I confess, I've lost
some faith in humanity.
I don't know where to write this. It is just a rant, skip over it if you wish.
Backstory: Cruised down to the FL keys last year with the idea of heading to Bahamas
and further but got stuck when the pandemic broke out and decided to weather
the summer in Marathon until the world settled some.
A year in boot key harbor was enough to give me a good look at the life of so called "derelict" boaters as well as the people just "living on boats because houses are too expensive here." I endured the nightly ravings of a mad man shouting at his cat yelling expletives. I listened to the drunks on the VHF
. We heard the shotgun blasts as a "liveaboard" murdered people that approached his boat
thinking they were going to "get him". There are sunk boats lining the shores. Online everyone just talks about how peachy everything is. I guess if it isn't covid times and you have community to hang out with, you can just... ignore it.
I decided I couldn't take it anymore and we leave. We head
out, escape. Decide to take the ICW
since we hadn't gone that route
yet. In Georgia
and the Carolinas, it was somewhat unusual for someone to not give us a slow pass, in FL, no one slows down. In fact, despite acres of room they'll pass as close and fast to you as they can. Over and over. If someone slowed down we were shocked. If someone diverted their course just a tiny bit to help us out, shocked. The general boater in FL isn't going to care about you at all. They want to get from point a to point b as fast as possible and screw everything else. And everyone was like that. Anchored out in a remote
spot? Expect wakes because they'll come just to buzz you.
Traveling through the Everglades and Biscayne National parks, we witnessed go-fast boats and huge yachts transiting and stirring up the bottom to an extraordinary degree. There is no sea life in vast swathes because the trails left from these wakes. Yet we're told we cannot anchor
in sand because we might harm the bottom. We must use moorings because the bottom might be harmed.
Anchored near Key Biscayne, there is a manatee zone that extends 1000ft from shore (marked). I lost
count after 75 boats that blew through an anchorage at full throttle throwing wakes. No law enforcement. No tickets. Yet we were boarded anchored off Jew point in a quiet spot for a "safety inspection". We made no trouble, the FWC was polite but I don't like my home being invaded and nothing I can do, all while people break the law continuously a few miles to the north. People killing manatees, no one cares. It is more important for them to make absolutely sure my fire extinguishers are up to date.
We have to track our pump
outs carefully. We have to make sure not one drop of urine reaches the pristine waters of FL. Meanwhile in Tampa bay they pump
the remains of a fertilizer plant directly into the waters.
It has become clear to me that FL goverment does not care for the environment
except as a smoke screen
. Will not do anything about the homeless/derelict/liveaboards that poison the regions they show up in, will not enforce laws that impact the power boat
community ($$$), and will actively harass cruising boats (the poors). The boaters themselves reflect the same attitude.
FL has incredible natural beauty and of course I paint
with a broad brush, there are many good people here, yet I lost something during my year spent in FL, I lost a little faith.
I'm happy to leave. Happy to go north again. I hope we find some of the quiet and friendly places again. And I hope I can learn to stop caring and come back to FL and enjoy what I can without stress or comparison. Maybe once I'm retired it won't seem so awful what is going on there.
Sorry for the long rant. I just wanted to get it off my chest. I figured other sailors might understand better than my family
or friends who have not seen any of these sorts of things. Thanks for letting me vent. This is just one man's opinion and experiences. I'm sure there are others that are a lot more sunny.