- Katharine Hesmer
DAY 14 | December 27, 2021
Miami to No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL
I'm sorry to report that Skeet woke up feeling yucky, which actually started last night - sore throat, cough, nausea. Take a wild guess what we were thinking he had?! It wasn’t a stretch to think Covid, for obvious reasons, but also because it had been all over the national news how the omicron variant was exploding in Florida, especially in Miami. We’ve never been known for our terribly good timing.
We had already applied online for our Covid testing to be done this morning, and decided it made sense to follow through regardless of Skeet’s unfortunate symptoms, because we needed to know one way or the other if he had the dreaded "it". The Bahamas will not let you enter the country without a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of your arrival, and our hope is to leave for Bimini tomorrow, or as soon as we get our test results. The testing line was again around the block, so we resigned ourselves to the wait and kept our distance from those around us. Luckily the weather cooperated because the testing center is outside in a pleasant park adjacent to a downtown government complex. Miami offered us gorgeous weather for the 5th day in a row - low humidity, light breeze, warm and truly pleasant.
I set out for what else but coffee and breakfast, because my next meal is always my top priority. 😂🐷 Found an awesome unassuming and highly-rated nearby spot, called the Atlantis Café, with a super smart setup where you simply order at the window and wait outside. Not due to Covid — just a smart way on their part to minimize their overhead. Brought back two Café Con Leches, and three DELICIOUS Cuban breakfast sandwiches with bacon egg and cheese. I have to say waiting in a long line with other people who may or may not have covid doesn’t lend itself to making you want to dig into a meal, whether you're hungry or not, so we enjoyed the coffee and waited to eat until later.
I was impressed with how organized all of the staff at the testing site were, and in spite of seemingly impossible crowds, we got through the line in about an hour, showed our reservation QR code that gave them all of our contact info for sending our results, and took our turns getting a q-tip shoved into our respective brains. Which is a complete exaggeration because it just was NOT that bad at all. I just like being dramatic.
Ron and his sidekick, wearing his "oh-great... a -company-tshirt 🙄", waiting for an Uber.
Since Skeet was feeling cruddy, the two of us headed back to the marina, and Ron continued on in the same Uber to Ace Hardware and West Marine for last-minute boat needs. I did my best to think ahead and accomplish anything requiring electricity and water while I could, since our goal was to leave the marina tomorrow.
After putting away Christmas in hopes of being able to do something similar next year, I took a package I’d been needing to return to the FedEx office at Whitney and Will’s hotel, which as you may remember, is also the host hotel for the University of Georgia’s football team leading up to the Orange Bowl on December 31st. As luck would have it, I happened to get there when the gigantic Georgia buses were there to pick up the team who had just checked into the hotel last night. I went inside and asked the bellman for directions to the FedEx office inside the hotel, and asked him if he’d gotten to see any of the players. He was so kind and laughed and said, “see those big black curtains over there?” (Just across the lobby from us) “They put those there so the players don’t have to deal with us!” And I said, “dude, those curtains are to protect the players from annoying people like ME!! Not from YOU!”
So in true annoying fashion, I of course headed STRAIGHT for the curtains and found a crack in them that I could peek through. Wouldn’t you know it I could see the players streaming down the escalator and out the door, so thought how brilliant — I'll start filming them! Until I realized, duh, they're walking out the front door and I can actually see them in "full frame". Have I mentioned that I'm not the brightest bulb?🙄
I followed the team outside and watched as they boarded their busses - so fun!! And honestly, would’ve been WAY more fair if a true Georgia Bulldog fan had been in my shoes at that moment. I won’t say that I don’t know much about football, but . . . I really don’t know much about football. I’m more of a college basketball fan, to the point that when I first saw those giant G logos plastered on the hotel days ago, I thought they were for the Green Bay Packers. Yes I’m pathetic. But at least now the world knows for sure. I even sent pics of the hotel banners to my friend who's a HUGE Packers fan, and she must have been too polite to say, why in the HELL is she sending me these photos?! But I mean, take a look at their respective logos. I'm just a lowly graphic designer, not a football aficionado, but I wasn't off by THAT much, except for my lack of awareness that the Georgia logo isn't exactly . . . GREEN. Don't worry — I definitely plan to keep my day job.
