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StiltsVille erodes away…

Our mooring neighbor Captain Tom Mestrits at Dinner Key Marina, invited us for a sailing tour of upper Biscayne Bay along Key Biscayne on his John Shuttleworth 40′ catamaran.

It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Tom has “local” knowledge of Biscayne Bay, and has modified / fine tuned his cat for racing (with numerous trophies to show for it). We were anxious to see how a “Cat Maudy” sista-ship sailed in comparison.

The most noticeable difference between CM and the sista-ship…is the ease of tacking using a self-tacking jib. It was glorious. In non-sailing terminology – this means that you can change direction on the cat without having to lose speed, skip the part where you yank the sail as fast as possible so that it is taught…no need to crank the winch til your shoulders ache to tighten up the bugger….or beg the Captain to avoid making turns cuz it’s soooo dang tiring. hmmmm….if we could only make Cat Maudy tack with less effort??…

With 15 knot winds from the north, Captain Tom sailed us into the channel near StiltsVille. Years back, a bunch of folks decided to live “off the grid” – and built their homes on STILTS….on top of the coral reef along the northern tip of Key Biscayne. During Hurricane Andrew…mother nature decided to take over – and eliminated all but approximately 10 of these homes. Shortly after the homes were destroyed, the state of Florida decided that StiltsVille wasn’t a good idea after all….evicted the remaining residents…and prohibited any rebuilding. What’s left, is a bunch of boarded up homes on stilts…slowly eroding away – in what appears to be the middle of Biscayne Bay.

We rounded the northern tip of Key Biscayne, got a glimpse of No Name Harbor and mega-homes built by people with no shortage of mooolah….and eventually returned just south of downtown Miami – to Coconut Grove. All the while…being “chased” by sailors who recognized Captain Tom’s catamaran….and were hoping for an impromptu race.

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