Retirement to Bahamas

Mike and Judy have been sailing for some 25 years. We have dreamed for years about retiring and sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean. We are living our dream!

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Movin' Around Miami

25 January 2010
Movin' Around Miami

We've been around the greater Miami area for a week.

Our first day, upon arriving in Miami, we went south to a place called Coconut Grove. It's technically part of the City of Miami but has its distinct culture; very upscale and artsy. It was once the terminal for Pan American Airlines where their airships (Clippers) would convey the rich and famous to Nassau and Cuba. Now the waterfront has several large marinas. We pick up a mooring at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club and go into "town" for a while. Lots of expensive art galleries and plenty of restaurants.

Next morning we hear from Roger and Jacquie that they have conquered their engine problem and are coming in from Fort Lauderdale. So, we kick around Coconut Grove for the morning then sail (yes I meant sail) across Biscayne Bay to anchor with them along side of Key Biscayne. It's a gorgeous evening and we spend some time with Rog and Jacquie who will likely be heading out and across to the Bahamas the nxt morning. Our plans are still fluid and we intend to remain in Florida at least for a while longer. We wish them fair winds......

Judy is hankering to go to the beach so the next day we head back north aiming for South Beach. It's only a two hour motor but a complicated one, wending our way under several bridges, complicated waterways and trying to stay out of the way of other vessels. Once past the Venetian Causeway bridge we head east along several, perfectly shaped (oval) man-made islands. The likes of Al Capone lived here and reportedly Gloria Estfan still makes her home on one of these islands.

We wend our way between two of these and end up in a smallish anchorage called Sunset Lake. It's a bit of a misnomer to call this a Lake as it really is the residual water between several of these man made islands and South Beach. We anchor along with a couple of other boats in a very protected "lake", which would probably hold twenty boats in total. The shores are completely surrounded by majestic homes, each with its own watercraft on its dock in the front yard; quite impressive.

We do understand, however, that many of the owners are quite covetous of these waters even though they do not own the lake. In the upper end where we anchored, the owner of one house aims a very bright gazillion candle power spot light at our boat (as he does with all boats which anchor here) and leaves it on all night in a ploy to dissuade us from anchoring in front of his place. We are not deterred nor does this beam bother us. I find it a shame that someone would be so mean spirited as to try to take away someone else's quiet enjoyment of nature.

We spend two nights here and go to the famous South Beach during the day. This is quite a beach with lots of beautiful (and plenty of not so beautiful) people, occasionally sans top. Our friends Tom and Lisa from whom we purchased Sea Sharp, recommended that we visit the Holocaust Memorial here which we do. It is a very powerful experience and a beautiful, if haunting site. Thanks Tom and Lisa for the recommendation.
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One of the few other boats in this anchorage is a MacGregor 26X from Ontario. We drop over and they invite us aboard. They are really interesting folks with tons of cruising experience on many, vastly different types of boat. Their first trip down to Bahamas was in 1980 on a home built boat with their two young children and two cats. They've come down many times since in various boats but have settled on this Mac 26 which they feel is an ideal compromise. It is a light, trailerable sailboat which has a large motor and can move along at planeing speeds. So even though it may not be a very robust, seaworthy boat, it'll get you there quickly and you can stay out of trouble if you are judicious about when and where you go.

We really enjoyed this small place and I'm sorely tempted to go to that mansion whose owner shone the light on us to thank him for sharing his bit of paradise and keeping it lit for us.......
Comments
Vessel Name: Sea Sharp
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter Legend 37.5
Hailing Port: Douglas Harbour, NB, Canada
Crew: Mike, Judy and Chopin (the boat cat)
About:
Mike will be retiring in September 2008 after a long and rewarding career with the civil service in New Brunswick, Canada. I will end my career as President of Service New Brunswick, the "single window" service delivery agency for multi-jurisdictional government services to citizens and businesses. [...]
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Sea Sharp's Photos -

Preparing for Retirement Trip

Who: Mike, Judy and Chopin (the boat cat)
Port: Douglas Harbour, NB, Canada