March 19, 2010
I will try once again to post our final blog for Cool Breeze Sails South. In spite of working on it last night and trying to upload photos I made the mistake of hitting the back button which wiped out all my carefully chosen words, and since it was late, I gave up and went to bed. So here we go again . . ..
I rose early on our last day on the water and witnessed a beautiful sunrise over our beloved marshes. A photographer with lots better equipment than I had was on the Isle of Hope docks taking probably much more memorable photos. A single dolphin silently worked the waters around the docks, but, of course, it was impossible to get a picture of it. The morning was typically cold, but the clouds dispersed as we set out for home. We returned to Hilton Head as we began, with heavy jackets and long underwear. Bill had on the most layers – 6 or 7.
The landscape became more and more familiar. We passed by the Memorial Cemetery and came upon the U.S. Coast Guard refurbishing a flashing day marker, and we asked – “How many Coast Guard personnel are necessary to change a lightbulb?” Soon we passed under our last bridge, the Causton Bluff Bridge which was open on request. We traversed the Savannah River, negotiated Field’s Cut with no problem since it had been dredged, and then I took the helm to relieve Bill who was chilled to the bone in spite of the sun and his layers of clothing. Soon Daufuskie Island appeared and we passed the infamous Marshside Mama’s where we’d dined with an outing of the HHPYC. The Harbourtown Lighthouse came into view and we turned into Calibogue Sound. We passed Broad Creek, the May River and called Windmill Harbour. We entered the lock where we were greeted by Harbourmaster Mike and friend Gene. Soon we exited the lock into the harbour and had a safe docking in our good slip B-21.
It has been a long journey – 75 days – and as I quipped to the guys at the lock when we were coming through – 2 of them good! Well, maybe a few more than two, but with the cold and wind it has not been the voyage that we anticipated. We have learned several things from this trip that I’d like to pass on. Don’t go anywhere on a schedule because the weather gods will ensure that the elements will be against you. Don’t leave in January unless the Farmer’s Almanac tells you this is going to be a mild winter. If you see swarms of dead fish floating in the water that is your cue to turn around.
As a positive, we met so many nice sailors on this trip, many of which we wish will visit us in Hilton Head. One of them said “The world is only as wide as the waterway,” and I have to agree with her. If any of you are reading this, please stop by Hilton Head on your journey and we will renew our friendship and give you a guided tour of paradise.
I’m happy to report that the Penguin Coco is happy in her new home. She hasn’t found a final resting place yet, but moves from perch to perch and will eventually find a place she loves. She is certainly one of the positives of this trip and I’m glad she made it unscathed in spite of tossing and turning in the V-berth.
We have spent today unloading Cool Breeze. My laundry room is stacked to the ceiling, but this laundromat doesn’t need any quarters. Cassie, our Ragdoll cat, has performed so well on the boat, but is overjoyed to be back home. And so are we! We can’t wait to visit with friends, play golf, go to Grandparents’ Day in Tennessee, and have many enjoyable days day sailing here in Hilton Head. And to our good pardners, Betty and Ed whom we love and wish them only the best, we hope to see you soon.
March 17, 2010
It’s a little weird knowing that this will be my last post from the road (or should I say waterway), but we are so looking forward to being back in our home port. We will end the journey as we began, freezing cold, in long underwear and multiple layers, but we’ve run out of hand warmers.
We had a good night in Walburg Creek, very peaceful until midnight when our clock/thermometer that Bill reset to daylight savings time decided to alarm. He obviously pushed a wrong button somewhere. Anyway, Bill, after years as an artillery officer, cannot hear the high decibel beeps, but I certainly could. What started out as singular beeps increased to multiple ones, each one getting louder and louder. It took me awhile to discover where the noise was coming from and without my glasses I had to give the device to Bill to turn off. He, of course, wondered why I had jumped out of bed and turned on cabin lights because he couldn’t hear the noise. We managed quite easily to go back to sleep, but I could tell from my brief time out of the V-berth that the night was a cold one.
