Saturday, January 21, 2017

Back on the ICW

I spent part of yesterday in a hospital waiting room and the rest either passed out cold or in a drug-induced euphoric haze, which is pretty much the best possible way to avoid witnessing the death of the American Experiment as it happened on Capitol Hill (judging by the tiny penis crowd sizes that Benito Cheetolini can't help obsessively raging over, guess I wasn't the only one in avoidance mode). We also found a cool pizza joint near Emory's campus ("Slice&Pint"), bought new shoes and a sunglass case for Dawn, and went on an extended wild goose chase through Nowheresville, GA for a heavy-duty rivet gun that took us to Ace Hardware, a Northern Tool & Supply, and a Tractor Supply Co - all fun stores to browse, though none had a rivet gun that could handle 1/4" rivets. I ended up just buying one on Amazon and shipping it to the Vero Beach City Marina. So overall it was a pretty good day, colonoscopy and political death spiral notwithstanding.

 Atlanta was stormy this morning and our flight to Daytona Beach was slightly delayed due to lightning that closed the ramp and delayed the inbound aircraft. We got to Daytona Beach about 11:45, caught an Uber to the marina, collected Piper from the gracious DogVacay lady who dropped him off for us, and set about getting Windbird ready to go. We topped off our water tanks, slipped out of the dock, and headed over to the fuel dock to top off on diesel and collect some packages from the marina office. We took on 38.3 gallons; we've run the engine about 46 hours since the last topoff, so she's using about 8/10ths of a gallon per hour. Not bad. Getting Windbird off the fuel dock was a bit tricky as there was a decent wind holding us on, but we eventually got off & were motoring down the ICW by 1:30pm.

We had a little adverse current but nothing too bad, and enjoyed a high-tide lift over the shallow spots near Ponce de Leon Inlet. We were originally planning to anchor out at New Smyrna Beach but by the time I got the anchor ready we were already most of the way through Sheepshead Cut and realized that the free town dock was vacant. So we decided to do that instead. It's curved and fixed (vs floating) and you have to tie off to pilings rather than cleats, but it's otherwise a pretty nice dock - and the price is right! The unofficial dock greeter, James, came down from his nearby condo to welcome us to NSB. Super nice guy, and actually everyone here has been quite nice. The locals use this dock for fishing and quite a few talked to us tonight - the Minneapolis hailing port is of course quite an attention-getter. Tonight Dawn & I walked Piper through the cute downtown and stopped at the Half-Wall Bar & Grill for a pint and then ended up staying for dinner. The waitresses and patrons all fawned over Piper and he was pretty good...he mostly only barked at skateboarders passing by!

There's a big weather system in its way; in fact it's already wreaked havoc further north. Tomorrow there are supposed to be strong southwesterlies and then thunderstorms in the afternoon; the cold front won't actually pass until Monday morning, though. We're planning to get up early and try to get to at least Titusville (29nm away) before the storms hit. Cocoa (46nm) would be even better but I don't know if that'll happen. And actually if we get up and it looks like the storms might hit before we get to Titusville, we'll just stay put here at the town dock for another day. It's protected from SW through NW, making it a fine place to ride out a cold front, and I certainly don't want to be battling a severe thunderstorm with big gusts and restricted visibility within the narrow confines of the ICW. But if we can safely get south, we will.

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