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ICW Trip 2001 Leg 29-31-Sailed to Boca Chica (to end 2001)

Past Marathon almost to Key West


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Wednesday 19 December 2001 - On our way south (or southwest)

Bob turned in the rental car and walked back to the marina. He said he wanted to leave by 10. I went up to get a refund, and use the bathrooms and download the last bit of pocketmail from the pay phone. We got underway at 10:00. Bob had really wanted to leave before that, and go out Government Cut, which we could have done because there were no cruise ships in, but I thought it would be better to go the other way. So we went down and out around Cape Florida - past No Name Harbor.
Cape Florida Light

Cape Florida Light


I took some pictures of the Cape Florida lighthouse. We rarely use Biscayne Channel as we consider the Cape Florida channel to be shorter. The Biscayne channel is better marked.

Stiltsville is still here. Stiltsville is a controversial community on the flats south of Miami between Florida Bay and Hawk Channel. The water is from 1 to 3 ft deep at low tide. The general mud flat area is divided by several main navigational channels. One of these channels is Biscayne Channel, the most frequently used channel south of Government Cut and the only access channel before Government Cut was made. Most of the houses are along the Biscayne Channel.
Stiltsville - south of Miami

Stiltsville - south of Miami


From "Save Our Stiltsville"

The "official" history of Stiltsville begins with a local fisherman named "Crawfish" Eddie Walker in the early 1930's, however some historians say there were about 12 shacks out in "the flats" as the area was known, as early as 1922. As Key Biscayne grew, the residents complained the houses and shacks on the flats would lower their beachfront property value, and referred to them as squatters, even though the houses had submerged campsite leases with the state.
Stiltsville

Stiltsville


Judge Frank Knuck of the Dade County Circuit Court, built his first house in 1953, stated "We're a family-type colony, not a scruffy bunch scruffy bunch of squatters." Opposition continued as Florida Secretary of State, Bruce Smathers, characterized the community as a " blight on Biscayne Bay," and called for it's end to existence by 1986. However others disagreed and took great pride in Miami's unique village on the sea.

Bay bottom leases were issued by the State of Florida in 1976. The leases were transferred in the late '80's to the National Park after the boundary was extended northward in 1980, just enough to include Stiltsville. By then there were fourteen houses and a radio tower. In August 24, 1992, hurricane Andrew the strongest hurricane since 1926, left only seven of the fourteen houses standing. The destruction was devastating, but half of the stilt houses survived. A testimony to the quality building design of many of the structures and a triumph over natures fury.

On August 28, 1998, the Florida National Register Review Board voted unanimously to recommend the Stiltsville site to the National Register of Historic Places. Seven months later, on March 18, 1999, the National Register of Historic Places denied the application based on the fact that the remaining seven houses were under 50 years old.

As a result of the denied application, the National Park Service, owner of the land since 1980, will not renew the bay bottom leases that the houses stand on after July 1,1999. They have issued a mandatory removal of all structures

After we got out into Hawk Channel (from Miami) Bob struggled to pull out the main (it resisted), and then put up the staysail. The wind was almost non-existent until after 12:30 when it moved from almost on the nose to somewhere useful. Up to that time we were motoring at about 5.6 knots. Tried to turn on the engine driven refrigeration, but the belts were too loose or the clutch was slipping.

Turned off the engine. At 3:55, after the engine cooled off, Bob tightened the belts, and ran the refrigeration.

Last year, we left from RIckenbacker and made it as far as Point Willie off Key Largo and anchored. We aren't going to get that far this year so we anchored off Point Elizabeth after 37.9 nm at about 5 pm. We were within about 1/4 mile from shore, and the bottom was muddy sand, and the holding was good. We were protected from the prevailing wind, and there is NO traffic in this area at all. (There is no traffic because there is nothing there). Of course, it would not be protected if the wind was from the Hawk Channel side (whatever direction that is). It is very peaceful here - no other boats, and the boat was steady all night.

