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Sailing the intracoastal between Sheridan and Miami

February 2, 2011

Putting the boat and all my gear back in the car took about 20 minutes. I went to the local marina to sail the intracoastal. There I met a Frenchman that suggested that I park in front of his house. This saved me all sorts of troubles. Parking in Florida is a major hassle for tourists. Thank God for the kindness of strangers.

Setting up the boat for the first time was not all that difficult. I did manage to put the arms in the wrong side and I pretty much abandoned the idea of putting the trampolines for my maiden voyage. I sailed off with the wheels still under the boat. It’s only 500 yards away that I figured it out. Oddly, the boat was moving fast nonetheless.

I sailed from Sheridan to Miami. I left late, it was already early afternoon, and the wind was against me. For a while the current was against me as well. The wind was very unpredictable because of the tall buildings and other structures on each side of the narrow waterway. I spent three hours tacking, forever turning because of the width of the channel. Whenever I got to an enlargement of the canal, I hoped for descent wind but I moved mostly by pedal.

It was very enjoyable. The waterway is simply exotic. The crazy mansions on each side, the boats with their mandatory silicone enhanced bikini clad women and the pelicans were things I expected but the spectacle is still striking and in sharp contrast with the economic situation of most of the population. The mansions were mostly empty. The only people I saw were the house care people, some fishermen and construction workers on their break.

At three thirty I reached North Miami. I sailed into the bay, all too happy to be in the open but by that time I had to come back. An eagle ray shot straight out of the water, twice, just as I turned.

My kayak is not very good in back wind because the sail has no boom but my way back was a lot shorter since I did not have to tack all over the place. When I got to Sheridan, I saw what is best described has a hippie with two dogs on a rundown sailboat anchored in the middle of the bay. The girl with the dreads was named Cristy and was really pretty upclose. She sailed there with her husband from Virginia. The 1965 fiberglass boat has a low rigging with two masts. The boat was very slowly sinking. No doubt osmosis was a problem since the boat was one of the first fiberglass boat ever made. It’s still sea worthy she told me. After all, that boat came from Singapore in an age when sailboats did not cross the oceans in container ships.

  1. steve permalink

    Hey – wild trip you are planning. I heard about it from Jaques. I encountered a guy about 15 years ago that was doing a trip from miami to montauk NY in a kayak. Ran into him as he was coming up the inland bay behind assateague island md. He was using a kayak with a large KITE to go downwind becuase most times in summer winds have a southerly component. so most of his trip he was going down wind. He’d just throw up the kite and steer with his rudder.

    also check out sea kayaking clubs up and down the east coast for “water trails” maps that will have marked off camping areas on many coastal waterways you could camp in. For instance there is a chesapeake water trails map and guide and club out there somewhere.

    dont forget your deet!!

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