December 6, 2016
Ft. Pierce –
I wanted to log our November trips to Miami and Key West. This year we have our car “Money Penny” (it’s a British made car) and we want to explore southern Florida. We are enjoying using “Trillium” as a floating condo here in Ft. Pierce.
Our first sortie was a two day trip to the Fort Lauderdale Boat show. We had stopped there last year on a cruise south and looked forward to seeing it again by car. This was the first "international" boat show for Kim and we spent most of the two days touring some very nice boats. It’s a big show and we only covered a small part, but we had a lot of fun. The best part of the trip was the drive back up A1A. This route is a very scenic tour of the high end houses and condo’s that line this part of Florida’s coast.
We had made plans last year to join Kim’s brother and sister-in-law for a 10 day stay in Key West. They had been several times before and promised us a fun time. We had made “day” trips last year when we stayed in Marathon and was excited to return.
Our trip started with a visit with friends in Miami. Having living there all their lives, they took us on fantastic tours of all the sights. We got to see Key Biscayne and visited a favorite local anchorage called “No Name Harbor”. We plan to do a short cruise to the Miami area someday and are scouting out places to anchor. We also got to see the “Little Havana” area with the strong Cuban influence to the culture of Miami. We saw this area again on the news last week with celebrating Castor death.
We hated to leave Miami, but was scheduled to meet Steve and Wendy, so we headed on to Key West. We found the condo and was excited to see it was located just south of Duval Street near all the action. It had a pool outside the front door and was short bike ride to several beaches. There was so much to do and see, Wendy keep us on a schedule so we would not miss something we wanted to do. Most days were spent sightseeing, then back to the pool before heading out to see the sunset. Afterwards was good time to stroll Duval Street and stop at a bar to hear live music. If you did three stops every night (we did) you would not cover half the places in 10 days. Although we did eat and drink our way through Key West, we also walked or biked several miles every day. Some days we would ride our bikes to one the many beaches. My favorite was Smather’s Beach that runs along the south side of the island. I enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in the clear cool (83 deg) water.
I always wanted to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park, which is a small group of islands lying 70 miles west of Key West. To get there, we booked a day trip aboard the power catamaran “Yankee Freedom”. This is a private run ferry (https://www.drytortugas.com/) that makes getting there half the fun. The two hour boat ride is spent looking for turtles, dolphins and frigate birds. One of the islands in the park is the only nesting location for these birds in the US. The first thing we did was tour the large brick fort that covers over 8 acres. I enjoyed the long history that showed how important this fort was during the early years of the USA. We also snorkeled, hiked and bird watch the areas near the fort. The trip back was exciting, the wind had picked up and we had 4’ to 6’ waves on the bow. The ride was “interesting”, with several of the passengers taking advantage of the “souvenir” bags that the crew had wisely passed out before heading back. It was a great day and although a bit expensive, well worth the money.
One other exciting thing we did during our stay in Key West was a sunset sail about the sailing yacht “America 2.0” This is a 105-foot, 1800s styled sailing vessel that was built in 2012 for day tours in New York and Key West. Captain Heather and her fun crew did a great job making sure everyone had plenty of food and drink, while answering tons of questions. We had picked a day that was windy to insure a fun sail while enjoying a spectacular sunset. Kim and I now understand how nice it would be to have a yacht of that size AND with a crew to run it! I could learn to give up being the captain and just sit back while others did the work.