Marathon to Miami

Day One:

Cindy and I were reunited on Monday after spending 29 days apart. It’s been almost 35 years that we’ve been married now, and I still love to be around her. She was missed and I’m glad she’s home. I rented a car and drove to Miami to pick her up. We arrived back at Boot Key Harbor at dusk and made our way back to Beatitude in our dinghy (filled with a couple of inches of rain which had accumulated during the day). The next day, we basically hung out on the boat and in the city marina.

Last sunset at Boot Key Harbor

Last sunset at Boot Key Harbor

After Cindy’s one day in Boot Key Harbor, it was time to press onward to Miami. We released the mooring lines around 7 a.m., and slipped beneath the 65’ vertical clearance cable as we exited the harbor. A few minutes later we made our way through Moser Channel beneath the 65’ vertical clearance 7-mile bridge. We watched as our antenna scraped the bottom of the bridge as we passed under. I’m getting slightly more used to the narrow margin of clearance, but Cindy still feels a little queasy and won’t watch as we pass beneath.

Just after 7 a.m., exiting the mooring field

Just after 7 a.m., exiting the mooring field

Captain at the Helm

Captain at the Helm

The morning sun highlights the top of clouds to the northwest

The morning sun highlights the top of clouds to the northwest

Sun rising over our American flag on the stern rail

Sun rising over our American flag on the stern rail

Moser Channel, approaching the 7-mile bridge

Moser Channel, approaching the 7-mile bridge

We decided to make the trip to Miami on the inside route with the Keys to our south rather than taking Hawk Channel on the outside. We had taken Hawk Channel with Captain Dale when we brought the boat to Palmetto from Ft. Lauderdale after our initial purchase over two years ago. We decided to take the inside route for two reasons. First, to experience something new. Second, Cindy likes flat seas. And, flat they were! We had a very pleasant 10 hour and 20 minute cruise through Florida Bay which covered 54 miles. We anchored for the evening in Buttonwood Sound in just shy of 8’ of water.

Enjoying the view on Florida Bay

Enjoying the view on Florida Bay

We were actually transiting the southernmost portion of the Everglades

We were actually transiting the southernmost portion of the Everglades

Islands in Florida Bay

Islands in Florida Bay

We passed this boat cleaning his crab/lobster traps

We passed this boat cleaning his crab/lobster traps

The water in the anchorage was about the deepest water we saw all day. Almost the entire day was spent motoring in less than 7 feet of water. On several occasions, we saw 4 1/2 feet (our draft is 4’3”). I spent a good deal of time canceling the alarm on the depth finder. It is set to alarm for anything shallower than 5 feet, which we were in for miles at the time. All the guides say that the inside route is fine for boats with less than 5 feet draft. I’m not sure if I’d like to take this route with a 5 foot draft. It was tricky enough with 4’3”. Thankfully, though, we did not once touch bottom.

Enjoying a refreshing swim after dropping anchor.  I went out to check to see if our anchor was set.

Enjoying a refreshing swim after dropping anchor. I went out to check to see if our anchor was set.

The water of Florida Bay was amazingly clear. I’ve never had a day on the water in which I could see the seafloor the entire time. I was mesmerized by the bay floor as we motored along. We saw dolphin, flying fish, jellyfish, needlefish, and a few other assorted creatures along the way.

A look down through the starboard trampoline at the crystal clear water on the bay

A look down through the starboard trampoline at the crystal clear water on the bay

Fatigue had gotten the best of me by the time we dropped anchor. Between dodging the crab/lobster traps all day and watching the depth finder I was worn out. Despite this, however, it was a beautiful day and an enjoyable trip. After anchoring, Cindy made a wonderful spaghetti dinner and we relaxed the rest of the evening.

Our first day's travels

Our first day’s travels

Day Two:

We both had a restless night at anchor. First of all, it was just plain hot! Despite an increasing northerly breeze, there was no airflow through the owner’s hull and it was uncomfortable. Secondly, that increasing northerly breeze blew up a nice chop which rhythmically pounded Beatitude’s hull all night long.

