Log of the Salty Turtle: Vero Beach to Lake Maul, January 2 – January 13, 2013
01/02/2013 Vero Beach, FL to North Lake Worth, FL 63 NM
01/03/2013 N. Lake Worth to Middle River, Ft. Lauderdale (off shore) 51 NM
01/11/2013 Middle River to Maul Lake (N. Miami, FL) 14 NM
Miles to Date: 784 NM
ICW Mile Marker: 1077 SM
Though we travel the world over to find beautiful, we must carry it with us or find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well..they don't call it “Velcro Beach” for nuttin'. There is always a reason to stay just one more day.
The harbor is well protected and the mooring balls are cheap. Natural beauty is every where. Ibis and crane fill the mangroves and manatee and dolphin greet you for coffee in the mornings. Walks are thru cool arches of live oak and the homes adorned with flowers. The dingy dock is sturdy and ample. The (free) bus service will carry you any where in the city your heart desires. It is an easy walk to the beach with a great Farmer's Market on Saturdays. One of my favorite bars, “Riverside Cafe,” is a short dingy ride away. There are parks, medical facilities, Publix Supermarket, theater rated the best small theater gild in the country, a great art gallery, and the list goes on. Not to mention you have made it to the temperate zone and it don't get too cold. You get the picture. You stick to Vero like Velcro.
First it was let's wait another day and go see “Lincoln” (great movie). There we saw the previews to the “Hobbit” and decided we would like to see that as well. Then we wanted a chance to get up with our friends Harriett and Skip and find out how he was doin' (he has had an infection in his hand that is refusing to heal). Well if we wait just 2 more days we can boogie over to Riverside and watch the Wolf Pack play in the Music City Bowl (turned out they didn't play they laid down and died – it was ugly). Then it was the weekend and Salty Turtle, “don't travel on the weekends in South Florida.” If you want to be strung tight and stressed out at the end a day on the water just travel on the weekends in South Florida and (trust me) you will be.
Vero Beach to Lake Maul (North Miami):
We finally escaped Vero on the 2 day of January. Yeee! Ha!! We had hoped to make the jump to Lake Worth off shore but after sticking our nose out into the Atlantic our GPS put us arriving in Lake Worth inlet after dark so we aborted and make the trip down via the ICW. We anchored in N. Lake Worth right at 6:00, ate supper and crashed. It had been a long day.
Lake Worth South on the ICW is “South Florida Hell.” First , there are 19 bridges between Lake Worth and Ft. Lauderdale. Most of the trip is down what we call the “canyon” - a concrete alley of water between rows of condos and zillion dollar homes. From here South English is a second language and “macho” rules...not the “rules of the road” are obeyed. We went off shore...much more pleasant. It was an absolute blue bird day with brilliant blue water with aqua foam streaming off the stern of the Turtle and flying fish skittering from wave to wave. It was so flat there were kayaks with coolers fishing over a mile off the beach.
(Note to Off Shore Sailors: South of Ft. Pierce inlet you should stay inshore as much as possible – within about a mile or somewhere between the 100' and 50' contour. If you move much further out the effects of the Gulf Stream will start to slow your progress. We saw as much as a knot difference.)
Running the inlets in South Florida are never fun and Ft. Lauderdale is no exception (maybe the worst of the lot). There are no navigational issues. It is straight, deep and easy. However, here you are faced with hordes of boaters with “rights” (theirs and no one else's), they don't monitor their radios and most don't speak English, add BIG ships and it is most assuredly “pucker time.” I suspect our doctors would be real concerned about Gigi's my blood pressure if he could monitor it after running an inlet. We were at anchor in Middle River, Ft. Lauderdale by around 3:00 PM with our anchors down rum in hand – well 2 rums for the inlets sake.
Speaking of Lauderdale..Lauderdale is Mega Yacht capital of the world with excess in all things – flamboyance and money rule. Take a look at the screen shot of my GPS near Los Olas Bridge. Every one of those red triangles represent a mega yacht (boat of 85 feet or over) and most of the canals and rivers that make up Ft. Lauderdale are lined with mega yacht. What you see on the screen is just the tip of the iceberg. I don't know where all that money comes from but I sure know where it doesn't.
We spent a week at anchor in Middle River. Again this is one of those hidden jewels. It provides deep water, good dingy access, a Publix Supermarket , a Galleria Mall (with Apple Store), good restaurants, movie theater, and the CSU. CSU?
Diana Schildt is a friend we met in Georgetown during Family Island Regatta a few years back. She and husband Walter live in a condo overlooking Middle River. No boat escapes her benevolent eye. Diana is the CSU – that's “Cruiser Support Unit.” When one of her friends anchors in the river the CSU springs into action. Thanks to Diana we have finished all our prep for our jump to the Bahamas, enjoyed a wonderful supper with she and Walter at their flat, and even spent a musical sunday with the South Florida Bluegrass Association in Grenynolds Park in N. Miami. If you like bluegrass, and I do, this was a fun day. Did I mention Rocket Man? That day entertainment came to us.
We boated the dink and headed out on the 11th bound for Maul Lake 14 miles to our South in N. Miami. The trip was uneventful (except for the large container ship that Gigi had to pass that puckered her up tight – not sure if she has pooped yet). Lake Maul is an almost perfectly round lake bordered by condos to the East and N., A1A to the West and the Oleta River and State Park to the South. Access is easy via a canal. There is a good dingy dock at park on the Oleta River and shopping for last minute items is good. What I really don't understand is there is almost no boats here - great protected anchorage, with good land access, and amenities and no boats? Great for us. I ain't knocking it. It just doesn't make sense.
We have spent the weekend here (remember the Turtle don't move on the weekends in S.FL) exploring with an aside at a local bar to enjoy the NCSU victory over Dookie. Plans are to head for Biscayne Bay on Monday, top up with fuel and water, and (hopefully) catch a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to Nassau on Tuesday. Wish us luck we are ready for some clear water.
Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,