Day 5 of our Cocoa Beach trip. We see more Coast Guard and Pirates Everywhere!
Day 5 dawned a beautiful morning in St. Augustine! It was HOT! 77 degrees and no wind. We took our time in the morning and went for breakfast at a little bakery in the Marina, then got things ready and headed out around 9:30. The day overall was good but seemed very long. The farther south in Florida you get, the more congested it gets both on the waterway with other boats, and on the shore with lots of docks so there’s a lot of slow time. Also, there are many Manatee protection zones where you have to go very slow.
We left Commachee Cove and headed south toward the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine our first drawbridge that we had to have opened to fit under. The bridge opens on the hour, so we hurried to make the 10:00 opening. The route to the bridge took us past the St. Augustine lighthouse and Castillo de San Marcos an old Spanish fort.
We just made the 10:00 opening and waited for a few minutes while a sailboat heading north came through first. Then through the bridge, past the Pirate Ship (there are lots of pirates in Florida), and on toward New Smyrna Beach.
A couple of miles outside of St Augustine, we passed yet another Pirate! Our next draw bridge was Crescent Beach. The operator didn’t want to open for us and questioned our height (24′) the reader board read 21′ so we convinced her to open.
We passed 4 US Customs and Border Protection boats on our trip. They seem to cruise the waterway. The boats were new, really nice, and had 4 to 8 agents on board so you can see what agencies are getting federal funding!
Around Painters Hill, we went past a Coast Guard buoy tender placing navigation buoys in the channel. Near Beverly Beach, the ICW runs only about 1/4 mile from the ocean, separated by just a narrow strip of land and you can see the surf and the homes along the shore.
Moving on our next bridge was the LB Knox bridge in Ormond Beach. This bridge has only 15′ of clearance so there was no negotiation needed but they made us wait for about 15 minutes for a northbound boat to reach the bridge so that they didn’t have to open twice.
There are 1,000’s of nice homes along the waterway. If we took photos of all of them, we’d have almost as many house pictures as we do pelican pictures!
Next was the Main Street Bridge in Daytona Beach this one was a quick request and opening. Daytona has three bridges in quick succession, (only one is a drawbridge). Next was the Broadway Bridge which has beautiful mosaics of dolphins and manatees on the support columns. The last bridge in Daytona is the Memorial Bridge, which used to be a drawbridge but they are replacing it with a new bridge.
From there it was a pretty good run to New Smyrna. In New Smyrna, there is a drawbridge where the board was reading 24′ and we are 24′ (the height is at the lowest point on the bridge and it’s arched, so as long as you go through the center, it’s taller), so I decided to go through. Brenda was not happy so she went below to get ready to abandon ship when we hit (so no photos). The sign was correct, we went through with about 2 ft to spare.
Our marina for the evening, New Smyrna Marina, was just around the corner. We kept calling on the radio, and got no answer, The wind had picked up and there was a heavy current, but we were able to pull up to the fuel dock without issue, and just as we touched a dockhand came running down. (He was in the kitchen of the restaurant cutting onions and didn’t hear the radio). We tied up, fueled up, and just had to pull forward about 10′ for our slip spot for the night.
We had dinner at the restaurant in the marina. Good food, mediocre service. It didn’t look like the HR manager hired for brains.
Today’s stats; 61 nm, average of 8.8 knots. The morning was clear and calm, the afternoon was slightly overcast and the wind picked up around 3:00.
Tomorrow we have only 50 miles to Cocoa Beach our final stop southbound!
Tom & Brenda