It was a long stay in Miami, and disappointment set in Monday, April 8th because the parts still had not arrived to fix our lower unit. After checking out, we walked to the boat from the Shalimar Motel (1.2 miles) lugging our bags. We discussed things with Jose’ the service manager, and tracked the parts coming via UPS.
Since it would be a least a couple more days, we decided to book a room back at the Best Western in Surfside. They were able to accommodate us, so we hauled our bags to the bus stop, and rode the ‘L’, then the ‘S’ back to our old favorite spot. It was good to be back in a nicer part of Miami, with the ocean waves crashing on the beach right outside our window again.
We hung out at the hotel patio, played backgammon, then walked to Flanigan’s for burgers and drinks. A couple of games of air hockey and pool ensued, then we walked back to the room. Heartland Boating magazine wants to do a feature story that Jim wrote few years ago about our Mississippi River trip from Lake City to Keokuk and back. They need high-resolution pictures, which we are having trouble getting, but hopefully we will get that figured out, and they will be able to publish the story.
On Tuesday, April 9th, I did laundry at the hotel, then walked the beach and found many pretty shells and pieces of sea glass. We hung out at the hotel facilities most of the day. Dinner was very burnt lasagna from a box (mmmmm – not) which resulted in the smoke alarm going off in our unit.
After breakfast the next morning we walked the beach in the sun and wind. Cousin Steve, chauffeur extraordinaire, picked us up after we checked out, and drove us down to South Beach where we enjoyed lunch at a street café on Lincoln Rd. Then it was another hotel stay – this time the Best Western Plus on the Bay. It was a nice spot, on Biscayne Bay, half way between the beach and Marine Max. We had happy hour at Shucker’s overlooking the water, and watched boats coming and going.
On Thursday, April 11th, we were finally going back to the boat! Once again Steve picked us up, brought us to the boat, then to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The new lower unit was on, but the mercathode still needed to be installed, and was due to arrive soon. Back to the boat, we walked both of our coolers – the big one on wheels and the small one on the 2-wheel cart to the grocery store – about 8 blocks away.
The grocery store was also a meat market – they had every cut of meat imaginable – even chicken feet and beef kidneys. However, it was difficult to find anything that hadn’t gone past the expiration date. We grabbed a few things and pushed our coolers back to Marine Max, crossing Biscayne Blvd and past the homeless folks.
Turns out we already had a mercathode – so we didn’t need it! The boat was ready to go with a brand new shiny lower unit and was in the water when we got back. I unloaded the groceries and Jim and Jose’ arranged shipping for our old lower unit. We are sending it home to be reconditioned and sold on Craig’s List. I was so ecstatic to get going again! Ten nights in hotels was too many (and too expensive). I think we know Miami pretty well, have a good mastery of the bus routes, and had a great time there, but it was SO time to move on!
Quickly we got underway, shoving off around 4:30, and headed north up the ICW. We didn’t go far – found a good anchorage in South Lake off the ICW in Hollywood. It was very hot and humid. Dolphin’s swam around the boat and we got a good rain shower during the night.
Friday morning after breakfast aboard we scrubbed down the boat, vacuumed, cleaned rugs, the head; anything that looked dirty. Marine Max had installed a new porthole light in our aft cabin, and there was fiberglass and wood shavings all along the headboard. The boat looked much better – even the rain during the night helped wash off some of the grit from sitting on the hard in the boatyard.
Our cleaning done, we pulled up anchor and headed to the nearby Hollywood City Marina to get fuel and fresh water. Then north up the ICW we went. Port Everglades was an astonishing place with its big shipyard along the way. Soon we were entering Ft. Lauderdale – and never have we seen so many mega-yachts and sprawling mansions!
The waterways were busy with traffic, both near the port and on the ICW. Bridges and channels criss-crossed everywhere. With so much to see, it was difficult to pay attention to the driving and navigating!
We took a mooring ball near the Las Olas Marina almost under the bascule bridge. We took the dinghy down and drove into the marina to pay. Turns out there was going to be a 2-day music festival on the beach, with proceeds going to ‘Save our Oceans’. Our location was perfect – we could take the dinghy to the dock; walk to town and the beach, and all weekend heard the live music from the boat.
Saturday, after a good old thunderstorm and downpour, Steve Knese and his wife Ying picked us up and took us to lunch at a fantastic Japanese buffet. The food was so fresh and diverse – Jim sampled some little squid and I enjoyed the sushi and mussels, among many other things. We drove to their condo in Davie to meet their chiwawas, Jerry and Chichi. Then off to the Publix we went to complete our grocery run. They helped us haul everything down to the dinghy, where we said our goodbyes.
Back on board we listened to the music coming from the beach, enjoyed happy hour, and grilled steaks on the barbie. The best part was that we booked a one-day trip to Freeport in the Bahamas aboard an express boat – we’re going on Tuesday!
We dinghied back to the dock and walked the few short blocks to town. The concert had just let out for the evening and crowds milled through the streets. We stopped in a couple shops where we got a small backpack/cooler and a new swim suit for me. Then we found a little bar with a fantastic live band and danced and laughed the night away. Andrew, a very nice gent who gave up his bar stool for me, kept buying us drinks. It was a fun time!
Sunday we took a dinghy ride around, trying to hear the concert music better, and checked out some of the mega yachts docked nearby. We heard Free Bird and other songs done by Leonard Skinner and one song performed by Michael Franti. We did face-time with Nathan and Brandi, and saw a dolphin in the water right beside us. It was another hot and humid day.
This morning after a brief rain shower and breakfast aboard, we left the mooring ball and got a slip at the Las Olas Marina. Jim pumped us out, and I’m working on the blog in the air-conditioned media room here. Laundry is drying now – and I’d better do something about my nails. The pink valentine’s day pedicure has pretty much worn off.
Tomorrow we’re off to the Bahamas! Jim is happy that someone else will be piloting the boat across the Atlantic, and may learn a few tricks. We have to leave for Port Everglades at 6:30 a.m., so will have to arrange a cab to get us there. None of the water taxis or trolleys run that early or even stop there. We’ll be back around 10:00 p.m., then Wednesday we will head north up the ICW for Pompano or Boca Raton. It’s so great to be back on the move again!