February 10, 2014

Hello Miami and Beyond!

“I feel as though I have lived many lives, experienced the heights and depths of each and like the waves of the ocean, never known rest. Throughout the years, I looked always for the unusual, for the wonderful, for the mysteries at the heart of life.”
― Leni Riefenstahl

Glory Days left Fort Lauderdale at 7:30 a.m., Feb., 8, 2014 setting sail to Miami, 40 miles south.

My new friend, Jamie Crosfield, joined me for the trip south from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. He is an English bloke and an experienced sailor, and I was glad to have him along... plus he's good company and steered the boat for a lot of the trip which allowed me to do one of my favorite things... photography. 

We hit some fair size swells as we departed thru the cut called Port Everglades, but things soon simmered down once we got offshore, making for a lovely cruise.

In the photo above, we are approaching the skyline of Miami... As Jackie Gleason used to always say from Miami, " How sweet it is!"

You can follow the shoreline all the way down the coast to Miami.  It was only a 40 mile trip... light winds, mostly out of the south, which meant we had to motor sail a good bit until we entered they cut at Miami where we enjoyed a speedy beam reach.
Jamie at the helm
There's a lot happening in Miami.  I never set foot on the land there, but it sure is pretty from the water.
This was a dredging operation right smack dab in the middle of the main channel entering what is called Government Cut into the main port of Miami... do not get in their way.... Notice the water color has really changed ... Very clear now ..
As we steered west to enter the port, we were able to sail quite rapidly with a beam reach utilizing the southerly wind.  This meant, we are really flying through a jam packed area of freighters, runnabouts, and all types of boaters just having a good old time on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon... Here's more scenes below.



These are called sport fishers. 



I think these ladies where having a bachorlorette party for one of them... cause somebody had a sign that said "One last ride for the bride."
They didn't seem to pay much attention to me and Jamie passing through on slow sail boat... still, it was a bright spot in our day... 



You wanna see tall buildings?  Go to Miami... they gots lots of them... 
The condo jungle keeps growing... I'll bet its fun to stay there for a bit.
I like this approach to the city as we were now under sail and moving at a whopping 5 knots!  Bring it on!!
Water water water + sunshine = this...  City's with a water feature are so much more appealing to me... I know that behind those buildings are lots of homeless people, crime and who knows what else... but from the water, it seems like a little fairy land.

Now these guys really had it going... class act. 

A real wooden boat... This is what they call a gaff rig sailboat... breathless.  As we entered the mooring ball field at Dinner Key, this guy was confidently zipping this little boat in and out between markers, boats, and having a gay old time. 

After Jamie was picked up by his wife, I was now on the mooring ball and kicked back to celebrate a great day on the water.... when suddenly a short but mighty storm blew in and gave us a good fresh water rinse... It felt like a summer rain storm... but it was February... I stood out in it and rinsed off... Let it rain hard on me Lord.
After the rain stopped, The sun looked like it was going to melt the boats... 
And then this... What a blessed day and good reason to be alive... All summer showers need a rainbow...

This is the mooring field... 225 mooring balls full of all sorts of cruising folks from all over the world.... For $22, you get to tie up to one of their anchored mooring balls... It's actually pretty cool...its sort of a floating bohemian communtity where everybody is quite friendly and willing to help you out if you need it.... just zippin' around in their dinghys, going here, going there, hanging out... I like to think its just a peaceful little hippy community.

 I'm amazed at how many boaters have dogs on board... that means you must go to shore every few hours for you know what... it doesn't seem fair to the pet if you ask me.. but that's their thing... I miss my dog, Pumpkin frequently, but i can't do pets at the moment.

The following day, Sunday, I motored Dazy into the dock at Coconut Grove.  It was a SUNDAY, and so I figured there would be lots of folks out doing all types of Sunday things... And indeed they were... Lots of outdoor cafés, galleries, shops, happy couples, kids, and girls laughing with their heads cocked back
Now this guy puzzled me.  He was an older gentlemen, and I kept watching him as he just stared at the water.  He had dropped his drawers and everything on those rocks and just kept staring at the water.... Finally, I walked up and tried some small talk,, "Gona take a plunge?" I said.  "I'm thinking about it" he said, but not very friendly... he seemed worried....  I'm not sure why, it was just some vibe I got... So I backed off.

I parked myself on a parkbench and worked on this blog via my cell phone, all the time with him in view.  He glared at me once or twice, like wondering why i was here.  About 30 minutes passed, and he never went in...ankle deep on a rock, He just kept staring blankly at the water.... Then with his clothes in hand, he walked by me and said blankly,  "I couldn't do it." and then left.

