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Old 18-08-2012, 08:45   #1
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Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

We are anchored off Watson Island in Biscayne Bay with many other sailboats.

We were sitting in the cockpit this morning tending to various details when I spotted two young men paddle boarding. I said something about not really "getting" the fun of paddleboarding when I noticed where they were paddling. They were going very slowly around every boat in the area, sometimes quite slowly, sometimes more than once, and sometimes obviously getting a very good look at something on one boat before moving on to the next. They were methodically going around each boat that way.

We called 911 and reported it, and my boating companion is over now talking to the unofficial "Mayor" of the anchorage (who very kindly came over and warned us that the spot we'd chosen was 4" of sand over coral rock and that we WOULD drag there) to let him know what we saw.

The people at this anchorage all seem very polite and helpful, but the place is heavily monitored by the local police for violations such as putting in helix screws to make a mooring. Only removable tackle is allowed here. And, if your boat drags, they immediately come out and tow it. The "Mayor told us that one guy's bill was round $4k.

The Miami skyline is spectacularly beautiful at night.
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Old 18-08-2012, 08:52   #2
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay is a beautiful spot, but unfortunately like any crowded location it comes with its own issues.
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Old 18-08-2012, 08:54   #3
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

Paddle boarding is boring enough that it would seem appropriate to make paddling around boats and talking about all the stuff you like and don't like, perfectly reasonable.

Lock your stuff up anyway, it's Miami.
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Old 18-08-2012, 09:25   #4
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
Paddle boarding is boring enough that it would seem appropriate to make paddling around boats and talking about all the stuff you like and don't like, perfectly reasonable.

Lock your stuff up anyway, it's Miami.

If you'd seen it, I don't believe for one moment you would have called it "perfectly reasonable." This isn't my first day on a sailboat, and this isn't my first rodeo. I see paddle boarders all the time in Boca Ciega Bay. i've never seen the behavior we saw this morning. My sailing companion agrees, and so does another very experienced sailor in this anchorage we just spoke with.

But you believe whatever you want to believe about what you didn't witness.
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Old 20-08-2012, 11:30   #5
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

Raku,
We have anchored off Watson Island for years. The holding is very good off the Yacht Club and we have never heard of anyone dragging there since it is very protected and the bottom is a sandy muck. In regards to your "visitors," once we were anchored close to the channel to the east of the Yacht Club and just before dark, a strange vessel that was painted black and looked like a small one man submarine was weaving in and out around the anchored boats.His head was visible from an open tube on the top of the sub. We couldn't discern the means of power and guessed that he might have been manually paddling inside the sub with some form of propeller underneath. There was no sound as he moved slowly through the water. He had no running lights. I went below and returned with our spotlight and shined it at the boat. He never responded but slowly veered out of the anchorage towards the channel. We saw him again the next night with the same behaviour. However, we have never heard of any thefts or break-ins in the anchorage and occassionally we would leave the boat for a few days while traveling inland. But, in today's economic miasma, the rules have changed. Caution and awareness are well advised. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 20-08-2012, 14:39   #6
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

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Raku,
We have anchored off Watson Island for years. The holding is very good off the Yacht Club and we have never heard of anyone dragging there since it is very protected and the bottom is a sandy muck. In regards to your "visitors," once we were anchored close to the channel to the east of the Yacht Club and just before dark, a strange vessel that was painted black and looked like a small one man submarine was weaving in and out around the anchored boats.His head was visible from an open tube on the top of the sub. We couldn't discern the means of power and guessed that he might have been manually paddling inside the sub with some form of propeller underneath. There was no sound as he moved slowly through the water. He had no running lights. I went below and returned with our spotlight and shined it at the boat. He never responded but slowly veered out of the anchorage towards the channel. We saw him again the next night with the same behaviour. However, we have never heard of any thefts or break-ins in the anchorage and occassionally we would leave the boat for a few days while traveling inland. But, in today's economic miasma, the rules have changed. Caution and awareness are well advised. Good luck and good sailing.

Interesting that you never heard of dragging. At the first spot we stopped, someone who lives aboard there came by in a dinghy. He said, "Looks like a great spot to anchor, doesn't it? Did you wonder why no one else is here?"

Well, yeah ...

"It's because there's 4" of sand here over coral rock. I guarantee you that you'll drag here." We appreciated that information and went to a different spot! He also told us that when boats do drag there, they're likely to impound boats that look cared for. The other boater's opinion was that it was because they know owners of derelict boats can't afford the fees. He said that it cost one fellow $4k. He said if we dragged he would re-secure the boat for us, as we have to be gone several days. He also said that our plan of using helix screws to secure the boat was illegal in that area and that we would also get a big fine for that. If you knew what we went through to find those screws ... oh well!

So we secured her with two anchors.

I surely hope you're right about boats not dragging there. You're right; in hard times, petty crime goes up.
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Old 20-08-2012, 15:02   #7
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Re: Potential problem in Biscayne Bay

Raku, if you drop the hook anywhere in the main anchorage for the yacht club you'll be fine. We always preferred to anchor at the east end of the anchorage close to the north/south channel where there is more swinging room, deeper water. We have sat through some strongs blows there and never moved an inch. It is very protected and the wave action is minimal at best. For a small fee, you can use the yacht club facilities: pool, restaurant and showers. A very good deal. Good luck and good sailing.
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