We left West Palm Beach at around 1 a.m. Saturday morning for the 12-hour sail to Miami. It was another fairly windless passage so we motored the whole way. As we neared Miami, Rich spotted a submarine ahead of us. I’d asked him earlier what the “restricted area” on the chart meant, but we didn’t think much of it until we heard “Southbound sailboat, southbound sailboat…” crackling over the radio. Um, I think he’s talking to us! Rich came running up into the cockpit to answer on the VHF. “You’re in a restricted zone. Move offshore 2.5 miles immediately,” the sheriff came back sternly on the radio, zooming up on us in his speedboat. “You are required to monitor channel 16 at all times!” he admonished us. Whoops! Guess now we know they weren’t kidding about this being a restricted zone. We apologized and changed course to head offshore the requisite 2.5 miles. It was still fun seeing that submarine!
Sailing into the Port of Miami made us forget about all the restricted zone drama. We haven’t seen anything this busy since New York harbor. Giant container ships like the Maersk Wisconsin dwarfed our little sailing vessel and beefy power yachts blazed past leaving giant wakes behind for us to navigate. Thanks, guys!
Coconut Grove was full of familiar faces. Our friend Scott, who’d been tied up next to us at the marina in Isle of Hope the last few months had texted us that he was in Miami. Rich spotted him and waved as we sailed in to grab our mooring. We invited him over for dinner that night. Our friend Justine had driven down from Delray Beach to meet us. (The irony of sailboat travel: It took us 12 hours to get here, but Justine drove it in 1.) On the launch ride to shore to pick up Justine we met this swell guy John, also a New Yorker, who’s been living on his boat here in Miami for the last month or so. He helped us call the launch and get it to come back after it left early without us when we came back from Fresh Market loaded with groceries for dinner. A little while later Scott kayaked over from his boat and John paddleboarded over. The five of us had an awesome dinner in the cockpit prepared by Rich and complimented by our first taste of Rumchata thanks to Justine. I burned my fingers on the barbecue lid trying to help John aboard so I might’ve consumed more than my fair share of the Rumchata to soothe my blistered skin. Melted fingers aside, it was a magical welcome to Miami and a beautiful night.
The next day Justine drove us over to Wynwood Art District where we were wowed by the art on display on every available surface. We had a blast soaking up the sun and wandering around feasting our eyes on it all. (I only felt a tiny twinge of guilt about our balmy weather when my sister sent pics of the foot of snow they got in Washington state…)
Afterward we zipped over to Calle Ocho to check out Little Havana and get some lunch. We were hoping for cubanos, the famous pressed pork sandwiches with ham, cheese, and pickles, but as luck would have it, the restaurant we picked wasn’t serving them that day. By the time we figured this out, we’d been waiting so long to order that we were starving. We hastily ordered some other kind of sandwich lest our server take another 45 minutes to come back. Oh well, the beers were cold and we were no longer weak with hunger. Mission semi-accomplished.
After lunch Justine dropped us at the marina so she could head home to watch the Super Bowl with friends. Rich and I spent a quiet night on the boat, feeling about a million miles away from anything Super Bowl related. (Besides, neither of my favorite teams, the Seahawks and the Packers, were playing.)
Meanwhile, the mystery water in the bilge seems to have calmed down a bit since we installed a new toilet back in West Palm Beach. Our old one had a cracked water pump, which we thought was the culprit and we were ready for a new toilet anyway, but annoyingly the influx of water hasn’t stopped completely. We’ll have to continue monitoring the situation and will keep you posted.
All in all, it’s been a great stop in Miami. Today we’re finishing up a few work-related projects and getting the boat ready to leave tomorrow morning for the Bahamas!