We have officially begun our travels now. Aside from a bumpy first day on Hawk Channel and a little shower a few days later, the trip has gone well. We followed a route familiar to us, spending that first night at Rodriguez Key. We turned into Angel Fish Creek the next day to enjoy a nice sail up Biscayne Bay to Miami and anchored near South Beach, a place we’ve often used.
Getting ashore in our dinghy at South Beach is no longer easy. Most of the places previously used by us and other boaters are no longer available. We tied our dinghy to a dock by the police station which has a 30-minute limit. We managed in that short time to give Maddie a walk, and Sandra was able to get to Publix to pick up a few items as well.
As on past trips, the change of scenery is dramatic as we approached Miami from the keys. Upon leaving South Beach we continued up the protective ICW the next day to another favored anchorage in Sunrise Bay in Fort Lauderdale. The views of Fort Lauderdale from the water are dramatically different from those of land travel. Waterways have lots of traffic from small fishing vessels to 200 foot yachts to water taxis and fuel boats. The shoreline offers a mix of twenty to thirty story condos to multimillion-dollar homes and marinas securing boats, most of which are 50 to 200 feet long. We also passed a few parks and outdoor restaurants right along the Waterway.
As we continued north to the Palm Beach area, the homes along the Waterway were larger and had more land around them. I couldn’t help but wonder about the growing disparity between average people and the very wealthy. We passed by literally hundreds of houses that were in the multimillion-dollar range.
The most modest accommodations were condos that were likely pricey for us ordinary folk. Driving down here one doesn’t see this, much of it being within gated communities so out of sight to average people. But on the water, it’s in your face for nearly 100 miles. Enough of that. For all I know, they look out at us on the water and wish they could do what we do.
After sailing through this interesting stretch while we also dealt with nearly 30 bridges, most having a specific opening schedule that we had to meet, we ended the day near the Lake Worth inlet (Palm Beach) and Peanut Island. Since our next day of travel would be short and only included six bridge openings, we decided to dinghy to Peanut Island (It’s now a city park.) and walk around the perimeter to see how it held up after Irma. This is quite a nice spot with a path around it, several sandy beaches, a campground, and an artificial reef for snorkeling. Some readers may remember our earlier visit here a couple of years ago when we ended up snorkeling with a pair of manatees.
After this pleasant time ashore, we were back on our northern travels. Still on the ICW, we passed by more exotic homes. We enjoyed a quiet evening in one of our favourite anchorages in Hobe Sound which, as usual, we had pretty much all to ourselves. The next day was another beauty with some wind to help us along all the way to Vero Beach. Upon arrival we were surprised to find that the moorings were full. We’d be required to raft up with another boat. A few moorings even had three boats attached. We like being by ourselves as much as possible, which is one reason moorings have appeal. But it turned out OK. We rafted with a pleasant Canadian couple who would be leaving their boat in a couple of days and not returning for a month. So for the better part of our stay we’d be alone on the mooring.
Having spent time here on several occasions in the past, we know our way around Vero. Since we had brought our car here earlier, we also had the ability to get around easily. We took care of provisioning, we got to the movies and took Maddie to her favourite beach for an evening run.
As with a number of other stops along the coast, Vero offers opportunities to see wildlife that call the coastal area home. On this particular occasion, the dolphins were in evidence on a daily basis among the moored boats. On a couple of days, two or three would spend a good part of the day in one area. As we’d dinghy by, one or two would come a bit closer, apparently checking us out. Perhaps our electric dinghy motor made an unusual noise that had to be investigated.
We also drove north to the Kennedy Space Center for a day. What a great place to visit! We saw several rockets on display and got to walk around the shuttle Atlantis. There were two IMAX movies that were both great as well as deep space shots from the Hubble telescope. One the real highlights was learning about the plans for a manned Martian trip, and we got to see the spacecraft they’d be using. For anyone who can get there, this would be something not to miss.
So our boat is now loaded with food,water, and fuel. We’ve taken our car down to West Palm Beach to my sister’s where it will stay till our return in the fall. We are ready to continue our journey north a bit further. We’ve checked the tides, the weather and the charts. Tomorrow looks good. We are ready.