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- Grady White Atlantic Maiden Voyage-

DOWNLOAD: brief history of KEY BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK.pdf

ITINERARY ONE: Travel date: 2.27.10

Passengers: Kevin Letize, John Erskine Jr, Camille Letize, Courtney Erskine

(read: trip log review below )

( Turn off seagulls and ocean waves please )

LOG ONE: It took about 1 week to put it together. 4 of us we're heading to Elliott Key. It was chilly in Florida for an extended spell and we we're ready to take advantage of of the cool climate. MATE John Erskine Jr. and I decided, we're breaking in the new vessel with a daughters only ( goodbye wives ! ) trip called the D and D. - Ironically, that was the previous name of the vessel " D & D's fish tales " which came from NY. This beauty ( the boat that is ! ) had never seen the cool blue waters of South Florida and everyone knew we we're all in for a BIG TREAT !

Armed with camping gear, chairs, firewood and grill food ( + lots of sudzy brew), the Dad's and Daughters set sail at 2 pm heading for Elliot Key. Half a tank in the main, and 1/4 in the reserve ( about $250 in cash), we set sail disregarding the weather. A fun ride was on, all the way down past 395 heading out of Miami towards South Beach. MATE John Erskine Jr was having a blast trying out the boat's new features: outriggers, fish well, etc.

Soon the weather shifted from grey potential rain to wet chilly breezes. Heavy rain was coming in from the west and the vessel handled the 2-4 ft seas with no problems. The water was sloppy. The flybridge took some getting used to, as the elements we're right in my face throughout the frigid trip down. Capt'n note1 : Remember the Eisenglass next time. The cool front broke through right before Key Biscayne Bay, right where the waters open up just north of Stiltsville. The rain dissappaited and a huge double rainbow took to the east as the skies cleared. The kids cheered and we knew we had broken through, but the sun was setting quick and we we're still about 45 minutes north of Elliott.

As we we're passing Boca Chita, I looked over at John ( now known as Junior ) and said, " Jr., Let's check out Boca Chita. " The aerial looked beautiful from GOOGLE EARTH, plus we're running out of precious daylight. We pulled into the beautiful inset harbor ( see pic top left cut in ) past the lighthouse and cannon, and met up with a tightly packed harbor. With some clever bartering and bargaining, I cooersed the 45' Silverton in front of me to move up just enough to get us out of the NO DOCKING ZONE. Even on a private millionare island you have to fight for a parking spot. AND LET ME TELL YOU NOW, it was worth it ! Boca Chita Key delivered the goods.

Camping, the fire, wandering the island at night, no bugs, cool jackets, a full moon, and some interesting characters milling under in the moonlight was enough to know this was an AMAZING MAIDEN VOYAGE. With the kids safely asleep in their tents with the Grady White Atlantic looking over us nearby, Jr. and I cracked some brews and wandered over to a nearby campsite. We hooked up with some local boys who told us they've been doing the camp thing there for years and instructed us promptly on all of the things we needed to do before we left. We donated some select firewood we brought from Broward County. We played guitar and had fun until 1am. We all said goodnight, then dropped into our tents, zipped up and hunkered down for a 40 degree evening outside. It was perfect !

The following morning, we woke to a huge breakfast on board whipped up by Jr. and got ready to explore the island. We took the hiking trail all the way around the perimeter of the island and read all about Mr. Honeywell. ( please download .pdf above for more info ) Our kids collected bags of flawless beautiful shells and we began the campsite breakdown. Noone wanted to leave. With a cool breeze coming out of the north, we set sail back towards Miami in plenty of time. We blasted all the way back through the BAY until we reached the bridge.

BOATPIX.comwww.boatpix.com took some aerials of us on the way back. I still have to buy one of these, sorry boatpix. Please visit their website ok ?

 

Once through Key Biscayne Bay, we wandered slowly up through downtown Miami, past Star Island and up through the inside of the intracoastal. Super beautiful, we saw the pirate house and many super mansions as well. Gas was starting to be an issue so we cruised at IDLE SPEED up through the " GO FAST" zones in order to preserve gas. Jr. was at the helm now and I switched us over to the RESERVE tank. We slowly went past BEER CAN ISLAND and headed up the intracoastal past Hollywood and down towards our home. As we turned down our canal and we're heading due west with the setting sun, we all looked at each other, smiled and laughed at how nice that trip actually was. We pulled up gently to the dock. Boca Chita Key was gorgeous.

The Grady White Atlantic's MAIDEN VOYAGE was over. Hi Honey, we're home !