Getting that new V-birth mattress topper fitted and cut and made up was a major chore and the dock at Moore Haven, on the west side of Lake Okeechobee, was a good spot do fitting and cutting. The trip back the Okeechobee waterway to Stuart was pleasant and uneventful, except that we met an interesting couple from the US great Lakes, (Fran and Mort) on a trimaran (S/V Alako). We met up with John Corbit again for lunch and he drove us to West Marine, also, Dennis from S/V Chances was around because he and his wife own a place in Stuart. He will be on his way to the Bahamas soon after New Years. The voyages from Palm Beach and to Fort Lauderdale stood out in that the homes and estates are really ‘out of this world’, Lake Silvia, in Ft Lauderdale, was were we spent New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks and the locals gathering on boats to party, we were a bit lonesome. Happily, Art and Kate (S/V Liberty)-(misidentified as S/V Patriot when I mentioned them last- sorry folks !) , waited for us, as we have been playing tag since North Carolina. We set a date to meet them in Miami Beach. This was a success, with them sharing info and a great supper with ice cream from the original- ie. before “Ben and Gerrys” ice cream place (and a few cocktails) together. They are off to the Keys and we hope to see them in NC on our way back.
On our way down the waterway to Miami, because the bridge situation in those parts is well known – many bascule bridges with on the hour and half hour openings, as well as the extra holiday traffic (think college kids out on dad’s boat plus lots of family outings), we decided to go ‘out-side’ and follow the beach on The Atlantic to Miami. We did 2 outside hops, one from Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale, and from Lauderdale to Miami. Getting in through Government Cut was exciting-and confusing, but it was fun being part of all the confusion. We headed south of The Venetian Causeway, close to Belle Isle with dingy access to South Beach.
Miami was crazy busy with tourists, there are always 3-5 Cruise ships docked, it is a real ‘melting pot’ of people, mostly Spanish speaking. We had a tasty ,inexpensive lunch at a Cuban restaurant. We visited The Art Deco Museum and on the way stopped at the Botanical Gardens. Bus service was convenient and there is a Publix grocery store close by at South Beach. The Art Deco Museum is next to South Miami Beach and this is a happening place! Our anchorage bordered a busy channel and we had some rough days and nights due to wind and wake. We got our name on a waiting list for a mooring ball at Dinner Key Marina and there were none available for a while so we took a berth for 2 days and then lucked out. Once moored, we had some lumpy days and nights, but with more peace of mind then at anchor, plus the marina facilities are very useful and convenient.
Dinner Key is part of Coconut Grove, which is part of Miami, (Biscayne Bay) is an over-developed tourist area that was once unique and has some remnants of it’s past left in such places as The Barnacle (a small Hammock State Park and the 19th century home of Ralph Middleton Munroe-the “Commodore”). While we were in Dinner Key , Debbie’s uncle and aunt, Arch and Anne kindly delivered our mail to us and we all had a leisurely lunch at Scotties by the dock here. On another day we visited The Miami History Museum, and had a good review of the area historical highlights, along with a Cuban Artist’s Photo exhibit and an exhibition of Beatle memorabilia. It was also Puerto Rico Family Day and so we took in the dancing, music and food of that culture.
One of the couples we meet at The Dismal Swamp Welcome Center happened to be here (Charlie and Jane from S/V IBIS) and we swapped some stories with them. They had a rental car and took Debbie to Walmart- for provisioning – going through the historic residential Coral Gables, which was a treat. The next highlight was getting together with the boats who plan to leave for Binimi the same time we do. This was a fun “pow-wow” at Scotties and the result was getting to know the captains and crew (some of these boats have admirals and they all happen to be female!) of S/Vs Kelly/Nicole, Scout, Blue Sky, Mystic, Odyssea, and possibly, Charlie and Jane from S/V IBIS.
We have had some minor mechanical problems with S/V Moxie. On the first day out of Stuart, our new autopilot just stopped working and we weren’t able to trouble shoot the problem till we got to Miami Beach. We had to send the control head back to Raymarine to be analyzed before they agreed to send us a new replacement. Also, we discovered the inner shrouds (wires that hold up the mast), were in doubtful shape, so had them replaced here at Dinner Key. So Moxie is ready to go again and the weather window seems to be opening up this weekend or early next week.
Dec 28-29/14 Mooring, Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL (Mile 8 OWW)
Dec 30/1 Anchorage, North Palm Beach, FL (Mile 1014 ICW)
Dec 31/14 Anchorage, Silvia Lake, Lauderdale, FL ( Mile 1065 ICW)
Jan 1-3/15 Anchorage, Venetian Causeway, Miami Beach, FL. (Mile 1089 ICW)
Jan 4-5/15 Dinner Key Marina, Miami, FL. (Mile 1097)
Jan 6 /15 Mooring, Dinner Key Marina, FL
Jan 16/15 Still at the Mooring field in Dinner Key Marina, Coconut Grove.