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The crew traveled four days this past week to arrive in Marineland on Friday. Stops along the way were:
1- dropped anchor north of Melbourne on Monday
2- pulled into the Titusville City Marina on Tuesday where they waited out the winds on Wednesday
3- dropped anchor in Daytona Beach on Thursday
4- and pulled into Marineland Marina for the weekend on Friday.
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.
The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:
1- Who was the only Mercury 7 astronaut not to fly a Mercury mission?
2- Where was the worlds first Oceanarium built and what was its name?
3- What is a Porsche Turtle?
This week’s video shows Still Waters II enjoying time at the Dolphin Adventure where humans are interacting with dolphins, and a turtle even swims by. Enjoy!
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
The crew had an uneventful run north on the Indian River. They passed under numerous bridges and began to see many Looper boats also headed North. One interesting boat that did overtake Still Waters II was this aluminum hull boat that was flagged in Germany. They were also flying a Looper Burgee. The skipper hopes to see them again and find out more about the boat and crew.
The crew took off in calm conditions today with a forecast of much the same. However, at about 1040, the Coast Guard came over the radio on Channel 16 and broadcast a weather safety message on Channel 22a. The skipper swapped over to Channel 22a and was informed by the Coast Guard that a small craft advisory was going to be put in place at 1600 due to a thunderstorm carrying high winds, lightening, and hail. This is never good, especially in a boat.
The crew picked the pace up by adjusting the throttle to make sure that they arrived in Titusville way before the storm. By noon, the wind was already picking up near 18 mph and the waves had built to 2 feet off the port beam. The crew got docked and safely tied down for the pending storm by 1300. The calm before the storm.
When the storm blew thru, the rain was blowing sideways and the crew could not see the red marker in the pic above, much less the boats that were moored out just a few hundred yards away. There was a little bit of hail, but no damage to the boat. The other good news was that the lightening stayed awaaaay off in the distance and did not pose any threat to the electronics on board the boat.
Since winds continued to be plus 20 mph all day, the crew had chosen not to cruise today. They usually do not venture out in winds over 15 mph. With a no cruise day on the agenda, the skipper wandered over to the Space View Park near the marina.
The Park is located about 15 miles directly across the Indian River from the launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center. The Park honors America’s astronauts as well as the people behind the scenes who helped America lead the world in space exploration.
The Mercury 7 Missions were the start of the Space Race for the Americans. 500 applicants initially applied for the jobs as America’s first astronauts. NASA whittled this number down to 110 using the following criteria: no taller than 5’ 11”, weigh no more than 180 pounds, age under 40, a bachelors degree, 1,500 hours of flying time, and qualified to fly jet aircraft. I wonder what the nations human resource directors think of that job posting in light of today’s standards?
These candidates were then put thru two rounds of test which dropped the number of candidates to 18. Then the final 7 were selected. Of the seven, only one did not make it on a Mercury flight. Mission number 2 was scrubbed when Donald Slayton was found to have a heart murmur prior to take off. He eventually made it into space though in 1975 as the Docking Module Pilot on the first docking of an American and Russian spacecraft.
There is even a mention of the 1865 novel, From the Earth to the Moon in the Park. Jules Verne eerily predicted many of the things that the American Space program would later put in place a hundred years later. Such as:
1- his spaceship was named Columbia
2- Columbia took off from Florida
3- Verne estimated that the mission to the moon and back would cost 12.1 billion. Apollo 8, the first manned vehicle to the moon and back to earth cost 14.4 billion
4- the crew in the book and Apollo 8 both had three astronauts
5- one of the crew members in the book is named Ardan, while Anders actually flew in Apollo 8
The crew headed towards Daytona Beach today. On the way, they cruised thru the Haulover Canal. This is usually a good spot to view some manatees, and the crew was not disappointed. They saw at least a dozen manatees swimming in the canal. It is not easy getting good pics of manatees but that bump in the pic below is a manatee.
There was also an organized bicycle ride in progress. The Canal was one of the rest stops. Many of the bicyclists were along the bank looking and spotting the manatees also.
After the manatee spotting was complete, the crew headed north and made way to Daytona where they dropped the anchor just north of the twin bridges and enjoyed a peaceful night on the hook.
Before the crew could get the anchor up and get started this morning, two Looper boats passed by. As the crew was weighing anchor, a couple more Looper boats went by. When the crew pulled back onto the A-ICW there was a smaller boat a few hundred yards back that looked to by flying a Looper flag.
The small boat came up behind Still Waters II and stayed 30 yards behind her for most of the day. The skipper hailed the boat and learned that the boat was a 30 foot Sea Ray named Xanadu. This is not the smallest boat the crew has seen on the Loop but she sure comes close. The crew of Xanadu still have a dirt home in Oregon. They pulled the boat to Ft Myers, where they launched their Loop Quest.
About the time the crew was preparing to dock, the skipper looked back and noticed that Xanadu was no where in site. After our crew got settled on the dock, Xanadu appeared and docked just behind Still Waters II. The skipper went over and talked for a few minutes and learned that they had to stop for gasoline before continuing on.
When a boat stays at Marineland Marina for three nights, they get complimentary tickets to the Dolphin Adventure that is just across the road. The crew used their tickets today to see what the Dolphins Adventure is all about.
The complex originally opened in 1938 under the name of Marine Studios. The facility was backed by three gentlemen with backgrounds in the motion picture industry. One of the men was Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the great-great-grandson of the original Cornelius Vanderbilt from Staten Island Ferry fame.
The original mission for the Park was for a place that Hollywood could shoot underwater footage of the dolphins for movies.
Spray was the first dolphin born in captivity at the facility in 1947.
It was an interesting place to walk around and explore. There was one tank that had five young sea turtles swimming around. The volunteer working the area claimed that these were Porsche Turtles. He went on to explain that during the January freeze that people had brought 30 sea turtles to the facility that were found on local beaches and in bad health due to the cold spell. The facility had nursed the turtles back to health and managed to return 25 of them back to the wild. However, these five are too fast to capture. When the turtles see the net coming, they are able to swim away and avoid capture. Hence the nickname, Porsche Turtles.
9 Lives on the side of this Cat that pulled into the Titusville City Marina.
The crew will run up to Jacksonville where they will take on some passengers over the Easter Weekend. Have a happy Easter week.
Eric the Red