Honey, Well You Turn Up the Heat
27 January 2010
Now before you accuse me of allowing typos in my titles or grousing too much about the unseasonably cold weather in Florida, you have to know that this title was chosen deliberately and carefully to reflect this wonderful new place we are in.
We left Crandon Park yesterday following four very relaxing and enjoyable days. We leave under moderate northerly winds with a destination of Boca Chita, a scant 15 miles from Crandon Park. We are able to sail virtually all the way and while it's a bit cool, it is great being under natural power.
Boca Chita is one of the many keys beginning in Biscayne Bay but extending all the way down to Key West. We have been told that this is a special place but we don't really know what to expect. Boy were we pleased.
The industrialist Mark Honeywell (of Honeywell thermostat fame) purchased and began development of this small Key (coral island) in the 1930's just when Miami and south Florida thanks to Henry Flagler's railway were being opened up.
Anyway we went our way in through a very narrow channel to this small paradise. We enter into a smallish basin surrounded by a sea wall to which you can tie up for the day or overnight (for a voluntary donation of $20.00). The aforementioned Mark Honeywell started to develop this key as a personal haven and build breakwaters, outbuildings, infrastructure and a coral lighthouse at the entrance. There is a pavilion where, reportedly he would host gala events with the top 100 industrialists of the US (he was the President of this elite group). Before he completed development, his wife fell somewhere on the Key and died so he abandoned his plans for more development. It was taken over by the State of Florida and is now a national park. There are washrooms, barbeques but no power or water.
When we arrived, we followed a sailboat in; Rhumb Runner, a Cape Dory 36 from Boston. There were two powerboats already here; and they were in party mode; my eyesight is not as great it was but I'm quite sure they were topless and not just the guys. They left before dark and so we had this place to ourselves along with Stan and Judy on Rhumb Runner. It was peaceful and secure. Chopin loves it as he can roam around on his own 50 acre kitty litter.
During the night the winds pipe up but we are secure and while the boat lurches on the mooring lines and there are lots of creaks and groans, we don't worry about breaking free.
We awake to brisk winds but sunny skies. We take a walk around the Key (which takes about a half hour) and climb the lighthouse. We decide to remain another day as it is very peaceful and pretty here.
But, we understand that all this changes on the weekends; Due to its proximity to Miami and its environs, it attracts the weekend party crowd and we're told that there are dozens of boats in here, rafted up three deep partying through the night. We'll be gone by then.
So the next time you crank up the thermostat, think of us basking in the sun and enjoying Mark Honeywell's legacy.