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May 6, 2005

Oceana’s Ranger in Miami

Oceana’s Ranger completed the first half of its two-ocean expedition in late March, and sailed into South Florida waters. Oceana’s staffers had put in 10 weeks of hard work at sea. Ranger had put in 5,000 miles. Both crew and vessel were badly in need of a rest, some spiffing up, and a chance to take stock before setting off across the vast expanse of Atlantic on their way to Europe.

The Miami Herald ran a story and photo when Ranger put in on April 1 at Harbour Towne Marina in Dania Beach, a small town between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. We planned to give Ranger a bigger send-off. Three weeks later, we brought the boat south to Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami.

Bayside is a two-story, open-sided facility shaped like a broad half-circle facing a marina by the same name. It’s full of shops, restaurants and is a favorite place for Miamians to spend a Sunday afternoon, strolling with children and grandparents, listening to free music and other entertainment. It’s the place where you bring out-of-town visitors.

The press conference was held on April 21, on the eve of Earth Day. The Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sent reporters and photographers; Channel 10, the ABC affiliate sent a cameraman, and the Spanish news wire service, EFE, ran a story and photos that circulated around the world. Ricardo Aguilar, the expedition leader and marine biologist, spoke to the reporters, who were invited to tour the boat. Then the crew had lunch and in the afternoon, they sailed off to Bimini, the first Bahamian island where Ranger would stop.