Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cold In Cocoa Florida

Yesterday I published a post detailing my sail from Daytona to just west of Cape Canaveral. I did not have a reliable enough connection to write a new post describing events of the past 2 days, so I am doing that now.

The morning of February 12th came very cloudy and over cast, no sunrise to speak of, just a gradual lightening of the sky, which revealed itself to be very grey, promising rain and a cool day. As I heated up my morning tea and had a bit of toast for breakfast the rain came, a slow steady rain that lasted the better part of a half an hour. I did not have far to go today, just 13 miles or so from Addison Point down to the anchorage in Cocoa, Fl. As I started the engine and let it warm up the rain abated, and then I was out on deck raising the anchor. The holding here must be very good, it was a tough job to haul in the 5 fathoms of chain I had out, and the anchor did its best to hold fast as I cranked away at the windlass. Finally the anchor broke free and I hauled it in. The wind had picked up a bit, it was blowing a steady 15 knots out of the northeast, and occaisionally gusting to over 20. I motored out to the channel, and turned due south, bearing 180 degrees. I raised the working jib, and motor sailed down to Cocoa.

The sail was uneventful, I passed under a few more bridges, no drawbridges today, and I was making good time, holding a steady 5.5 knots, sometimes breaking 6. I made it to Cocoa in 2 hours 15 minutes, and had pulled into the anchorage by 10:15. Dropping the jib, I motored in to the anchorage, which was quite crowded, and got as close to the public boatramp and dinghy dock as I could, but that was at least 1/4 mile away. As I came in I picked a spot just ahead of a very nice looking schooner - very traditional lines, obviously a steel hulled boat, with a fresh red and white paint job. I set the anchor, paid out a good 5 fathoms of rode (I was in a maximum of 8 feet of water) and then got Spook into the dinghy and headed to shore. I plced a call to the friend of a friend that was supposed to meet me later in the day, and Spook and I set off into town.

The downtown of Cocoa is quite nice, a small waterfront park and boardwalk, that fronts a small old fashioned downtown area. Spook and I walked about a bit, she did her thing, and I did a bit of sightseeing. Then it was back to the dinghy, and I ran Spook back to the boat. As I was heading out to Arden I was following a small dinghy that was being rowed out to one of the other boats in the anchorage, and I was glad to see it headed to the schooner I had previously mentioned. I had the opportunity to speak to the owner, Kevin, and he was glad to tell me about his boat.

Kevin's boat is a Colvin design that he had spent the last 5 years welding up in his backyard. He and his family were preparing to make their first voyage aboard her, down to the islands for a few months to wait out the winter. He was more tha n glad to talk about his boat, as all of us boat owners are, and I was more than willing to listen. She is 36 feet on deck, and about 50 feet over all, and she has is a gaff rigged schooner. Kevin went into more detail about her construction than I have room to write about here, but suffice it to say that the boat he built looks quite well made, with pleasing traditional lines, and she does look very sea worthy and salty. He build his dinghy as well, a Bolger designed Nymph, and it appeared to row quite well and was reasonably quick through the water.

After dropping off Spook I went back in to meet Bill, and as I got back to the dock the skies finally opened up. And I mean it rained, by the bucket full. Bill is a really interesting guy, has lived in Brevard County most of his life, with various stints spent away working and travelling. Currently Bill runs a fishing boat out of Port Canaveral, making his living catching King Fish (King Mackeral) and other seasonal fish here along the central Florida coast. Fortunately for me the season for King Fish is closed, the limit has been met for the season, and it was blowing too hard for him to go out on the off chance that he might find Cobia. So he had time and was nice enough to take that time and run me around. Bill showed me the Canaveral Barge Canal and locks, that would take me from the Indian River out to Port Canaveral, should I decide to go outside from here instead of going down the ICW to Ft Stewart. Right now the way it is blowing that is a coin toss, if it is still blowing over 20 on Monday I think I will sail down the ICW instead of running outside. We spent the rest of the day bumping around the area, Bill took me to lunch at the smoke house there in the dock area, and then we went and visited a friend of his, Johnny, that lives on his 42 foot ketch. We sat around on Johnny's boat, glad to be out of the wet, sharing sea stories and then we went up to the bar. After an hour or so there Bill took me back down to the anchorage, and we made plans to meet this morning.

 I got soaked trying to get the outboard started, for only the second time this trip it failed to start, and luckily the wind was blowing out towards the boat, so I did not have to row overly hard to get back to Arden. It was raining steady as I rowed out, and by the time I got to the boat I was soaked. Once aboard I stripped down and dried off, and got the oven and stove going, yet one more batch of tea. I did what I could to get internet, but it was very spotty and would turn off every few minutes. I settled in to read, made corn muffins and baked beans, and spent the evening curled up on my rack reading. Overnight it blew hard, winds of at least 30 mph, and a hard driving rain. Every so often a gust would hit Arden broadside, and she would heel over hard and swing around on the hook. This went on all night, but luckily it seemed to blow itself out by morning.

So today Bill picked me up, I did laundry at his house, got a shower, we went and filled up my diesel cans, and then went back to check on his boat. It is good to be off the boat for a bit, especially after the way it blew and rained last night. We met his brother Joe and his dog out in a field near Bill's boat, and Spook got in a good romp and run playing with Stella.

So after a lunch of good, hot greasy pizza, we are back at Bill's, my laundry is about done, and I will be back on the boat soon.

1 comment:

Katy said...

hi uncle john.......Seems like you are having a great time. Are you talking to yourself yet? lol...They say its okay if you do as long as you don't answer yourself. lol (don't worry I do both). Just one ? Where does the dog use the bathroom?

Love ya