Post #45: BEACHES, HIGHRISES, MANSIONS, & MEGAYACHTS – Day 293, February 21, 2015. On Board: Bob Hall, Audrey Hall, Carly Hall, Pat Coates, Paul Coates, Trish K, Jim K.
The Gold Coast – the Atlantic shore from Miami to Palm Beach – is a seemingly unbroken span of incredibly beautiful sand beaches, highrise condominiums of every design and description, beautiful mansions perched on the water’s edge, and sleek megayachts that confound the imagination. The barrier islands are home to the beaches, and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is the conduit that ties it all together.
We spent six days with seven of us aboard running from Miami to Palm Beach, with stops at Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, and the Palm Beach area. Here is our crew:
Our “Gang of Seven” – from left to right: Carly Hall, Trish K., Audrey Hall, Bob Hall, Pat Coates, Jim K, Paul in front
The boat is designed to sleep six when the dining area is converted to a bed, so with seven aboard, someone sleeps on the floor. I had the honor at times over the summer and fall, but Carly won out this time:
A cushy air mattress, a sleeping bag, and a pillow makes for a cozy night!
The ICW on the Gold Coast stretch from Miami to Palm Beach is unlike any other area we’ve seen – for nearly the entire 70 miles, the ICW is within seawalls on both sides and is fully developed, ranging from single family homes to older 70’s-style mid or low rise apartments/condominiums to magnificent highrise buildings lining both shores. here are some images from the Gold Coast ICW:
The high rise buildings can be dated by the style of the architecture – each successive decade gats higher and more elegant.
Many, many houses of this style and size line segments of the ICW.
They must have a big family….
This house was an aberration in terms of architecture – there are very few truly modern-style house along the way
We looked up this house on the internet – located in Deerfield Beach with the oceanfront beach in back and a dock for a megayacht in front, it is the most expensive house currently on the market in the entire USA. With 8 bedrooms and 13 baths, it can be had for a mere $139 million. Maybe the seller would take back a second mortgage….
Speaking of megayachts….we saw literally hundreds of them in various locations along this stretch. Notice the helicopter on the rear landing pad….
A hundred or more megayachts for sale at the Miami Boat Show
Our own little “megayacht” – Bob Hall driving the Joint Adventure, which seemed big until we saw it next to all these real megayachts. However, when docking in a tight slip with a current and a crosswind – the Joint Adventure still seems mighty big….
The other dominant feature of the Gold Coast ICW is the ubiquitous drawbridges – we must have passed through 50 of them. While we can pass under some, we required an opening from 25 or so of the bridges. Most are restricted to two openings per hour, so progress can be slow at times.
Bob & Audrey pose along the ICW while waiting for a bridge opening
Our first stop after leaving Miami was Hollywood, Florida, founded by a man named Joseph Young in the 1920’s. He originally named it Hollywood By the Sea – the “Hollywood” part because he planned to build a motion picture colony on the East Coast, patterned after Hollywood, California; the “By the Sea” part to distinguish it from a similar venture called “Hollywood In the Hills” in New York. Hollywood today is the 12th largest city in Florida and boasts fantastic beaches and perhaps the best boardwalk (along with Fort Lauderdale)for walking and biking with sand and waves on one side and restaurants, pubs, and shops on the other. Here are some images from our visit:
We parked our bikes on the edge of the paved “boardwalk” along the beach while we indulged in – you guessed it – ice cream!
Letting the ice cream settle while we enjoy the scenery and the people-watching. From left to right: Bob, Audrey, & Carly Hall, Trish K.
I couldn’t resist a swim in the turquois water – it may have felt a bit chilly when I first got in….
Our next stop was downtown Fort Lauderdale, about 2 miles up the New River. We experienced a special treat here – our good and longtime friends from our younger skiing days, Bruce & Gayleen Donadt, sold their house, their cars, and their worldly possessions three years ago and bought a 41′ sailboat. They live year-round on the SV Pearl, cruising the East coast and the Bahamas. They were headed south along the coast waiting for a favorable weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, and we, of course, are slowly heading north. So with a bit of planning, our paths crossed in Fort Lauderdale, and we headed up the New River where they were docked to spend a day and evening catching up and breaking bread together. Here are some pictures:
Bruce & Gayleen aboard their home and their mode of transportation, the SV Pearl – she’s a 41′ Morgan with a 14′ beam – very seaworthy. Gayleen had little sailing experience before they moved aboard, but her adventurous spirit and quick-learning ability has turned her into an “old salt”, although she’s actually quite young, like the rest of us…
Getting a tour and reminiscing in the cockpit of the Pearl. From left to right: Gayleen, Carly, Audrey, Bruce, Bob, Trish in front.
Bruce giving a tour of the main salon, the primary inside living space on the Pearl. The 14′ beam creates a spacious and comfortable place to hang out.
After visiting the Pearl, we congregated later in the afternoon for Happy Hour aboard the Joint Adventure – Paul’s brother Steve and his lovely bride Sue came down from Tampa to be with us as well. Left to right: Carly, Gayleen, Steve Coates, Bob, Audrey, Bruce
From Happy Hour to dinner for 11 of us – good food, good drinks, great company: From left to right: Trish K. Sue Coates, Pat Coates, Bob Hall, Audrey Hall, Carly Hall, Gayleen Donadt, Bruce Donadt, Jim K, Paul Coates, Steve Coates.
