Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Droning to Daytona

Yesterday went about as planned or maybe even a little better. We were up at 5:30am; after running Piper to shore and putting the dinghy on its davits, we got the boat ready to go and were off the mooring by 6:50 to make the Bridge of Lions' 7am opening. We had a flood tide helping us at first, then slowing us for a few miles before Matanzas inlet, then helping us again. Once past Palm Coast the tides become quite small and well separated from the inlet tide times, but we did have a little adverse current on the Halifax River past Ormond Beach to Daytona.

It was a fairly nice stretch of the ICW, but inevitably got boring after hours of motoring at 5.9 knots. We still haven't had a chance to autotune our autopilot so it's a little too wandering for use on the ICW, and we hand-steered the whole way, alternating one-hour shifts. The only really notable events were when I was eating breakfast at the helm and distractedly mistook a green daymark for a red, very nearly running us up on a sandbar in the process, and when we had to divert out of the charted channel at Matanzas Inlet to skirt a very large, very shallow shoal. At one point we saw 6.8 ft on the depth sounder, which got our attention real quick! Our track on the chartplotter actually showed us going through land, though in reality we were about 30 feet from shore.


We ended up going to one of the southern anchorages in Daytona, just past the remains of Memorial Bridge, which is being very noisily demolished. Thankfully the work ceased shortly after we arrived at 3:15pm, and has only been sporadic today. This anchorage is on the other side of a 3' bar from the main channel but Active Captain had good instructions for getting in and we saw no less than 8' on entrance. We're anchored in 11' just off the dock of a very nice mansion. As we were anchoring the security guard came down to the dock in a not-so-subtle show of force. No cruiser scum welcomed here! At first we had the anchorage to ourselves, but two other boats came in later. Last night we used a public boat ramp near the municipal dock across the river as our dinghy landing, but it's in a not-so-nice area and is far from optimal - you have to beach the dinghy on some slippery rocks. Late last night I took Piper over to do his business, and upon hoisting him back into the boat slipped in the mud and scratched up my leg pretty good. It looks like I had a tussle with the killer honey badgers of Daytona Beach.


Last night was a touch chilly but Dawn made homemade artisan bread, simultaneously warming up the boat and making it smell delicious! She also made Indian Butter Chicken Curry with rice, which is quick becoming one of my favorite meals. Today is a "lazy day" so we slept in until about 8:30, after which I put some more gas in the dinghy tank and went exploring with Piper. We found a much better boat ramp / dinghy dock option inside the Halifax Harbor basin, which is where we'll be taking the slip tomorrow. The grounds are quite nice, with a riverside path perfect for dog-walking. After our walk I went to the marina office to confirm our slip for tomorrow and get a list of local marine service providers. The manager at Charleston City Boatyard agreed to pay for replacing the nav light wiring which is apparently pinched under the bow pulpit structure, so we just have to find someone to do it while Windbird is at the dock the next few days.


Although it's a lazy day I'm going to try to be productive by getting a bunch of little maintenance tasks done around here, and write my monthly Flying column. I'm also going to take a dip in the Halifax River to try to free our triducer paddlewheel...whether due to seaweed or a barnacle, we had zero Speed Through Water readout yesterday. I'll do a little scraping the bottom while I'm down there. At the dock tomorrow we'll be taking down the mainsail and stackpack to reinforce the stackpack zipper with Dawn's sewing machine, and I'll also be reworking the reef lines and our staysail furling line. That'll be a good day's project. Piper's DogVacay sitter will be coming by the marina at 10:30am, so we're planning to move the boat over at 9am. Dan and Isabelle from Epiic are coming down from St. Augustine today, so I expect we'll probably do happy hour on one boat or another tonight. And tomorrow our flying friend Traci Farley, who lives at nearby Spruce Creek Airpark, is coming for dinner. Then we fly to Atlanta on Thursday, get back Saturday, and on Sunday we head south for Fort Lauderdale.

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