Saturday, December 21, 2013

South Beach, Art Deco, and a Crummy Day

We moved south a few miles, closer to our departure point for crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. We have been waiting and waiting--six days--for winds in the right direction for the crossing.

Now, we are in the heart of Miami! That sunk in immediately when we anchored and cruised over to shore in our new dinghy with the new engine, about 10:30 am.


The other dinghies were locked up every which way—extra-long bike cables, heavyweight chains, large hardened padlocks.  Hmm. We immediately had grave doubts about our plan to tie up (wih only a rope) and take a leisurely walking tour of the South Beach art deco district.

Thank goodness for iPhone data plans. We looked up Ace Hardware, only a few blocks away. I stayed with the dinghy; Pope sauntered over and cringed at the $40 price tag for a 12-foot chain. (Yes, they must do a booming business with naïve suckers like us.)

Not so fast, suckers! The chain was too short, and we needed a second lock for the other end! What else didn’t we think of?

We moved to a canal with fence posts closer to the water. Got chained up. Joined millions (or so it seemed) of cars and people moving in the general direction of South Beach. By now, it was past noon. We were hungry and discouraged by the wasted morning and extra cost.

On and on and on we walked toward the ocean—17 blocks--feeling weary but wanting to see the ‘40s and ‘50s turquoise, pink, and sea  green stucco-and-glass architecture.

Arund the bend, we found a different (better, cheaper) hardware store with a superior solution for keeping our dinghy out of the underground resale business: a 30-foot, heavy-duty bike cable. Only $44.95.

With heavy hearts, we shelled out more greenbacks. This whole cruise down the waterway, we lamented, has been a massive, two-month-long shopping spree—credit card bills of $2,500 a month; wallets thinner than a credit card. Pope says it's the waiting and waiting for weather windows that encourages us to spend money. Have the merchants near marinas got that figured out?

The costs have definitely added up. Did we need to stay in marinas? No, but the hot showers were a blessing after a sweaty day. Did we need all the spares and other emergency gear? Probably not. But more stuff gives me at least a cursory illusion of having some things under control.

Not everything, of course. Returning to the dinghy at 5 pm, feet aching, the engine wouldn’t start. We had forgotten to shut off the fuel valve when we left, flooding the carburetor.

What else could go wrong?

Fast-forward to 7 pm dinner: vegetables roasted in foil on the propane grill. The grill hangs over the water, off the back of the boat. This same innocent little grill caused Pope to sprain his leg, ankle, and finger before we left home, slipping on a wet dock while trying to attach it to the stern railing. The finger still throbs and swells.

Tonight, it was dark, the grill was hot, the foil was slippery, we were clumsy with exhaustion.  PLOP.  Into Biscayne Bay went carrots, potatoes, and peppers in miso. I hope it didn’t whack any fish on the head!

What next? Better shut down the day and escape into slumber before the jinx catches us again!

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