I could be wrong, but something tells me, before I came along, he was about to take his swann song in the deep blue ocean... maybe I saved his life?  Maybe not,,, maybe I"m just some guy who annoyed him... either way, I'll never know for sure. 
Lots of cool homes in Coconut Grove and I biked through various streets.

Back to the dinghy dock, it was a job to untangle the other boats just to get my little Dazy back out again... this is the "parking lot" you might say. 

Another day down... Tomorrow, I shall sail across Biscayne Bay and drop the hook in a location I've been looking forward to... No Name Harbor.

So long, Coconut Grove... Something tells me I'll be back in a few days.
Good night son.

 Do I Get Lonely?

The answer is no, because I'm basically pretty comfortable with myself and my surroundings.  But I get that question a lot, and it is one worth asking.

Do I miss my family?  Yes, of course.  I"ve been gone just over 6 weeks now, and I think about or call them most everyday.

Is this paradise?  Certain moments and events certainly seem that way on a frequent basis... But this is not an easy lifestyle by any means,... It can be very demanding and it is certainly not for everyone.  You have to want it so bad that you will put up with inconveniences and hardships to make it happen.  There are days when you are hot and sweaty and there is no shower in your future unless you choose to ration your on board water supply. So in many ways, it's really similar to camping... but a little fancier... fancy camping I call it. 

Just like tonight, I learned to put up with some inconveniences.  So yes, I wanted a shower after pedaling my bike a couple of miles to the hardware store and back to get an essential nut and bolt.  On the way back, I decided shower at the outdoor public beach bathroom... But I forgot to bring a towel... so you make do.  I showered anyway and drip dried shirtless all the way home... sometimes you get lucky and find a half bar of soap someone left behind, not tonight tho.

People see me, but they don't know me... unless I make the effort to start a conversation.  I'm anonymous ... But I've found that 99% of folks you approach are glad to speak back to you.  I spent at least 30 mins today just chatting about everything under the sun with this cool Canadian couple, Vicki and Andy from Ontario. Here they are below... They run a cool company called rocksafire.com when not wintering on Key Biscayne.

Most folks will agree that the coolest part of the cruising lifestyle is the people you meet along the way... I meet boaters everyday... Weather and wildlife seem to be easy topics to spark a conversation.

I am sometimes envious of the cruising couples I meet at docks, marinas, and anchorages along the way.  I'm glad they are able to share the joys of good food together, a cocktail at sunset, or enjoying a smile together just watching a manatee scrub his belly along the sea wall.  Cooking together, biking together, laughing together, sleeping together, these are all just small samples of joy that a cruising couple gets to enjoy that I do not have the privilege.  Granted, a boat is a very small space, so intimacy is important.

A while back, I was sure I would be part of a cruising couple sharing all this adventure together... but as mates change their minds, sometimes it is just not meant to be... and so here I am, living the choice that I made. 

One of my favorite phrases is, "If your dreams don't scare you just a little bit, maybe they are not big enough."... how true... I'd be a liar if I said I am not afraid of any of this traveling alone, and boating stuff... but I must admit, it's sometimes downright scary just setting out into some unknown bay of water looking for some distant anchorage you've spotted on a chart... but once you do it, and do it again, it is so satisfying and rewarding... And It doesn't have to be a boating goal to get that same buzz... it's ANYTHING you that overcome that seemed like a large mountain to climb at the time.  

I like to think that everybody has their own private Idaho, their own passions, and dreams no matter how large or small they may be.... Some folks just don't think about it tho...whatever dream floats your boat is all the matters... It's a a strengthen pillar when someone,besides yourself,  believes in you.

Ok, I'm done.... But Here's a song I wrote 30 years ago.


If you want your cake tonite, 
you have got to go and make it happen.
Things they may come to you, 
but only when you make it happen.
You show your face, you set your bait, 
you classify all of your intentions.
The remainder is diplomacy

If you appear to have faith in my judgement,
I can do anything.
If you stand over with doubting eyes,
I will bungle it all.
If you continue to doubt my strengths,
I will continue to fullfill those doubts.
But cut me some slack tonight, 
And I promise
I will amaze you. I will amaze you.
Oh Daddy, I will amaze you.


1 comment:

  1. Joe,
    Glad to see you have moved south and it looks like you are having a great time. We made it to the Bahamas, south as far as Black Point in the Exumas then had to backtrack a bit. We crossed back to Florida two weeks ago and left SeaClearly in Stuart while we went north for Junie's back surgery. Unfortunately, Roux,our big, old Chocolate Lab went into a serious decline once we got back and we had to put him to sleep. We miss him tremendously but we are glad he got to play in the Bahamas. Hope to catch up with you again at some point.
    Duane and June
    sv SeaClearly