posted by sailziveli 17:04 Archived in USA

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