We said goodbye in Marina del Rey . . .

Okay, no we didn’t.  Marina del Rey is in California.  We know that because we’ve ridden bikes through it.  But  we did end the day at the municipal marina in Delray Beach, so this is probably our only chance to work in a good George Strait song.  And we do like a good George Strait song.

Out this morning at 9, just as planned.  Only one arm on the first bridge was working, but we scooted through without worries.

The local school bus was delivering kids right after the bridge.

At the second bridge, a 130-foot dinner cruise ship—Catalina—almost ran up our butt.

The captain sounded like a New York wiseguy, however, and we had no interest in winding up like Tessio and Carlo, so we stood down and let him pass us.

Turned out to be a good thing, because he ended up as our fullback all day long.  We just tucked in behind and tried not to fumble.

Along the ICW today we learned a few things.  For example, iguanas have worked their way north to bridge fenders in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.

No matter where you are, people put couches in places that look stupid.

There are sports we can take up after we’re too old for pickleball.

Some people own boats that cost way more than their house.

Doug’s ability to land a drone on Misty Pearl’s deck isn’t all that special.

And apparently Deb and Tom didn’t bring good luck after all.    The Florida DOT has the bridges synchronized so that once you get through the first one it’s pretty clear cruising.

Orin from Green Eyes greeted us as we docked.  We’d never met in person, but we first saw their boat in Charlevoix and have seen them on Nebo along the way since.  Nice folks.  He and Sherry came over for a visit, after we visited the Silverball Museum, dedicated to the preservation of pinball machines.

In human years, Benny’s getting somewhere between shuffleboard and gravestones.  We’ve been relegated to pushing him around in a stroller when he gets tired of walking.  He seems to like it.  Doug wants one for himself.

The Delray Beach municipal marina is much more like the places we’ve come to love on the Loop.  Smallish.  Reasonably-sized boats.  Wooden splintery docks.  Poop bags for the boys.  A nice view of the neighborhood.  It fits us comfortably, like an old shoe.

Spring Break 2019–Uggggghh

When we started reading about the Loop several years ago, nobody said anything about spring break along the Florida coast.  We once were young and did spring break so probably should’ve expected it, but that was long ago and we recall it as a peaceful and quiet thing.  None of this loud music and swarms of drunk kids lining the streets.  Not us.

Apparently there’s a movie from 1960 involving spring break in Fort Lauderdale and it suggests that in fact loud and drunk kids have been around for awhile, although in 1960 neither of us was born yet so we can’t confirm the movie’s accuracy.  We also haven’t seen the movie—“Where the Boys Are”—but supposedly some iconic scenes involved the Elbo Room.

It’s still there.  Packed with kids, stinking of weed, and playing God-awful rap music.

Although some of the signs along the main drag advertise the art museum, it’s pretty doubtful more than perhaps a handful of the revelers care a whit about Renoir.

The signs on the other side of the posts probably are more relevant.  Safe sex kids.

Perhaps an even more telling sign of the times was on the ground under the HIV warning.

One only can imagine what some poor kid had to tell his or her parents:  “I don’t know what happened I swear.  One minute I’m happily smoking pot and listening to rap music at the Elbo Room, and the next thing I know I’m naked and handcuffed to a bike rack with a Miss Piggy tattoo on my face.”

Fortunately that kid isn’t Mallory or Shannon.  Mallory is working at an animal sanctuary in Washington state and Shannon is diving to remove garbage from Bimini for spring break, rather than hanging out with degenerates at the beach.  We couldn’t be more proud.  (And yes, maybe on some level we’ve turned into crotchety old people, but we play pickleball and could go out to the hot clubs if only we had brought the right clothes on the boat.)

As previously noted, we’re docked at Bahia Mar.  Lots of cool stuff to see right here in the marina.  This, for example, is a $25 million jet boat.

165 feet and cruises at 37 knots.  And it wasn’t even close in size to the big ones lined up around the corner.

While we can’t compete on size of boat, we felt a tad superior anyway.  The fools on one of them were using a frayed dock line that looks like it could snap any minute.  Shameful.  Maybe even more shameful than waking up handcuffed to a bike rack.

Not all the interesting boats were big of course.  A sailboating couple with two girls under the age of four docked a few slips down.  By itself that’s not too interesting.  What was interesting was the family sailboat’s figurehead.

One of us wanted to get one just like it, but Doug felt that although our two daughters are adults, carvings that objectify mermaids have no place on Misty Pearl so he said no.

A couple of times a day FoxSea cruised past our slip.  We figure the dude piloting her either is a loser or a winner.  We’re not sure which.  Either he lost a bet, or he won a Mary Kay sales competition.  We wonder if the shirtless tub in the back appreciates the irony of the name just below where he’s sitting.