Despite all this, we did get some sleep and arose bright and early to get Beatitude moving again. Around a quarter after seven, we pulled up anchor (and about 1/2 the seafloor of Buttonwood Sound with it) and continued to move in a northeasterly direction. It was as if, while we slept, someone messed with the cosmic thermostat, turning off the furnace and turning on the air-conditioning. What a difference a day makes! The first day was about as hot, humid, and sticky as you could get. What breeze was present was directly from behind all day, making our apparent wind zero. This day we headed mostly into a cool 10-15 knot northerly breeze. The humidity dropped markedly. I, indeed, had to pull out a sweatshirt to deal with those early morning temperatures in the mid-70s!

The view from our anchorage in Buttonwood Sound as we leave early in the morning

The view from our anchorage in Buttonwood Sound as we leave early in the morning

Cindy attempting to wash some off the seafloor back to where it came from

Cindy attempting to wash some off the seafloor back to where it came from

"Freezing" 70 degree temperatures :(

“Freezing” 70 degree temperatures 🙁

In addition to the nice cool temps, the second day’s journey along the inside of the keys was much more relaxing than yesterday’s for other reasons, primarily because the depths were almost uniformly greater than five feet. There were a couple of shallow areas, but nothing like the first day. We saw mainly 7-10 feet all day. We did have to deal with a couple of 65’ vertical clearance bridges. The first was a piece of cake, as we caught it at low tide and actually had 66.5’ of clearance. The second was an antenna scraper, producing the typical feeling of nausea in Cindy.

A beautiful passage through the mangroves

A beautiful passage through the mangroves

Another mangrove passage

Another mangrove passage

Admiral at the helm

Admiral at the helm

This is our second bridge of the day, the antenna scraper

This is our second bridge of the day, the antenna scraper

The second day’s journey was shorter than the first. We covered 42.82 nautical miles in 7 1/2 hours. Just after 2:30 in the afternoon we pulled into the Dinner Key Mooring Field and picked up mooring ball #47. Cindy executed the mooring ball pennant retrieval flawlessly and afterwards we relaxed after a fairly aggressive two days of cruising. After picking up a bit, we went into the mooring field office to sign in, walked over the Chili’s in Coconut Grove for dinner, and returned to the boat to watch Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.

I fished through Biscayne Bay, but no luck.

I fished through Biscayne Bay, but no luck.

Artist at work on Biscayne Bay

Artist at work on Biscayne Bay

Bienvenidos a Miami!

Bienvenidos a Miami!

Cindy handling the mooring lines

Cindy handling the mooring lines

Blessed on Beatitude

Blessed on Beatitude

The celebration after our successful 2-day journey

The celebration after our successful 2-day journey

Our second day's passage

Our second day’s passage

9 thoughts on “Marathon to Miami

  1. Glad the “inside trip” went smoothly for you. I still can’t “look up” when we pass under fixed bridges with our tall masts either, Cindy…

    Blessings,
    Hope & Carson (S/V Carson G II)

    • Thanks, Hope. I’m getting a little more comfortable with the height of our mast, but it is still a little anxiety producing on the close ones. 🙂

  2. Hi Cindy and Barry.
    I am really enjoying your blogs and BEAUTIFUL pictures, both on land and in the sea.
    Thanks so much for sharing your adventure.
    God Bless.

  3. Sounds like a great sail! Love the pictures! Bet you were glad to have your wife back 🙂 thanks for sharing her with us! Ily

  4. Sounds like you had an exciting 2 days !!!!! How does It feel to back aboard, Cindy ?? Do you have your Sea Legs yet ? You should see Lisa’s latest painting…you will love it !! Have fun L!

  5. I appreciate your pathfinder’s observations of the inside route.
    I wonder if you think about the advantages you guys, as cruisers, have over a delivery skipper, like me. I’d enjoy doing the inside route sometime, but I’m always on a time line that requires I keep pushing through the night. And clearly, the inside route is not one for sailing at night.
    Good to know Cindy’s Dad is ok and that Cindy is back onboard Beatitude.
    You guys are doing an awesome job

    • Thanks, Roy. I hadn’t thought of it in just that way, but I guess that is one of the downsides of your job. It was nice having that option.

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