Monday, March 14, 2011

Days 198 - 200    Williams Island Marina,
Aventura, FL
Friday, March 11, 2011 – Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waiting for the Venetian Causeway Bridge to open

Seamoore at our stern

Docked at Williams Island Marina

Fountain directly behind our boat at Williams Island

Docks at Williams Island marina

One of many beautiful villas around the marina

 The winds were extremely strong on Friday morning, and we debated with Seamoore about staying in Miami Beach for another night.  But about noon we decided to go to Williams Island Marina which is just north of Miami.  Great decision!  The marina consists of 81 acres of boat slips, condos, restaurants, a health club, spa, swimming pool, clay tennis courts, and much more.   A member of the staff gave us a tour of the resort via golf cart.   It’s a beautiful area, and the amenities (which cost owners $2500 per month) are free for transient boaters.   We were each given a Williams Island boat bag with collared shirts and cozies inside.  We had signed up for a special 3 night rate at the Miami Boat Show.   It doesn’t get much better than this.  The entire resort is top shelf.   We would highly recommend it to other loopers coming in this direction.   On Friday evening we had cocktails at the Island Club Restaurant and enjoyed interesting “people watching” until late evening.   
On Saturday and Sunday we relaxed around the resort.  On Saturday evening we enjoyed supper at the Island Club Restaurant, and on Sunday we stuffed ourselves at brunch at the Island CafĂ©.                
Total miles: 17       Total bridges: 7       Total locks:  0

Day 197   Miami Beach, FL
Thursday, March 10, 2011

Approaching Miami

Entering Miami

Hot in South Beach

With Diane and Lanny in South Beach

View from our slip at Miami Beach Marina

We docked at Miami Beach Marina and walked to South Beach.  Wow.  Culture shock.  We went from an area of quiet natural beauty to an area packed with partying Spring breakers wearing a wild array of outrageous outfits that left nothing to the imagination.
But at Finnegan’s Way we enjoyed dinner with Diane and Lanny Dobbels, a friend from Modern Woodmen and her husband who were in the area on vacation.  It was fun to see them and to hear the latest news from MWA.  Thanks to Diane and Lanny for making the extra trip from Ft. Lauderdale to South Beach!      
Total miles: 23       Total bridges: 1       Total locks:  0

Days 194 - 196       Boca Chita Key, FL
Monday, March 7, 2011 – Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Seamoore anchored at Barnes Sound

Sunset at Barnes Sound

The only other boat anchored at Barnes Sound

View from our anchorage at Barnes Sound

Boca Chita lighthouse

Boca Chita from the lighthouse

View from the top of the lighthouse

The chapel

Docktail party at the pavillion

Faint Miami skyline from Boca Chita

Boca Chita lighthouse

On the trail in Boca Chita

Scenes from Boca Chita

Trees bent by a hurricane now grow skyward

Birds camouflaged on rocks

Biscayne National Park map showing Boca Chita

Dream Catcher and Seamoore docked at Boca Chita

In the 1930s Honeywell docked his yacht where we docked Dream Catcher

Shaping Boca Chita Key

Mark Honeywell at Boca Chita in the 1930s

 We spent three beautiful days surrounded by gorgeous scenery.  On Monday we anchored with Seamoore at Barnes Sound.  We were amazed by the billions of stars in the night sky. 
 On Tuesday and Wednesday we tied to the seawall at Boca Chita and enjoyed the beauty of this National Park.   Moor $tuff, Quest, and Dream Quest heard us talking on the radio with Seamoore and decided to join us.  It was fun to get together at a docktail party at the island pavilion.  The island was privately owned and developed by the Honeywells in the late 1930s.  It includes a lighthouse that a park ranger opened for a tour.   Unfortunately, the home was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  But the beauty of the island remains.  
Total miles: 57       Total bridges: 2       Total locks:  0

Day 193      Islamorada, FL
Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leaving Harbour Cay Club

Our last glimpse of Seven Mile Bridge as we leave Marathon

Everglades National Park boundry marker

Birds perched on stakes in shallow water close to the channel

Anchored off Islamorada

Pink Cadillac and pirate ship docked at Lorelei's

Lorelei's restaurant

Excited to be traveling once again, we cast off from Marathon and started the inside passage (on the Gulf of Mexico) up the Florida Keys.   Outside of Harbour Cay Club we joined Seamoore and Tony M who left Dockside an hour earlier in order for all of us to coordinate traveling together.    At Islamorada we anchored with Seamoore while Tony M continued.   We lowered our dingy and the 4 of us went in to Lorelei Restaurant for dinner.  The wind picked up and we spent a rough night on the hook with howling winds and slapping waves.     
Total miles: 37       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Days 189 - 192    Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, FL
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 – Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baby manatee and mother

Robert Creech speaks about the ICW to a group of loopers

This anchor was salvaged from a ship that sank in the 1700s.

