Exploring Coconut Grove, Miami

Sunday we wandered around Coconut Grove and enjoyed the art galleries, the bookstores and the array of shops selling everything from antique tea-sets through to batik clothing. Our only purchase, however, was two lids for our Tervis beakers LOL.   We were planning on walking to West Marine but became unsure about the safety of the neighbourhood as it suddenly became quite rundown – so we retraced our steps to leave that for another day when we have acquired some local knowledge.

We were weather watching closely as the forecast was for a low to come through on Tuesday / Wednesday and we needed to decide what to do – the mooring field here in Dinner Key is pretty exposed so can, apparently, get a little lumpy….   But that decision is for another day.

We continued exploring the town, admiring the expensive cars parked all around, and decided to grab a late lunch at Sandbar Sports Bar – was very busy as it was NFL day and the Miami Dolphins were playing the New England Patriots. We got a seat and soaked up the atmosphere which was pretty loud and lively with rival fans goading each other. We ordered a burger – when in Rome and all that – and had a couple of beers.   Was good fun and we were glad that the Miami Dolphins won just for the sake of keeping the peace!

Bentley Porsche


Moving on we continued to wander around looking at the different architecture – this part of Miami has a European feel to it with all the tables and chairs on the pavements enticing you into different eateries.   There are also some very fancy apartment blocks and ceramic peacocks are everywhere – not sure of their significance though.

Coconut Grove 1 Coconut Grove 2 Coconut Grove 3 Coconut Grove 4 Coconut Grove 5 Coconut Grove 6 Coconut Grove 7Peacock

Late afternoon – partly to avoid the rain honest – we went for a sundowner in another sports bar Duffy’s and were amazed to find it was two beers for $6, all day every day.   This is definitely going to be our new favourite haunt LOL.

Rainy day Duffys

We headed back to Morphie before dark as we had no lights with us and had a quiet evening on board. It was so cold during the night – even with all hatches closed and fans off – that we dug out the blanket again.

Back before dark Back before dark 2

Monday morning and we were up bright and early again – and were delighted by the sight of manatees lounging around at the dinghy dock.   We love seeing these creatures – just a shame that the water is a bit murky so not able to get any photos.

My main task today was to get our ‘phone activation kit’ working so that we would have an internet hotspot on board when in remoter anchorages as we continue travelling south. So we headed into the marina lounge and inserted the AT&T SIM card into the Samsung – did the activation on line as instructed – and, of course, it didn’t work.

View from Dinner Key Marina lounge

Taking it out again to check and we realised that, although the SIM card was the right size, the contact area on the back was significantly smaller than the UK one we had removed.   A Verizon SIM card in the pack had the same contact area so we phoned StraightTalk to swap them out – but they said this was for CDMA phones only and ours is GSM so it wouldn’t work. Grrrrr….. This is despite their marketing which says it will work with our specific type of unlocked phone – and which we got double checked for us by the technical guy at Walmart. So I asked for a refund. I got passed from pillar to post – three different operators who all asserted that the SIM card would work it was just us being stupid – and I finally got them to agree to a refund.   But only if I returned the whole kit with the original purchase receipt and, of course, we purchased this from Walmart in Fort Pierce with our Christmas shopping and, once the bill had gone through on the credit card, we’d dumped the receipt. So no receipt – now what. Finally we were told go away, no receipt no refund, why don’t you sell it to a friend to use instead?!?   Great – thanks a lot – $45 down the tubes and took almost an hour phone call to get to this point.   Pretty fed up….

Moving on, and debating other phone / internet options, we went for a walk through the pretty gardens – admiring the outside gyms that seem to be a feature of a lot of public parks here – and ended up at the Miami City Hall which was originally the PanAm terminal for their seaplanes.   A lovely place and would have liked to see inside but obviously not open to the public…

Lovely walks Miami City Hall 1 Miami City Hall 2 Outdoor gym

Walking on we ended up at Fresh Market and did some shopping – fantastic deli / cheese section and plan to visit here again before we leave.

