Run to New Smyrna Beach

Hello fellow adventurers!

Eric the Red reporting on the run from Cocoa to New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Thursday, July 16.

Our crew got up at 0700 to eat breakfast, read their Bibles, prep for leaving, engine fluid checks, disconnecting water, disconnecting shore power, and finally throwing off those dock lines and heading north.  They departed at 0915.

The run was 50 miles, 5 bridges, and volumes of shallow water.

NASA Rail Road Bridge Normally open, auto shuts and reopens when a train passes over
NASA Rail Road Bridge
Normally open, auto shuts and reopens when a train passes over

The first twenty miles were challenged by a constant 15 mph side wind that continuously kept trying to push the vessel out of the ICW, but the newbie skipper managed to keep her in deep water between the navigational aids.

At the 30 mile point, the crew left the Indian River and entered the Haulover Canal.  The canal is one mile long and only about 45 feet wide.  Still Waters II is 14 ft 9 inches wide and was hogging a third of the canal.  The crew saw their first manatees while cruising the canal.  In fact, they spotted five of the beast swimming in the opposite direction of the boat.  One group of three, and another group of two.

Entering the Haulover Canal
Entering the Haulover Canal

Upon exiting the canal, they made a hard left turn and entered mosquito lagoon.  So named because of the shallow water and great breeding ground for the nasty skeeter.  Outside the channel, which was running about eight feet deep, the rest of the lagoon was only 1 – 2 feet of water.

A look back west confirmed that a big thunderstorm was headed directly for the crew.  They began preparing for more rain and the storm finally caught them with about ten miles to go.  The rain was so heavy that the newbie skipper could not see the navigational aids so he asked the best mate to look for the next marker down course while he steered for the closest marker.  They worked well as a team, but the strain wore them out as they continued to move forward while trying to stay out of the shallow water and avoid running aground.

After about an hour of this fun the weather finally broke and the sun was back out just in time for them to enter the marina.  When they hailed the marina on the radio to ask for their mooring assignment, the dock master told them that they had no mooring balls, but had a slip assignment for them.

Oh no!  They are not ready to dock, no fenders out, no lines ready, not mentally ready for this either.  So much for mooring tonite.

Well, lucky for them they were assigned a slip just as you entered the marina, pulled straight in and tied right up.  Some folks they met in Cocoa, but who are actually from Dallas, were parked two slips over and assisted in bringing Still Waters II to safe dockage.  Looks like our crew is starting to get the hang of this docking stuff.

Safe and sound
Safe and sound

After getting all the electrical and water hook-ups and lines securely fastened, it was time for a short stroll thru the town.  Short indeed.  Looks like they have one street, Canal Street, with all the business which roll up the welcome mat at 1700.  They did find the ice cream store, but like the other businesses in town, the store was closed.

All was not lost however, as they did take the time to find two geocaches nearby.

Can you see the ammo can that is the cache?
Can you see the ammo can that is the cache?

Time for our crew to turn in since they have another 44 mile run to make tomorrow, as they make their way north to Palm Coast Marina.

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