Sunday, December 15, 2013

Getting to Miami: 1,000 Miles Under Our Boat!

I can’t believe I did the whoooole thing!  Dear readers, Pope and I arrived in North Miami Friday night, having traveled 1,085 miles on the Intracoastal Waterway from Chesapeake Bay. Only 12 miles to go before leaving the coast for the islands. It went slowly along the way, yet now that I’ve practically arrived, I’m wondering: where did the weeks go?

South Florida has been a culturally entertaining experience.  The waterway environs switched from marsh to mansion; from wide shallow channels lined with seagrass, where we struggled to find enough depth for the keel of our boat, to rows of elegant (and sometimes grotesque) estates, high rises, and deeply dredged channels for megayachts.

As we cruised along, we dreamed of our next big adventure: coming back to search for real estate. So many houses are for sale, we thought perhaps we could pick up a bargain.

Surely there must be some foreclosures and short sales…? This one was my personal favorite. If I made a low-ball offer of a couple of million, maybe they would snap it up!
Of course, I would want a suitable sleek yacht to match. I am confident this boat is cleaner and has more fresh water on board than our own good ol’ boat.

Some people prefer lslightly arger floating vacation homes. However, this family apparently took a break from the spacious quarters on their boat and checked into the Hilton.

We observed some other interesting phenomena that are probably endemic to South Florida. Here, for example, is an interesting sport. Kind of like opening the valve on a fire hydrant, I guess. Will it replace surfing?

Only in Florida: pink building and sky-blue boat.

Down here they have a novel method of moving house.

And here is the way they move boats and file them away for later retrieval. Notice the anxious owner standing by to supervise.

Here is another way to move your boat: on board a container ship.


We passed one of those container ships, squeaking by her on the very edge of the channel. They don’t move over to give you room.

I kept thinking: what if one of those containers fell on our heads????

And then there is the juxtaposition of urban development and nature.  After all, this is South Florida. Right next door is the Everglades. In our marina in North Miami, we encountered a flock of ibis—a graceful bird with long pink beak. Looks like a small flamingo.


Small iguanas grow up to be big iguanas, the local nuisance. Residents warned us to keep our distance. They bite and they poop.


We also encountered wonderful, helpful people. Captain Stevie and Donna, who are friends of friends in North Miami, allowed us to forward our mail to them, including a pair of shoes I ordered.


It’s a romantic fantasy to lounge around in bikini and flip-flops on the deck of the boat, at least if you’re cruising the waterway. It’s hard work, and it’s so easy to get injured, I elected to wear sturdy shoes. After 45 days, I wore them out.

I arrived in North Miami to collect the mail and my new shoes. Now my feet are happy.


My soul is also experiencing a renaissance.  Taking a break for a few days, waiting for good weather to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, has been a relief. Steve and Donna got us an invitation to an organic garden and homemade soup.
Of course there is still lots of cleaning and provisioning to do on the boat, and Customs to visit, before we leave the country. The next few days will be busy!


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