Fresh Market

Then we meandered back into town and found an ATM so got some new drinking vouchers and a pharmacy so that we could replenish the medical supplies that had been used patching the guy up in Fort Lauderdale. Then we spotted an AT&T store which couldn’t help us without a contract – but did tell us another place to go nearby. We crossed the road and a German Shepherd dog – being held very loosely by a young girl – lunged and tried to bite me on the leg as I walked past. She had no control over the dog at all and it was quite a scary moment.

We ended up in Metro PCS and they sold us a SIM card for one month – no contract needed – with unlimited data, texts, calls etc – and actually activated it there and then in the shop so we could check it all worked by connecting our iPad to it.   Great service – thanks – definitely the way to go!

We were on the way back to the marina and decided to have sundowners at Duffys again and then back on board for dinner and an early night.   We discussed pulling into the marina on Tuesday if the weather kicked up as forecast but decided that $2.85 a foot was a little rich for a marina with no facilities above the $25 cost of a mooring ball – other than access to land in poor weather. But the forecast appears to have moderated with winds 20-25 knots now rather than the 30+ knots forecast a few days ago – so we decided to stay put rather than move to another anchorage.

Tuesday morning and we awoke to a wet and windy day….and the weather has kicked in….and the gusts are around 25 knots so the forecast was pretty accurate. It is raining hard and the sea is churning. But the movement on board isn’t bad – just nodding.

Rainy day on board Not a nice day

So we did some domestic chores followed by a lazy afternoon followed by a movie evening on board. Oh yes and this was the day that our wind generator increased his personal best to 137 ampere hours in 24 hours – a new record…

Wednesday morning and the weather remained pretty cold and cloudy although the wind had started to abate. After Richard had showered we redressed his wound and this isn’t healing up and looks infected to me – so patched it up – and we went ashore to seek medical assistance.   Skip the next photo if you are squeamish!

Ugly wound

The nearest hospital was Mercy Hospital so we ended up getting a cab there as it was too far to walk.

Mercy Hospital

The service was amazing – very little time waiting – before he was being wheeled in to a side room.   They quickly assessed him – we were hoping for a few stitches to close up the wound but they said they could only do stitches up to six hours after the accident.  They recommended that it was left open anyway as the wound was infected – but had not spread beyond the immediate area – so just antibiotic creams and tablets needed and it would heal on its own.  We got a huge printout about wound management too – which was exactly what I’d been doing all along.

Happy patientThat’s a relief…… So we left, got another cab back into town to the nearest pharmacy, picked up the prescriptions and headed back to Morphie.   We had another early night to keep warm!

Thursday morning – and what a difference a day or two makes!   Beautiful blue skies, flat calm seas and the sun came out to play. We are moving on today but decided first to return to Fresh Market for more provisions as they had such lovely food and – with friends coming out to see us soon – we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some good cheese.   On the way into the marina we saw all these high performance dinghies getting ready to go out and play – and realised that they were the national teams preparing for the world championships….   We met the British girls and wished them good luck.

Going out to practiceView out from the dinghy dock

Back to Morphie we got ready to go to the dock to have a pump out of our holding tank – to find it wasn’t working. Oh well….never mind…. We slipped away from our mooring around lunchtime – said farewell to the Dinner Key mooring field and marina – and headed out into Biscayne Bay.

Goodbye Dinner Key Leaving Dinner Key Mooring Field

We were accompanied by some of the Canadian sailing team and then were treated to a great view of Miami and pelicans flying in formation.   It doesn’t get much better than this – just need some wind!!!

Canadian Team practising Goodbye Miami

Pelicans flying in formationWe arrived at the end of Biscayne Key shortly and worked our way into No Name Harbour where we hoped to spend the night. Unfortunately it was full and there was no room at the inn…..   We pondered our next move so went around the corner to the south west point where we have now anchored amongst the luxury waterfront properties and huge motoryachts – in good company tonight….

Biscayne Key

Tonight's anchorage

Tomorrow – Friday – we are setting sail for Key Largo, where we have a reservation in the marina for a while.   Bye for now