Since crossing Florida through the Okeechobee Canal on our current cruise, I have had more encounters with deputy sheriffs and fish & wildlife than in 57 years of boating. The most recent was at 10 p.m. for a suspected murder on a green trawler...
I know, I have a hard time coloring in the borders, but now, I'm feeling like a full fledged social deviant. It all started in Fort Lauderdale.
Francis, my dog, had to get ashore. Keep in mind that we are in the self-proclaimed "the boating capital of the world." Slightly egotistical, perhaps, as their yards can't haul anything over 160 feet and they provide a miserly eight moorings for thousands of visiting yachts. It seems that if you are not in a marina, you're not welcome.
Francis and I found a stretch of abandoned shoreline and a small beach, not posted by the way. Upon returning to the boat a cop pulled up and apprised me that we had been on private property. Yeah, well, sorry for the pee and I bagged the poop. To my inquiry of where to go on future endeavors he had no suggestions.
Piss poor "capital" that doesn't have a park for dogs.
Next I was asked to leave a landing on the New River because I was working on the boat. For an hour during the day I had tacked an area and painted; that's not allowed. I concluded that this accounted for the hundreds of poorly maintained boats, read derelicts, in the canals of the "capital."
After perusing two unofficial anchorages, I decided to anchor in a less congested spot near Pier 66. I was by myself, in deep water, well out of the channel with a great view of the commercial harbor and the parade of paying customers (read: 100-foot yachts) coming in the harbor. I had not one, or two, but three visits from the sheriff.
"Why are you here? Everything okay? Welcome to "the capital," How long are you going to be in this spot? When are you leaving?"
Did I mention that between myself, my niece, and my cousin that we spent $5000 in your fair capital? Now for the parting shot. I was boarded for a sewage holding tank inspection. Everything was good. So, time to pump out.
On the New River at the municipal dock, oops, "Those pumps don't work. Could you move to the other side of the river with 20 knot gusts and a 2 knot current?" That was good for a cracked rail as the dock boys can't be bothered to get out of the office. And oops, "That pump doesn't work. Maybe we can stretch two lengths of hose from the good pump." Well the good pump made good sounds and it sure fooled me as I had a full holding tank the next day.
So, being the good sport and wanting to do my best for this "crappy (my word) capital" I sought out another pump and found it next to my buddies club house, the sheriffs station. Uh oh, no hose. Persevering I sought out the sheriff and asked for help. He didn't know. I figured this out when he gruffly pointed out that, "I am a sheriff. We don't know anything about that."
Well I have to admit that the pump was 25 yards from him. Given his not to kind summation I pointed out that I could dump the sewage. Finally I found something he did know when he said he could site me for that violation.
And finally, I did escape Fort Lauderdale only to end up suspected of The Murder at Dragon Point. Tonight, I was boarded and searched for dead bodies. Some Back story: Earlier Lori and I without Francis left the boat for an hour. When we were out, a very lonely, sad, moaning dog remained onboard. Some good Samaritan heard his mournful howls and reported a possible domestic violence and murder on a green trawler. Thus the most recent, I hope last, visit from law enforcement.
It wouldn't be fair for me to end without mentioning that, with the exception of the one very rude officer in Ft. Lauderdale, the police have been polite and helpful. Squashed between the politicians and citizens that they work for, they are enforcing this societies schizophrenic policies while holding their own, maintaining some sanity.
Cruising toward Jacksonville, outlaws on the run,
Clint, Lori and howling Francis the dog.
Clint and Lori are liveaboards, currently cruising Florida's coastal waters with a knack for satire and a four-legged PSA system.