Thursday 20 December 2001

Bob started to pull the anchor about 7. We put up the sails and motor sailed, and then even sailed for a bit. By 12:20, we were motor sailing off Upper Matecombe Key. There were huge mats of floating grass off Grassy Key. Bob was afraid that the grass would clog up the engine intake but when he checked it didn't seem to have done so.
Hawk Channel

Hawk Channel


We had intended to anchor at Long Key, but Bob thought we'd make it to Duck Key. We were both wrong. We made it almost all the way to Marathon and anchored SW of the island in Vaca Bight within about 1/3rd of a mile of shore about 4:45 after 55.1 nm at an average speed of 6.2 knots. Sand bottom, and really good holding. The wind was from the north at 20-23 knots with gusts all night, and we had waves with whitecaps going past the boat, but because the shore was just a short distance away, there was no fetch, and the boat rocked a bit, but didn't roll and didn't move appreciably. The wind generator was putting in 5 to 10 amps all night.
ICW Trip 2001 Leg 31 Boca Chica (to end of 2001)

ICW Trip 2001 Leg 31 Boca Chica (to end of 2001)


Friday 21 December 2001

When we were at the end of the chain that Bob let out, there was a crab pot right under the nose of the boat, so he pulled up a bit, but by morning, the line was wrapped around the anchor chain. This didn't prove as difficult to remove as Bob had feared.

It was very bumpy motoring past 7 Mile Bridge, as the wind was from that direction, but once we got to Bahia Honda Key, it was good sailing - just the jib out and were doing 6.5 or 7 knots. We made such good time, that I called the NAS marina at Boca Chica to see if they could take us a day early and they said they could and they would put us on the 'wall' instead of in a slip. (That didn't sound too good to me.) I asked them about the power line on the chart and they said it didn't exist anymore, which is good.

East or West Sister Rock off Marathon

East or West Sister Rock off Marathon



We came into the Boca Chica channel about 14:00. Bob wanted to tie port side to, so he tried to turn. We got the bow to the wall, but couldn't get the stern to come around, because, as we discovered, there was both a lot of wind AND a lot of current. He tried to get back to the wall and was being carried sideways through the marina. We finally just tied up starboard side to, after 41.1 nm at an average of 6.4 knots (motor-sailing with just the jib).
Final tie up on the wall

Final tie up on the wall


It's good that we came in early, as we'd have had to put ourselves in a slip if we had come in Sat as we planned.
Bob went in to sign up (they needed to see his military ID) and I went in to find him doing all kinds of paperwork. It's good that he has to do that once in awhile because normally I do that, and he should be cross trained (joke). We are right next to the bathrooms and the internet connection. Probably better than a slip although the cement wall is hard on the dock-lines.
Bob trying to protect the dock lines

Bob trying to protect the dock lines


Boca Chica is 65 cents a foot or $6.50/ft/month plus metered electric. They have 4 toilets and 3 showers per sex (at least I assume the men have the same as us) 4 washers, 4 dryers, and an internet connection. There is a little bar (Navi-Gator) with sandwiches,
Navi-Gator with a snowplow

Navi-Gator with a snowplow


Bob lost his glasses case, and I can't find my purple chamois/towel. My towel must have blown overboard. He had his glasses case when he went to sign in, so we thought it must be somewhere in the marina office. They closed at 1600, and are not open again until Dec 26th, so we can't look again until then. [I found it later in the boat book (where we keep the documentation papers - documentation is like an international boat license)]

We had dinner at the new bar - the special was shrimp scampi
Shrimp scampi for $8.50.

Shrimp scampi for $8.50.

Saturday 22 December 2001 Settling in

I had made a reservation for a rental car at the place with the cheapest rates. It was the cheapest because they didn't have airport pickup -the pick-up point was down at the southernmost point. I called to see if we could get the rental car early and we could. So Bob got his folding bike from the stern, and got it out of the protective bag (black) to cycle down.
Bob getting out the bike

Bob getting out the bike

Bike_in_black_bag_on_stern

Bike_in_black_bag_on_stern


7181641-Safe_Biking.jpgSafe Biking

Safe Biking


Fortunately, he had a bike helmet or he couldn't have ridden it. Some other folks came into the dock intending to ride bikes on the base
People ahead of us on the wall who were going to ride their bikes but didn't have helmets

People ahead of us on the wall who were going to ride their bikes but didn't have helmets


but they didn't have helmets and the base would not let them cycle without helmets, so they left.

He rode down to the east end of Duval street and picked the car up. He said it took him 20 minutes to get off the base, as the gate is at the other end. The trickiest part was crossing Roosevelt Blvd where Rt 1 comes in from Stock Island. A lot of the way there was a bike path. A lot of the way there was a bike path. They gave him a red Escort station wagon. He put the bike in the back and drove back to the base. It didn't take him but about a hour

He went to the PO but there were no packages or letters yet. Then he came back to the marina (he could not get a pass for the whole time at the gate because the pass office is closed for the holiday). Then we left and went to Sigsbee to the Commissary - thinking that it wouldn't be open Sunday (true) or Monday. However, because of Xmas, it is open Mon and not Tuesday. The little food trailer outside was closed, so we shopped while hungry (got cranberry sauce for the turkey), and then went to Taco Bell to eat.

