Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hanging Out in Coconut Grove, FL

We left Pompano Beach Tuesday morning 1/13/09. It was an interesting marina and a fun time, although the cross currents were a bit of a challenge getting into the slip. The marina was in need of some upgrades but close to stores and restaurants, and we were meeting new friends on another DeFever that Vicki and Norm know and they were staying there.

We usually back into a slip so that we can open the door on the aft deck and step off onto the dock. Unfortunately, when Rick backed the boat in, it came to a halt about 8 feet from the main dock. The bottom had silted over and we couldn't back any further. So, Rick turned the boat around and we went in bow first which worked just fine. Except this configuration left us with a small problem of how to get on and off the boat, since it was high tide and the front of the boat was about 4 feet higher than the dock! Daniel Blumenau, the dock master, found some wooden steps which we were able to use with much amusement to all.

So, I'm attaching some rather embarrassing pictures of us using the anchor as a step to get to the temporary steps on the main dock! You can see our friends on the other boats down the dock behind us waiting to see if they needed to break out the life preservers should we do the big splash.

We had a great time with all of our friends. Vicki fixed us a wonderful dinner the first night and we laughed and laughed telling boat stories. We ate at a Chinese place the second night...first time we've had Chinese food in weeks and weeks and it was grand.

Daniel, the dockmaster, was great! Rick had discovered that the dingy battery would no longer hold a charge, which is serious since the dingy is essentially the family car when anchored out. On Monday Daniel volunteered to cart Rick around Pompano until we could locate a new battery and get it back to the boat. That was way beyond the call of duty. Daniel and his wife, Yelena, live aboard their sailboat in the marina. His boat is really interesting and unusual in that it was once the "Pirate Ship" belonging to the famous Foxy of Foxy's Bar & Grill in the British Virgin Islands. Daniel spent 3 years in Venezuala fixing her up before heading north to replenish the cruising kitty.

We spent Tuesday cruising south in the ICW heading for Key Biscayne where Norm's sister lives. We had wanted to run outside to avoid all the south Florida bridges, but the weather was really lumpy and windy, so we played it safe and stayed inside. We planned to anchor in a little basin on the south end called No Name Harbor. Arriving about 2:00 we found several sail boats had already claimed most of the choice spots. Norm and Vicki found a good one and got hooked up. We wandered around the basin and tried a couple of spots but couldn't find room to set out enough chain to keep the boat from swinging into another boat or the mangroves, so we bailed out and headed for Coconut Grove, which is across Biscayne Bay from Key Biscayne and Miami. We found a good anchorage there, but will miss not meeting Norm's sister.

The weather Gods have been smiling on us almost the entire trip but yesterday it was very windy with showers. As we went through Fort Lauderdale which has a very, very large port, we saw Cunard Lines Queen Mary II and the Queen Victoria cruise ships which are both huge. There were also several other large cruise ships. As we passed by some of the passengers waved to us from what seemed like eight stories up.
Here is a picture of Tidehiker, Norm and Vicki's boat passing a container ship. We all felt like bathtub toys compared to the large ships.

Here is Lynnie following a sailboat and Tidehiker going very slowly waiting for a bridge opening. Lots of bridges along the way yesterday.

The next few days are going to be very windy so we left Coconut Grove on Thursday morning to find a place where we can shelter from the predicted 20 - 25 knot north winds. The Coconut Grove anchorage is pretty open so we don't relish being here during the blow. We want to get to Marathon on Vacca Key to get some new 'windows' or curtains made for the upper deck. Ours are so old that they have split in too many places to count and we can barely see out of them. So we've patched the splits with clear packing tape ... Clampet-style. That job will take about 2 weeks. Marathon is the largest and most populated town in the Keys so we hope to get some time to take in a movie and re-provision. We will stay in a marina and it will be nice to be on land for a while.

More later after we find a place to hole up.