Monday, May 6, 2013

Miami Rhapsody

                                                   The incomparable South Beach

               After a challenging (to weather, AGAIN) overnighter from Marathon Key,
                                          Espiritu arrived at Miami harbor at daybreak.

The sail from Marathon was hard, but beautiful.   The Florida Keys highway, 
which connects all of the islands, was off to our port side the whole trip. 

Believe it or not, most cruisers bypass Miami because it is not an easy entry, and the harbor is a bit of a minefield of shallows, bridges and Disney cruise ships.  We went for it, though, and after a challenging entry that included encounters with Miami-Dade police and a grounding (among other trials) we finally dropped anchor off of Belle Island near South Beach.

The view of the Miami skyline from our anchorage. Note the Carnival cruise ship smokestacks. 

The anchorage proved very comfortable and extremely convenient for exploring Miami Beach. There's even a free dinghy dock! 

I named this post after one of my favorite films from the early 90's, the little seen Miami Rhapsody.

Sarah Jessica Parker's character in Sex and the City was based on the character she played in Miami Rhapsody. It also stars Jeremy Piven, Antonio Banderas and Mia Farrow. It's a hilarious and heartfelt film, which I've seen way too many times to count. But it's a love poem to Miami.

I've always loved TV and movies filmed in Florida. Something about the locale is so exotic, so romantic, so evocative. So steamy. Some of my favorite examples include:

The music. The fashion. And all those pastels. The TV show Miami Vice started it all back in the 80's. I'm not embarrassed to say I was glued to the screen every Friday night.  Check out that speedboat Tubbs and Crocket got to ride!

Flash back to the present for a moment. This Miami Vice police boat is what the cops ride today (he was parked next to our anchorage). It's not really a speedboat -- it's more like a Boston Whaler.  OUCH. How far they fall.  Looks like sequestration is taking it's toll here in Miami. :-/

1996's Blood and Wine, starring Jack Nicholson

1996's The Birdcage

1998's Wild Things is an over-the-top Florida melodrama that is easy to laugh at, 
but I dare you to not enjoy the ride. 

And then there's everyone's favorite Florida movie: 1998's There's Something About Mary.

Ted romances the world's youngest, hippest, smartest, impossibly gorgeous and even more impossibly single Orthopedic Surgeon in front of Mary's way-cool waterfront home.

Chris and I rode bikes all over Miami, and just for fun, we tried to find the Mary house.  I was thinking of doing the Buttercup dance in front of the home as a little tribute. Sadly -- impossibly -- it appears to have been torn down and a giant condo complex was built in it's place. Sigh. I know. America is notorious for destroying our historical monuments, and this, I suppose, is the latest example.  :-/  Is nothing sacred? 

Showtime's Dexter is a twisted love poem to Miami...right? WRONG. Gotcha! Dexter may take place in Miami, but it's actually filmed back home in Long Beach, California. 

Anyway, there are worse places to be in May than in Miami Beach. 

Captain Chris dealing with the latest bike breakdown in downtown South Beach. By the way, nobody rides bikes in Miami. It's a bit of a head-scratcher, really. It's flat, and there are bike lanes.  Ah, well. 

Spring blooming

Espiritu (at right) in our Miami Beach anchorage. She's come so far, hasn't she! 

We did have some stormy, squally days when we first arrived. 

Chris in South Beach. Note the storm clouds threatening in the distance...

The beauty of South Beach entrances (while the storm gets closer in the distance)...

We snuck under an awning just in time to view the deluge of rain. 3 inches fell in an hour, and pretty dramatic flooding ensued. In this photo, the water is up to the bottom of the cars and has engulfed the sidewalk. The Florida flooding even made the national news!  

But the skies soon cleared, and we were back to exploring South Beach.

Fashion is very important here, obviously. I've gotta give some credit to this young Paris Hilton wannabe (or maybe it really is Paris?) -- riding her scooter in those shoes while trying to keep her little outfit from blowing away (and texting at the same time) must be quite a feat. 

In South Beach, it's OK to wear your pajamas out for breakfast, as long as they are silk, evidently.

No comment necessary

And speaking of fashion, we saw Gianni Versace's iconic mansion in South Beach where he was murdered on the front steps.  At least they haven't torn THIS building down! 

OK, here's a quiz. Can you guess what country this mother and son are from? Italy? Poland, maybe? Brazil? Well, the correct answer is Russia. But the point is this: you would never in a million years catch an American mom dressing her little boy in a D&G speedo. We Americans are so different. It's ingrained in our culture. No speedos. Ever. For any reason. Not to save your life. But the rest of the world? They love 'em. 

...and then there's THIS guy. Florida attracts all kinds.

Well, if you name a place Dilido Island, you have to expect that some young rabble-rousers will come along and knock out the middle "I" every once in awhile. 

Speaking of historical monuments, The Miami Herald building, 
like those of all newspapers, will probably be razed soon (sad to say). 

This sign was within view of Espiritu in the anchorage. I've kept my eyes peeled and so far have not had a manatee sighting, unfortunately. They're amazing creatures.

Beautiful Miami Beach. This I will miss.

I hold in my hand the last boxed milk of this trip. In Central America, strangely, you cannot buy refrigerated, pasteurized milk. They only sell milk, in a box, off the shelf. The label simply says: "Leche." Honestly, I never new what in the hell we were drinking, exactally -- but we drank it for 17 months and we lived to tell the tale.

Fantastic real estate if you can get it

Another day, another Florida broken dream

And speaking of broken dreams, this is my husband after 17 months at sea. It's been amazing, but we're ready for a break. So the plan is to pull anchor tomorrow morning for the two night sail north to Jacksonville.  We should find a place near there to give Espiritu a rest and fly home for awhile to examine our options. 

XOXOXO Liz and Chris


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  2. Good luck to the crew of Espiritu; perfect strangers such as myself have thoroughly enjoyed your blog(it's been one of my favorites from the Class of 2011.) We hope to take off next year and have as good a journey as you did.

    Fair winds from a boat at the dock in Everett, WA.

    1. Thanks so much for the nice comment on the blog! Good luck on your cruising. Will you be blogging as well? I'd love to read yours!

  3. What...go home??? No more updates?? No more pictures?? You really should write a book. Can't wait to see you :))

  4. Well, I only missed you by a month! If you sail past the Main Street bridge in Jacksonville, they'll raise the drawbridge for your mast. I saw it happen a couple of times while I was there.

    Continued safe travels! I've loved sharing your journey!

    Sharon Moore