S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas in Miami

N 25 degrees 47.3 minutes
W 080 degrees 09.4 minutes

Yesterday Dean and I caught a ride back up to Fort Lauderdale with our friend Steve, who has sailed to Florida from Boston also. We all needed to pay a second visit to Sailorman, which is, hands down, the best marine store ever. Needless to say, the prices are dirt cheap--good enough that we broke down and bought a new spare jib halyard, a new staysail halyard, and a new staysail sheet (lots of rope) to replace some really frayed stuff that we should have thrown out ages ago. So I guess that's our Christmas present to each other this year, with two quarts of transmission fluid thrown in as stocking stuffers.

Today we finally sailed over to Miami, and we are anchored near south beach. We took the dinghy up a narrow canal and locked it up near the local grocery store, where some earlier, more organized cruisers had installed a cable for that purpose. From there we could walk to South Beach. We had a beautiful day, and I have to say that I could really get used to waltzing straight into the ocean without spending ten minutes letting my extremities cramp and then turn numb until I can stand the cold long enough to duck under. I don't think I have to tell anyone how great it is to be swimming in the ocean on Christmas Eve.

There are enough people who make this trip every year on their boats that a sort of travelling community develops on the Intracoastal Waterway and at popular anchorages. One guy, Skipper Bob, has done quite a bit of cruising and has published a few guides for the ICW, the Bahamas, and elsewhere. The guides, which are on plain paper with few graphics and just a spiral binding like what you'd get at Kinko's, are half the price of professionally-published guides and are twice as good. They have very little advertising, are updated every year, and they really understand what a boater needs to know about resources in an area (free places to anchor; places to tie up a dinghy onshore; how to get to grocery stores, libraries, and chandleries; who has cheap fuel; and so on). Everybody we've met owns one and has memorized it.

As a result, one eventually runs into a bunch of other cruisers at all the best stops. Miami is an especially big gathering point, as everybody waits for the right weather to cross to the Bahamas. And because it is now Christmas, people are staying put for now, so there are really quite a few boats in town.

We just found out from a few other boaters that the Miami Yacht Club organizes a potluck dinner (what my southern friends would call a covered dish party) on Christmas day. Guests are expected to bring a dish and something to drink. I am looking forward to meeting people and pumping them for information about what we can expect for the crossing.

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