We spent several days making additional preparations for our trip north.  On Wednesday we went to Dockside to hear Robert Creech from C-Life speak about traveling from Marathon to Norfolk.   That’s his home territory and he generously shared valuable information with a group of loopers.  On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we worked around the boat.  On Saturday evening we walked to Castaways for dinner – our first time there and our last dinner in Marathon.    
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Days 179 - 188  Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, FL
 Sunday, February 20, 2011 – Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Porky's has great bar-b-que

 Looper get together

 Looper get together 

 Looper get together at Banana Bay Resort

 The tiki hut at 7-Mile Marina next to Salty's

 The top of Salty's offers a good view of the gulf



 Blue stripe on the manatees's back is from a boat's bottom paint

 2 manatees at Harbour Cay Club

Entertainer on the roof plays for the tiki hut crowd at Key Fisheries

 Jim at the Tiki hut at Key Fisheries

 View from the Tiki hut at Key Fisheries

 Another Marathon sunset

 Pig races at the Stuffed Pig restaurant

Sunset at Tranquillity Bay

Warm, beautiful, sunny days – great for relaxing, walking, biking, and enjoying life.  We took advantage of every day in Paradise, but we also knew that we were getting close to the time when we would start traveling again.      
So on Wednesday a diver checked the bottom of the boat, removed some barnacles, and replaced the zincs on the shafts.    In the afternoon I learned how to make a necklace from a “heart bean” which grows naturally in the area.  A fellow boater showed several of us how to use a dremel to sand the bean so that it was smooth, shiny.  She then drilled holes in each side and strung it on a cord.  Voila!  A new necklace!   But I have to be careful.  If it gets wet, it will sprout!
On Wednesday evening we attended a baked potato party at Harbour Cay Club.  One couple provided the potatoes and everyone else brought toppings.  Yumm!
On Thursday a Yanmar mechanic replaced the engine zincs and changed the transmission oil and filters.  In the evening we joined over 80 fellow loopers at a party at Banana Bay Marina and Resort.  It was a get together for loopers from all of the marinas in the area.     It was fun to reconnect with people we haven’t seen for a long time and to meet new loopers. 
On Saturday we went to the pig races sponsored by The Stuffed Pig restaurant.  It was a fund raiser for a local day care center.   What a hoot!  The announcer sounded like a professional auctioneer - had a good sense of humor and names for all of the pigs (Brittney Spearibs,  Hammah Montana).  Of course, the pigs didn’t have a clue, and some of them wandered aimlessly while she called the race.   We actually won $11!  (Okay.  We bet $15, so we lost $4.)  But it was fun.
On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we worked on getting ready to head north.  On Tuesday afternoon we rode our bikes to Dockside to make plans with Carlton and Becky about leaving on Wednesday morning.   We checked the weather reports and found the forecast was for windy conditions for the next few days.  After some discussion we put our departure plans on hold in order to wait for better weather.            
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Days 177 - 178  Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, FL
 Friday, February 18, 2011 – Saturday, February 19, 2011

 College friend Ed Doyle at the boat show

Jim at the Formula exhibit

The Miami Boat Show was our destination for Friday and Saturday.  Carlton and Becky rented a car, and we rode with them to the show.  We each got a motel room in Ft. Lauderdale for Friday night.  The show had 3 locations – 2 with in–water boats, but we went to the 3rd location at the Convention Center.  It featured not only boats, but an amazing variety of every possible boating accessory known to the world.  At one of the exhibits we were surprised to find Ed Doyle, a college fraternity brother of Jim’s.  He had come from Minneapolis to work at the show.   It was good to see him! 
For 2 days we shopped, got lost in the maze of exhibits, and shopped some more.    At the end of each day we were exhausted, but glad to have finally attended our first Miami Boat Show. 
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0