A Travellerspoint blog

Still Heading South

The hardest day of the trip is over, a transit of only three miles. St. Augustine is the flop sweat capital of the ICW. Since we decided to stay an extra day here before heading south Carol suggested that we move the boat south of the Bridge of Lions, which is undergoing a major renovation, a really good idea.

There is a big shoal in the middle of the harbor which requires a course almost into the inlet before making a sharp "V" course change back southwest toward the bridge. There is a close set pair of buoys, a gate, through which a boat must pass; if you turn to soon, the shoal will get you; the tow boat operators get rich on this mistake. I knew this from last year. So, Carol and I are intensely focused ... counting out marker numbers to get to Red 60, which is the turning point. And, we're doing great until I look at the depth meter ..... 7' and getting more shallow. Oooooops!!! We, I, whatever, were committed to and steering toward the wrong red marker. Big mistake! We dodged that bullet, got back into the channel and finally found the right marker.

We arrived at the bridge about 10 minutes before the scheduled 11:00 am opening. Bridges never open on time so I had to hold the boat in a waiting position for about 15 minutes while there was a 4-knot current pushing us into the bridge while the wind was pushing us towards the mainland. I must have had a brain cramp, or something, because after one turn we were way too close to the unopened bridge, going stern first toward it at four knots. The engine has never worked that hard before and probably won't again. Somehow, I don't quite know how, we clawed our way back against the current and out of hazard.

The trifecta of troubles was complete when the operator only opened one span of a two span bridge because of the construction, and by the way, that span doesn't reach true a perpendicular. Not only was the margin reduced by 50%, or so, the usual visual markers don't apply: you cannot center the boat between the bridge supports. So, I put Carol on the deck to give me hand signals. The thing is that to control the boat, have positive rudder action, while going with the current you have to be going faster than it is. So our accomplishment this day was to thread the needle at full ramming speed. The only good thing was that I could not see overhead because of the bimini, so ... I didn't have a reason to panic. Here are captain and boat at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, on the south side of the bridge .... mast in tact, the skipper's nerves not in tact.
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Carol and Victoria had an afternoon doing girl stuff .... in case you cannot tell, Victoria is the small one. Here's Carol at the Flagler College.
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We've just been slogging south, lots of half days with bad weather, bad winds, etc. This is supposed to be about the journey but this has felt more like work. We had a window to head off shore just below Daytona Beach, but when we looked at the weather Carol decided that she didn't want to be cold any more; it would have been about 40 degrees that night. So, we continue along the ICW.

Yesterday we crossed the Mosquito Lagoon, part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It's maybe 10 miles long and 2 miles wide with a depth of 1~5 feet. It's quite beautiful in an austere sort of way; there are no islands, just unbroken body of water. The water must be rich in food because it supports a bird population in the ka-jillions and, seemingly, porpoises too.
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We stopped in Titusville on the evening of Sunday, 02/07/10. I thought that I might find a TV to watch the Super Bowl .... I didn't, so I listened to it on AM radio, the first time I've used that band in more years than I can count. Having awakened too early I got a surprise: the NASA launch of the Endeavor space shuttle. We may have been 7 miles, or less, from the site. What a sight .... like a small sun lighting up the horizon. What I didn't expect was the sound. The boat shook and vibrated like the leaf in the wind.

It's great to live in an open society where people can arrive in planes, cars and boats to watch some of their nation's business being transacted, amazing actually. I wouldn't want to be Homeland Security for something like this.

(The good picture is from a news web site) We passed the launch site about 5-hours after lift off. The tall structure to the left is the gantry.
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We anchored for the first time this year, south of Melbourne and north of Sebastian. I was unsure about the anchorage but we have three other boats with us, so it must be OK. I've come to feel about anchoring like Woody Hayes did the forward pass: three things can happen and two of them are bad. This is off our starboard side: one boat has done well, the other has not.
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Tomorrow we should hit the Vero Beach mooring field, leaving the boat for a couple of days to visit cousin Les and Jean. (This is a stock photo)
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Posted by sailziveli 15:19

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WHEW! Thank heavens you guys are ok! Too close for comfort. Enjoy time off.

by SCfriends

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