Left Newark Airport on Christmas Day. Once at the marina in Miami, we enjoyed looking down into the clear water and spotting interesting fish.

On Boxing Day, marina mechancis pointed out a leopard ray, a barracuda and lots of pipefish. An osprey and green heron also liked to hang out in the north Miami marina. Jane sat in the dock chair watching the fish swim by. We saw two ibis birds doing a mating dance, jumping on car roofs etc. Funny! Also saw a big barracuda swimming in the pond at the end of Archers creek as well as the bubbles from a manatee. They look like scuba divers with bubbles rising to the surface.

Since the marina is home to a high performance boat dealership, there are always lots of interesting boats around. A 41 foot Kevlar Apache limped into the marina on one 800 HP engine having blown the other racing a 36 foot Cigarette. He beat the Cig going north about 95 MPH in the rough water, the Cig was faster going south with the wind and waves, hitting about 100 MPH and the Apache blew a motor. The Cig is owned by a famous baseball player.

Left Miami on Dec. 26th. Went up the intercoastal waterway to Fort Lauderdale, shopped for groceries at the waterfront Joe’s Supplies in Hollywood Florida and enjoyed their great sandwiches. Traveled through Port Everglades and it was nerve wracking passing the huge ships and tugs.

Stayed at the incredible Bia Mar marina in Fort Lauderdale, home to many super yachts of 150 feet plus. Met a couple living aboard their sailboat. Said they had friends who sailed away for a year but did not return for five years. Convinced them to do the same. Made full use of the pool, laundry facilities and guest priviledges there, then ate dinner at Shooters, a really interesting restaurant located on the water. It was nice to eat dinner outside, at night, in December!

Next day we traveled up the ICW to Palm Beach, stayed at the Rivera Beach Marina, had a Voodoo drink in a plastic bucket. Looked at sergeant major fish swimming around the docks, they looked more interesting after the Vodoo drink! Unfortunately a scuba diver died during a night dive and was evacuated from the marina.

The next day we traveled through the beautiful and natural Hobe sound to St. Lucie Inlet state park and discovered there was no overnight moorage. So we motored to Pirates Cove and Jane used her points to stay at a Hutchinson Island Courtyard Inn with a great view of the ocean.

The weather forecast indicated rain for the next few days, so we lit out of there and headed back to West Palm Beach, staying at the Palm Harbor marina. Palm Harbor is steps away from the attractive downtown, complete with Christmas lights.

The marina, staff and neighbouring boaters were all terrific so we stayed for three nights. The first day we took a water taxi to Sailfish marina on Singer Island. We passed many manatee swimming around in the warm water outflow from the power plant. Huge jacks of about 50 pounds swim around the Sailfish marina docks to get handouts from the returning fish boats. Pelicans were also looking for an easy meal, even though the signs said not to feed them.

We took a taxi to McCarther park and really liked the natural environment there. Took a self guided walk through the forest, filmed a big palm spider, and three Ibis birds on the beach in front of us. Mullets took three foot leaps into the air in the lagoon. The taxi that was supposed to pick us up was AWOL for an hour and we missed our 4 o’clock water taxi as a result. We flagged down a trolley that kindly took us back to the Sailfish marina.

We took a sunset cruise of the harbor and looked at the 8 to 20 million dollar houses inhabited by movie stars and industrial tycoons. One house had a huge Ficus hedge mounted on tracks that could be moved around! The friendly tour boat operator dropped us off at our marina, very conveniant!

Then we took the free trolley around the downtown core to do some grocery shopping. This trolley is very popular with everyone, wealthy and poor. Quite a mix on board! Lovely Christmas lights on the Palm trees.

New Years Eve we took a kayak tour of Peanut island. There is a really nice campsite there and they are terra forming a snorkeling lagoon and a manatee lagoon. Peanut island is the spoil from turning freshwater Lake Worth into a saltwater part of the ICW. This happened when the inlet to the ocean was cut in the late 1920s. Saw the 120 foot former presidential yacht Seoqia as well as its sister ship the Mariner II. Kennedy had a private nuclear bomb shelter built on peanut island for protection during his holidays in Palm Beach. But, it was closed during our tour unfortunately.

After the tour we enjoyed eating fresh Mai Mai wraps and other seafood items, while watching two huge stingrays munch on bait the returning fisherman tossed into the water. The stingrays had to be three to four feet across the wings.

Later, we hired a captain to take us fishing in our own boat offshore and saw a sea turtle, lots of dolphin fish on the surface. No bites and we returned at night, using my searchlight pugged into the cigarette lighter to illuminate the navigation buoys. Lucky we had it, as several navigation lights were not working and the captain was a bit off entering the channel. I also lit up the buoys with the light for a sailboat that was passing me, also off center in the channel due to the failed buoy lights. This is the same light, that we used at Lake Powell to light up bats in the isolated desert lake canyons.

The captain is full time on a 1978 Hatteras yachtfish that is maintained in mint condition. He also does yacht deliveries up and down the coast. Interesting guy and he lives on a nice sailboat at the Palm Harbor marina. Met several liveaboards who are escapees from points north.

We spent New Year’s Eve at the best seafood restaurant in West Palm Beach, Spotos. We had a great time with their party favors and Champagne then walked home to our boat.

New Year’s day we traveled back to Miami, running offshore from West Palm beach to Fort Lauderdale in 3 to 5 foot seas, not fun but it saved us the painful, slow torture of the ICW slow speed Manatee zones. Saw the front half of a jetliner turned into a boat, www.planeboats.com, coming towards us in the ICW. Not pretty, but okay for a houseboat I suppose. Lots of history behind this creation.

Upon return to our Miami marina, it sprinkled rain so we covered up the boat while fish jumped in the water as usual. The new owner of a lovely 38 foot "performance" boat motored into the marina and tied up in front of us. He was furious, as water was bubbling into the engine compartment from a damaged water pump assembly. He said "I’ll just set the auto bilge pump and whatever happens happens", then left. I was not about to let this lovely boat sink in front of me when the batteries ran out of juice, so warned the security guards to keep a pump handy and watch it carefully. They notified a marina employee and I helped him find the keys the owner had stashed aboard, then got the boat moved and hoisted up on straps so it would not sink. The next day the performance boat dealer was SO thankful that we took the action we did. He agreed the boat would have sunk for sure.

Later, a foot long puffer fish swam circles around the boat and we were able to photograph him as he seemed to pose for photos, right on the surface. Like Nemo, these fish are often too cute to catch or put in an aquarium!

Flew out on Friday and once home, wished we were back in Florida!

The Hyperfishing products proved their worth once again. Without the box and arms, it would have been almost impossible to get on and off the boat with the big Lake Worth tidal swings and high fixed docks. Everyone was impressed as usual with the utility of the Hyperfishing products on a high performance boat.

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