2020-03-26 Wow What Just Happened?? + Mark&Mary Visit, FL Keys, Disappointments….

I cannot believe it is only us, but I find myself asking, what the ….. just happened? Remember back, I mean way back like three weeks when those that did, went to work and life was normal…this last segment of our trip was filled with excitement and some great surprises for it all to end in disappointment. I imagine we all have been going through the same thing over the last couple of weeks.

We departed Palm Beach headed for Fort Lauderdale on the outside…we were having such a great passage we decided to press on to Miami and enable to miss a number of bridges on the inside.

Departing Palm Beach Lake Worth Inlet at dawn.

The Breakers from the otherside…for Dan and Lori

It was a marvelous day to be on the water as you can see entering Miami inlet…we did have the current against us but it beat bridges anyday!

We had not been to Miami in a number of years and never aboard Magnolia-M only the sailboat. Not planning to be in Miami today we reached out to friends on Kismet (Jim & Laurie) who we knew were recent visitors. In the course discussions Jim pointed out there was bridge we could not get under (no sailboat mast) which made our arrival literally 10 times easier!!! Thanks Jim!

We anchored in-between Hibiscus & Star Islands ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Island_(Miami_Beach) ) & ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_Island ) – note the Wikis are worth reading, couple fun facts in each. Also to note this location just across from Dodge Island Cruise Ship docks.

Homes on Star Island. There is a constant stream of tour boats….I mean like 20 a day so they must have the scoop on who owns what…

Downtown Miami with the cruise-ship terminal to left. It was interesting to me how many ships come and go…it really was amazing and surprised to see how many were still going out at this point.

Like I said this was the beginning of the Coronavirus so we went a shore but kept our distance. We did stop at the Publix Grocery store for a top…it was mobbed and that was our last social interaction for the duration! We did have a nice beach walk and no one can say Miami is NOT cool…even the fire stations!

In addition to the beach there was a stop at the Botanical Gardens (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Beach_Botanical_Garden) which were quite lovely and a respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

A high school girlfriend of Annettes, Mary and her husband lived nearby in Coral Gables. Our current location was not conducive to a visit from non-boaters but and alternate plan was hatched.

If we went down and around to Key Biscayne and inside No-Name Harbor thought that might be a much safer alternative than a long dinghy ride. We had never been inside the harbor because its usually crowded that is not our thing but and opportunity not to be missed.

Magnolia arrived early and yes it was crowded but not for the settled conditions we were expecting.

While I did my thing aboard and Annette did some exploring ashore and found the beach t be quite nice!

As it turned out the park was closing because of the Coronavirus at 5pm that day and remain closed for the duration. Mark and Mary performed some heroics and made the cutoff time with moments to spare. The ladies had a lovely time catching up and comparing notes.

Mark and I shared a cigar on the back deck and that too was fun. Really nice people and looking forward to our next visit!

Our friends Jack & Kathy along with their friends Rich and Moe were planning to meet us in the Florida Keys for a week of non-sense….all were very much looking forward! As no one had a clear idea where this was all going Magnolia got underway for the couple day 100 mile trip south. There was also a couple days of bad weather forecast. None of which was crazy or weird just part of a plan. The problem with the Keys is there is VERY limited places to get good protection from east winds. Rodriguez Key near Key Largo is one so that was our first stop.

With the weather approaching we continued south to Channel 5 which would allow us to transit to the west side of the keys for the forecast winds.

We had never take the sailboat through here…cannot remember if it was a bridge height issue or a depth issue. Both of which we have a lesser issue than with the sailboat.

There is an R/V Park – Marina – Restaurant located ashore. We sensed where this virus thing was going so we took the opportunity to get a ashore. The dockmaster was not exceptionally nice but lucky the restaurant owns a couple of slips at the marina… we got our first sense of where this was all going with the wide table separations and distance the servers served from…all very wise for sure.

Magnolia was anchored out by herself until to the two vessels came in. They could have stayed a but further off but if Magnolia is anchored here it MUST be good so they came closer than I thought necessary.

There was exceptional water down there so we took advantage and made fresh water for our tanks during every generator run,

This referred to as Chill-Slacking!!!

We all finally came to the realization there was not going to be a Florida Keys Tennar/Dinn/Baker nonsense extravaganza. There was only one thing to do but break out a good bottle of wine and good steak and fire the barbie!!!

With the keys heading towards shut down there as no reason for Magnolia to continue south towards Marathon.

We saw a couple good weather windows coming and also our mentors Greg & Marie on Second Sally were getting ready to head from St Thomas to Lake Worth which meant we might be able to meet up with them as well.

We passed this mini-mega heading south. Not exactly sure where he was headed but seemed odd under the circumstances.

Under category of fun surprises we passed Joanne & George on SV Bristol Creme. It was great to chat on the radio even more so since missed them in the Bahamas this year. They were heading back to their home waters near New Orleans

As we approached Miami we could see the un-used cruise ships anchored off shore.

We again anchored near Key Biscayne in preparation for our pre-dawn departure.

Stiltsville (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiltsville) – its a real place not in a Carl Hiaaasen novel http://www.carlhiaasen.com/ which by the way are the best!!!!

Snug as a bug and ready to head for Palm Beach…

That though is the next episode..thanks again to Mary & Mark for coming out to Key Biscayne!!!

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