Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 22, 2007 Boca Chita, FL

We have made it to the Keys! We enjoyed the trip down the Intercoastal Waterway in Florida; seeing the mansions, the yards, the incredible boats, and all of the funky parts. But the bridges!! Yikes. There are more than 80 bridges with heights from 6 ft to as high as 75 feet.

In the Palm Beach/Miami part of the ICW, there are bridges every few miles. Some of them open on the hour and half hour, some of them open on the quarter and three-quarter hour and some every 20 minutes. Which means that you do a lot of hurrying up, which isn’t so easy for a slow boat to do, and lots and lots of waiting for the bridges to open.

We left Ft. Lauderdale and headed to Coconut Grove which is, technically, part of south Miami, and a large art community. We took the dingy into town but were a bit disappointed that we didn’t find lots of artist’s shops. However, we did eat lunch at a great Peruvian restaurant, which one doesn’t find every day.

We could see the lights of Miami and Key Biscayne at night. We also got ash all over the boat from the fires in the Everglades, which we hear is a yearly occurrence. The ash in the sky, however, provided for a beautiful sunset.

After leaving Coconut Grove, we cruised about 2 hours to the northern-most Keys. Coincidently we passed some friends from our DeFever Association, Steve and Diane, as they headed north delivering another boat to Ft. Lauderdale. It was good to catch up on the radio and wave as we passed each other on the ICW. We’ve also made phone contact with Bob and Barbara, who are waiting for a weather window to cross to the Exumas, as well as Ron and Charma who are hanging out just south of us and we hope to see them tomorrow.

We are now tied up to the dock wall in Boca Chita. This is a very small island that was bought by Mark Honeywell (of the Honeywell Corporation) in the 1930’s. He built his own lighthouse as an aid to navigation and a pavilion to entertain his friends whom he brought over in his 70’ yacht, and this was during the Great Depression! Since his lighthouse was “out of spec” the Coast Guard wouldn’t let him keep it lit. It is now a part of the Biscayne National Park, and still pristine.

When we arrived on Friday morning we were one of two boats in the small basin and it was a lovely day with swaying palm trees and lots of silence. Since it is now the weekend, the small basin is full of small boats from Miami, sometimes rafted up together, and lots of boom boxes playing Cuban music. Just another adventure!! Tomorrow we will continue south looking for quieter keys, and will plan to do some gunkholing … hanging out at anchor, fishing and snorkeling.

Below: Yard art...yes a fish and a cow!

In the little park across from our Ft. Lauderdale anchorage; a man and his parrot enjoying the day.

Rick on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale.
Yes, a helicopter on the back of the boat, er, ship!

Lynnie driving Rickshaw as we enter North Miami.

Ash in the sky made for a beautiful sunset in the Coconut Grove anchorage.

This is the entrance to the small basin on Boca Chita. The lighthouse was built by Honeywell.

A picture of Rickshaw from the lighthouse. The Atlantic ocean is on the other side of this tiny island.

The water is incredibly beautiful. These shots are looking out over the Atlantic.

Lastly, the sunset. The first was interesting; as the sun set, it traveled through the lighthouse light!

Moving south tomorrow.