February 22, 2014

A Bohemian in Biscayne Bay

The night time skyline of Miami from my anchorage is majestic ...  

I'm amazed at just how many hundreds of boats are anchored here ..., for free... here, there, and everywhere around this mystical skyline.... It's a holistic community...  I enjoyed my overnight trip to Miami and my day there last week.... But after my one day in South Beach, I ended the evening with this skyline view before moving on to some of the finest sailing waters in the US.... Biscayne Bay National Park.

Biscayne Bay National Park is one of the best sailing areas in the US... It's a long open bay about 35 miles long and 8 miles wide of crystal clear water just south of Miami.  95% percent of the Biscayne Bay National Park is water with great reefs for snorkeling and fishing ... It is called it the entrance to the Florida Keys.  Since it's protected by small barrier islands, the water in the bay is relatively calm compared to the open sea just a few miles away... The sailing here is truely awesome.

Here's a link the the National Park site for more details http://www.nps.gov/bisc/naturescience/biscaynebay.htm

These are five of my favorite anchorages this past week marked in RED. The sailing here was so magical.... 5 and 6 knots of speed were common with minimal tweaking of the sails... Just set the sails and go.

This map above above  shows the boundaries of the park...
This a Googled image of Boca Chita key where I stayed one day and night... It just sits out there dangling in the breeze,

Im the blue dot... I like to call it the Blue Dot Hotel

The place was packed during the day but I had the whole place to myself once the sun went down and the powers boaters left.... Power boaters... Sigh.

Approaching the island called Boca Chita

A small beach with clear water at Boca Chita
Miami skyline about 20 miles to the north
"Dang!" Said the horticulture teacher.
Here's more shots from Boca Chita Key

Glory Days is resting up for her sail to Elliott Key tomorrow... She's such a righteous yacht!   (Ok, I know I need help, but there could be worse things)

Just sittin' on the dock of the bay playing some Otis Redding tunes
Yep, you can see the bottom at 20'

I Anchored at Elliott Key the following day... It was a short sail, less than 2 hours ...navigating the channel was a bit tricky, but doable..
Why not fly a kite during lunch?... It was a speedo day in Gods sunshine... Sorry, there will be no photos of that.
My new recipe... Mangos, strawberries, bananas, topped with Grand Mariner .. Add smoked salmon and Gouda cheese on the side....nice lunch... Good day for reading Proof of Heaven and staring at it all.

Glory Days... She's getting antsy for the trip to the Bahamas in a few days... Settle down girl...your day is coming... Miami skyline lingers forever.
Elliott Key was picturesque, but I was disappointed with the amount of litter that power boaters had left behind... It was quiet on a weekday for me, but I'm told it is common for 100 boats share these waters and beach on a weekend.... I'm glad I missed that.

After my stay at Elliott Key, I enjoyed a perfect 4 hour sail back to Dinner Key also known as Coconut Grove... I averaged between 5-6 knots the whole way on a broad reach and had to make zero sail changes or tacks... The auto pilot seems to be working perfectly... Let's hope she holds for the Bahama crossing coming up.

At Coconut Grove, I took care of some business like FINALLY jumping thru all the red tape to get my dinghy properly registered.... $67 bucks... Ouch... So now I really am barely legal. 

It was also a day for another stop at West Marine for Bahama Charts and a nice visit to the public library to download electronic Bahama charts for my INavx iPad chart plotter... It turned out to be a $300 day... DANG! I GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE!!

Priorities first.
Another busy day at the dinghy dock...all 225 mooring balls were taken, so I was fine to anchor nearby, two nights,for free .... Next, i loaded my bike and all my supplies into the dink and sailed back across the bay to No Name Harbor arriving there at dusk as seen below... I love this crazy bohemian lifestyle, taking every moment like a grain of sand, grinning at every challenge, laughing at every mishap ... Amazed at everything.

Back at No Name, it was a pleasure to rendevous with my old dock neighbor from Fernandina Marina , David Vollrath ... Here's a nice shot of his boat Swell Horizon, a daunting Spencer 44 ketch rig.  

We planned this rendevous, as I intend to follow his lead for the Bahama crossing in the next few days...since it's my first time crossing, I figure there's safety in numbers...he's a seasoned sailor, and I've learned so much from him already...
She's a beautiful vessel, Swell Horizon.

This is David and Tony (remember Tony?) yaking it up as we watched about a hundred different boats converge into our little No Name harbor on this gorgeous Saturday afternoon, George Washington's Birthday.  

Tony is sailing outta here tomorrow to catch a flight back to his home in Canada.  David's son will arrive Monday, and we will plan our crossing to the Bahamas... We may leave Tuesday, or possibly at midnight on Monday. 

 This works for me.

Glory Days is ready and so am I. 



Love to all,

February 18, 2014

A Sunday in South Beach

It would be an understatement to say that the South Beach district of Miami is a "colorful" place.  

My cruising guide rated South Beach as the #1 top place in the world for people watching.... Hmmmm... I'm a people... I wonder if anybody was watching me?

But I had this Sunday to explore the area, so I decided to sail into the city and see what all the hoopla was all about ... I'm sorry if I took too many pictures of pretty girls scantily dressed... I'm really not sexist.... I just love photography, and I take photos of what a see, ... And what I saw was all these young shiny happy people showing off their happy bodies ... From a photography standpoint, they are Gods creation too, just like beautiful sunsets, trophy fish, and scenic vistas... To that,  I say "God sure made them good" didn't he? (Or she?). Besides, none of them paid any attention to me anyway...  I was just a fly on the wall to them.
i left No Name harbor at 7:30 am. Sunday, feb. 16, 2014

When I pulled up anchor from No Name, I had a lovely 2 hour trip back thru the heart of downtown Miami, past Government Cut, and onward to the back side of Hibiscus Island as you see from this satelitte image. ( I am told Madonna has a home on Hibiscus Island where I anchored but I did not see that little rascal anywhere).

  I take pleasure in knowing that I'm getting the same million dollar view, for free, that the home owners there are paying gazillions for ... Thankfully, it seems to be a symbiotic relationship, and I always mind my manners when I'm anchored in their front yard. 

Under the Rikenbacker causeway again, but headed north this time.
That little blue dot is me, just north of the main shipping channel between Hibiscus and Palm  Island

Interesting thing, I was having a techinical issue with my Ipad, so luckily when I came ashore from my dinghy, ... wahlah!... there was an Apple store just a few blocks away.  It was almost like going to church on this Sunday morning finding that Apple store and getting all my technical issues resolved at the Temple.... Oops mean the Genius Bar... Thank God.

My GPS navigation system operates on the IPad so this was a good thing to fix. (Yes, I have a backup GPS chart plotter, 2, in case the IPad dies)

It would be a good day to be on South Beach... Perfect weather.
this paddle boarding thing seems to be just about everywhere these days... I can't wait to try it myself sometime... After kite surfing I hope 
I had heard all the stuff about South Beach being a "tops optional" beach for the ladies... So naturally, I was on the lookout .,, but I was a bit disappointed... Out of about 10,000 people on the beach I saw two ... well I guess that would be a total of 4, if you know what I mean...( hee hee!!)   After all, I  went topless on the beach .... But nobody seemed to notice me.

It's such an international community here and these Europeans and South Americans don't have the same hang ups about beachwear, or lack of beachwear, as found in the States ...  I felt like I was a minority here with so many differnt languages being spoken all around me... When that happens, sometimes I just knod and smile as if i understand what they are saying... The Hungarian couple I met didn't seem to notice.

So GO Volleyball!  What a great sport!
I studied these vollyball players for a while so I could improve my game... if I ever play volleyball that is... they were good.
Great serve!

You see, I DID get a photo of a guy playing volleyball as well.
The old zoom lens comes in handy sometime... 
Always keep your eye on the ball.

Several words come to mind when I think of South Beach.... sand, water, topless, youth, glitter, jocks, night clubs, celebrities, sports figures, topless, fast cars, boats, foods, indulgence, alcohol, to name a few...but its the art decco architecture that really separates the district from the rest of Miami.  Here's a few samples. 

Many of the of high end restaurants seem to use pretty girls and sex appeal to lure you into their establishment... Well, I'm here to tell you, it did not work on me! ... hee hee! .. ok, i'm acting like a teenager again... I hate it when that happens... not really, cause it happens all the time.
These girls had it going...
 They seemed to be having a jolly good time on a Sunday afternoon... I'm sure they'd already been to church that morning.

During the weekdays, she's a nun.
Future Congress woman.
Model for denim shorts.
Now this photo above is where all the jocks hang out.  If you are so inclined (I was not), you step into the sand with all your hard muscles bulging and you take part in whatever physical callistenics you care to... guys were doing push ups, pull ups, squats, you name it... music was blaring and everybody seemed to like it.... so you see, I DID take some photos of guys instead just the ladies..
Uuuu oh!

Why isn't Joe out here doing this stuff?
I'm not sure what this guy's story was, but he was not at the Jock beach... I think he was trashed... hee hee...   ( I seem to have a hee hee thing going tonight... hee hee)
the drinks are BIG and so are the prices... I ordered one beer with my lunch at a cafe, and they brought me TWO of these huge mugs full of beer ... evidently, it was buy one, get one free .... at a price of $16 I found out when I got my check... my, what a deal... (No hee hee here.)

Adult Icees
Suddenly, I was drawn into this shop, because I really dug this green shirt... However, I was not in there very long at all, once I read the price tag... only $189... (maybe they'll mark it down 10% next week ... hee hee. :)
I'm sure he was wearing this flag in recognition of Presidents Day tomorrow... (hee hee)

this man sold some way cool jewelry and he was interesting to talk to.
He was pretty intense, and he had eyes that seemed to look right into your soul... so I quickly bought a shark tooth necklace and split.... Hee hee hee hee...
I've always been a sucker for a good mime... Its the one dramatic art expression, besides improv,  that I would actually like to do out in public one of these days...  This gal was like a perfect statue... amazing... (no hee hee here).  I'd probably go as a knight or a dwarf if I ever become a mime.

the Lincoln Road outdoor mall is quite festive... markets, shops, cafes, and all sorts of people, people, people... All with their tops on.... Hee hee :)
After my buy one-get-one-free beer garden, I found my way back to the dingy... and I loaded up my Greenzone folding bike for the looooong  trip back to Glory Days... I should've anchored closer.
This guy almost ran me down as I was motoring back in the dink... I guess its my fault, cause I'm in this teeny weeny boat in this big bay of choppy water carrying a bicycle and groceries back home... he just came out of no where and didn't even slow down ... 

His boat name seemed to sum it up... real defiance right in your face 
(Have you noticed I'm working up to posting a commentary on my opinion of power boats?  It's coming...)
Under the shortie bridge, almost back home..
ahhhhhh... take a load off now... it was a great day... It was good to see all the hip crowd, but this boat will be pulling up the anchor early in the morning in search of more remote areas...hee hee ho ho hee hee :)

Peace. Paz. Pax.