75 degrees in the sunshine here! And you?
Martin Luther King Day and Alison's Birthday on January 20, saw us leave Ft. Lauderdale for an offshore passage to Miami. At 62 feet of vertical draft we are too high to pass under the 56 feet available at the Julia Tuttle Bridge in North Miami. That is all well and good with us, since we had a beautiful day and some very pleasant sailing.
There are Sailfish out here.
George. With another fishing story.
We arrived mid-afternoon at Government Cut and took the Dodge Island Cut toward downtown Miami. As we turned South back into the ICW, a good size porpoise jumped clear of the water by about six feet (higher than our bow at least and not six feet away) and turned head first back into the water. Like being at Sea World! Incredible.
We went under the Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge at Virginia Key and South into Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbor (that is the name, "No Name") at the southern tip of Key Biscayne and Cape Florida. No Name is known as a small and popular hurricane hole.
No Name Harbor.
Arriving at 3:00 PM on a Holiday (MLK), there were over 20 boats at anchor. We made three full circles of the Harbor before dropping anchor so close to the Mangroves (in 12 feet of water), that I was concerned if we swung the wrong way we would get caught up on the branches. When the day boats left, we pulled up anchor and re-set in a clear patch with only seven other overnighters.
Sailboat Racing on Biscayne Bay.
No Name seems to have a good 11 to 12 feet throughout, and despite being not half the size of Gosport Harbor at the Isles of Shoals, it has plenty of room and good, clean holding. We stayed three nights.
Another fine, feathered friend.
No Name is part of the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park which has a 1.2 mile Atlantic shoreline and 1.4 miles of frontage on Biscayne Bay. It is consistently rated one of the ten best beaches in the US. Hiking Trails. Biking Trails. Two great restaurants (unbelievable for a State Park!).
We rented bikes.
We went to the beach.
We ate fresh Grouper and fresh Snapper.
A great destination. We will definitely be back.
Remains of the day.
A quick inquiry to the Island Packet List looking for tips on where to go and what to do in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, yielded great information and even coded charts (thanks again, Hayden) showing great anchorage locations. We were so taken with how good it looks here that we decided to postpone our movement south in order to first explore some of Biscayne Bay.
Cape Florida Light. From near...
…and from far.
On Thursday (January 23) we moved from our anchorage to the seawall for a free DIY pump out (sadly, no water source), lunch at the Boaters Grill, then off into Biscayne Bay. This time headed North against the wind, back under the Rickenbacker, and into the anchorage at Marine Stadium. On the way and all day at anchor we were surrounded by go-fast sailing machines with two person trapeze crews hiked out and whizzing around us. Olympic training with crews from the US, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden! Pretty cool!
Girls from Italy.
Sadly, the days of glory for Marine Stadium have apparently passed. I am sure we all saw waterskiing and motorboat racing televised from there in the 1960s, but now the Stadium is abandoned and the area is a bit derilict. Apart from the sailing Training Center and the Rowing Club at the far end. We were told at the City Marina that the signs at the dock say you can't tie a dinghy there without authorization. And it was crazy for us to come into the office to ask for authorization because no one could give it. But, no one really cares. So we walked ashore there but found little of interest.
Back in the dinghy, we found no docking or tie up facilities at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant, and the Security Guard on that side of the Rickenbacker Marina shooed us away (unless we paid $50), but seemed to indicate that we could tie up for free on the other side of the Marina (having better Spanish language skills would help). On that other side, past the fuel dock, the crew there actually encouraged us to tie up to see the restaurant and Ship's Store at Rickenbacker. We did. And it's a good spot to know about. Bought some gasket sealant, fuel stabilizer and a fishing net. I know we'll use at least two of those.
Quite a wind on Thursday night, but we were treated to the best of what Marine Stadium has to offer. An amazing view of the downtown Miami skyline at night! Pretty spectacular.
It's Miami, Baby!
In the continuing big wind of Friday morning (from the North, of course), we headed North to Miami's Venetian Causeway to anchor behind Miami Beach among the homes of the rich and famous. Here just off Sunset Isles north of the Sunset Marina (and in sight of that notorious Julia Tuttle Bridge) before lunch, we are enjoying the sunshine but the breeze is keeping us aboard, likely until late afternoon or morning, before we explore this part of the city.
Our Sunset Isle neighbors.
Needless to say, we really like Biscayne Bay so far.