Here I am, back in glorious South Beach, where all the women are gorgeous and the men are even prettier!
Moving off the boat was a weird experience. First, was 'What do you pack for a half move?' I'm not really moving, so I wouldn't take everything. But I'm not just going for a few weeks, so I need to take most of my living stuff. I ended up with a duffel bag that was double overweight on the plane: 100 lbs. The last time I moved, it was from the old "Monday Morning", a Bristol 30, to the current one, a Freedom 40. The last time I'd looked for an apartment was in 1979, so this time I felt lost and stupid; I didn't know what to do. I had a room sort of promised in Tellis's building which was the right price and right location for me, but someone else got ahead of me and I got bumped to the next opening which would be "Real Soon Now". Real soon. So I crashed (Is that word still used?) on Tellis's floor to wait. ...and wait. God bless Tellis, he let me stay the whole time which turned out to be over a month. Anyhow, I got a small room across the hall from him and he didn't have to murder me.
When people think about South Beach, I guess most of them think about the flash and glitter of Ocean Drive and all the night clubs and high life. Ocean Drive is on the ocean side of "The Beach". Where I focus is on the other side, the Bay side, where life is more (nearly) real. For me, the great draw of South Beach is the convenience to pedestrians and bikes. It's a real city--a small city, but very cosmopolitan. I remember the first time I stopped here, I immediately noticed storefronts. All up and down the coast, you have to drive ten miles from the towns to get to the malls built out by the interstate, but here you can just walk there. And if you don't want to walk, you can take a bus. There's one bus route called "South Beach Local". It costs $0.25 and does a loop down one side of town and up the other--two routes really: they counter-rotate. This bus runs right past my building and goes to Publix supermarket, Macy's department store, Wild Oats market and lots of other places. More: One block from my building is an 18-screen theater on Lincloln Road. And yeah, Linclon Road itself where you can just hang out at Starbucks or some other place and enjoy the scenery (see opening sentence). Lincoln Road Mall is a 10 block stretch, shut off from traffic and given over to shops and restaurants. The street is full of trees and restaurant tables and public benches.
Here's something cool...
I was fooling around with Google Earth and, while I was looking around Miami, I spotted "Monday Morning" at anchor. I figured out the photo had been taken around March, 2005. Looking at the picture tells me that Tellis is 'home" and I'm ashore. I can tell cuz I can see his dinghy tied up, portside. It looks to be about 11a.m. I checked over the Collins Canal, near Bay Road and, sure enough, my dinghy is tied there, about 150' from the SoBe Room.
25 47 16.090 080 08 46.28
I decided that, as long as the boat is getting worked on, I should do some of the stuff I need to do for the bod'. I've needed to have surgery for a rotator cuff for more than two years, but I didn't want to be stuck with a disabled arm for 2-3 months. Well, I'm stuck anyhow, so I went and had it done. This is the first time I can get both hands on the keyboard to type since the operation.
I just talked to the foreman at Deltaville Boatyard. The hull could use more drying time, so I don't know when I'll be back in Virginia. I suppose I could stay here for the summer, if necessary.
If you look at the next section on this page, you'll see how much of a writer I am: I haven't said anything in over a year.
Well, this year turned out to be different from my expectations. "Monday Morning" is on a hill in Deltaville, Virginia. Cruisers know where Deltaville is, but, for you chartless types, it's on the Chesapeake Bay at the eastern end of the 'Middle Peninsula' of Virginia---definitely off the beaten track if you're driving a car south, but right on the 'main line' if you're travelling by boat.
Last winter, I went over to Georgetown, Exumas, The Bahamas. I usually hang around South Beach in the winter, but the City of Miami Beach passed an anti-anchoring law last year, so I continued on to The Bahamas. My first time crossing the Gulf Stream and I had to do it alone which I hate. Anyhow, I went down to George Town in the Exumas to stay a while. A nice place and a popular destination for cruising snowbirds from the States and Canada. At the height of the season, there were between four and five hundred cruising boats anchored in Elizabeth Harbour.
There turned out to quite a few people that I knew who had gone there, too, so I had a pretty good time. George Town is about the end of civilization---or at least, the end of the supply line of 'urban requirements'. It has a decent supermarket, laundries, liquor stores, restaurants, lunch counters, ATMs and internet connections: the necessities.
There were lots of good days sailing across the Bahama banks: sail the whole day without having to trim the sails at all.
I got back to Miami at the end of March but didn't get out of Florida til the end of May. Most of the time was spent in Stuart with doctors and dentists.
The Parking Lot, Collins Canal, Miami Beach
In Myrtle Beach, I hooked up with a French couple, Irene and Roger, (s/v "Irro", La Rochelle) who had just spent 8 years at Rio Dulce in Guatemala. How I met them was that the dockmaster at Barefoot Landing, where I was tied up, came by my boat and asked if I knew any French. I told him I'd had one year of high school French about 50 years ago but I'd try anyhow. We actually managed to communicate and I started to remember some of the lanuage. Their English was a bit better than my French, so we spoke a lot of Franglish/Franglais. When they came up to the US, they were nervous about having to function in English, but they arrived in Miami and never had to use a word of it : everything was done in Spanish---custons, immigration and every store they went to while they were there.
