Tuesday, December 08, 2009

South From Vero

The Thanksgiving potluck at the park in Vero Beach was quite festive and there seemed to be plenty of food to go around including the small turkey and dressing and gravy that we managed to cook in our tiny galley.  We sat with our mooring mates, Franz and Louise, and other folks we had met along the way.

Franz had tried to teach me how to fish to no avail, but he gave me a catfish to use as bait in my crab trap.  My first (and only) catch was a barely legal blue crab which I steamed the next morning and awarded the claws to Franz.  It was quite tasty.

We had a rather spectacular sunrise one morning at Vero.

One boat came in with most of his mast missing and the highly experienced owner said that it broke on a calm day just off an inlet.
We spent some leisure time setting the boat up for the holidays with bows and wreaths and lights from the Dollar Store.  I have enhanced the lights with PhotoShop since they did not photograph well. The little lights are LED and are powered by their own solar cells and batteries.  They come on automatically at dusk.
The full moon one night was quite beautiful and reminded me of the song from The Fantasticks. (This photo is not PhotoShopped.)

When we finally headed south from "Velcro Beach" (I think Jimmy Buffet might have come up with the name because you tend to "stick" there because it is so well set up for the cruisers), we ran past all kinds of interesting boats including what looked like a matched pair of Elcos.

We spent a couple of nights in North Lake Worth as many thunderstorms came through.  Erik and Judith on Bravo were anchored nearby.
More interesting boats popped up as we went by the Lake Worth Inlet and Palm Beach. The one on the right is the Bounty.

These kids wanted to show us the fish they caught -- or were they just rubbing it in that the Skipper was still "fishless"?
We ran by Lighthouse Point where we had spent some good times with the Bodens and watched the busy traffic at Hillsboro Inlet.  There are many inlets, but few really "safe" ones.  The smaller ones are labelled "used by locals and fishermen" in the guides.  In other words, you have got to be nuts if you go through this inlet in anything but absolutely perfectly calm conditions with no tide or current and have a native Floridian (about 1% of the population) guide with you.


Once you get into South Florida, there are all kinds of "Manatee Zones", restricting boat movement in one way or another.  In truth, boats with their propellers can be fatal to the once-endangered manatees, but the reality is a bit more political, methinks.

Note that the "Summer Manatees" must be more agile than the winter ones, since they apparently can avoid boats going 5 MPH faster. Note also that few people live in their winter cottages along the shore in summer.

We have noticed in the past that manatees are upwardly mobile socially and tend to hang out off the very expensive mega-mansions and condos of the super-rich.  There are far more manatee speed restrictions in these areas than off trailer parks and undeveloped land.  (I refuse to believe that politics or payoffs would have had anything to do with these designations for the betterment of these lovely Rubenesque mammals.)

As upwardly mobile as these animals may be, there are still some areas where they can only afford to go on winter weekends.  I haven't yet read the research that shows how they learned to read calendars and clocks, but I am delighted that some government grant or other was able to furnish them the opportunity.

Some new signs are beginning to show up that weren't in evidence two years ago.  Do they signify a little less corruption in government and government-appointed employees or the simple fact that scientific research has shown that manatees are no longer endangered and that they better find another way to restrict the speed of boats off rich people's winter homes?  Next year, we expect that all the manatee signs will be replaced with ones that read:

Anyone throwing a wake of any sort
will be shot.

We finally found Fort Lauderdale, dubbed "Fort Liquordale" by many racing sailors.  It is wall-to-wall boats of every size and description.  Every house is on a man-made canal with its own boat dock.  The land the houses sit on was created from the dredging spoils from the creation of these canals.

This is definitely the land of, "Mine is bigger and better than yours!"  You build a multi-million dollar two or three story winter cottage on the landfill (usually only 2-3 feet above sea level) that goes for $6,000,000 for a canal-front or ICW front lot.  Then you put your 4 story mega-yacht on the dock in front of it so you can't see the water!

We went past the Los Olas City Marina where we had stopped a couple of times before and saw a sister ship in one of the slips.  The Water Taxi is a great tour as well as a great way to get around the city.

Bahia Mar is supposed to be the biggest marina in the world or something like that.  There is no question that it has an impressive array of huge motor yachts, with hail ports like the Cayman Islands and other places where the owners can avoid taxes, which never seem to leave the dock.  They do, however, provide employment for the armies of crew and boat cleaners who religiously wash the boats down every day in a state which has signs all over the place to "Conserve Water."

We anchored in Lake Sylvia, just beyond Bahia Mar and quite close to Port Everglades Inlet as the crow flies.  Note the departing cruise ship in the background on the left.

The plan is to hang around here and maybe North Miami (a nice harbor only 14 miles away) until a "weather window" opens up for the passage across to West End and the Abacos.  We will leave from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) when and if the window comes.

With a little luck, the next chapter of this "Saga" will come from somewhere on the other side!

1 comment:

Summer Wind said...

Sounds like your having a wonderful adventure. As for the Manatee signs, did you notice the idle speed signs around Georgia, that tended to coincide with large mansions and not necessarily a marina? Hope to catch up with you somewhere in the south and have a great trip!