The cabin temperature in the morning hovered around 50 – not close to our record 38, but close enough. The propane stove helped to improve the temperature to around 55. We left the quiet and calm of Walburg Creek under a grey and threatening sky. We wove our way past the myriad of crab pots that were being put out by the watermen, even as we watched. Why they choose to put them in the middle of the channel I have no idea. It seems they would have a lesser chance of losing them to boat traffic if they re-located them outside the channel. St. Catherine’s Sound was choppy with an east wind which made it clear we did not want to be in the Atlantic, and as I said yesterday, we were already pretty much resigned to another day before arriving at Hilton Head.
There was only a weak sun occasionally trying to break through the clouds, but most of the day was low clouds and very cold. It was the kind of cold that gets into your bones and then the drizzle began. The rain began in earnest as we got to Isle of Hope where we filled up our tank and got tied up, putting in the rain panel yet again. It has rained off and on all afternoon and evening, though I think the worst is over, but the cold remains. The good news is our heat pump is working and Isle of Hope has internet access. We’ve both had hot showers and have clean clothes and don’t have to worry about trying to get our towels dry.
We ate the last of the hot dogs and chilli for dinner and are headed for an early bed time, but wanted to get off this last post. I’ll send a follow-up about our trip after we get home, but for all those who have followed us on this journey, we wish you fair winds and following seas, which have certainly been in short supply for us on this trip.
March 16, 2010
We woke early (only thanks to the alarm), had our breakfast of tasty muffins delivered by the marina (a wonderful perk for staying here) and I made a last check of the NOAA weather before we headed out. While we had really hoped to go outside, the forecast told us not to – winds 10-15 out of the northeast (automatically add ten knots to the forecast). We’d had enough of the wind and waves on our bow, and with temperatures only in the high 50’s to low 60’s, we opted for the inside journey, knowing we’d be adding another day to our trip. We were resigned to it though as weather conditions have not been our friend on this trip.
At least the sun was shining although the wind was piping up into the 20’s. We didn’t have much protection from the marshes, but being behind the dodger and in the sun as I was, it wasn’t too bad. Bill had on his six or seven layers and was doing pretty well at the helm. We were making good time as the current was with us for most of the day and we were speeding along at 7 knots or more. Just as we were about to enter the infamous Little Mud River a dolphin sounded and blew on our starboard side where I was sitting. Bill and I both jumped about a foot, and the spray from its blow hole splashed the book I was reading. (S)He sounded again, but this time we were ready. I think dolphins have a real sense of humor and probably get a kick out of startling boaters. Since we were just past high tide we made it through the Little Mud River with no problems. The slog across Sapello Sound was long and cold with the wind funneling through from the east, but we made it. The current really swirls where the North and South Newport Rivers enter the ICW as well as other streams. We passed the Wahoo River where we had anchored on our way down early in the afternoon and decided to continue on, as we had St. Catherine’s Island on our right. I got the binoculars out to look for those elusive exotic animals that are supposedly on the island, but all I saw were a few wood storks and sea gulls. As the afternoon progressed, the clouds came in and we both began to feel the chill, Bill more so than me as he was at the helm most of the day. Finally we came to St. Catherine’s Sound and decided to make for Walburg Creek on the off chance that we’d be able to go outside and be home in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It was one of our longest days on the water on this entire trip so we were glad when we got the anchor down on the first try. We were the only boat at the anchorage and were treated to a gorgeous sunset, though we viewed it mostly through the port holes only heading up top to snap a few photos.
The temperatures fell as rapidly as the sun and we prepared for a cold night with temps in the 40’s – this seemed like déjà vu. We had leftover spaghetti for dinner, and watched my favorite show The Biggest Loser (thankfully we had NBC). Since there is no cell tower close by for my air card, I’ll post this tomorrow. The weather forecast on NOAA says we’ll be traveling inside tomorrow. Sixty-two miles to Hilton Head, but we can’t take another long, cold day especially with rain in the forecast, so it looks like our ETA will be Thursday.
March 15, 2010
This morning, after looking at the NOAA weather site, weather underground, and the weather channel, we decided to take a chance and head out for St. Simons outside. We had an outgoing tide and west winds, so it sounded as this would be a better day to leave than tomorrow. I’m sure our desire to get home also colored our decision. We got off the dock well in spite of the wind with help from a dock hand and were headed to the channel when we started to raise our sail under semi-protected conditions. As we were in the process of putting up the sail, the launch from Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, the Lucy B. Ferguson, came barreling towards us. I was at the helm and asked Bill what to do, and he said not to worry, he wouldn’t hit us as we had plenty of room behind us, and every mariner knows that a sailboat raising a sail is in a very vulnerable position. Well, the skipper of the Lucy B. evidently didn’t give a darn about the rules of the road and kept proceeding full steam ahead. Bill finally told me to fall off before we had the sail fully raised, which resulted in increased difficulty getting the sail up. The skipper of the Lucy B. was nonchalant about his obvious errant behavior when Bill called him on Channel 16.
In spite of that difficulty, we got the main up and headed out the channel. This was the first time we’d raised our sail since Hawk’s Channel in the Bahamas. We waited until we’d exited the ship channel before we let out the head sail, but then for about an hour, we shut the motor down and actually sailed. After that time the wind shifted more to the north so we brought in the head sail and motor sailed towards St. Simons. It was a long day with seas a bit more than the 1 foot advertised by NOAA and the wind a bit more than 15-20 (more like 20-30 and 3 foot seas). The most vexing thing about the day was the temperature though, which didn’t get out of the 50’s and the wind chill made it feel much colder. Isn’t it ironic that we are ending this trip in the same way we began – back in our long underwear, sweaters, gloves, sweatshirts, and heavy jackets. This trip just isn’t quite what we had envisioned it would be.
We were worried that our trip into St. Simons Sound would be really rough, but the tide was pretty much slack and the anticipated huge rollers didn’t materialize. We had a good docking at Golden Isles Marina, fueled up, and had long, hot showers. For dinner, we went ashore again and had a nice evening at the Coastal Kitchen. Now we’re both tired and headed for an early evening in spite of daylight savings time which should make our bodies feel that it really isn’t that late. We’ll make the decision in the morning as to whether we’ll head outside again to St. Catherine’s Island and an anchorage in Walburg Creek or travel inside and brave the shallow waters of the Little Mud River. Either way, we hope to be home in the next couple of days.
March 15, 2010
We’ve been here in Fernandina for two days. We left Jacksonville in the sunshine with high cumulus clouds which were rapidly advancing to the east with a pretty stiff breeze. However, this weather was much improved from our previous days so we set out for Fernandina. Although it was pretty breezy and often cloudy, we were doing fine until we hit the South Amelia River. It was very shallow, but had a long fetch, and the wind was piping up. We saw 42 mph on our wind indicator at one point, but it was holding steady in the 30’s. The water had waves like the ocean, but Bill did a good job of getting us to Fernandina. He did say the last two hours were about the worst he’d had. By the way, the temperatures were only in the low 60’s, so with the wind chill, it was pretty cold. We came into Fernandina Harbor Marina after being warned of the strong currents and winds, but docked on the inside of the face dock right behind a three story cruise ship which did a great job of blocking the wind. Therefore, we were able to dock without incident, but around 4:00 the cruise ship headed out leaving us to rock and roll in the wind, but at least we weren’t jammed on the dock. We went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The old town Fernandina was crowded with tourists in town for the Concourse ‘d Elegance. The supposed 20 minute wait turned into 45 and dinner was cold and unappetizing. It was an evening we’d like to forget. We did have fun talking with a couple who are both Harley bikers; she was a housewife and he was a bank loan officer. And, the table next to us had five housewives from Atlanta (does that sound like a TV show?). They were definitely having a good time.
As we looked at the weather for the next day we were really discouraged. We had hoped to make it to St. Simons, but all the forecasts had for strong winds again. We did not sleep well that night as the wind howled and the shrouds thrummed, and we pretty much knew that we would be here in Fernandina another day. Of course, we are very discouraged, but we are totally weather dependent, so we spent a second day here in Fernandina.
The wind continued to blow; the skies were mostly cloudy with some periods of sun. We ate a late breakfast/brunch and then went exploring around the town. Fernandina is really a cute place with many interesting shops and restaurants. We scouted out a restaurant for dinner and then hiked to a Fred’s to buy some mundane items such as garbage bags and coffee cream. Back at the boat, I finished my 14th book and began another. Then we got reservations at a cute Italian restaurant and had an excellent meal without the hassle that we’d had the night before. Right now, it is very calm, but the forecast is for the winds to increase in the early hours of the morning, this time from the northwest. We will wait until the morning to make a decision, but it is beginning to look like another day in Fernandina.
We are trying to remain positive, but it’s hard when we keep facing weather delays. However, we both agree it is better to be safe than to push through bad weather just to get home a day earlier. It’s just not worth it, but we are surely looking forward to sailing into Calibogue Sound and going through the locks into Windmill Harbour.
March 13, 2010
We’re on the move again and are safely docked in Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville. We spent three days in St. Augustine which really is a nice city to be stuck in, but yesterday was heavy rain and wind most of the day so we stayed hunkered down in the boat. As with most boats, we have a few minor leaks, especially with all this rain. We heard that 4 inches of rain fell which is the normal total for the whole month of March. I had walked up to the hotel pastry store in the morning and purchased two giant muffins and a cinnamon roll. When I got back to the boat I found they had shorted me the cinnamon roll, and I would have gone back to claim it, but the rain had set in, and it wasn’t worth it. We read and surfed on the internet for most of the day – not much else to do. Finally, around 5:00 the rains slacked off to off and on drizzle, so we got nice showers, had a few libations and went to Harry’s for dinner, which was quite good.
We’d been studying the weather, and the forecast didn’t look that great, but it also looked as though the majority of the showers would be south of Jacksonville, our next destination. We decided if the forecast hadn’t changed in the morning we’d go for it, so we set the alarm for an early hour and turned in after watching the latest Survivor episode.
Today dawned gray and dreary and foggy. The forecast still seemed acceptable, though the rain line was perilously close to Jacksonville. We decided to go for it, as we were ready to be home (as if you hadn’t noticed). The first obstacle was the Bridge of Lions where only one draw opened (in addition to the lift bridge). The sports fisherman who was supposed to go through the bridge ahead of us was hesitating because of a barge on the eastern side where the only span was open. The bridge tender called for us to go through ahead of him. We cautiously made our way through the opening and it wasn’t as close as we’d feared. Then the sports fisherman decided he could make it, too, after watching us. A sailboat on the north side of the bridge approached the opening. We waved and after a shout-out from them that it was a close passage and a return call from me on the bow that they could definitely make it, Bill took the radio call from the sailboat Celebration. Aboard was a friend, Greg, from the Oconee Sailing and Yacht Club. They were on their way to the Bahamas. As a friend once said, the world is only as wide as the waterway. We wish them safe passage and a much warmer journey than we’ve had.
As an aside, Bill tells me that the Bridge of Lions renovation cost $100 million instead of $5. Our tax dollars at work for a bridge that will continue to impede boaters traversing the ICW. But, it will still look like the old bridge! I guess it depends on what is important to you and evidently the good people of St. Augustine felt the bridge restoration was important.
After we made it safely through the inlet, the rains began. After getting the fenders in and coiling the dock lines, I was pretty soggy, so I headed below and left Bill to navigate the waterway only briefly taking the helm to let him don all his foul weather gear. During the passage I did manage to finish book #13, a weird James Patterson novel You’ve Been Warned, which I don’t recommend, and started on #14. At one point we heard a boat calling the Coast Guard to report “shoaling.” Seems the boat had grounded the day before in the Matanzas inlet even though it was inside the markers. Hope the Coast Guard will move those green cans to a more acceptable location, but if not, anyone reading this should definitely favor those red markers and stay away from the green. In spite of bucking the tide most of the way, we arrived pretty early at Palm Cove Marina. After a successful dockage and hot showers, I made spaghetti for dinner and we’re about ready for the V-berth.
Sorry I don’t have any more pictures, but you’ve probably seen enough of us in our yellow slickers and the gray, dull day didn’t lend itself to any interesting photos. My video of the sailboat race, although it uploaded, wasn’t viewable. We hope to leave tomorrow for Fernandina with Hilton Head in our distant sights.
March 11, 2010
We are in lovely St. Augustine at the Municipal Marina and at present are rocking and rolling with a strong south wind on our stern (where is that north wind when you need it?).
After our really nice day coming up from Daytona we were brought back from our fantasy of fairer weather to reality when we woke up to another grey, gloomy day, threatening rain. In spite of the dismal forecast, we pushed on for a fifth straight day of “get up and go.” The best part of the weather was there was very little wind. Soon after we left the marina we heard some chatter on the radio about the Matanzas inlet. We switched up to listen to the conversation. A sailboat had run aground at the inlet even though he was well inside the green can marker. We listened to the unfortunate mariner question two northbound sailboats as to where the deeper water was. They replied close to the red markers, where there was reportedly nine feet. We switched back to 16 and after a while heard that grounded sailboat (Doneka was the name, I think) try to warn off a trawler from the shoal. The trawler (Old Salt) said, “Too late, I’m already grounded.” As we came closer and closer to the inlet, Bill called the stuck sailboat and asked if he would talk us through the inlet when we got there. He cheerfully agreed to help. Bill was nervous as a cat as we approached, since it was close to dead low tide. This also was the place where we had bumped and backed up on our way south, barely avoiding grounding. With the captain of Doneka on the bow of his boat directing us, we gingerly traversed the inlet and had plenty of water as we hugged the red markers. We felt so sorry for the unfortunate boats in the inlet. We had heard from a boater at Palm Coast that there had been about 30 groundings in that inlet during the last month and I believe that. Previous information we had about crossing the inlet was to favor the green markers, but obviously the strong currents have changed that! We thanked the captain that assisted us and wished him a quick re-floating, though he was still there by the time we got to St. Augustine.
Matanzas Inlet has a rather gruesome history. It is where Pedro Menendez, the founder of St. Augustine, after bargaining with 300 shipwrecked French sailors and promising fair treatment, slaughtered all the captives, except 10 which professed to be Catholics. Shortly thereafter, he convinced Jean Ribault and 120 French refugees to surrender just south of the inlet. They also were summarily slaughtered. That is how the inlet got its name, as Matanzas means place of slaughter and it is still commanding its fair share of victims. The fort at the inlet, which is a Spanish one dating back to 1660, was built about 100 years after Menendez’s bloody rampage.
We only had one bascule bridge to cross under and that was open on demand, so our day was not very stressful except for the inlet crossing. We were amused by the sights along the river, especially the big fish exploding through the roof of a boat house. Because we were riding with the current most of the day, we had another short day on the water, arriving at St. Augustine just after 12:00, where we fueled up, secured Cool Breeze in her assigned slip, and headed on shore for lunch.
We debated whether to head out again the next day for Jacksonville as storms are forecast for Thursday and Friday. However, we are weary of the constant travel and in desperate need of clean clothes, so the captain made the decision to stay put, hoping the predicted weather pattern will change.
Today was laundry day. The marina has a nice Laundromat and I made use of just about every machine available. While there I met the man who owned the sailboat/trawler pictured in an earlier blog. He was a nice man who had spent the winter in Melbourne where his son lives and was traveling back home to the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. He gave me a detailed explanation about his cable on his engine and something about gas cans and crimping, about which I hadn’t a clue, but I think I managed to nod at the appropriate times and say, “That was good,” when he said he got a used cable at the sailor trading store. I guess he didn’t know I had no idea what he was talking about.
While I was at the Laundromat, Bill talked to a man who had a large wooden double-ended rowboat. He had a tent-like canvas covering on it yesterday, but today he had removed that and was in the process of preparing to leave. Bill told him it looked like a boat that you row across the ocean, but the man told him no, he had only been rowing on the Intracoastal waterway and he had started in Key West. He is headed to New York and hopes to get there by May! He was happy that a friend of his was coming along with him for the next few days to help him row. Can you even imagine that? As you can tell from his picture, his constant rowing has earned him a ripped upper body. Let’s hear it for the Baby Boomers!
We wandered around old town St. Augustine and had lunch at an Irish Pub just across from the Castillo de San Marcos just up from the Bridge of Lions. This bridge has been under construction for over 5 years. The bridge was originally scheduled to be removed and replaced by a high rise, but the people of St. Augustine refused to give up their bridge. So now, after 5 years and more than 5 million dollars St. Augustine will have their new/old bridge back with the original steel having been refurbished and re-used. It will still be a bascule bridge and open on a restricted schedule. There are still more closings scheduled for the waterway when the bridge is closed for all traffic for about 4 days for construction work, which can be a real pain for those traveling the ICW who arrive at the wrong time. It is probably really hurting the marina business as the marina has many, many vacant slips. By the way, St. Augustine will begin preparing new mooring fields in March north and south of the Bridge of Lions and in Salt Run with scheduled completion this summer. It should be a nice addition to the municipal facilities with almost 200 mooring balls.
With a 70% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow and the same forecast for Friday, we may be here in St. Augustine a few more days. I have been clicking my heels together and repeating, “There’s no place like home,” but to no avail. Right now it’s looking like we’re a week away from home, although if we can get the right weather to go outside we may make it home earlier. We’ve told lots of people who question why we’re going north that we’re going home to get warm. One south-bound sailor said he had just been there and we sure weren’t going to be warm going north, but then he didn’t know we were referring to our house with the heat cranked up to 80!
I have tried to upload a video of sailboats racing north of the Bridge of Lions. It is very shaky as I was standing on a floating dock with the wind blowing, but I thought I’d try to take advantage of TripSailor’s new feature.
March 09, 2010
Finally, a day that was really good. We left Halifax Harbor around 10:00 with very little wind and temperatures climbing up into the 60’s. We had three bascule bridges to traverse, but all were open on demand, which are our kind of bridges. We weren’t blown away by any power boaters or sports fishermen, and the water surface had only a few ripples. Add to all those factors, we only had about 4 hours of motoring, and we arrived at Palm Coast Marina in good order. I even got our stern line around the cowboy piling on the first try. Truly, a monumental day.
We had good showers at the marina and another pasta and veggie dinner – probably our favorite onboard dinner. Now we’re settled in for tonight and will try for an early start tomorrow as afternoon showers are predicted. The weather forecast doesn’t look good for the next three or four days, so we’ll spend some time in St. Augustine and anticipate a better weather window for our travels to the north. We’re discussing doing a day and a night outside, which would be a first for us, but we’d have to have perfect weather.
Check out the pictures for today. The sailboat turned trawler is what happens when sailors get tired of the unpredictability of the weather.
A short post for tonight, but just wanted to tell you of our good day after days of whining about the weather.
March 07, 2010
Ditto from yesterday except today was about 2 hours longer. We left Titusville around 9:00. The problem with the wind today is that we had to travel where the fetch was long: Indian River, then Mosquito Lagoon, then the Halifax River. It seemed as though the wind was direct from the North Pole. We had spray coming over the bow all day, and Bill frequently tried to wipe off the dodger, but his cleaning didn’t last long. I don’t know whether it was the wind or the waves or the fact that we were on the water for longer than usual, but we were both really tired by the time we arrived at the marina.
We only had a couple of bridges to negotiate today – the Haulover Canal, which was open on demand and presented no problem other than a strong current, and the Coronado Beach Bridge which was on a restricted schedule. Of course, we missed that opening by about three minutes – typical! The Haulover Canal was filled with weekend fishermen and kayakers, but they didn’t pose any serious problems. Mosquito Lagoon also had fishermen and clam diggers, but the most serious threat was a small boat with a couple who were anchored in the middle of the ICW oblivious to the danger they posed to passing craft or the more serious danger to themselves. I guess it takes all kinds.
Mosquito Lagoon is also home to Florida’s largest recreational vehicle park, precariously perched on the shores of the waterway. If you ever wondered where those travel trailors traversing I-95 were headed – now you know! This is one of the least attractive stretches of Florida’s waterways. Unattractive to us because it is very shallow both in the waterway and extremely shallow outside of the waterway. Also, the habitats are 180 degrees from the mansions we saw in south Florida.
After a very long day we finally turned in to the Halifax Harbor Marina, a large marina with 550 slips. This is a very nice marina with concrete floating docks. We had an easy docking, enjoyed hot showers at the “yellow” station, and walked to a local pizza parlor for dinner. This is the last day of Daytona Bike Week, and we shared the pizza parlor with several Bike Week representatives. We remembered our last trip in 2007 when we came through Daytona during bike week and were happy that the constant roar of cycles on the roadway wouldn’t be repeated.
Now, we’re watching the Academy Awards, but bedtime isn’t far away. Tomorrow should be a shorter day as we travel to Palm Coast Marina.
March 07, 2010
Another cold day on the water with temperatures in the 50’s and wind in the 20’s. We left Telemar Marina around 9:30 in the morning. A sculling scow had pulled out just as we had, so we called to them and asked them to stop as we weren’t as maneuverable as they were. Fortunately, the ladies stopped on a dime and we headed back out the Banana River. We dodged crab pots until we made it back into the ICW. White caps were already present so we knew we were in for another long slog north. We passed a few boats going south (downwind) with the captain and crew in short sleeves – ah, to be so lucky. We, on the other hand, look like the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy! The best thing about the cold and wind is that it keeps the pleasure boaters off the water, so there was little boat traffic, although there were still a few obnoxious sports fishermen.
We passed by Cape Kennedy and thought we saw the space shuttle on the launch pad. It was really too far away to tell, but we have a picture, so you can be the judge. Our dockmates at Telemar said they were in Titusville when the last launch occurred Thursday night. Some of the couples at our dinner social at Riverside Café had stepped outside to see it, but came back disappointed. “Nothing to see,” they said. From our friends at the marina, we learned the launch had been delayed by about 20 minutes, so our dinner companions were back inside the restaurant when it happened. I don’t think I’ll tell them about that, as the couple on the Beneteau at Banana River said it was spectacular.
We only had two bridges that were open on request to navigate today. Both were bridges to the Space Center, and both have restricted openings on the weekday, but since it was Saturday there was no problem. The bridge tender at the Addison Point bridge gave us a great opening – no waiting – and when we got to the Titusville swing bridge we saw that it was already opened. Bill called and said he saw the bridge was open and the tender said, “Yes, it’s been open for two weeks.” They are building a high rise bridge, so the construction has closed the bridge to traffic, but left it open to boat traffic. I’m glad to see another high rise bridge in progress, but they need to work on the South Florida bridges first.
We made it to the Titusville Marina by 3:30, fueled up, and made it in to our assigned slip. Although the wind was still whipping, we had one of our better dockings. The only casualty was our “floating” boat hook which slipped from Bill’s hand and promptly sank to the bottom. Luckily, we have another. After good showers we are settled in for the evening looking forward to a crab cake dinner compliments of Fresh Market in Vero Beach.