Crossing the Gulf Stream: To Miami

Ambler Isle
V and S
Mon 23 May 2011 12:53
May 21,2011
We awoke after yet another rocky night in the anchorage by Cat Cays Marina.  We filed our float plan with our son, David, and motored through the cut into the Atlantic Ocean. Miami was 45 nautical miles away to the WNW.  At our normal fishing speed of 6 knots, we would arrive in eight hours.  It appeared calm: the forecast was for winds out of the east at 9-11k, seas 2' or less.  Ah, our kind of travel.  The seas were pretty flat, but the swells that have dogged us all season were there, out of the south this time.  We set the fishing lines out and settled into the motion.  About half way across the gulf stream, we spotted a power boat approaching from the north.  It was the US Coast Guard.  They hailed us and asked a few questions:  last port of call, destination, etc.  Then they said they were coming aboard to inspect the vessel.  We slowed to idle speed, and four agents stepped aboard.  They asked us to stay outside while they conducted their search.   When a boat came nearby, they asked me to come inside to tend the helm station.   I was a little uncomfortable as I heard them opening cupboards, drawers,  and closets in the sleeping berths and heads.  They lifted hatches.  We had nothing to hide, but these were personal areas.  Returning to the galley, they commented that this was the cleanest boat they'd ever boarded.  They inspected flares, fire extinguishers, whistles, bells, life jackets, and more.  They left us a copy of their report and were on their way.  We watched them board two other boats.  As usual, the authorities target the law abiding citizens.  Their time and money might be better spent checking out the go-fast day boats that cross the Stream to the Bahamas for more devious purposes.  But we are a safe and pleasant stop for them, and who would pass on that? 
 After our boarding, we hooked a mahi.  It was more blue than most, and I could almost taste the Mahi Fingers I would cook for lunch.  But just before pulling it aboard, it leaped off the hook and was gone.  It would be another couple hours before we would get a second chance.  This one we landed.  We wanted to discard the remains in the deeper sea, so filleted and vacuum sealed it immediately. 
Government Cut was choppy, as usual.  Big boats, small boats and everything in between roared thru the cut in every direction.  The main ship channel in Miami Harbour was closed to boat traffic:  only cruise ships could come and go.  We turned right and went under the bridge to the Venetian Island area, where we usually drop anchor.  The Pirate Ship tour boat nearly ran over us.  We stopped in front of the biggest manor house there, reportedly owned by the man who invented Viagra.  There were tennis courts and a huge green house as well as the usual pools, fountains, and gardens.  It occupied the entire point.  The water was calm and smooth.  Otherwise, it was chaos.  Jets skis roared, kicking up rooster tails of water.  Mid sized go-fast boats skimmed the water at high speed.  Yachts circled the bay.  A continuous parade of tour boats drove past us, eager to show their customers the Viagra house.  Rowdy weekend boaters beached their boats on the nearby sandbar/beach with the Monument beacon on it.  The nearby roads were jammed with traffic.  Airplanes arrived and departed continuously.    We dropped anchor in the murky, green water.  We could not see it seek its place on the seafloor. Police sirens shrieked. The landscape was awash with colorful lights.   What a shock after our serene Bahamas trip.