Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Notes From The Beach - South Point Walk, Miami

Here is the view of South Point. This area down at the very end of Miami Beach was created as a public park.
Back in the day it used to house horse stables, a police intelligence unit, and the Harbor Pilots from the Port of Miami. The story goes that the Government donated the land in 1979, all the buildings were leveled in 1984 and it was opened as a public park in 1985. In 1995 there were bigger and better plans for the South Beach area which included South Point, because as much as we love those "Scarface" days represented in 1983 - (seriously??!!), this place is infinitely improved, and safer, and, in the case of South Point between 1995 and 2009, 22 plus million dollars better. We have witnessed first hand the year to year incredible changes here, block by block. South Beach has an interesting history, however, I'll save that for another post. Back to the map...On the left side you see a water way. That is called Government Cut. It is a man made shipping channel that was created between 1903 and 1905. Ships use to have to go around Key Biscayne in a round about way to get to the Port of Miami. So they literally dredged tons of sand et al in between to create this channel, and in the process created Fisher Island. (More on that at a later date.) So now, cruise ships, tankers, cargo ships, yachts, fishing boats, jet skis, etc. can breeze through. Uh, a word of warning, should you happen to be down here and rent your own boat. I think this is a very tricky area because the channels and deep water areas are narrow and random at times. If you don't follow those little red and green floaty things in the water, and who the hell can figure those out anyway from a map!!!, you will be cruising along one minute and the next find yourself nearly trapped in two feet of seaweed tangled water threatening to mangle your propeller, while a colossus oil tanker stealthily glides perilously nearby. Please don't ask how I know this. Back to the map. On the right is, of course, Miami Beach - the actual beach. And the Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean. (More on that at a later date as well. Not the ocean, but Miami Beach) In between, for us, is this...

The best time to walk here, is ideally, at sun up. It is not hot and humid yet, it is quiet, the ocean is usually calm, the beach is pristine (due to the diligence of daily crews), there are early morning photo shoots going on with models, the very fit people are out exercising, (yes, more on that at a later date - it's amazing how good! people smell down here when they're jogging by), oh, and you are privileged to see the sunrise. The only problem with that is you have to be an early riser.  My husband is. I am not. I just appreciate it all the more when I do accomplish it. At whatever time of day it is, however, we step out the back of our condo which borders the marina and Government Cut and looks like this. We walk along the marina, always keeping a look out for a wayward dolphin or jumping fish, or whatever activity is going on in the channel.

Fisher Island is right across the way, and the path is decorated with palms, pillar lights for lovely evening strolls, benches, and the daily tug boat pulling in a tanker...

Then you turn the corner and encounter this latest Art in Public Places modern lighthouse sculpture by Tobias Rehberger, a German artist, which, I happen to thoroughly enjoy, and, it of course, has a top that lights up at night

Then there is the walk past Smith and Wollensky...and my favorite part of the walk, as always, the wild yet serene and friendly cats that inhabit South Point. The waiters at S and W are not enamored by them however. I don't know why...

Once past the restaurant which has tables right on the water for a gorgeous sunset view, this is the view and walk to the beach. "Here kitty kitty!"

At one point we cut over at the very end, through the lovely planted landscape - and more cats :

At the end of that path you emerge on to the beach. And, if you arrive just before sunrise on a cloudy day, it may look like this.

Then depending on the day...and each day is variable (especially this time of year as we traditionally come during off season. We have done that because we have children and their summer vacation starts at the beginning of June and that's when we vacation (holiday ;) ) . I must say, we have had such a variety of weather during the Junes' and Julys' we have been here. And none of it unbearable. This year has been extremely pleasant, in fact, at times, a touch cool for me for here, and today, as I write, it is grey and rainy and in the 70's out!)

My first view opposite the ocean on the beach portion of our walk are my favorite high rises. You'll notice them in a variety of tv shows and movies that are filmed on South Beach.

Most early morning runners and walkers walk up here where the sand is packed. Miami Beach is also famous for it's lifeguard stands. Each one unique and different, they stand at fully functional attention all the way up Miami Beach. This is the Southernmost one. (yes, more on these later)

Here is the view starting out looking north up the coast of Miami Beach.

From this point it's just a matter of how many life guard stands we want to tackle and how energetic we feel. Let's just say I'm only really familiar with the first four.

The route back is usually walked at a slower pace for part of the way as we stroll down by the water.

It's also the optimal time of day to spot a special sea shell (not that I have thousands of them already stored back at home still awaiting metamorphosis into a table top or mirror edge or candle border or some such crafty thing)

It's like I Spy....I spy seashells(you could be more specific). I spy coral. I spy seaweed. I spy tire tracks. I spy a footprint.....But I digress.

In recent years, there is one place on the beach where we come upon this. Any guesses?

You're right! Sea Turtle nests!! Some conservationists are doing their darnedest to protect these little creatures. After reading this article I even got a little lump in my throat. I mean really it's just a little itty bitty piece of a HUGE beach that you have to stay away from !!! :(

Back to the end of the beach and ready to head back up bay side.

Occasionally you see these behemoths "cruising" silently into port.

Sometimes we detour up to the main park where you can get a little elevation, rinse your feet, get some water...

and sit and observe

Then it's back along the marina to the condo

And this. What?? I'm on vacation for goodness sake. And there's a little grocery nearby that has croissants fresh daily. And I have some delicious blueberry jam to go with it.

ps. On those rare days when I don't get up for this walk - ok maybe not so rare - one of these is waiting for me on the counter - occasionally along with a new seashell. Life can be sweet.

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