Vero Beach to No Name Harbor

No Name Harbor and Miami

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To and From The Bahamas, 2008

Vero Beach to No Name Harbor
by Mary

Finally left Vero Beach on March 2. We expected to be headed for Lake Worth, but we failed to take into account the length of the trip from Vero Beach to the Fort Pierce inlet. Once we got to the inlet it was clear that we wouldn't reach our destination in daylight. So we ended up getting a slip at Harbortown Marina at Ft. Pierce. It was interesting to watch the dredging going on while we were there. On our last visit here we were on the face dock but that now has premium pricing so we docked in a slip. We went bow in (couldn't have backed in if we'd wanted to because the fairways are so narrow) and had to deal with an extremely short finger pier. It was a real challenge for me getting on and off. Sure wish I had longer legs.

Ft. Pierce, FL - March, 2008

Weather kept us there until the 12th when we finally headed out and anchored at Lake Worth. We missed a great weather window for sailing to Miami because Neal came down with flu and then I got it too so there were were waiting for weather again once we'd both recovered enough to feel human. When we headed south again we tried to avoid the north-flowing gulf stream and catch the south flowing counter current. That kept us much closer to the coast than we would have liked. It was a Sunday and we could actually see the beach-goers and their umbrellas. Being so close to shore had us dodging lots of fishing boats and dive boats. Not exactly a leisurely journey. Being Sunday also had the effect that our planned fuel stop was aborted because of the large number of boats out and about and also needing fuel - the fuel dock we'd planned on was a zoo. So we headed for our destination, No Name Harbor, to replan our fueling strategy and wait for weather again.

No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne and Miami, FL
by Mary

No Name Harbor is in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. It's a wonderful park with the harbor, beaches, walking and biking trails, fishing piers, and two good open air restaurants. The water is a gorgeous turquoise. Grocery shopping is within walking distance, and a bus line just outside the park.

During the week, the harbor contains mostly sailboats stopping for a while on their way to another destination. But on weekends, the locals arrive in their power boats with their stereos blasting. Earsplitting rap from some and equally deafening Latin music from others. It's so peaceful when they go home! Some of them just cruise through in their go-fast boats, but some stay overnight and play in the water all day.

Our first week there, we were surrounded by French-speaking Canadians. Then we'd go to the restaurant and be surrounded by Spanish-speaking Latins. It was a North American microcosm.

We visited all the fishing piers along the water; did some fish watching; and we walked some of the park trails. I was surprised to come across a raccoon on one trail. There were lots of little lizards. A couple of iguanas live in the shrubs along one part of the harbor. The supermarket is a little over a mile away so we got some exercise doing grocery shopping, too.

No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL -March, 2008
click here to see more photos of No Name Harbor

We'd arranged for mail to be sent to the only Miami post office that receives general delivery mail so we made several bus trips into Miami waiting for it to arrive. (The Key Biscayne post office apparently caters to a class of residents who are far above us "general delivery" homeless folks.) The Post office is in the area of the downtown fringe dedicated to government office buildings and courthouses. Not a scary part of the city in the daytime, but not exactly the glamor center. On one of our trips, we had an excellent lunch with the locals at a little Cuban diner where we seemed to be the only English speakers. As usual, we've found some of our best meals off the tourist track - in places where the locals are regular customers. We made a visit to Miami's main library which was a disappointment - nice building but a relatively poor collection for a major city.

While waiting for a good weather window, we ran up to Miami for fuel and spent a day at Miamarina at Bayside. Bayside is a huge arcade full of shops and restaurants and boat rides for tourists. There's live music and plenty of places to listen to it and just people watch. We had a leisurely drink at an open air daquiri bar and just watched the passing scene. At our slip, we saw a very large sea hare swimming around. We'd never seen anything like it and it took some research to determine what it was. Here's a link for more info.

Miamarina at Bayside, Miami, FL - March, 2008
click here to see more photos of Miamarina

We left some things to do on future visits. We didn't go to the Miami Seaquarium, nor did we visit the National Park that covers a portion of Biscayne Bay including a few keys and Stiltsville. Stiltsville is a cluster of buildings built in shallow water in the bay. Hurricanes and neglect have taken all but seven buildings of the 25 or so that once existed and the National Park Service has an ongiong project to preserve them and probably make at least a few of them accessible to park visitors. It has a colorful history going back to the 1930's when the first buildings were built by fishermen. Over the years there have been night clubs, casinos and a yacht club. Click here for more info about stiltsville. Or click here.

Our last night at No Name was memorable. It was a Sunday afternoon with the harbor full of locals and one playing rap music loud enough to give us a headache - not to mention the person who would occasionally sound the boat horn to the music beat. So we decided to move outside the harbor to anchor for the night before our departure for the Bahamas. Late in the evening I saw lightning in the distance but had no idea what was coming. Heavy squalls with high winds (gusts up to 50 knots) and almost continuous lightning. And the winds swirled - first one direction and then quickly almost 180 degrees. Everything that wasn't firmly stowed went flying around in the boat. And it poured! Sheets of rain! The only good thing was that there was only one other boat in the area. We dragged the anchor almost 1,000 feet during the storm. That could have been disastrous if there were other boats around. It was not our favorite night at anchor.

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