Yesterday we spoke with our good friends, Sharon & King, from Blue Moon. They told us that they would come by and transport us to the other side of Miami. We jumped at the chance to meet again! Nearly 3 months have passed since we left Dunedin (Florida) and were together.
Around 4:00 am, the people from the barge (parked in the marina) came to pick it up and cross to the other side of the bay, to Homestead. They were taking advantage of high tide. At 4:00 am, the winds were calm. We wondered if we should leave Elliott Key. There was a long enough weather window that would have permitted us to cross to Miami. However, we had already accepted the generous offer from King and Sharon, and we cannot wait to see them again. So we remained quietly in our sleeping bags and waited until morning. Around 13:30, Blue Moon arrived and it was a nice reunion with our friends. Our canoe and equipment were loaded on board. Then we departed for a nice afternoon of boating. Miami is a beautiful city and the architecture of the buildings is diverse and interesting. It is a big contrast compared to the Keys where there are no high-rise buildings and not so many people. Miami is the beginning of a much more urban paddling route for us.
28 February and 1 March 2015
We spent two days with our friends aboard Blue Moon. We talked about our respective adventures and caught up. We ate well and laughed a lot. Sharon & King know how to make us feel at home. Thank you both!!!
At night, we enjoyed seeing all the lights on the buildings; buildings of all heights, sizes and shapes. The sky is always illuminated by the cosmopolitan life of a city that never seems to sleep. We saw huge ships and great wealth. At a particular location along the Intracoastal, hundreds of boats meet to party. There is music and even two restaurant-boats that deliver by kayak. There is a small sandy strip where people can go. Sunday is particularly lively on the water. There is a lot of traffic.
March 2, 2015
In the afternoon, Blue Moon anchored in the bay at the southwest of Oleta River State Park. We unloaded our canoe and all our equipment and pitched our tent in a great location near the cabins. Adam (Assistant Director of the park), came to meet us and he warmly welcomed us along with his mother and her friend. He allowed us to camp here, in a place that normally does not allow tents. We are fortunate and very grateful for the breach of the rules. We have access to showers and toilets. In addition, people can visit us. We have two presentations to give this week and we need transportation.
King rented a car so we all can run errands tonight and tomorrow during the day.
March 3, 2015
For me, a little routine checkup at the doctor after errands and laundry. Then we prepared for the presentation tomorrow. It was really hot today. It seems that we are not yet accustomed to the heat.
March 4, 2015
We spent the day at the campsite. We went through our equipment trying to cut down some weight. We have a long way to go to the north and we decided to dispose of all that we think is unnecessary.
Late afternoon, Donna picked us up. There was a lot of traffic and we arrived late at the location of our presentation. Nevertheless, we were very well received. The Canadian Consulate in Miami was present and provided food and drink for all. We also met representatives of the Miami Mayor’s Office. We received a medal and an invitation to comment on their beautiful city. Esther Alonso-Luft (owner of The Paddle House) had organized everything with Donna Jardine. Thank you both!
We also met with familiar people from Quebec City. Ms. Brassard and Mr. Petitclerc came to see us and we were glad to see them. They drove us back to the campground, so we had chance to chat. They brought us our precious dehydrated food delivered by Harvest Foodworks. Andrew even came to the event from Key Largo. He has been a great help on our arrival.
Thank you all for coming and giving us the chance to share our story with you. Thank you for your support and good feedback.
March 5, 2015
In the morning, Adam took us around the park. We learned a lot. Adam is very interesting and knowledgeable. He also drove us into places where public access is prohibited. We learned, among other things,that from the 99 existing species of mangroves in the world, only three grow in Florida (red, white and black). The red mangrove is ideal for reforestation. It is commonly called "walking tree". Its fruit is a long bean which, when dropped in water, floats horizontally. This bean is naturally waxed and on one end, the wax is biodegradable. As the wax biodegradation process is completed, the bean floats upright and when it touches the ground the 3 spores anchor themselves to the ground and a new mangrove is born. The Oleta River State Park is larger than Central Park in New York (about 33% larger). It is the largest urban park in the United States. Several invasive species are present in the park, including the Australian pine. A great effort is being made to restore the vegetation as it was when the Spanish first arrived. A native plant called "Spanish Bayonet" was used to make a natural fence. These shoots are extremely sharp and no one dares to venture to cross them. We also saw a very special place called "bad boys". Formerly, this place was used as a camp for problem male youths. Today, the place is closed, but there are remains of the buildings. Several films have been shot here. In one of the buildings, nature has begun to take over and vines fall from the ceiling. Adam thank you for this wonderful visit and all the information!!!
