Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 24, 2014 To Biscayne Bay

 24, 2014 To Biscayne Bay

What a quiet peaceful night!  There was one other sailboat at this anchorage and no noise of civilization!  This morning, there was a fishing boat between us and Rodriquez Key.  It was a flat boat with 3 people in it.  The one in the rear was up on a stand and poling the boat through the water.  It looked so peaceful.  We watched them while we had breakfast.

We left our anchorage at 10:45 am.  Not sure where the morning goes.  It was a sunny 84 degrees, flat calm seas with 4mph East wind.  We motored all day, but put up the mail sail along with the motor.  About 11:45 we put up the genniker, too.  That increased our knots, so we were able to back off the engine and save fuel.  If we only used the sails, we probably wouldn’t make out destination tonight. 

About 12:30, we were near the John Pennekamp National Park off of Key Largo.  We considered changing course to snorkel the submerged statue called Christ of the Abyss, which we did about 10 years ago.  But it would have been tricky crossing the reef to get there and it would have added about 2 hours to our day.  If we hadn’t been there before, we would have planned that better.  Well worth taking the time to see if you are a diver or snorkeler. 

About 2:30 we could start to see the tall buildings of Miami, even though we were still about 15-20 miles away.  It wasn’t until 5:00 that we turned into the channel into Biscayne Bay to our anchorage for the night.  We had heard a lot about No Name Harbor from people going to and from the Bahamas.   This is an area where people wait for the right weather to make the crossing.  BUT no one ever discussed the approach to the harbor that was on Key Biscayne.  It looked like you could follow Cape Florida Channel around the south end of the island near the lighthouse.  But the guide we were reading said deeper draft boats should take Biscayne channel and approach from the north.  So to be safe, we took the long route.  On the charts, it looks like there are tons of islands in the opening of Biscayne bay, but it is just very shallow areas that are submerged.  So it is very important to follow the channel markers to avoid hitting ground.  There were about 6 buildings on stilts right out in the bay.  Now that’s what you call “ocean front property”.  Once you go west into the bay, you go north, past  more submerged islands and follow a couple channel markers closer to land to head back south to the opening of No Name Harbor.  

We also read that this is a popular harbor for day use by the locals, with state park access.  But most of them clear out for the night.  Well, there were lots of boats in this little harbor.  And they were here to party for Memorial Day weekend.  We found a spot to anchor near the opening to the harbor.  There were boats along the seawall just here for the day.  And there were large power boats rafted together with some great Cuban music coming from them.  360 degree difference from last night.

But it was Saturday night, and we couldn’t help but get into a festive mood.  There was a restaurant at the deepest end of the harbor.  We didn’t want to remount the dinghy motor, so Dave offered to row us to shore.   It was the first time we put in the hatch doors and locked the boat, just to go to shore. 

Boater’s Grille, was an open air restaurant with many fish and seafood options with a Cuban flair.  Everyone working there spoke English and Spanish.  And I think at least 1/2 of the patrons spoke Spanish.  There was a lady singing some lounge type songs and some fun calypso type songs. 

Dave rarely drinks anymore (health issues), but he does enjoy a cheap red sweet wine.  He felt like having their Sangria, so we ordered a carafe.  It reminded us of when we were in our early 20’s, Dave was stationed in Germany and we were Spain for a week.  When we arrived at our hotel, Dave wanted to use his Spanish from high school.  He called room service and ordered “dos vasos sangria”, 2 glasses of sangria.  Well they brought us 2 pitchers and that’s the way we drank it the rest of the week.   

Dave ordered a whole red snapper, lightly fried, head and all.  I had the grilled mahi mahi.  the waiter said the snapper and mahi mahi were the freshest fish on the menu, caught right in the bay. 

Dave rowed back to the boat in the dark with the light wind in our favor.  We also locked the hatch when we went to bed for the first time.  Just too many partiers still in the harbor.  There was still loud music when we went to bed.  We liked the music, just can’t imagine how loud it must be on the boat it was coming from.  Does that make us just kind of old? 

morning fishermen at our anchorage

enjoying the view

Our sailboat is the farthest away in center of photo

Sangria and black bean soup

Dave's red snapper, with fries and plantain

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