Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Back to Civilization
After six weeks in the Keys, it was time to get back to the mainland and continue our loop north. On Thursday, March 1, we made the last 16 miles across the north end of Biscayne Bay into Miami. As always, the skyline of a huge city was such a contrast to the laid back atmosphere of the more remote areas we had been cruising. Still, it was a magnificent sight.
Approaching Miami on Biscayne Bay
Carrie and I had visited Miami a couple of years ago for their huge boat show, so neither we nor the Boreas crew we were travelling with felt any great need to go ashore. Instead, we dropped anchor in the Miami Marine Stadium for the night. It was recommended by Jolly Tolly just for the “wow factor” of the Miami skyline at night. I’m not sure our amateur photography does it justice, but it was remarkable and we were in great position to enjoy it from the fly bridge on Once Around.
In the anchorage at Miami's Marine Stadium
From the dinghy, Once Around and Boreas with a Miami backdrop!
Miami from Once Around at dusk...
...and after dark, this was a spectacular "Wow".
The next day we and Boreas cruised about 25 miles up the Inter Coastal Waterway. Our destination was Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale. To say the houses that lined the waterway were beautiful does not do them justice. Likewise, I have never seen so many large yachts in one place in my life. And, that includes Newport Beach, California, which prior to this I thought could never be beaten for either. The sign as you enter Fort Lauderdale claims that it is the “Yachting Capital of the World”. I believe it!
Cruise ships in Miami Harbor
Nice little place...
...and a few nice little boats!
passing thru Port Everglades
Note helicopter on aft deck!
The Yachting Capital of the World
check out the toy storage inside...
We stayed for a couple of days in Fort Lauderdale, or “Fort Dollardale” as Kathy on Algonquin refers to it. Bahia Mar Marina has over 100 slips large enough for 100’ boats, and can take boats up to 250’. Once Around at 45’ was one of the smaller (but still the prettiest) boats in the harbor! We were surprised when we docked and looked directly across the runway to see the only other Once Around we have ever seen. It was on a Sunseeker Yacht and we had a laugh with the owners, who told us that there was actually a third Once Around on the north side of the harbor! We had learned from a marina dock master in Marathon that there were actually only 18 Once Around’s documented in the United States. With all the marinas in the US, the mathematical odds that three of them would be in the same place at the same time must be astronomical! Yet, there we were.
The "other" Once Around, but no comparison (in my humble opinion).
We somehow missed the Jungle Queen Cruise...
On Saturday we took a long dinghy ride up the New River into downtown Fort Lauderdale. Again, the number of outrageous homes and boats just blew our minds.
follwing the Boreas tender in the New River, Fort Lauderdale
Sunday we had a special visitor. Carrie’s father’s cousin Jean lives close by and drove over to meet us on Once Around and have lunch. Jean knows her way around boats, having worked for Broward Yachts, a builder of large yachts and for another company that split off from Broward. We had a great visit, and hope one day to see her visiting Elk Grove.
Carrie and Cousin Jean
Sunday afternoon we went “Guy Shopping”. West Marine just opened their new flagship store there in Fort Lauderdale, and Fred from Boreas and I were not about to miss the largest West Marine anywhere. To be honest, our First Mates were not hard to convince, and come to think of it, when all was said and done they had done some pretty good damage in the ladies clothing section. Fred and I mostly window shopped…so who’s kidding who here…
From there we went to the Hard Rock Casino, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe. I was not much in the mood to gamble, but plugged a few dollars into a friendly slot machine and within a couple of minutes was up $400! I cashed out and we spent the cash on the best steaks in the house and a great bottle of California Cabernet. We walked out “even” and stuffed!
We decided to leave Fort Lauderdale on Monday. Even though the wind was blowing pretty well, it would be coming from the north so straight at us. The forecast was for the wind to increase on Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe even Thursday and shift to an east wind, which at that force would make it tough going to keep our boats in the channel heading north.
this photo is from our fly bridge while underway in the ICW. As you can see, you do not want to drift very far out of the channel!
We had a long day, covering 37 miles and opening 10 bridges. Again, it was one multi-million dollar home and/or boat after another, to the point your mind became numb to it…or was that the north wind doing that…who knows.
This is becoming "ho-hum"...almost!
There are hundreds of these canals lined with boats
The "contemporary" house of the day
Anyway, we finally docked in West Palm Beach at another very nice marina, Palm Harbor. We may be here a few days due to the aforementioned wind, which as I post this is blowing due east at about 25 mph. That’s OK, West Palm Beach looks like a pretty nice place to hang out!