On the walk back to the marina, once again through the lovely Bayfront Park, I was determined to try my first arepas before leaving Miami, which are like a delicious cornmeal pancake. The first I’d heard of arepas was from the son of my neighbors in Wilmington, who’s engaged to a professional chef from Colombia who is hoping to establish an arepas food truck in Wilmington later this year. Let me just say, after trying them, I’m now pulling even harder for her success! They were outstanding, as was the frozen lemonade I’d gotten for Skeet.
We made a plan to leave the marina, top off our fuel, and head to a nearby anchorage, which is known to be a good starting point when heading for Bimini. We are crossing fingers and toes for negative covid tests, but frankly won’t be surprised is Skeet’s is positive. It just means we’d be “stuck” in Miami for more days than we’d planned. Oh darn.
Headed out around 3:15, and made a beeline for the Miami Beach Marina.
The Port of Miami is just across from where KORKZcrew has been parked for the last 5 days. You travel by cruise liners that are larger than I can describe, but they reconfirm my preference for tiny spaces. While I’m sure they offer every amenity on earth, they do not appeal to me at ALL; especially not NOW with their floating petridish status in the midst of a global pandemic. Thank you I’ll pass. The Port also boasts massive container cranes that are responsible for loading and unloading container ships from all over the world. It’s quite eye popping to ride by them. KORKZcrew had to pass all of this activity in a really busy channel as we made our way to the Miami Beach Marina to refuel for the first time since we left Wilmington on 12.14, and we still have just a little under half a tank left. As I’ve said, these diesel engines get crazy good gas mileage, and it doesn’t hurt that we’ve got a 500-gallon fuel tank.
This stretch of the channel was pretty busy with large boats as you might imagine. It was the bumpiest ride we’ve encountered so far, due simply to the wakes of other boats, and it was actually a really good trial run for crossing to the Bahamas because it pointed out the things we needed to do a better job of securing, like remembering to lock all drawers and cabinet doors, otherwise they swing and/or open haphazardly. The hardware on all the cabinets and doors are little buttons that lock when you push them in and unlock when you release them to their fully extended position, so this is an easy “fix” when you’re underway.
Just ahead of us were the hotel, condominiums, and private residences of Fisher Island. I had never heard of it, but it turns out it is the wealthiest zip code in the U.S., and stars from all over the world have lived there, including Oprah Winfrey. It’s a private island that’s only accessible by a 7-minute ferry ride from Miami Beach.
After refueling, we retraced our steps to downtown Miami and saw a tugboat pushing a cruise ship into position at the Port. Seemed like quite a tricky bit of maneuvering.
Once we were close to shore, we turned south and made our way through Biscayne Bay toward Key Biscayne. The southern end of Miami’s coastline is just as gorgeous as the parts we’d already seen, and made us realize how we’d barely even scratched the surface of this enticing city.So many funky beautiful high rises and gobs of green space. I wouldn’t mind if Miami became our Christmas tradition. Isn’t that generous of me? Such a sacrifice! Just gorgeous, and so colorful, literally and figuratively. I would love to do an architectural tour. I’m sure there’s plenty to learn.
Went by some breathtaking homes in Key Biscayne right at sunset - they look across the water at Miami’s downtown to the northwest, and at the sun setting over the bay. Not too shabby!
Our plan had been to anchor in No Name Harbor (yes, really— that’s it’s “no” name) and we motored through there to get a sense of the area. First of all, it was super charming - I think I saw two restaurants and maybe a pedestrian walkway or a park. It was getting dark so it’s hard to say, but people were happily playing music from their boats, paddleboarding back from the restaurant, or just relaxing on another lovely low-humidity evening with a light breeze. We decided to anchor KORKZcrew just outside this harbor so we had a little more elbow room so to speak, and joined about 20 or so other sailboats for a pleasant overnight. Seeing the anchor lights on top of those masts is like looking at a beautiful starry sky. It just doesn’t get old.
Depending on our results from the Covid tests we took earlier today, we hope to head for Bimini first thing tomorrow. My results came back tonight and were negative. One down; two to go! 🤞🏼
1 hour underway / 7 nautical miles traveled