From the road, we tried to see how many boats are on moorings off Garrison,
large_7181636-Safe_Biking.jpgMooring field

Mooring field


but weren't too successful.
Marina from US 1 bridge

Marina from US 1 bridge


When we came back to the base the sentry pointed out that our pass was good only until Jan 02, 2001 and not 2002. He took the pass and gave us another one which was only good until Dec 26th. He wanted to know the year of the car, and it wasn't on the service contract, but the stuff in the glove compartment said 1995. The sentry thought that it was funny that we didn't know the year of the car we were driving.
Roast Beef sub

Roast Beef sub


We had a roast beef sub at the bar for dinner.
large_07653486.jpgFrom Marina Restaurant

From Marina Restaurant

I understand they've started sending out the Customs stickers for the next year before the 1st of the year. [A Customs sticker is a sticker that is placed on all private aircraft and private vessels (30 feet or more in length) as proof that the User Fee for entry into the U.S. has been paid for the calendar year. Any arriving vessel or aircraft that does not have an annual decal is required to pay a non-refundable per arrival User Fee of $27.50, and complete an application, which will be forwarded to the processing center.] I called to see if I could pick one up and Key West Customs said they don't have 2002 yet.

The boat by the marina office

The boat by the marina office


I called the Pittsburgh office and they said that I was misinformed when I was told that I had to wait until Jan 1st to get the new stickers, and that if I could fax the info to him (with a credit card #) that for an extra $6, he could send it back to me via UPS. We could have it before we leave that way. However, UPS wants an address. I asked if I could use the local customs office as an address, and they said yes. So that's what we are doing.
Bob taking out the trash

Bob taking out the trash

Note - you can't get in the base gate without an ID, There is no mail delivery here. We have to get our mail downtown at General Delivery. But when I went to order something which would have to come UPS, the guy at the marina here said I should give them the UPS address, and mark it hold for pickup. The office is on Rockland Key and the address is 127 US Highway !, Key West FL 33040 He said sometimes the UPS guy can get to the marina, and sometimes they turn him back at the gate.

While I was doing email last night, Bob heard about a guy that went aground and called the CG. The CG said they don't do that anymore.

Later we heard a guy who said his boat was sinking - he was a commercial lobster pot fisherman, and ran himself aground on the coral. He will have some fines.
Moorings at sunset

Moorings at sunset

Slips at sunset

Slips at sunset


I didn't write anything more in the log from December 22nd until January 6th.

Tuesday 25 December 2001 - Christmas

The marina had a pot luck in the bar - we brought the turkey that we got in Miami. Since we have an oven we could do a small turkey. Everyone contributed and it was a lot of fun.
Bob standing by one of the slips

Bob standing by one of the slips


Wednesday 26 December 2001

We got another base pass for the rental car.
Mooring field with dinghy

Mooring field with dinghy


A trawler here at Boca Chica ran aground leaving the marina and got both props banged up - he ran aground going forward and then again going backward. (Trawlers don't have their props protected by the keel the way sailboats do and if the prop gets dinged it can't spin evenly). He said his prop man said that he gets a lot of his work from people going into Sunset Marina in Key West.

Sometime after Christmas I put on my scuba gear
Scuba equipment

Scuba equipment

Box with air and propane bottles on the aft deck

Box with air and propane bottles on the aft deck


and went down to check the prop and the rudder.
Bob sitting on the dock watching

Bob sitting on the dock watching


Bob sat on the dock to keep an eye on me. I took the camera but the water was pretty murky.
Bottom in the marina

Bottom in the marina

End of the rudder

End of the rudder

My hand on the prop

My hand on the prop


While I was down there a gannet dove past me to get a fish, but I didn't get a photo of him.

We stayed in Boca Chica until we picked up our customs sticker from the courthouse downtown and then we returned the rental car.

We left here on 6 January for Newfound Harbor - staging for our trip to the Bahamas

Posted by greatgrandmaR 22:20 Archived in USA Tagged christmas key_west nas boca_chica Comments (4)

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