I landed in Lima after about a 6 hour flight around 10:30pm. It seems that all flights into Peru arrive in the evening which makes customs and security a handful. After about an hour and a half of waiting in line, I was greeted at the exit by one of my relatives, Reverend Gerry Desmond. He is 67 years old and is the cousin of my Grandmother. A sibling of 10 from Ireland, he has travelled the world, preaching, building chapels, and has been in Peru since 1996.
We are looking around the parking lot for his car and he tells me it is a Volkswagen Beetle. I’m looking for one of the newer ones that you see in the states, and think to myself “kind of a girly car.. but hey, he’s probably rational with his purchases and its fuel efficient and small to get around town” NOPE. this thing was straight up old school beetle. Rough around the edges, nothing power or electrical at all, pure old school. I can dig it.
Driving through the city I had no idea where we were headed, all I knew is I was scared in this death trap I was in. Drivers are maniacs and Gerry descried it as “playing a game of chicken”, people drive aggressively. The city is dirty and there are people all over the place, roads are terrible. But I can’t put too much of value in this as it was late, and I was very tired from traveling all day, I needed to see it in the light. After we got to Gerry’s place we had 2 shots of Paddy’s Whiskey (sipped the shots) and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning and explored the house in the light. As I expected, kind of dirty but nothing I haven’t seen before, or lived in. The guy is a bachelor and living in Peru, what are you goin’ to do? Structurally everything is made out of concrete, which I will soon find out is the only way to build something here. Different levels(about 3-4 steps) divide the rooms that were built on after the main structure. Homes are build on a foundation(not a very deep one) but are built with extra long rebar. The main structure then acts as the main unit for any additions that need to be built later on. The roof acts as the second floor, walls half built, usually acting as a sitting place or a place to hang laundry out to dry. When they are ready to close in the second floor, some concrete, blocks, and rebar.. and up it goes, the second floor roof now acts as the base for the third floor… so on and so forth.
We head out to a chapel where a festival is underway in honor of a saint. The remains are on display and the place is packed. The chapel sits at the base of many hills, which I find out later are EVERYWHERE, and the service takes place outside on a stage. They have amusements for children, and vendors walking around.
Finally getting a look at the culture you can see how and where they live. The place is very dirty on the outside from all the sand and grit in the air. But inside the places are very nice, nice architecture and depending on where you are nice furniture. Don’t get me wrong, some of these places are awful, but there are roses among the thorns.
We head back home, I work on my websites, Gerry heads to a confirmation course down the road. I head down to the course after it is done and meet all the students. They act a little immature as I guess they are not used to seeing an American. One of them speaks English and starts relaying questions all of them are asking me. What type of music I like, what is my favorite food, etc. That end and I leave the girls giggling in the class when I kiss one on the cheek.
Gerry and I finish the night with some football and a few more shots of Paddy’s Whiskey.
When driving south into the low country city of South Carolina, you see the Charleston bridge a few miles before you even reach it. The bridge is magnificent, and while crossing you can see why Charleston has the appeal of many boaters and water lovers. The city is completely surrounded by beautiful water. It lays on the intracoastal waterway, has easy accessibility to the Atlantic, and is loaded with marinas for locals, as well as yachters coming in for a long weekend.
We stayed in Charleston for 2 days while we moved an Island Packet 445 from New York, coming in we had planned to stay at a marina located on the south side of the city. To our dismay they were full and could not accommodate us for the weekend. Luckily for us, there were plenty more to choose from and we decided to dock in Mt. Laurel, just north of Charleston.
Charleston is a fantastic little city, boasting beautiful architecture and wonderful scenery. With its historic nature and recently booming young professional crowd, it appeals to all walks of life. Not much is out of walking distance in the city and while you walk the cobble stone streets it has a feeling of being alive. The hustle and bustle of the city is aw-inspiring. Duck into one of the many storefronts and you will be surprised to see all they have to offer. Standard are Starbucks and an Apple Store, but unique are the little boutiques and niche shops that are sprinkled around town.
Charleston can’t have a bad place to get food. This is a theory of mine, seeing as there are so many places to chose from; if the place is bad, there are hundreds of other places to go that will make the bad places short lived. The food in town is phenomenal. Seafood, steaks, and vegetables are all fresh no matter where you go. I recommend having a local dish, Shrimp and Grits is my go-to.
Underway Sunday Night
After walking the streets of Charleston all day we arrived at the docks Sunday evening. No time was needed getting the boat provisioned as most of that was taken care of the day before. We started the engines and shoved off; literally shoved off, the current was ripping sideways and it was a little tricky getting the boat free from the dock. We managed and motored our way out to the inlet.
