Friday, September 26th, 2014
Water Water Everywhere, Miami Boat Trip
I’m going to be frank here, whilst I loved the beach, the weather, the architecture and the restaurants I couldn’t quite understand why so many wealthy people flock to Miami. For me the pieces weren’t quite fiting together.
Miami is made up of lots of man made islands which are linked together with large bridges and intricate one way systems with awful traffic. What was the main attraction of living in Miami if you weren’t on the spectacular beaches? Was it simply because you can park your million dollar yacht at the end of your garden?
We decided we should try and see Miami from their point of view (ish) so booked onto a tour with Ocean Force Adventures. To say I was excited was an understatement – I’ve been wanting to do a rib tour of Cardiff Bay for about 10 years, so the fact I was getting to do one in the sunshine was like Christmas come early. I was not disappointed and it finally clicked – Miami is all about the water, it’s everywhere ( worryingly so if you’re interested)
As we were out of season there was just us two and a lady from South Africa on the boat tour. We started by zooming around Port Miami, Star Island and Fischer Island, where the mega rich live (^^ I thought these two looked Simon’s Cowell esque ^^).
We passed this little island that can only be reached by boat or jet ski and then zipped round past the big shipping boats and into downtown Miami.
Our lovely tour guide gave an excellent commentary throughout which was well balanced with interesting facts and Miami trivia. It’s fascinating to see how a relatively young city has exploded, particularly in the financial district.
Downtown Miami is built around the mouth of the Miami River and was the home of many American Indian tribes back in the day. Often when construction work begins, workers find lots of artifacts and burial grounds. In respect for the American Indians, once excavated and documented, the burial sites are respectfully put back underneath all the foundations which is a nice touch. I don’t think they advertise that on the hotel websites mind.
The pièce de résistance of this boat tour is the visit to Stiltsville. Stiltsville is a group of raised wooden houses built in shallow parts of the Bay of Biscayne. They started appearing in the 1930’s and grew hugely popular during prohibition, to facilitate gambling, for gambling was legal one mile off shore. They were still popular in the 40’s, 50’s when prominent politicians used the shacks to relax in private. Sadly, only 6 or 7 remain, many destroyed by hurricanes over the years: they are are now owned and protected by the Biscayne National Park.
Another piece of trivia that we loved, was seeing this helipad, it was built by the US Government for President Nixon when was in power. He would fly into Miami and land here when he wanted to escape Washington, it was especially useful when the Watergate scandal broke. It was nicknamed the Winter White House.
On our way back we even spotted a few of these elegant creatures … it was the first time I’ve seen a dolphin in real life and it was such a privilege. I genuinely squealed, they are so beautiful.
This tour was excellent from start to finish, Ocean Force Adventures really take pride in Miami and so it should. The ocean, environment and wildlife are pretty spectacular – I’d want to show it off too. If you want to get a real taste of Miami (albeit not on a yacht) Ocean Force Adventures offers an unforgettable trip.
And if you don’t believe me, have a look at their amazing Trip Advisor reviews.