I can’t begin to tell you just how incredible it was waking up so close to downtown Miami.

But not only that.

Our route leaving the anchorage allowed us to pass so close to all the buildings, the city park, and the cruise terminal.

Really magnificent.

This is how I wanted to remember New York and Chicago but for various reasons, that didn’t happen.

So I was stunned when our up close and personal city cruise was in Miami.

If you skip the Florida Keys and go through the Okeechobee Waterway, it’s worth making a right hand turn to get down to Miami.

We highly recommend you adding this to your Great Loop route!

Downtown Miami

Well, being this close to the city of Miami left me speechless and you know it takes a lot to do that!

One of the downsides of anchoring is not being able to wash the saltwater off the windows.

But I took pictures anyway!

I didn’t want to miss a shot of this downtown park.

I love the Quiet Zone sign.

You know.

The one for boaters.

Who else could see it?

So Much To See

As we continue along our slow cruise around downtown Miami, we could see cruise ships docked up on the right.

Cruise ships on the right.

Ferris wheel on the left.

Can this get any cooler?

What?

I wonder who owns that?

It’s early and the city is still asleep.

So we have the place to ourselves.

We enjoy every minute.

Don’t you want to go?

After we passed the Ferris wheel on the left, we went under this bridge.

And after we went under the bridge, we got an up close and personal look at all the cruise ships lined up.

We hung out here a little while waiting for the timing of the second bridge and the security boat for the cruise ships seemed to know what we were doing.

We could get under this bridge but the next bridge we had to wait for.

When it was time, we went right through.

We are seeing several bridges now that we are back on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

And we are seeing them through salty windows.

Homes and Bridges

I have taken pictures of homes all along our route on America’s Great Loop.

But things are getting ready to get crazy.

More bridges.

And still more bridges.

Everywhere you look are condos and hotels and boats.

Oh my.

We didn’t have to have this one, actually, these two opened.

Buildings and bridges.

How would you like to live here?

Most of the bridges that we came to today, we could get right under.

Each unique in their own way.

When we saw this water taxi, we knew exactly where we were.

One year ago, we flew into Fort Lauderdale to catch a Holland America cruise.

We had a chance to ride a water taxi like this and cruised around the area.

Our route stopped here at Margaritaville and then headed back the other direction to Fort Lauderdale.

It is a real treat to do this route in our own boat.

Just past Margaritaville is of course, another bridge.

Then, it gets really interesting.

We cruise right past a large container ship being loaded.

It is an amazing operation.

Down past the container ships is the Fort Lauderdale Cruise Terminal.

In the midst of all these enormous ships, we saw these two kayakers.

I was really rooting for them!

Because this is what they went by.

It’s gigantic!

And this!

Whoa.

Sometimes I feel like our boat is really big.

Not today.

We are just a little gnat in their way.

Once we passed by, of course, there was another bridge.

I can’t imagine being in a sailboat and having to ask for almost EVERY bridge to be opened.

I’m just not that patient.

In Fort Lauderdale, we continue to see really large yachts.

And it was a very busy Sunday out there as the day progressed.

Had to get a better look at this one.

I never got tired of taking pictures of homes.

Wow!

Just incredible.

Whoa.

We continued down the ICW, dodging sailboats and cruisers and water taxis.

I really needed a window washer.

Seeing through salty windows was a bit frustrating.

But I couldn’t let that keep me from sharing these fantastic homes.

After Fort Lauderdale, we only had a couple more bridges to go until our stop in Pompano Beach.

Lowest Fuel Price

We had planned to stay at Sands Harbor Resort and Marina since we were going to get fuel there.

Sam called them a couple days earlier because he heard the diesel was $2.32.

When he called they told him that that wasn’t the price.

Great.

It was actually $2.05.

What?!?

We are used to prices being a lot more not a lot less!

Well, it gets better.

When we pulled up to the fuel dock and see the sign, we couldn’t believe it – $1.89!

No way.

But wait.

It gets better.

We signed up for their frequent fillers club and even though we didn’t need 500 gallons, we got close and they gave us $80 Sand Dollars to use at their restaurant.

How awesome is that?

It was really windy when it was time to dock.

Sam took it stern in.

It was a very narrow slip.

They put pilings up for instances just like this because we plowed right into one.

It kept us from hitting the boat next to us but left our dinghy cover with several new holes.

The good news is, we didn’t have to buy the person on either side of us new boats.

Free Money!

This is our view of the parade of boats from the restaurant where we spent our free $80.

The show went on all afternoon.

Later, we walked down to Pompano Beach.

It was just a short walk past shops and restaurants.

It was chilly so we were bundled up.

We ended up at this Irish Pub.

It was a fun evening to a long day down the Intracoastal Waterway.

Our Thoughts