I remember when I first saw "the Castle" it was pretty well constructed but always lots of building projects going on everywhere. I am sure the neighbors thought it an eyesore because it looked so different from their concept of Miami Beach correctness, but I personally thought it fit Captain Burke's lifestyle perfectly. Behind the walled fence it was like a private adventure at DisneyWorld and the Disney Imagineers couldn't have done better. Entering the gate, crossing the drawbridge over moats filled with sharks was exciting. A large cage of tropical birds, lots of tropical foliage, unique statuary and small stone grottoes reminded you that you were not in Kansas anymore!
Opening the massive door and entering the main hall with 2-story palm trees, enormous fireplace complete with the Sword in the Stone, a naughty Knight and a grand piano set the mood. Lots of unique light fixtures with dragons were everywhere. Beyond the main hall was a wonderful sitting room with custom shaped furniture surrounding a fountain with a small statue and fish, the identical shape, sunk in the floor. In the ceiling the same shape repeated with an opening to the upper floor, surrounded by the same shape furniture. Beyond the sitting room, ceiling to floor windows afforded a magnificent view of Miami and all the windows were on a track and could be opened completely so you could walk out to the pool.
To another side was the great game room with its red pool table. I remember when CB got the pool table on Star Island, a regulation green, and he and the boys spent many hours after dinner--and CB was a real pool shark. At one end of the game room was a player piano with a stained glass front. I remember Oscar & I worked out the glass design incorporating the Admiral's ideas, mermaids with large chests, pirates, ships and the tattoo from his submariner days. Diving that room from the tv room was a wall-size fish tank. Even at Star Island he had several tanks of saltwater fish and his office desk used to set upon a big fish tank as well. When he sat behind his desk it looked like he had his bare feet in the fish tank.
More custom glass work in the wall and doors to the tv room.
On the other side was a dining room with a giant table that could seat his entire extended family, children, spouses, grandchildren. Behind that was a round breakfast room with a magnificent wood table. Jens Freidreicksen spent a lot of time with the inlayed wood. This is the same Jens that was responsible for the teak decks on most of the Windjammer ships. I am sure many shipmates remember the small construction zones on deck during their cruises.
The kitchen had a full size barbeque, big enough for a whole pig and restaurant size walk in refrigerators.
Upstairs were numerous round bedrooms with round beds and more fish tanks separating rooms. Captain Burke had a thing for avoiding 90 degree corners so like the ships, there were no square or rectangular rooms in the castle but only round and curved surfaces. I don't think the elevator was fully completed from the 2nd floor, past the 1st floor and into a small inside pool, but you could actually enter the inside pool, duck under the thick glass wall and be in the outside pool/lagoon.
The outside free shaped pool had several small islands where you could rest a drink with a foot bridge over the pool. At one end was a waterslide for the grandkids to enjoy. On the water side of the deck was a neat dock and sea creatures climbing over the deck edges.
Just like the ships, with the many rooms, balconies and out of the way nooks, everyone could find a private favorite place to relax, read, enjoy music, have a drink and escape the noise and confusion of Miami Beach--a small island in the middle of a big city.
Just like the tall ships of Windjammer, now the Castle is relegated to the memories of those who were privileged to enjoy Captain Burke's generous hospitality and friendship.
You can't lay on the deck and drink rum all day if you don't start early in the morning!