Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Coconut Grove, Miami, FL 25º43.532N | 80º14.193W

Flying the PloddingINParadise colors!
Boating requires making quick decisions, and sometimes your options aren't great. I don't like anchoring where I get a hinky feeling, but that's what we did. When we blew into Biscayne Bay toward that ugly squall Saturday, we anchored outside of No Name Harbor where the X is here:

I was hoping to anchor in the upper left on that chart, tucked behind that little spit of land sticking out, but as we approached, the mega squall was passing right over "my" anchorage. So, we opted, wisely I think, not to motor into the lightning and rain but turn into the sunny channel, hoping the storm would fly on out and the light wind forecast for the night would hold true.

It was Saturday, amateur day on Florida waters. I actually heard a distress call on the VHF, and when the Coast Guard asked for the specifics of the vessel, the guy said, "I don't know. I just bought it today." With this in mind, we chose a remote spot far from the sketchy masses. Not 15 minutes later, another sailboat threw (literally) their anchor right in front of us, and we settled in for a long night.

The wind shifted unexpectedly to the west, putting us on a lee shore, giving us yet another thing to worry about: washing ashore. On the other hand, the other sailboat was no longer in front of us, so I guess it was a wash.

Fortunately the forecast was correct. The wind eased during the night giving us a few peaceful hours of rest before the sun came up, and the fishing boats came barreling through, full speed, 'waking' us up.

No worries. We knew they were coming and had already planned an early crossing to Coconut Grove Sailing Club across the bay. Karen and Dale (of the Good Ship Jessie Marie) were passing through Miami by train, and we had plans to meet them.

As I was hauling up the anchor, I was shocked to see that I was raising not an anchor but a big hairy sea monster, or was it just a clump of seaweed? When my monster surfaced, I spied something even more sinister: a line wrapped on the hook and trailing, solid as a rock, off to somewhere near shore.

I grabbed the camera and the boat hook and started wrangling with the line -- for 20 minutes before finally untwangling it.

Imagine if we were planning a wee hour launch to cross the Gulf Stream. That would have really been grim. Ugh. But no harm, good workout.

We happily waved goodbye to No Name and nestled into our sweet spot in Coconut Grove, with Jessica on Felicity waving us in, Dale and Karen waiting for us at our favorite Cuban coffee spot.

Hinky anchorage forgotten.

A neighborly welcome from Felicity's Jessica and Gia.

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