Let’s label this picture “Bad Hair Day”. Or perhaps “The Two Losers in the Hair Beautiful Contest”. Or maybe “My Long Lost Brother”. Or maybe you can suggest a caption… Anyway, Roberto was the Owner of the Pirate restaurant where the 11 of us had dinner. Some in our group couldn’t resist documenting the resemblance, though I don’t see it….
Transiting the New River is a trip all its own – A significant current, narrow passages, plenty of boat traffic, and an abundance of draw bridges all add to the fun….
The New River through downtown Fort Lauderdale
From our dockage on the New River, we ran just 3 miles to a marina on the ICW, right next to Fort Lauderdale Beach – another of the great beaches and paved boardwalks along the sand. Here are some pictures from our stay:
The beach is very active, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and pubs along the great paved boardwalk and plenty of hotels and condominiums overlooking the beach.
Fort Lauderdale Beach at its best…
Swimming amongst the waves – Pat, Audrey, and Jim K
Miami and Fort Lauderdale are Kings of the cruise ship industry – an enormous cruise ship leaving through the Fort Lauderdale inlet
While in Fort Lauderdale, we took the dingy out for a spin. We carry her on a davit, and it takes about 5-10 minutes to untie her and lower her into the water. There is a pulley on each end to facilitate the process. Carrying her on a davit allows us to leave the motor on the dingy so we don’t have to lug it on and off and find a place to store it.
An interesting anecdote regarding Fort Lauderdale Beach. Up until the early 1960’s, Fort Lauderdale beach, like most beaches in the South, were segregated – blacks – called “Coloreds” back then – were prohibited from entering or using the beach. In 1954, the County had purchased an isolated section of the beach for Coloreds, promising to build a beach access, tables, restrooms, shelters, and fresh water at what became known as “Colored Beach”. However, nothing was built, so on July 4, 1961, a group that started with 3 activists and 4 college students staged a “wade-in” at Fort Lauderdale beach as a protest. The group soon grew to over 200 African-Americans who staged a series of “wade-ins” during July & August of 1961. On August 12, 1961, the City of Fort Lauderdale filed suit in an attempt to stop the “wade-ins” and prevent the “Coloreds” from using the beach. A year later, the court denied the City’s request, issuing a decision which effectively desegregated the County’s beaches and marked a turning point in the struggle to desegregate all public facilities in Broward County. Two years later, desegregation, including “public accommodation”, became the law of the land when Lyndon Johnson, to the shock and disappointment of many of his former Southern colleagues in the Senate, forced passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
By the way, if you’re interested in this chapter of the struggle for civil rights and the Johnson legacy, an absolutely superb book is “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson” by Robert Caro. It describes in fascinating detail the gut-wrenching transition from Kennedy to Johnson in the wake of Kennedy’s assassination, and Johnson’s decision and arm-twisting tactics to ultimately pass Kennedy’s civil rights bill – the controversial bill had been floundering in the Senate, and became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the most important and sweeping civil rights law since the Emancipation Proclamation and passage of the 13th Amendment a hundred years earlier.
After two days in Fort Lauderdale, we ran about 15 miles to Deerfield Beach/Boca Raton and stayed at a restaurant/marina. Here are some images:
Another beautiful beach, but without the long boardwalk for walking and biking along the edge
A gentle reminder….
Our final destination for this leg of the journey was the Palm Beach/West Palm Beach area, where the Joint Adventure is now. Here are some pictures:
We’re actually docked at the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina, which is undergoing a complete re-make – they tore down the entire waterfront including the restaurant, and are building a new $350 million complex. In the meantime, they moved this elegant tour boat/restaurant into the marina where lunch and dinner are served on three levels, along with live music in the evenings.
The middle level of the dinner boat, with live music
This is a 1937 Burger that came into the marina shortly after we did – it is the oldest recreational Burger still in existence
An interesting name for a boat – not sure what this guy does for a living – does he have two professions?
OK, feel free to ignore this picture and explanation if you’ve heard enough about our toilet woes. But here goes: We have continued to be plagued by problems with pumping out our holding tank, which finally came to a head (pun intended) on the day we ran to Palm Beach. So I somehow found the ONLY guy in the area that is willing to work on boat sanitation systems – not a pretty job. We ended up forcibly removing a panel on the top of the tank to discover that 12 years of “stuff” had reacted with the salt water that flushes the head to crystalize and harden in the tank, finally blocking nearly all passage into the pump-out hose. YYAAYY!! A thorough cleaning, some acid treatment, reconstruction of the panel, and once and for all our toilet/holding tank problems are FINALLY behind us for good! By the way, a tip for you boaters – I’m told that putting a cup of vinegar in the toilet once a month or so will prevent this from happening. Now I know…
So the Joint Adventure is tucked in at Riviera Beach for a week or so, and we all came home to do a bit of skiing in Vermont. Paul and I will return to the boat on March 2, and we hope to get a favorable weather window sometime the following week. If we do, we plan to leave Florida behind and head due east, across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. YIKES!!