Days on cruise: 301
Distance traveled: 61.5 miles
Travel time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Total trip odometer: 6,168 statute miles
We woke early, as did Looper friends Mark and Allyn on Second Wind, so at 7:30 we both cast off our lines and headed north. We anticipated and were ready for more very shallow water through a few Sounds, and found it easier than yesterday, partly because it was high tide and there were no crab pots. (Note: Allyn was claiming credit for having snuck out in their dinghy last night and cut all the crab pot lines to make them disappear. How gullible are we?)
We wound our way through mangrove cuts, wide open shallow places, and finally into Biscayne Bay, the largest waterway shown above, with water mostly 9-15 feet deep. The wind was blowing, so we sometimes had whitecaps and 2-3 foot waves on the bow, but other times it was calmer with little wind, tiny waves, and best of all: no wallowing in winds on the beam!
The approach to Miami was a bit of shock as we haven’t been in a big city since Chicago last September. The smog and dense, high rise development looked so foreign! A large group of sailors was out racing today, and their spinnakers were beautiful!
There was no question today about taking the “inside” route versus the “outside” route, as the Atlantic promised only rough weather, big waves and high wind. That meant we had to contend with heavy boat traffic (especially on a weekend), bridge openings because we’re too tall to get under lots of bridges between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and crazy boat drivers who don’t understand the rules of boating.
Lots of boats flew along at high speed without regard for the impact of their wake on others. They must not know they are legally liable for any damage their wake causes, and we’ve heard stories of people thrown out of small fishing boats by such actions.
Weekend boaters enjoy partying on sand bars along the ICW, and boat traffic is very heavy in this stretch. Looks like great fun!
High-rise condos line the ICW for mile after mile.
Gargantuan boats are parked along the ICW too. Where are the windows on this one????
And of course we passed the Port of Miami docks where cruise ships tie up, looking like skyscrapers! Navigating our way through all of this got to be a little stressful, even though we’ve done it before, a year ago on our shake-down cruise before beginning our Loop.
Today we only had to have 3 bridges opened for us, but we have lots more between here and our end point 3 days from now.
Below is Second Wind, our friends Mark and Allyn who are from Boston and began their Loop in Bradenton Beach, Florida a few weeks ago. We traveled with them most of today, but at Miami they peeled off to stay at a marina where their sons and grandson will join them for a visit.
Para-sailors, jet skis, stand up paddle boarders: you name it, it’s all here in Miami!
And of course there’s mile after mile of enormous, opulent homes lining the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) for more than a hundred miles, past Fort Lauderdale.
We planned, again, to anchor out tonight, but it was so windy and the anchorage we’d chosen had no protection from the current wind direction, so we went to a marina in Hollywood, FL and are still rocking and rolling in heavy wind and fast moving current that not only made docking a challenge, but led to our request to move to another more protected slip after we tied up at our first assigned slip.
We’re feeling the end of our great adventure approaching, and Cathryn is starting to feel emotions around that.