This weekend, we moved again. This time, we moved to a completely different marina located across Biscayne Bay in the City of Miami. Nobody seems to believe it, but this move was much more substantial. No, we didn't have to pack boxes, rent a U-Haul, buy furniture, etc. But between moving the boat, moving the cars, and getting settled in, this move took an entire day. And now, not only do we have different neighbors, but we are in a completely different neighborhood.
So far, we are pleased with the new location. We'll save most of the details for future posts, but I will explain a couple characteristics of the marina that we feel makes it a better marina than the old one. When we first went marina shopping over two years ago, we were attracted to marinas that didn't feel like marinas. We had been living amongst the landlubbers for our entire lives, and we were most drawn to the marina that felt most like a condominium. Our old marina, in fact, shared several amenities with adjacent condominiums and was very much integrated into the immediate neighborhood. After two years living aboard, however, our list of priorities radically changed.
A parking garage is nice, as is a neighborhood feeling, but we have come to understand that those are not the most important criteria, let alone the sole ones. Above all else, a marina needs to do two things well. First, it needs to be well protected from wind, waves, etc., to keep the boat safe and comfortable. Second, it needs to be designed so that you can navigate the marina and dock your boat without damaging it or others. There are several other factors that can make one marina a better or worse place to keep your boat, but protection and navigability are the top two.
Unfortunately, those were not factors that we knew to look for when we were first looking for a marina. As a result, we ended up in a marina that provided little protection from waves generated by passing boats and northerly winds. This was what the water was like during a storm last year:
Combined with a vicious tidal flow--often five knots--the boat had a lot of motion while docking, and dealing with the tide when docking was difficult unless we waited until slack tide to depart and return. Even without the tide, however, we had to worry about waverunner renters without a clue as to how to navigate a marina or maneuvering between 150-foot megayachts docked on either side of us: