Daytona to Canaveral (Titusville) - June 16, 2008

Titusville Travel Blog

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The trip to Daytona was uneventful. The trip to Canaveral was not.

The day started out mild but there was an afternoon forecast looming.

South of Daytona is another inlet from the Atlantic Ocean. I had been told many times that there is a lot of shoaling (shifting sand, mud, etc. that shallows the water) and to pay close attention through the area. At one point where the ICW and the Ponce Inlet come together, I had a very narrow gap to get through. On one side were exposed cables and pipes. On the other, the shoaling. I managed to sneak through in no more than 6 ft of water. BTW, my boat is around 4 ft deep so that means I had less than 2 ft under the keel! But the bottom was sandy and I was going through at idle speed so I wasn't overly concerned should I touch.

The area from Ponce Inlet south to New Smyrna Beach was very pretty. Huge houses belonging to boats that seemed almost as large. Beautifully landscaped yards whose bright green lawns stopped only to give way to the bright green water beyond. If you had to have a land-based residence, I suppose this would be the way to do it. But for me, for now, I was happy to be looking from the outside as I passed by on my water-based residence.

South of New Smyra Beach the ICW turned into stretches of marsh lands, camp sites and trailor parks. It reminded me of those remote areas back in Oklahoma that ran between the small towns away from the bigger cities - except with saltwater instead of two-lane highways and dirt roads.
And the boats there! Many looked as though they had taken a camper and married it to the bottom half of an old pontoon boat. Very interesting but functional I suppose. Quite a contrast from the veritable mansions just a couple hours behind me.

Past the marshy areas, the ICW opened up and I had more room to move around so I put the sails up. But there was still that forecast. The sails didn't stay up long because there were some strong gusts which made it difficult to keep a tight course and I found that I didn't have as much wriggle room as I had thought. Add to that the offshore power boats flying past and kicking up massive wakes, rocking the boat more than I really felt comfortable with. I could see the clouds building in the south and was glad that I got the sails down when I did.
Back to listening to the forecast.

Storms were to build in the afternoon with the areas of greatest activity directly between where I was and where I was going. Around 3:00 pm it hit. I already had the hatches and ports closed up and was wearing my foul-weather jacket as well as an offshore life vest. I had never seen a storm move across the water like that before and had no more than 45 seconds before it was on top of me. The winds which were previously 5-10 mph had instantly become 30-40 and there had to be some gusts up to 45 if not higher. The waves which were less than a foot were now 5 foot. And the rain was coming in sideways; the canvas cover over the cockpit doing very little to hold it back. Not only was water dripping from my face, but it was salty. But not salty from sweat - the winds were so strong that they were actually blowing water from the tops of the waves into my face.
Visibility was so poor that I could not see the channel markers until I was about 200 yards away. At this point I had no option but to put down the throttle and go straight into the storm. Even if there were a place to anchor I don't think I could have managed to get set. Besides, this wasn't going to last forever. Fortunately I didn't pass any other boats but still had every light on the boat lit up (full-deck illumination, as my friend likes to call it) in case someone else was out in this too.

Now, I know all of this sounds bad but once I had settled down from the initial shock of it, the wind and waves and water sort of fell into a nice rhythm; like heavy rock music that you don't want to listen to all the time, but enjoy it occasionally. And there was a strange calm in that.
And that was it. About 40 minutes of action then a nice, light rain to wash the decks down.

I had planned to anchor out every night until I got to West Palm because marinas cost money and anchoring in free. But tonight I called up the local marina and decided I would tie up to the dock for one night since I was exhausted. Money well spent AND I found a wireless connection so I could write these blogs to catch ya'll up on everything.

Yes, I'm being safe. No, you shouldn't worry. Life is good. It wouldn't be exciting if everyday was a simple stroll from point to point.
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photo by: portia