I eventually arrived in Annapolis, my northernmost point, in late July, but I didn't stay there very long. I decided to go to Washington, DC for the rest of the summer. To go from Annapolis to Washington by land is about 30 miles, but to do the trip by boat requires going down the Chesapeake about 100 miles and then up the Potomac another hundred miles; you can walk it faster than go by boat.
Anyhow, I got to DC and visited a lot of people I know there, including my son, Dave, who lives and works in the area. The last time I'd been there was in 2001: I was there during the 9/11 stuff.
My plan was to leave DC, go down to Deltaville, haul the boat, paint the bottom and continue on south. So much for plans. When I got the boat out of the water, I found that I had a bad case of 'blisters'. This is a condition where water gets inside the fiberglass of a boat and causes the outer skin (the gelcoat) to grow blisters, water-filled bubbles between the skin and the fiberglass itself. It has to be fixed to prevent deterioration of the hull. The way to fix it is to remove the gelcoat and let the hull dry over several months. I bit the bullet and had the hull sand-blasted and left it for the winter.
I wasn't the only one this happened to. There were three other boats who had the same problem: haul to paint the bottom, find blisters, leave for winter. One of those boats was "Irro", so we got to hang around together for a few more weeks. There three French crews there, one of the others was also from La Rochelle but they never knew each other before arriving in Deltaville. Plus, of course, several French Canadian crews. I got more French practice than I ever dreamed of. Most of them spoke good English, though.
"Irro" decided to make 'lemonade' from the 'lemons' of blisters. Their boat was stuck for the winter so they bought a camper and set off to tour the USA and Canada.
I thought about doing something similar and go RVing in Europe, but when I looked into it, I didn't think I could afford it what with the cost to repair the hull. So, here I am in South Beach for the winter. I got a small "efficiency" apartment about a block from the Lincoln Road Mall in the same building as Tellis. It's the first time I've lived ashore in about 13 years and the first time I had to look for an apartment since 1979. Deep trauma! (Oh! Poor Tom! having to live in an apartment in South Beach for the winter. Poor, poor Tom. Let's hear it. Awwww, poor Tom!) Lincoln Road Mall
I guess that I'll be back in the water in May. And I'll be in the Chesapeake, so I expect that I'll go up to Boston in 2007. I haven't been there for two or three years. Alternatively, if the hull's not dry enough by spring, I'll stay in South Beach for the summer and get the boat in time to come south again. I'd really like to get to Boston, though.
Hello One & All
Not quite Christmas, but I should write when the mood takes me, cuz it don't take me too often.
Here're a few high points of our trip down this year.
Tellis was with me most of the way. He joined me in Annapolis where I spent the summer hiding from hurricanes. We had a good trip down the Chesapeake, broad reaching all the way.  When we got to Elizabeth City, NC, we, and about 30 other boats, hung out til Wilma was not a threat. Elizabeth City is the last place for a few hundred miles of the ICW  where you can find some good hiding places for bad weather. After that, we only had one good day of sailing on the Pungo and Neuse Rivers. Then it was just motoring all the way. Just like driving on I-95, but slower. 
You meet some interesting people and see some interesting boats too. When you go south during the fall 'migration", you don't necessarily travel with others, but since you all travel at about the same speed you see the same boats on and off all along the way. Here's a shot of a Dismal Swamp Canal lock. New meaning for the term 'traffic jam'.
For a while, we were going along with Larry and Sarah on Neeltje. Neeltje is a hundred year old steel Dutch canal boat. They had bought it in Virginia and were sailing back to Sarasota FL.
When we arrived at Charleston SC, Tellis had to leave the boat to go to Miami and I've been alone since. I'd gotten used to having company and traveling alone doesn't go well anymore. I stayed on in Charleston for a few days. I have some friends there whom I see whenever I pass through.
Currently, I'm in Fernandina Beach, which is the first town in Florida, just across the St Marys River from Georgia. The other side of St Marys Entrance, the Georgia side, is Cumberland Island.
Cumberland Island used to be a "country place" for the Carnegies. Now it's a National Park. There are still people living there. Their arrangement with the government, when the island was donated, was that they would continue to use the island even though it was a park. There are about ten or fifteen 'cottages' scattered around the island. They're the only people, aside from the park rangers, who have cars on the island. The horses are feral.
Gamma was mucking around in the Caribbean, so I stayed here in Fernandina just to be on the safe side. Gamma's petered out but now a cold front is coming through. It's very windy and cold so I'm staying put for another day. Unfortunately, I'm in a marina, so I'm bleeding money til I leave.
I was grousing about how cold it was. (Down to the 40's a couple of times.) But I happened to look at some pictures from that winter I was stupid enough to stay in Boston. I won't say I'll never complain again, cuz I always do.
The plan is to spend some time in Stuart FL for dentists and doctors. After that, I'll meet Tellis in Miami Beach and we'll probably head for the Bahamas, specifically Georgetown in the Exumas. Georgetown is about as far south as you can reasonably get in the Bahamas. There're about 500 cruising boats that go there every winter and the town is pretty good size (for the Bahamas.) You're all invited to come down for a cheap vacation. (Not all at the same time, of course.)
1. Broad reaching means with the wind from the side but more behind than straight out to the side. Also, not from directly behind.
2. The ICW is the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a series of connected bays, rivers and canals that runs from Norfolk VA to Miami FL.
3. One hour on I-95 is approximately one day on the ICW.