Hello fellow adventurers!
Eric here reporting on the leg of journey from New Smyrna Beach to Palm Coast, Fl.
The journey included 43 statute miles, 9 bridges, the Ponce de Leon Inlet, passing thru Daytona Beach, and a few surprises for our crew.
The first surprise was about a mile north of the Marina. The George E. Musson, Coronado Beach Bridge was reported to have a clearance of 24 feet. With the antenna down, our air clearance is 17.5 feet. No problem getting under this bridge, except as they approached and got close (maybe a little to close) the skipper began to think there was not enough clearance to get under. He put the engines in neutral and began looking for the level marker on the bridge. With a little help from his binoculars, he found the current conditions with only a 15 foot clearance. He hailed the bridge and requested an opening, the bridge tender stopped traffic, and Still Waters II cleared the bridge.
As the crew made the left turn towards the Inlet, the lighthouse came into view. While observing the lighthouse rather than the navigational aids, our skipper missed the left turn at red marker ’18’. As the skipper reached the next red marker is was ’12’ and without the ICW yellow triangle. He quickly made a u turn and went back and found ’18’ and got back in the ICW.
The tide was rising so the Atlantic Ocean was pouring in the Inlet and the crew rode the current all the way to Daytona Beach. The water in this area was a pretty tourqoise.
In Daytona Beach, there were two more bridges that the boat should have slide under, but because of the rising tide they were in the 16 foot range. The skipper hailed the bridge, traffic was stopped, and she maneuvered safely thru the current. However, at the Main Street Bridge, the crew was informed that only half of the bridge was working, so proceed at your own risk. The skipper once again maneuvered the boat safely thru the bridge, but I think he was holding his breath most of the way thru.
Since the skipper was a bit nervous, he was going slow and cautious. Once clear of the bridge the crew looked to see how far the traffic was backed up. Yes, it was backed up for as far as they could see. Hope nobody was in a hurry.
By the time the crew reached the L.B. Knox Bridge (only 15 foot clearance), the crew hailed the bridge in plenty of time to cruise right thru with no issues or waiting. Amazing what a little practice can do for our new skipper.
From this point (mile 816) to the Marina (mile 803), the east side of the ICW was lined with large beautiful homes, pools, and boat docks. The west side, was raw undeveloped land. These folks have a great view.