We were off and running again today. Left Crandon Park Marina at 0930 to face the daunting challenge of running up the ICW through downtown Miami. I say daunting because you run into several trying circumstances on this part of the journey. There are the rude and ignorant boat drivers who just know one speed, wide open. They do not obey manatee signs or no wake zones and could care less if they swamp your boat. Now we are big enough that this is no danger but they sure can cause loose items to fly around inside as you rock and roll. The best defense is a good offense so you keep your eyes peeled and if you see one barreling down toward you just start easing over toward them as if you are going to meet them head on. They will ease off because they do not know if you are crazy or what. If they are coming up behind you then take up more space and force them to back off.
Next you have some huge yachts to contend with. When I say huge I mean 100+ feet. You cannot play chicken with these. They cannot stop easily and they cannot change course quickly. In addition even at slow speeds they kick up a wake that dwarfs the smaller boats and can roll you pretty good. Give them wide berth and be prepared to cut back in on their wake as they pass by. You do not have to worry about being overtaken by these guys as they cannot make any real speed in tight quarters.
Finally you have a few low bridges to deal with. The printed schedules say they will open on demand but that was printed before the economy went south and cutbacks have forced changes. Now they operate on a restricted schedule of openings and if you miss one even by a minute you could be stuck trying to maintain your position in a narrow area with some big ships crowding in on you.
We had one close call at the Venetian Bridge when too many boats got into too little space. We had been the lead boat and should have had right of way but these people go by what our friend the late Huck Smith called the lug nut rule. Somehow that translated to the bigger boat rules and you had best get out of the way and if you are the big boat just keep going and let the little boats move. Unfortunately here we are not the bigger boat.
This fellow has an enterprising spirit. He cruises along near a channel out to the Atlantic and sells live bait to passing fishermen. If you look closely you can see his managing partner sitting on the back by the motor. He really does work for food.
This is a park where Jan’s parents used to go to sit and eat boiled shrimp that they bought from a street vender. I bet it never looked this good.
Some really nice real estate as we moved north of Miami and a hotly contested game of shuffleboard along the ICW.
Jan revealed today that at one time she thought the entire ICW would be just like this part where it is like a beautiful water highway with seawalls on both sides. That would be nice.
As we rolled along there were a number of boats being transported to the Miami Boat Show that starts on Thursday. This one was a stealthy looking Lazzara from Italy.
The bridge at Hollywood means we turn left into the Hollywood City Marina. It turned out to be surprisingly nice. Jan backed us into a slip between two boats like a pro. Everywhere we go the dockhands are impressed and women whose husbands would never let them drive the boat into a marina are shocked to see her at the helm. I call her my pilot.
This marina is a bargain at $1.25 a foot and everything is convenient. A short bike ride and we are on the Boardwalk. Hollywood has a fantastic beach boardwalk that is lined with shops and restaurants. We had lunch at the Beach Club. Then we rode down the beach and had ice cream.
Back to the boat for a little nap for me and later we headed back to the beach for dinner.
After dinner at Ocean Alley we attended a reggae concert. The group was Roots Shakedown. They had a beat and you could dance to it. Four white guys playing reggae and they were really good at it. I say it again, this is living…