We learned that the campsite for paddlers does not have toilets. The park is trying to find the necessary funds to installation an ecological system, approximately $50,000 is needed. The site is really great, we saw it! The park does a lot with the donations received via the group "Friends of Oleta River State Park." Check out their website to learn more.
In the afternoon, Andrew came and picked us up. We spent the evening with him and his mother. We laughed a lot. What a wonderful evening. We were also glad to finally meet Andrew’s mother. Thank you both for everything and the great evening!!!! Andrew, we will miss you.
March 6, 2015
A rude awakening this morning! The evening, with Andrew and his mother, was superb and ended in the early hours of the morning. Therefore, we were not very active this morning! In the afternoon our great friend, Denis, came to see us. He brought materials for King and Sharon (received at his condo). Then Denis and Danielle offered us their cars for the coming days. Thank you very much to both of you!!! :), this gives us great freedom. Danielle and Denis invited us to come over for dinner at their condo. King and Sharon generously offered to keep Jasmine on their boat during our getaway. We met Huguette and France (Danielle’s friends who are visiting) and Janine and Bernard. Dinner was delicious and very pleasant company. It's always nice to spend time with our good friends Denis and Danielle. Thank you again for everything!!!
March 7, 2015
A little treat this morning. Since we have a car (thanks to Denis and Danielle), we had brunch at La Provence, a very good French restaurant. We also had the pleasure of meeting with Réjean, my uncle, and his friends Michel, Michel and Luc. They are currently travelling by motorcycle. We were really happy to see them!
March 8, 2015
This morning we went to the Miami Beach Rowing Club to attend the race organized by The Paddle House. We were supposed to give another talk after the race, but a setback forced us to leave early. In the afternoon, we met up with Joy and Matt (we met them in Key Largo for the first time). Matt arrived with gifts and good news: new paddles sponsored by Titan! Thank you very much!!!
By late afternoon we were back aboard Blue Moon. We planned, with Sharon and King, our next few days. They offered to help us for the sections where there is no place to pitch our tent. They also took some of our equipment to allow us to travel a bit lighter. Sharon and King, a big thank you!!! :)
March 9, 2015
We left Oleta River State Park at 8:15. We spent a wonderful week here and we would like to thank Adam again for his warm welcome. The day was warm, but we still had fun paddling in the Intracoastal where we traveled by sumptuous houses, beautiful buildings and huge boats. Everything seems so big and luxurious. Everything is huge!The County of Miami-Dade/Broward was inhabited by the Tequesta Indians for thousands of years. The economic boom of the County came in 1896 with the arrival of the train by Henry Flagler's East Coast Railway. In 1890, Miami's population was estimated at 2,000. Today it exceeds four millions. Another interesting fact we learned is that in 1885 a letter sent from Palm Beach to Miami would take two months to arrive. It had to go through New York and Cuba before arriving in Miami.
We also learned that Fort Lauderdale is called the "Yacht Capital". There were a lot of them and beautiful ones!
We arrived in Hillsboro Beach in the late afternoon. We met with Ms. Brassard and Mr. Petitclerc who had invited us there. We were spoiled! We had the chance to sleep in a real bed with air conditioning! Dinner was great and we were in good company. Mary and Louis were also present. Thank you all for your generosity and hospitality. We enjoyed our visit immensely.
March 10, 2015
After a good breakfast with fresh fruit ... yum! ... we left Hillsboro Beach to meet with Sharon and King on Blue Moon. They were anchored near the bridge of Lantana City. We had 32 km to go to reach them. We were pleased to enjoy a good tailwind and current going in our direction. Even today, the landscape was impressive. Everything is so different from anything we've seen so far. We were very happy to see Sharon and King again. We had a good time with them. Thank you both very much for your help. You help is greatly appreciated ... Thank you so much.