Miami Seaplane History is Rich Near Coconut Grove

Miami Seaplane

Recently, our company made the Florida move to pursue a stronger interest in angel investing startups related to our media network strategy. Since sixty-eight cents of every film media production dollar is typically spent in Southeast Florida, a move to Miami made sense. Previously, our company had offices in Naples, Florida. For whatever reason, seaplane operations seemed less important than perhaps the Caribbean island hopping adventures available from my new location in Coconut Grove.

The first thing on the water that you learn from Miami’s bay is that tides matter in a vast sets of channels that ebb and flow. After an initial SeaRay cruise and one jet ski adventure, we learned that there are special water lanes dredged for the once prominent Pan Am seaplane base. This romantic period in aviation lasted between 1934 and roughly 1954 within Southeast Florida. While my floatplane rating was completed near Talkeetna, Alaska on Piper Pacer Floats, many of these flights were on planes that came in belly-first. Although the days of commercial seaplane operations have past, Miami still has an active charter system with daily flights in and out of the bay to places like the Bahamas.

I think that it is fair to say that floatplane flying is still one of the most peaceful and enjoyable pastimes available to any pilot fortunate to log that time. In my opinion, there are several reasons for this. First, with seaplane flying, there’s never going to be a great drone or autopilot substitute for stick and yoke feel in and out of the water. When you first learn to “get up on the step” you realize that you’re literally converting a boat into a plane with throttle and skill. No one has to remind a student pilot to “aviate first” when you’re about to complete a glassy water landing. Second, it is impossible not to feel bonded to nature when you’re on floats – at the dock, in the lake, over the Keys, or watching the sun make another pass to the back side of the earth. Third, when you are flight planning on floats, you’re almost always going somewhere to relax or have a good time. Fishing a virgin lake near Mt. McKinley in Alaska. Making a run over Key Largo to meet some friends after a long day of fishing. Unlike our many days as private pilots hurrying up and waiting on a cold tarmac somewhere, typically a floatplane day is one goes with the flow.

I have found that many people who live close to the water have never tried a seaplane excursion. If you’re in Coconut Grove, give it a shot.

The Art of Sport in Miami

Getting to know Miami as a home is great if you like most kinds of sports. Watersports – you name it, you got it. Team sports – yes sir. Miami’s always on, always open, cosmopolitan culture seems to beg you to try, or even invent, new ways to entertain an active lifestyle.

Many forms of urban art seem to engage others very much in a sporty fashion. Take the Wynwood Art District for example. Where else would graffiti art move from a reputation of defacing buildings, to a concrete celebration of art mural designs? Somehow, Miami culture has found a way to market the edge from a once edgy neighborhood.

Wynwood at night

Getting to know these districts is much like the food – one must explore the unknown and try new things. To be sure, Little Havana or Coral Gables will give you all that you desire from Cuban-American cuisine, art, and style. So many hidden gems hold cultural curiosities that it often feels like Miami is mostly about this international upbringing.

However, this city of six million also holds much sophistication beyond the layers of beach living, good times, and casual salsa. A restaurant trip to Brickell Key, at Azul, landed me a fine evening bayside with one of the bottles from my favorite Burgundian wine producers: Vincent Girardin. As this image relates, it can be hard to match the urban elegance that places like the Mandarin Hotel offer this Latin gateway.

Chances are that if there’s something you’re not seeing right now in Miami art, it’s likely under construction. If Brickell had an official city mascot, it would be the orange traffic cone. Past the gardens and fine places like History Miami, we can expect a plethora of new or improved museums, performing arts centers, and galleries. Miami also knows how to carry an international exhibition with flair and fashion. Art Basel is perhaps America’s most important art auction these days.

It feels like everyone in Miami is hungry to try new things in both sport and art. Whether it is an excuse to be in water, or a real pursuit of new hobbies, the fusion of bay, bodies, and spirits creates a unique urban blend. My latest sport of choice? Paddleboarding, of course. What’s after that? Who knows? But on windy days, those windsurfing and sailing schools look pretty attractive as well. My latest art purchase was found at the Coconut Grove Art Festival. Just like downtown, it was a collage of vibrant colors that seem to flow like water. If you’re looking for either sport or art, it’s worth your weekend to get to South Florida to check it out for yourself.