The good news is that the city kicks the kids off the beach at 5:30.  That left a nice window for us to walk on the sand, although we still had to dodge or pick up garbage that the kids left behind.  First with Tom and Deb before they left.

Then by ourselves at sunset.

Yesterday we bumbled into Maerin, a 43-foot sister boat that has completed the Downeast Circle Loop.  We’re hoping for tips from their blog since that’s what we might do next.

We rode Lime scooters home.

We strolled up and down the avenue that’s known as A1A.*

Before he left, Tom goaded us into getting a GoPro.  Hopefully some fitting subjects are in our future.  We had dinner with Bert (Tyro), one of our earliest Looper buddies.  We played pickleball and tonight had one more Bahia Mar sunset from the flybridge.

Tomorrow on to Delray.  We hope to hit the 9:15 opening on the first of eleven bridges.


* We know, we know.  We’ve already used other lines from the same Buffett song.  Too bad.  It happens to fit.

They really should just call it Lauderdale

Normally we don’t post about food, because we eat way too much of it.  Ok, one of us eats too much of it.  The other one plays lots of pickleball.  But our last night in Miami Beach we had delicious pizza.  That’s it.  Just that the pizza was delicious.  And the late afternoon sun from the dock was pretty cool as well.

We were kind of sorry to leave Sunset Harbour because it’s the swankiest place we’ve been on the Loop.  Hey, they even deliver fuel right to the boat!  None of this hitting bottom on the way to the fuel dock.  (Yup, we’re looking at you Alton.)

Plus, Dana made another pickleball friend.  Jay is the private captain on Escapist, the 88-foot Burger docked across from us.  Ok actually all this finery made us feel a tad insubstantial.   Kind of like Elihu Smails must’ve felt when Al Czervik dropped Seafood’s anchor on The Flying Wasp.*

Anyway, yesterday morning was exciting because we had visitors from the Old Country.  Meaning Arizona.  Tom and Deb Sydenham joined us for the cruise up to Fort Lauderdale.   PSA:  If you’re looking for one of those historical forts with old cannons and civil war history like we’ve mentioned in several prior posts, Fort Lauderdale ain’t one of those forts.  Supposedly there was a small fort near Bahia Mar at some point, but if so now it’s a t-shirt store or something.

No matter what Tom or Deb might say, we had a perfect departure.  Nobody forgot to disconnect shore power before starting off the dock.  And even if someone did forget, we caught it early and there wasn’t a fire or anything.

The good news was that Tom and Deb brought bridge luck with them.  We slid in behind Reel Deal and Las Brisas (neither of which are Loopers) and hit every bridge opening on the fly.  The two hours we’d budgeted for diddling around waiting for openings was completely unnecessary.

We went so fast that Dana—lounging on the bow with Deb—couldn’t take pictures of the huge mansions and huge boats lining the I C W.  She did catch the gymnastics exhibition on a sandbar though.**

And the enterprising dude at the same sandbar with a snack bar on pontoons.

Approaching Fort Lauderdale, we started seeing container ships and cruise ships again.

We passed a Chiquita boat just unloading.  Day-O.  We acknowledge that it probably wasn’t the same boat Harry Belafonte wrote that dumb banana boat song about, but it indeed was a banana boat.  Day-a-a-o.

A small yellow plane pulling a GEICO banner passed overhead.  Do those things work as advertising?  There wasn’t much reason to take a picture.  Anyway, a short time later a small yellow plane pulling a banner crashed into a condo tower.   True story.  We can’t guarantee that it was the same yellow plane, of course, but we never saw it again.  Thankfully the tragedy wasn’t worse.

As soon as we saw the south basin of Bahia Mar, it was obvious we’re even less significant than we were at the last place.

Not surprisingly they hid us in the poor section, back by the fire station and the water taxis.

The Jungle Queen also loads up tourists within easy earshot.  Reminded us of Jody, way back in Peterborough, Ontario.

Incidentally, there are the same number of jungles around here as there are forts around here.  More south Florida fake news.  What’s not fake are the glorious floating concrete docks.  There should be a law requiring them in all marinas.

Tom and Deb will  be here until Monday.  We’ll probably stay until Thursday.


* But the man worthwhile is the man who can smile when his shorts are too tight in the seat.  Do the honors Pookie.

** Brent (of the boat formerly known as Second Wave) gets credit for spotting the pooping dog. We completely missed it.

Where’d all the rich people come from?

One last sunset in Key Largo, after a fun weekend in St. Petersburg with some of Shannon’s friends and their parents.  One last Pilothouse pelican photo.

