Monday, April 11, 2016

Relaxing in South Beach

We are anchored in a familiar spot, just southwest of the Sunset Islands, near Sunset Harbor, Miami Beach (map). We arrived here mid-day Friday, after a very nice cruise from Maule Lake. We took a new route this time, heading down the eastern side of the bay after passing the Broad Causeway Bridge. The eastern channel is less well-marked than the ICW, and as shallow as 7' in places, but I found it a more pleasant cruise and we got to see some new scenery. It turned out to be about a half foot shallower than charted in some places, but we passed at mid-tide and the depth sounder never squawked.

Sunset over the bay and Miami from our anchorage; this never gets old.

We arrived here in time to drop the tender and make our way to the main post office to retrieve our packages. That involved taking the "South Beach Local" bus, which is just 25 cents a ride. Some confusion about the route and stops (it seems the stop we chose is temporarily bypassed due to construction) had us on a bus that would put us there just a hair after closing time; I ended up bailing off the bus when it was immediately across the island from the post office and hoofing it several blocks to make it, while Louise stayed on the bus for the rest of the loop and got off at the proper stop.

The box lobby of the main Miami Beach Post Office.

I managed to grab all four packages before closing, and together we stood in the rotunda lobby, which remains open an hour after the window closes, opened everything up, and condensed it down into two backpacks. That included the contents of one box I had brought with me to mail; we inadvertently used the wrong Priority Mail box and they would not take it. The rotunda of the WPA-built, 1939 art-deco post office retains its original furnishings and decor.

The ceiling of that same box lobby. This is actually a skylight.

We walked a few blocks north to Lincoln Avenue, which is now a pedestrian mall lined with restaurants, and had a nice dinner al fresco at Numero 28, an Italian place about mid-mall. We re-boarded the bus to check out the rest of the loop, which included going past the familiar convention center, now in the chaos of a major remodeling project.

Lincoln Mall looking east from our table at Numero 28.

Saturday morning I had to get the aforementioned item, now properly re-packed, back to the post office. Fortunately there is a post office much closer to the dinghy landing, just a short walk away, so it was an easy matter to get it in before the 1pm collection time.

Looking west. Many people stopped to photograph these trees in bloom.

Our one "scheduled" item in Miami Beach thus ticked off the list, we were free to leave any time, but we hate moving the boat on a weekend if we can avoid it, the weather is perfect, and the anchoring brouhaha does not seem to be affecting this anchorage or the very nice dinghy dock on the Collins Canal across from the Publix store. We opted to stay through the weekend and then move closer to the ocean today, to wait for weather for the passage south to the Keys.

An almost hourly occurrence through the weekend -- groups of paddleboarders came past Vector after renting their boards over by the boat ramp.

Saturday afternoon I was in the engine room digging out parts for another project when I put my hand down in something wet. Generally nothing should be wet in there so I immediately started hunting around for the source, which turned out to be one of the sensors on the watermaker. The fresh-water flush ran on Saturday and some of it leaked out around this sensor, which was dislocated by the installation of the new membrane last week.

I sent an email to the guy who changed the membrane, and he called me on Sunday to talk me through a couple of things. The membrane cartridge on our unit needs to be bored out to accommodate this sensor, and it looks like the bore was just a bit short on this one -- not something I can easily fix myself. We decided he'd drive down to Miami and come aboard to take care of it tomorrow morning.

The Miami skyline at night, as seen from our deck.

We need to make a marina stop anyway, to pump out and fill the fresh water, so we'll head to one of the Miami-Dade city facilities in the morning, "Miamarina" at the Bayside complex, and take advantage of their three-hour day rate. At just $30, it's a much better deal than spending the night for $2.85 a foot. We'll take care of our housekeeping, get the watermaker fixed, maybe have lunch at Bayside, and then head to an anchorage further south in Biscayne Bay to position for the outside run.

Since we've been "stuck" here an extra couple of nights, we've been back ashore to sample some more of the seemingly limitless number of restaurants in town, and do some provisioning as well. This is really a great stop once you know how to get around town.

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