Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Daytona, FL 29º12.309N | 81º00.878W

Cara Mia and Serenity, side by side in Daytona. Photo by G.W. Meadows.
Today started out all rodeo and ended all hurry up and wait -- with a lot of BRRR in between.

We left Daytona in raw cold this morning with another rodeo maneuver (see the mooring ball rodeo reference). If you look at the photo above, the marina exit is to the left, so we had to pull out with the stern going toward Serenity. Unfortunately two things were pushing us the other way: the wind and prop walk.

With Chip at the helm, I untied the docklines, and he started backing out. The stern showed zero interest in going to starboard, so I took one of the now-free docklines and flung it, lasso style, around that back starboard piling by Serenity and pulled like I was taming a bull, walking forward along the deck and pulling until the stern ever so slowly swung to starboard allowing the bow to clear that big motoryacht. Whew. High fives all around.

You wouldn't believe how many layers of clothes I'm wearing. BRRR.
The hop to Titusville was not long, but, boy, was it cold. It was mid-30s and gusty when we left the dock. Thank god for those little air-activated hand warmers. I had one in each glove, one in my hat and two in my shoes.

Daytona skyline on a chilly December morning.
There was supposed to be a private rocket launch at Cape Canaveral this morning @ 9, which would have put us in the front row. Alas it was postponed until tomorrow. I'm pretty sure that tall thin tower (below) is the rocket waiting for liftoff.

Bad photo of Cape Canaveral in the chilly haze.
The chilly weather inspired me to turn on the oven, so I made Mexican Cornbread Skillet for lunch.

And Chip was inspired to take a picture of it.
The path to Titusville was fairly benign and ended just after the NASA railroad bridge, listed as "usually open" in the guides. We approached the bridge, which was only a few hundred yards before our marina, at around 2 p.m., relieved to be tucking in before the wind was predicted to kick up.

The two sailboats ahead of us went right up to the bridge, then turned around and started heading back toward us. What?!?!?

The bridge attendant then announced on the VHF that they were working on the bridge, and the barge had blocked all but a 10-foot opening, "maybe a little more." Our boat is just over 13 feet wide.

It would be "about an hour" before the work was complete.

This was about the time the wind picked up, and all the boats we had passed came up behind us. Traffic jam!

Thus began a long hour of maneuvering in a very narrow channel cut through a very shallow Indian River with the wind gusting in the 20s. It was my watch, but Chip heroically offered to take the helm. He idled and motored enough to keep us in the channel while some of the 12 or so other boats actually dropped an anchor.

Boats biding a chilly hour waiting for work to be completed on the Nasa Railroad Bridge near Titusville, FL.
After almost exactly an hour, they cleared us through, and we all made a mad dash (at sailboat speed) to the marina.

Once tied up, we had a dock chat with the fine crew of Seekers, Earl and Kathy, who also come from North Carolina. We asked if they were headed for the Bahamas.

Earl chuckled and said, "Well, yes, but we were headed there last year too. We got as far as Vero Beach and liked it so well, we stayed the whole winter."

Gotta love that cruiser mentality. No hurries. No worries.

Titusville, FL 28º37.272N | 80º48.607W

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