Travel for Monday looked to be on the acceptable side of the edge, but just barely.  So we took off about as early as the tide would allow.  Here’s the trip in less than two minutes.

Mostly it was just stomach-churning ups and downs.  The spray over the pilothouse drove us off the flybridge pretty quickly.  If it’s always like this on the approach to Miami, we’re glad we don’t run cocaine for Tony Montana’s cartel, because we’d quickly have to quit and then face the less unpleasant consequences.

But we made it to Miami.  Crockett and Tubbs.  Open collars and gold chains.  Beautiful people.  Elian Gonzalez (but only for a hot minute).  The scene of that fatal shooting that sent Raylan Givins back to Kentucky.  Spanish that Mallory and Shannon might not recognize despite 12+ years studying the Arizona parochial school version.

If there was any remaining question about whether we’re still in Kansas, the channel 16 VHF traffic answered it.  “Where’d you get your license?  Reciprocal headings are port to port f•ckface.”  Stay classy Miami.

Time to start dodging cruise ships again.

Atlantic Ocean seagulls are back.

At Pilothouse, Misty Pearl was one of the big boats.  At Sunset Harbour, she’s one of the smallest.  We figure there’s close to a billion-dollars worth of boats in here.  Many of these big suckers have a crew in logowear out cleaning and polishing and making us look lazy.  The joke’s on them though since their boats can’t do the Loop.

The marina is part of a private yacht club, but when members are away they’ll rent slips to transients like us.  Private club means great facilities.   Very swanky.  We stand out.

Of course, it’s still Miami Beach, where the law requires hip lighting.

We initially planned to go on up to Fort Lauderdale today.  It was a bit stormy, however, and after yesterday we decided to take a break.  Maybe we’ll leave Thursday and meet Deb and Tom on Friday.  Or maybe we’ll stay until Friday and then they can cruise up with us.  Friday looks to be a great day to travel.

Although we don’t drink Bombay Gin, the sun indeed was setting on us when we reached Miami Beach so here’s what appears to be a 70s version of the 80s REK classic bluegrass ballad that kind of addresses the ups and downs of the local drug trade, among other things, but Sherry wins in the end.



We got no troubles, life is the bubbles*

Mallory and Shannon visited for the long weekend, primarily to see their brothers and to go diving.   Within the family unit, we own two GoPros, perfect for underwater photography.  We’ll get some great video of the girls playing amongst the sharks and rays and fish and coral and submerged statues of Jesus to post on the blog.   Nope.   One camera was left in a Washington, D.C. apartment.  The other one safely was in a St. Petersburg dorm room.  We don’t assign blame in this family, of course, but it’s ok to say who’s not to blame.  That’d be mom and dad.  Fortunately we had some old video from when the girls were little.

We also played pickleball.  Lots of pickleball.  Every day some pickleball.  We’re not pros yet, but we’re getting to the point where we aren’t always beaten soundly by the 70-year-old ladies.

On Monday the girls returned to their schools, leaving us at Pilothouse Marina without the number of people we need for cards.

Not many liveaboards here, which differs significantly from Faro Blanco.   It’s probably because the fixed finger docks are life-threateningly short and narrow.

We’d feel a bit lonely, except for, you know, pickleball.

Pilothouse is a pretty small marina, and Misty Pearl is one of the larger vessels here.

There’s nothing bad about being the big boat in a small pond, except when the exit is shallow.   Very shallow, and very narrow.

We hit the high tide just fine coming in, and can leave on a high tide with relative confidence.  Unfortunately, high tide isn’t always at a convenient time.  For example, we hope to leave on the 25th.  The first high tide on the 25th is roughly at 1:20 a.m.  We ain’t leaving at 1:20 a.m.   The next high tide is at about 1:30 p.m.  But the sun sets in Miami—our next stop—at 6:20.   Call it five hours of cruising time.  To go 50 nautical miles.  At 7.5 knots.  Hmmmm.  Something doesn’t add up favorably for the good guys.   Misty Pearl isn’t going to go faster, and we can’t do much about the tide or the sun.

Right now we think we’ll have to gamble and leave at 11:30.  June Moon is the sailboat that shares that toothpick-sized finger dock with us.  John has been working on her from time to time.  He once took an underwater scooter down the canal to find the submerged rocks.  Hopefully before we leave he’ll be around to mark them on a chart for us.

The bad news is that it’s been hot.  The good news is that Bob from SALT Services came up and confirmed that the AC problem was related to his tech overcharging the system.  So now we won’t be sleeping in sweat puddles any more.

This weekend we’ll join other parents at Eckerd.  Lunch at Chuy’s in Homestead on the way, but no pickleball for a few days.


* Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter.