Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday Week In Review: An Astronomical Lowest Tide, Successful FLHSMV Visit, Miami-Dade On-The-Grid, and Sargassum Suckum Ad Infinitum

**The entry was posted Friday, May 28th, 2021.**

Gentle tropical Atlantic Ocean surf at astronomical lowest tide and an extra-expansive beach, Miami Beach, Fla.,
1:51 p.m. May 25, 2021

The above picture was taken along a stretch of beach on the "latitude" of 10th Street in Miami Beach. More generally, and as explained below, the pictures in this entry are both from Tuesday and Wednesday as well as an additional set from two Sundays ago, May 16th.

The Tuesday pictures were taken during a few hours in the afternoon that I spent in the ocean and on / along the beach down to the very bottom of Miami Beach at Government Cut.

The Wednesday pictures were taken as I was returning from getting my Florida driver's license at the Miami-Dade County Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ("FLHSMV") center located in the City of Miami not far from the airport.

To clarify, the Tuesday pictures were taken after I had gone in the ocean for about an hour -- even as the sunlit tide was ebbing to its monthly astronomical minimum -- and then went back to my apartment to retrieve my cellphone to capture the super-low tide. Typically, obviously, I do not take the phone I go into the ocean.

While I am not specifically captioning most of the pictures, I do include (in Arial font) some caption-like explanation to a number of the images. In any event, the file names contain time and location information.

Above: That adorable little black dog -- possibly a pug / bulldog mix -- belonged to the young Black filming the dog and three people doting on it. The dog also came up to me and reclining along side my bookbag. Actually, the dog did more of a squat, and he may have sleepily peed. But he was so adorable, I didn't care. As it is, I think ended up in that man's video.


As an pre-posting upfront note, I wrote part of this Thursday night and the remainder of it on Friday, and so I didn't actually post it until Friday late afternoon...

Thursday night.

I'm in for the night, air conditioner humming away smoothly, two lamps turned on, and watching my old TV show.

Such TV viewing includes programs on Cozi TV (The Munsters, Frasier, The Nanny, and Will & Grace) and certain random channels -- which seem to change with time -- on Samsung Plus that tonight includes something called Shout TV and that is airing Carol Burnett Show episodes.

On certain nights, I can find Pluto TV channel, which airs Becker and Hot In Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively, but not tonight. Oh, and Film Rise True Crime -- which airs the Robert Stack-era Unsolved Mysteries -- appears to have vanished.

Coconut palms in Lummus Park, Miami Beach, Fla.,
3:17 p.m., May 16, 2021

Above: This picture and the next four that follow were all taken on Sunday, May 16th as I walked down to the South Pointe area. I'm including them because this entry got so damn long -- and I want to post a coda entry -- that I ran out of Tuesday / Wednesday pictures. Thus, I'm posting as-yet-unposted pictures from earlier this month.


I'm quite tired, primarily because I only got 4-1/2 to 5 hours of sleep last night. I went to bed very late (around 3:30 a.m.) but had to get up by 10 a.m. for a work call, and this got meup an hour earlier at 9 a.m.

I went into the ocean today (Thursday) but it just was lousy. The water was flat, only the weakest of shallow and small waves, and the sky was filled with high cloud "debris" -- dense cirrus tufts and cirrostratus mats -- above the lower cumulus field, and it ruined the feel of the day.

While conditions were likewise nearly calm two days earlier (as many of the images in this entry show), the sea surf and beach conditions were much nicer.

The only issue -- admittedly a huge and intractable one -- was the massive amount of sargassum that had washed up on the beach a farther south near the tip of South Pointe.

Also, it appears as though some new cultural depravity is set to explode upon Miami Beach's Entertainment District this weekend -- quite possibly a dreaded hip hop one. This is based on the crap on the beach, the closed beach access paths, and all the interlocking metal bar barricades that have been erected up and down both Collins and Washington Avenues.

Pre-posting Update: Actually, it turns out it is a very different kind of event, ironically, a military-patriotic-themed one. More on that in my coda entry to follow.

Later in the afternoon, I managed to make it to the Publix -- after not going for 8 days.

Work has been busy lately with two large tasks in addition to the monthly recurring task I have. And I do it all here in my little "home office" in the strange eworld near the bottom of Miami Beach. And, no, I shouldn't spend all this time frickin' blogging.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I successfully got my new Florida driver's license. This entailed taking a taxi -- which I was able to find in the palm-shaded driveway to the Loew's Hotel -- over to the FLHSMV in a large, tired shopping center located between NW 7th and NW 11th Streets on the south and north sides, respectively, and NW 37th Avenue on the on the east side, NW 37th Avenue NW.

As shown in the map directly above, this area is within the City of Miami just inside a neighborhood called Flagami but but with NW 37th Avenue (sometimes called Douglas Rd) forming the boundary with Little Havana to the east, SW 8th Street (Rt 41) to the south (part of the Tamiami Trail and the famous "Calle Ocho" in LIttle Havana), and the Tamiami Canal from west to north. North of the Tamiami Canal is the Grapeland Heights neighborhood.

Below: The same map image as directly above but rotated sideways for a larger view.

Miami-Dade County to include the City of Miami has -- like the District of Columbia, whence it may have borrowed the idea -- uses quadrant-based grid system (NE, NW, SW, SE) but it is strictly numerical (rather than D.C.-style alphanumeric), with east-west running numbered "streets" and north-south running numbered "avenues" comprising the grid, each with a quadrant prefix.

The latitudinal baseline of the grid system is Flagler Street and the longitudinal baseline is Miami Avenue. As shown in the marked up Google map image below, the "zero point" of the grid is West /East Flagler Street and North / South Miami Avenue. Those thoroughares are the only ones with "E/W" and "N/S" prefix designations, respectively, rather than one of the quadrants as prefixes to their names. (For D.C. folks, think of it as the equivalent of the National Mall and East, North, and South Capitol Streets, respectively.)

The whole system is apparently called the Chaille Plan and was implemented 100 years ago. Miami Beach is technically geographically located in the NE "quadrant" except here the N-S avenues are not numbered and the E-S streets do not have the "NE" directional marker.

Confusingly, though, some of the numbered streets in the Mid-Beach and Nautilus sections of Miami Beach located west of Indian Creek have "W" in their name -- when they are, in fact, on the same "latitude" as the "NE" streets located in Miami right along Biscayne Bay, i.e., east of Miami Avenue.

The picture directly above and the next four pictures below were all taken on my approximately one-mile walk along NW 37th Avenue between NW 11th and NW 21st Streets from FLHSMV to the Miami Intermodal Center. The two after that were taken at the MIC. Finally, the last two were taken on the 150 Metro bus back to Miami Beach.

Anyway, returning to my taxicab journey to the FLHSMV, the driver, Eduardo, was from Colombia and we tried to talk Spanish and English to each other. He also took an interest in my return trip, but I told him that wasn't necessary as I had that planned out. Nevertheless, I got his phone number.

I was in the FLHSMV office for about 2-1/2 hours, and it was as chaotic as you would imagine. Notionally, my appointment was for 3:10 p.m. I arrived about 1:45 p.m. It first started outside with two initially indeterminate lines. However, things moved along methodically even if slowly, and I have to say that the staff were friendly-ish. Hence, it was not like a D.C. experience where everyone actively despises you.

After I had already left my apartment, I started to worry that I didn't bring enough material. That's because I didn't bring my birth certificate nor Social Security card, and I even forgot my confirmation number.

In the end, though, two Atlantic Broadband internet bills and a Baptist Health bill combined with my passport card (not booklet) were sufficient all around. I also passed the line 5 vision test (barely).

Above: An "A Frame Marina" -- not sure if that's its actual name -- along the Tamiami Canal and belonging, it appears to belong to the house located just off NW 37th Ave at 3691 NW 20th Street.


For some reason, I was able to keep my D.C. license, and no obvious hole was punched in it to indicate it is no longer valid. So, I have both the new Florida one and the old D.C. one. The expiration date on the new one is Nov 26, 2029 -- 8-1/2 years hence on my 60th birthday. I can't imagine what my life situation will be then.

Above: The hulking, multi-faceted, and all-around strange-looking Miami Intermodal Center, also known as the Miami Airport Station for purposes of the Tri-Rail. To be clear, the "MIC" isn't located right at MIA but instead you have to take an "Automated People Mover" (APM) known as the MIA Mover about a mile and half distance.


Above: Another view of the MIC from within it. The MIC includes the Tri-Rail, Miami's Metrorail and Metrobus, and MIA Mover. There is also what is labeled as an Amtrak station there, but the Wiki article states that Amtrak trains don't presently service it.


I left the FLHSMV office around 4:15 p.m. with my brand new Florida license (I'm not including a picture of it herein). After a bit of outdoor texting and stopping at a bakery place in the shopping area, I started up 37th Ave to the Miami Intermodal Center / Miami Airport Station, where I quickly caught a 150 bus back to Miami Beach.

I alighted the bus round 13th and Collins Ave and arrived at my place at 10th and Collins just as the bus was passing by en route to its terminal point around 2nd and Washington. I was home by about 6:10 p.m.

Above: A Tri-Rail system map at the MIC / Miami Airport Station.


All of this happened even as I was very busy for about 2 hours on Wednesday late morning / early afternoon, which made me leave my apartment later (around 1:20 p.m.) than I had intended.

Oh, and of note, Wednesday was my "half birthday" in that May 26th is offset six months.

Above: Buildings in Miami as seen from the I-195 in what I think is the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami on approach to the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Below: The Miami skyline along Biscayne Bay as seen from the I-195 Julia Tuttle Causeway. Of note, you cannot walk between Miami and Miami Beach on the Julia Tuttle Causeway -- there are bridge areas with no pedestrian access.

By contrast, you can walk over the NE 15th St / Venetian Causeway and even the I-395 / MacArthur Causeway (which becomes 5th St in Miami Beach) in that both have small but dedicated sideways. As for the northernmost one into Miami Beach known as the NE 79th St / John F Kennedy Causeway, it appears to have a small, unprotected sidewalk and an even smaller, slightly protected one on its two different bridge spans that I would never risk.


Backing up to the previous day -- Tuesday -- the weather, beach, surf, and overall ocean were in appealing condition. (Well, some additional convective cumulus would have been good. As it is, conditions remain too dry down here -- with only about half the normal monthly rainfall so far at KMIA (and less elsewhere) and nothing like the deluge last May. (More on that in the coda entry.)

Above: The afternoon astronomical low tide in Miami Beach on May 25, 2021 with ocean bathers and, on the horizon, two cruise ships parked several miles offshore.

Of note, and as we slowly enter the post-Covid pandemic casedemic era, the cruise industry is set to resume limited operations starting in late June -- with the very first factory cruise ship, the Celebrity Edge, set to depart Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on June 26th. There is, however, an issue with Gov DeSantis, who adamantly opposes vaccine passports, and the ship's vaccination requirement.

Above: As alluded to in this entry, for the past 14 months, these behemoth ghost ships have just taken turns parked offshore or berthed at the Port of Miami and other ports of call.


What's more, because there was a Full Moon in the wee hours of the 26th -- not to mention a lunar eclipse, but not visible on this side of Planet Earth -- and the early afternoon low tide here in Miami Beach was, indeed, astronomically low, literally and figuratively.

I walked down the beach to the northside rocky breakwater that forms the northern sea-facing side of the Government Cut waterway that connects the open ocean to lower Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. The low tide had "stranded" massive quantities of that goddamn sargassum.

Above: A huge amount of nasty-ass sargassum washed up by / stranded at an astronomical low time on a particular stretch of South Beach -- between the "latitude belt" of about 2nd and 5th Streets in Miami Beach, Florida, early afternoon on May 25, 2021. There was so much of the awful stuff that you could smell it rotting in the direct sunlight. The low tide also left some litter and assorted detritus on the beach. About the out-of-control sargassum situation, more on that in a "coda" entry to follow (see bottom of this entry for explanation).

The rotting brown sargassum seems to have -- at least at times -- a preferential collection area on the beach in what I estimate to be about 1 to 1.5 times the breakwater length, so not at the very bottom of Miami Beach about 1/4 mile above it.

Perhaps this is where the interruption of the littoral current (either northward or southward flowing) by the extended rocky breakwater allows the sargassum to most effectively collect.

Anyway, after reaching the breakwater, I walked up to the pathway in the hot sunlight and over to The Lobster Shack by one of the two towers of the Continuum, where I had a late lunch. I then walked back to my apartment.

Above: Ocean and beach view from South Pointe pedestrian / biker path; the hot pink structure is the first or second lifeguard stand -- all of which are various pastel shades -- in South Beach's Miami Beach.


OK, that's all for now. My next entry won't be until early next week.

Pre-posting Update: I have decided to post another entry to relate the current situation this Friday, May 28th, here in Miami Beach. It is a sort of coda to what I wrote above, but it needs to be said. Entry to follow shortly ...


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