Friday, January 29, 2010

Stuck In Daytona

Ok, so I'm not really stuck in Daytona, but I thought it would make a good headline. Yesterday afternoon though I was kind of stuck, the last draw bridge before the anchorage I wanted to go to could not open (it eventually was fixed) so I dropped the hook and here I am.

Yesterday morning Spook and I went for our morning walk on the beach, she had a great time chasing birds, meeting other dogs, and just flat out being a dog. She was so intent on chasing birds that a few times she found herself in the path of approaching waves, and quickly scrambled back towards the beach and the safety of dry land. That didn't always work, and once or twice her paws got wet, much to her surprise. Definitely not a water dog, but she is great fun to watch, and she definitely loves the chance to get off the leash and run.

While out walking we came upon a gentleman out surf fishing, reminded me of stories a friend of mine used to tell me about her friends surf fishing, and he and I struck up a conversation. Turns out Lou is retired from Pennsylvania, and comes out in the mornings to fish for whiting. According to his observations, whiting is better than orange roughy (I'll take his word on that, I am not much of a fisherman. I enjoy it, but am not overly successful at it) and that is all he really fishes for. He does catch other species, but those he releases. Apparently whiting prefer what Lou called "sand fleas", those little crustaceans that burrow in the sand right at the tide line, when I was a kid at the beach I would spend hours digging for them, and I knew just what he was talking about. So we said our goodbyes and headed back to the boat, quite a long walk, I would guess we have been walking just at around 3 miles a day.

After our beach adventure, we returned to the boat and got ready to leave for Daytona. I had to haul in 2 anchors, the aft one without the benefit of the windlass, so it took a good bit of time and effort to get off the anchor. We left Flagler Beach behind at around 11:45, and headed down to Daytona, a short trip of about 15 miles. There isn't a whole lot to say about this section of the ICW. I would guess the most interesting thing about it was the drawbridges we had to pass through, and there were only 2 of those. We did see just a few dolphin, not many though, and then I was back to reading as I motored along. The view is not much for most of this stretch, it is marsh and low land on one side, houses and bulkheads on the other. Not alot for scenery, and the channel is straight as an arrow, going from one marker, to the next, to the next...I need to get back offshore and sail.

Once we got down into Daytona, as we passed a small marina on the starboard side, I saw the Schooner that my friend Jon had ferried down to St. Augustine, now it was piloted by the new owner, Sven. Just after passing Sven's boat, I came to the Main Street Bridge, and requested an opening, as I was headed to an anchorage a mile or so further down. No luck, the bridge master acknowledged my request, and then must have tried to open the bridge 15 times. The alarms would sound, the gates would drop, traffic would stop, and nothing. The alarms would go off again, and the gates would raise, and traffic would pass over, and then he would try again. Nothing, not even the noise of machinery trying to open the bridge. I circled for about 20 minutes, and then eased towards the west bank of the channel, and anchored for the duration. After a good while the bridge finally did open, but I informed the bridge master that I was now anchored,and I would be here at least over night. Spook and I went ashore at a small sand bar at the base of the bridge, and then hiked up to visit Sven and his family. Sven is, if I remember right, German, via Bahrain (he worked there for a few years) and lately New Zealand. He has a really nice boat, I have forgotten the make, but it is well appointed and very nice inside. We had a few Heineken's, and then I had to return to Arden, as darkness was falling and I needed to turn on the anchor light. Sven offered me use of his shower pass, and hot coffee this morning, so shortly I will dinghy over and join them for breakfast.

This morning came with a beautiful sunrise, I had actually thought that sunrise in the city might be a bit of a disappointment, but it wasn't, it turned out to be one of the more colorful sunrises I have had yet.

The day before yesterday marked a milestone for Sailcloth, we had 30 visitors stop by the blog, which is an all time daily high. This morning I checked the stats again, and yesterday was not a bad day either, 20 visits, which had been the previous high water mark. So to all that visit and read, I want to thank you for stopping by and visiting with Spook and I, we do appreciate the company.

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