The Charleston Bay is filled with boaters. In one of the nooks was a small one class that seemed to have a course set up; we could not tell if they were racing or practicing. There was a small Sunday night sail that was just coming in through the inlet and they passed us on our way out. We had a little breeze but not enough to kill the engine. The Sun setting just over our shoulders and the Charleston Bridge looking like two sails from a distance. We set the genoa, pointed her on course, and set everything in place. She was dialed in. Now was time for the important stuff, dinner. This was a perfect way to start our three day trip south.
The three of us were on four hour shifts throughout the night. 7am came fairly quickly, as did the sun. The sunrise filled the sky with shades of colors few have seen with the eye. The awe-inspiring view promted the others to wake up. As we turned the boat toward the picture perfect sight, thats exactly what we did. We took the next 10-15 minutes to take pictures, relax, and enjoy the reason why we were out there. Enjoying the beauty of being on the water.
Out of the three of us onboard, two have businesses to run. This being the case three days without any updates, emails, or communication with our teams gets kind of tricky, but we made it work. During the days we would sneak close to land about 3 to 4 nautical miles off shore. Enough to get a cell phone signal, or if we were lucky 3G. We would check emails, call our clients or affiliates, and stay connected to the home front. At nights we would jet off shore, out of the way of markers, inlets, and any other surprises that come along with being closer to land.
With our sights set just off the coast of Georgia we decided to sneak in for some communication. Unfortunately, with the dense swamp and marsh right off the coast, there is little development, which meens no cell towers to get service from. This was fine as it was a nice day and the wind was just coming over our stern/port side. Pushing back outside, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather with little to no swell and a breeze pushing us along.
After an uneventful night, we woke up off the coast of Florida. Passing Cape Canaveral was beautiful, seeing the NASA Base and all the massive buildings just on the coast was fantastic. Tucking inside reefs (one called “The Bull” caught our attention) with dive boats to our port and the base to our starboard it was a great way to start the day. The sun was shining and wind was still on our stern pushing us along. It took a few hours for us to get passed the base, we would occasionally take some pictures until we were bored, then a while later, take some more pictures. Not much to do but enjoy time aboard.
We continued down the coast of Florida, tucking inside now to get out of the Gulf Stream which was taking a knot off our speed. Back on track we were contemplating whether to dip inside just north of Fort Lauderdale, and cruise the rest of the way down the intracoastal. That decision was made for us after we checked the fuel gauges and realized we were running on fumes.
After refueling and spraying the salt off the boat, we continued down the waterway. Chugging along we kept in constant communication with all the bridges, hitting each one like clockwork, waiting only a minute or two for their opening. Communication on the VHF was key as Taxi Boats were pulling in and out, passing, and making frequent stops. Passing the what will soon be the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show was interesting, seeing it mid construction really shows the time and effort they put into such a display.
Continuing to Miami we pulled into the owners slip, pulled the gear off the boat, plugged her in and we were off to have dinner somewhere on South Beach. Felt good to be back on land and everything going as smoothly as it did. The owner was pleased and so were we. Off to South Beach.
There are only a few places in this world that can compare to Miami. When I find them, I will let you know where they are. Miami has a wonderful feel about it; the beautiful weather and people bring a smile to every newcomers face. The city sits on the Atlantic Ocean and is wrapped by water, perfect for beach goers and boaters alike. Marinas and residential docks line the inside portion of the barrier island, but this is only a small part of Miami. The popular Biscayne Bay is a large open body of water, perfect for sailing, fishing, or yachting. Most new yachts are pictured on this body of water because of the beautiful scenery that surounds it. On the south side of Miami Beach sits the inlet, easy in and out makes this ideal for freight carriers, fishermen, and recreational boaters. It’s easy to see why Miami is an ideal spot for yachtsman.
While on land, you can stop in at one of the thousands of restaurants along the strip on South Beach. This is a great place to sit on a patio and people watch, enjoy a cold beverage, and eat some gourmet meals. You may get distracted people watching by all the luxury and exotic cars passing by, or by the random celebrity sitting next to you. It is not uncommon to pass them in the street or see them around town.
Miami is a great place to visit, the quality of life here is unlike anything else in the United States. It’s very easy to feel like your on the A list, service and quality come to anyone who mearly ask for it. Find yourself tired of South Beach, Downtown Miami on the mainland is only a car ride or water taxi ride away. The shops and restaurants located in Bayside are a nice getaway, and if you go in February, the strictly sailboat show will be there for you to see. Sailboat manufactures form all over the world come to display their newest models for the public. Also downtown is the Heat Stadium where the NBA team play as well as performers from all over the world.
We have only skimmed the surface of Miami with this, but if you would like to find out more (Link will come shortly). With all Miami has to offer, it is no reason why some people never leave after they arrive. If you do find yourself looking for a vacation getaway or want to experience the Yachting life in Miami, be sure to contact Yachting Miami and visit our website for more information.