On Saturday we dropped our dock lines and headed down to North Beach, Miami. We're anchored just S of Belle Isle along with a dozen other boats. It's a nice anchorage with lots of shops close by via dinghy. On weekends it's a zoo with lots of go-fast boats and jet-skies zipping around. The hotels lining the anchorage make for some good people watching, especially with spring break in progress...
In many ways I feel like we traded Los Olas Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale for Lincoln Dr in North Beach. Lincoln Drive is a pedestrian only street lined with high end shops and restaurants. My cruiser clothes don't quite fit in with the designer outfits constantly on show. To say that some of the dress is flamboyant would be a huge understatement! We've also been surprised at the number of photo shoots and video productions that we've seen. Every day we've seen 1-2 clothing photo shoots and/or video production shoots taking place.
When we left Ft. Lauderdale everything on the boat was working perfectly. After we anchored we were watching an NCAA game when all of a sudden the power shut down. We had been running on the inverter (which converts 12V DC to 120V AC) and the display panel showed a strange error message. After working on it for a couple of hours I determined that it had died. Of course this was a Saturday and tech support wouldn't be available until Monday. This is a critical component as it also charges the batteries when the generator is running. We couldn't leave without it. On Monday I reached Xantrex tech support and they were going to over-night a new unit to me. While I'm quite concerned about the reliability of my ProSine 2.0 inverter/charger, as this is the 3rd failure that I've had, but the support that I've received has been outstanding. A new unit arrived on Wednesday and the problem was resolved. Of course replacing it required pulling out the water heater in order to reach the inverter. Ah, it's a boat...
I also got to spend a lot of time working on a fellow boater's Fischer Panda generator. He was happy to have help from someone who had owned one before. He wasn't happy to hear about my experiences. We were able to trouble shoot the generator and he's up and running. I also got to work on his water maker and a variety of other people's systems. I wasn't bored!
Our friends from Interlude were already in the anchorage when we arrived and it was great to catch up with them. We had last seem them on the ICW in NC. They had expected to have been in the Bahamas starting in January, but they've been enjoying the FL coastline and will be crossing to the Bahamas at the same time that we will.
You need the correct winds to cross to the Bahamas. The Gulf Stream flows northward at speeds up to 3.5 Kts. If there are winds from the N opposing the Gulf Stream, the seas can rapidly build making for a bumpy, and possibly dangerous crossing. The winds on Friday are supposed to switch to the S and I think that there's going to be a bee-line to the Bahamas!
Tomorrow we're headed to Noname Harbor on Cay Biscane, which is about 8 miles south of here and we'll depart from there. That will give us a better angle. I'll report in from there!
-- Geoff & Sue
For the cruiser:
I would suggest anchoring a good distance away from the mouth of the canal between Belle Isle and North Beach as the currents caused a lot of boats to swing in strange ways and some boats got very close. Boats further back didn't have the problem. The holding was very good.
The Collins Canal is located just before bridge connecting Belle Isle to Miami Beach. There are lots of shops located along the canal and you can take the canal down to Indian Creek which runs along Miami Beach. We spent 4 hours one day exploring the canal and Indian Creek. About 1/2 of a mile down the canal you'll find a Publix grocery store. They've installed a cable where you can lock your dinghy and they keep the canal wall clean of razor clams! If you walk a block westward you'll end up at Alton Rd. If you walk S on Alton you'll find a ton of shops, including hardware and electrical shops, a UPS Store and FedEx/Kinkos where you can have packages shipped. There's a high end grocery store named Epicure just a few blocks down Alton. They had a amazing produce and meat. There's also a coin laundry on 15th St. At the corner of Alton and Lincoln you'll find a wonderful movie theater. If you take Lincoln towards the beach you'll be inundated with high end shops and restaurants.
If you go through the bridge between Belle Isle and Miami Beach you'll see a marina on your right. If you turn right onto the canal just past the marina and tie up just before the bridge, you'll find a very new and large Publix down the street on your right. It much nicer than the one described above.
The only place to get fuel is at the South Beach Marina, which is located next to Government Cut. I hauled jury cans to/from a gas station located along the canal, but I wouldn't recommend it for a lot of fuel.
Log ID: 939
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