The trip up to Miami was uneventful – probably because we traveled through John Pennekanp State Park – so there were no crab pots! The water was gorgeous and clear and it was a nice calm cruise. It started to cloud up and rain as we approached Miami. We passed Lighthouse Point and then entered the channel area that is known as “Stiltsville”. This area has several stilt house right in the middle of the water – no land at all! Even with the rain, it was still a sight. Soon we started seeing the Miami skyline – with all the high rises and passed through several bridges. Since we needed a 16ft ladder to fix the anchor light – we decided to go to a marina for a night to get that done. We looked on Active Captain Website and found a marina close to the anchorage we wanted to stay – Sunset Harbour – but when we called, they said (because of the Miami Boat Show) they were charging $8.00 a foot! To you non- boaters that’s exorbitant! So we passed on that one and looked again on AC – for something we could afford. We found one! Palm Bay Club – in a little different area – but still a pretty good location – just an iffy “border” neighborhood… but it was gated and had great reviews – and the price was half the other – so we took it! And they were excellent there! They certainly lived up to the reviews- Bill met us at the dock to help with the lines – in the pouring rain! Everyone was so kind and helpful. Kelly in the office even drove me to Publix in her truck!
First order of business was to check out the anchor light- bulb – or electrical problem? Bill brought us an 8 ft step ladder and Richard climbed up to the top – where they say “DON’T STEP HERE” – and could not get anywhere near the light…………..need an extension ladder. Oh! Wait – did I tell you it was Friday afternoon? Can’t get the BIG ladder till Monday…. So we call Georgina and asked her if they had one – or could get one….no… But David (Georgina’s beau) suggests just buy one. Okay… so they get to Home Depot and then realize they can’t fit it in their mid-size SUV. “Do we want them to rent a truck?” Yikes! Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching $$$.....No- just come by and visit us.
After the kids got to the boat and we had some conversation and a drink and then we all took off for West Marine to get the anchor light bulb and various spares that we wanted. At West Marine I noticed they did “swaging” – which is a way to cut steel and wrap the ends. We wanted to fix the harness for our dinghy. We were using our old harness from a previous larger dinghy we owned and it made it really hard to lift. West Marine suggested a guy for the job – George (“George can do anything!” They said) – so we called George. Apparently, George is so good he’s very busy – and couldn’t get to us until Tuesday!
So that’s the story of how we stayed at Palm Bay Club Marina for 4 days! Cha-Ching$$!
We spent a lot of time with Georgina and David and saw them every day. They were terrific and so helpful. I made them a chicken curry boat dinner the first night and we had fun talking and being together. Next day they ran us on errands and had a terrific pizza and wine dinner at a neat spot called “Andiamo” – which was one of the best – freshest pizzas I’ve ever had!
Sunday we went to the Miami Boat Show together and ogled at all the new and larger trawlers…. Some day --or not…I love Partners and its home to us. It is fun to dream – but we have made our little boat pretty and comfortable and she’s getting us to all the places we’ve dreamed of- what more could we ask for?
The time came when we had to say good-bye to Georgina and David, and we got a little teary-eyed. It’s hard to leave the ones you love – even though all our family have “given us permission” to go on this voyage with their blessing.
We motored to an anchorage Richard and friend John had stayed in, near South Beach, and hung the hook –again setting the anchor alarm. It was a fairly crowded anchorage and it felt safe knowing others were there too. We got our dinghy down and did some exploring into town, with a planned stop at Publix at the end for more food. We brought the money this time! But we didn’t bring the chain to lock our dinghy – because we didn’t get it cut and it was 50 ft long and too heavy to lift without getting a hernia! Getting the dinghy down was much easier after the harness was adjusted and the day was going well. We went down the canal that runs down to South Beach and checked out where Publix was – cool – they have their own dinghy dock for cruisers! Then we went back a few blocks to Lincoln Road area and looked for a place to tie up. Although there were many other dinghies tied up at spots along the way – many had anti-theft chains (rather than rope) and we started to get nervous to leave the dinghy (our baby) for fear of someone cutting the line and taking her. In the end we chose a less crowded street and tied her up next to a slightly bigger dinghy. Richard removed the gas line and the little red kill switch key as further deterrent to theft – and off we went.
First stop – the bank – for money for the Bahamas. I put in my ATM card and got refused any transaction! Great! We go inside and Richard is very assertive with the manager (we’ve already informed the bank TWICE that we were travelling). We got excellent service from Cheryl at Bank of America and FINALLY everything got straightened out. Next stop – Liquor store I noticed – needed more Baileys! Then I noticed an Auto Parts Store – so we went inside to see if they had a wire cable to lock our dinghy – no – but the guy suggested Ace Hardware down the street – and off we went. Wow! That was one gourmet Ace! They had everything there and I could have shopped all day. But Captain kept me on track and we went to the cable isle. NO – none we could use – so we asked a clerk and he said –“you got a dinghy?” Yes – so they made us a cable and swaged the ends right there – all vinyl covered and thick and strong. “You better get this on your boat fast!” the guy said- laughing. YIKES! - Do they steal dinghies much here? “No- mostly Jet Skis and bicycles- but you never know.” So we raced back the 3 miles to our baby and…. YES! She was still there! So we used our new cable and made her safe.
Then back the three miles to a great Lincoln Rd restaurant called “Book & Books” and we sat in the pedestrian street under the umbrellas and had a salmon tapas lunch with all the “Housewives of Miami” – or that’s what it looked like - nails – makeup- skimpy low cut dresses or tops – 4 inch heels and gobs of plastic surgery! But it was so fun and we ended it with an espresso and then headed for Publix and back to the boat. We threw away as much packaging at Publix before we got on the dinghy – Garbage is an issue.
Cap decided we would be better to leave our anchorage and get through the opening bridge at 5pm – then we could anchor the other side and stage ourselves for a 4am crossing to the Bahamas. So we did and had another wonderful evening watching the sunset from our “Aft Deck Café” and seeing the city of Miami light up with a beautiful array of multicolored buildings glowing in the dark. Ahhh……Life is Good!