Mean Miami

What a bizarre experience to arrive in Miami by water!  The bright, almost acid green color of the shallow water in Government Cut juxtaposed with all the high rise buildings of Miami.  It looks like a computer generated set for a sci-fi movie.  I don’t think I could ever get used to it.

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 We are getting first hand experience of what we’ve been hearing about for several years: that boaters are not always welcome in Florida waters.  With year long mild weather, some boaters have become rather like vagabonds, living on derelict boats that can’t actually leave a harbor to go sailing because they have become so run down.  These boats sit at anchor in harbors for years unable to leave.  Naturally, homeowners in the various coastal towns don’t want to look out at their water views marred with old, rotting boats.

It is a dilemma because no one owns the water.  The homeowners don’t want their mega-million dollar views marred by boats that never leave, but we crusising sailors have achorage rights in any place with enough water for anchoring.  There have been some contentious moments over this situation, and we witnessed one just the other night.  At our particularly beautiful anchorage in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, a homeowner came outside just before sunset and began yelling obscenities at a boat in the harbor.  It was hard to tell which boat he was verbally attacking!  No one was visible on the few boats anchored here in Sunset Lake except for Bob and me who were relaxing in Pandora’s cockpit!  I was very concerned that he was yelling at us, although he seemed to be looking toward a Canadian boat right next to us.  Eventually the folks onboard this Canadian boat came up from down below and it became clear that the homeowner was yelling at them.  He threatened to sink their boat numerous times, and all his threats were garnished with profanity.  It was quite uncomfortable for all of us.

Bob motored over to the Canadian boat in our dinghy to explain to them that they were not violating any rules, and that this anchorage is written up in all the guidebooks, in case the Canadians might be unclear about anchoring rights in the US.  The Canadians decided to move anyway because it had been such a distasteful experience for them.  Bob decided to call the police since the number is given in our guidebook with a warning to expect some problems with various homeowners.  The police officer who took Bob’s call said this man has caused problems in the past so he is well known to both boaters and the police.  The officer said someone would go out shortly to give the homeowner a warning.

We later heard that this same homeowner became enraged at a boat that was anchored here on Christmas Day, and that he began shooting paintballs at the boat.  Can you imagine that?  And the police were called out then too, but just gave him a warning.  I’m wondering how effective these ‘warnings’ are.

So, here in Miami there are almost no places where boaters can go ashore.  Yesterday we had to tie our dinghy to a stone wall at an empty lot under construction, and then walk along a path strewn with debris.  It made me feel quite unwanted here.  Since then we have scoped out various other options for getting ashore, and the best one looks to be a floating dock along the canal that runs next to Dade Ave.  The Publix market that is right across the street may have put in this dock, which is quite commodious.  However, when you get off the dock you find yourself on a very busy 6-lane road with no cross walk or traffic light.  Well, it’s still our best option, so that is how we’ll get ashore today.

Our lovely anchorage on Sunset Lake.

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Along North Bay Drive, where we have anchored, the houses are certainly beautiful and have stunning gardens as well. Here is one house and garden wall that we passed after getting ashore.

Just inside this gate is a courtyard where we saw a vintage Bentley parked.

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 While we were in Ft. Lauderdale, we made a new friend!  (Her parents are quite nice too!) Cricket and her family are from north of Montreal and are sailing to the Bahamas on their Nonsuch 36.  It took numerous visits for Cricket to warm up to me, but I was smitten with her  on our first meeting!   Isn’t she adorable?

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On her 3rd visit she curled up against me and I was so shocked that I was hesitant to touch her.  I figured she didn’t really mean to get this close to me!  Her ‘mom’ said she almost never gets that close to a stranger.  Eventually I put my hand down on her and began petting her, and she stayed curled up against me!  Friends at last!

In the past week I have done quite a bit of lace work, and enjoyed every minute of it.  These hearts are from a book of heart ornaments by Lene Bjorn, 24 Hearts in Bobbin Lace. After doing several projects that have taken me years to finish, and being thoroughly lost numerous times along the way, it feels great to just sit down to these hearts all by myself!.  I hope to have a small collection of these for next Christmas.  They will be wonderful ornaments on the tree.

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They are actually little baskets.  So the diagrams are for double hearts that are folded in half to create the basket, and they even have lace handles.  I’ll be making yards and yards of handles at some point!

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Well, I think I’ve beaten this subject to death!….but I couldn’t help it!  It’s thrilling to me to be doing lace without a lot of handholding!  One more…

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And my tapestry will go off on its journey sometime in the next few days.  Yesterday Bob and I headed off on a 4-mile walk to the post office in Miami Beach, only to discover when we got there that it was the Presidents’ Day holiday!  Duh!  That’s the cruising life for you….we’ll try again today, or I might have to wait ’til we get to Marathon later in the week.

I did manage to do the finishing and mounting work, never my favorite chores.  But all is well at last.  I used the half-Damascus finish from Peter Collingwood’s book, and I’ve mounted the tapestry to a small mat board that had holes punched along the edge every 1/8 inch or so.

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Please note that to weigh down my tapestry I am using our heaviest book onboard, Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook.  On any cruising boat anywhere you are likely to find a number of Nigel’s books, including this one.  He is a well known English sailor who has circumnavigated a number of times with his wife and with their children when they were younger.  I have a bit more to say about him next time!

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