Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daytona Beach to Titusville and the Manatees

Adair touches the back of a manatee.

A manatee swimming on its back takes a drink of water.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We motored south on the ICW from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach without incident. Most of this section was a canal with houses sometimes on both banks, but sometimes with houses on one side and wildlife reserve on the other. We passed through 4 bascule bridges. All opened on demand so we didn’t have to piddle about waiting for an opening.

Thursday morning dawned quite gray and the weather forecast was for showers throughout the day. Bill suggested we spend the day at anchor. His reasoning was the rain and temperature were warm; in the 70s, not mentioning that West Marine was a short dinghy ride away. I readily agreed but didn’t make the trip to West Marine! A lay day suited me just fine.

We left our anchorage early on Friday morning to make sure we got to Titusville by evening. The ICW in this stretch goes through Mosquito Lagoon. We saw lots of small fishing boats and tons of birds but no mosquitoes. The developments along the way were mostly trailer parks for 50+ residents, a change from the $600,000 to $6M houses and condo developments! I think the guys with the trailers and small fishing boats probably have more fun. At least they come outside and play.

We arrived in the Titusville Municipal Marina and decided to refuel before going to our slip. As we were leaving the fuel dock this large blob of browny-green stuff was off to our port. The blob moved so I asked the dock man if that was a manatee. “Yes m’am” he said. We discovered that the marina was full of these strange creatures. All you have to do to attract one is wring out a cloth over the water, and they come running. Running is an exaggeration as they are very slow. The poor things are plain homely. They have a few barnacles, lots of algae, and occasional propeller scar along their backs… they are just fat round shapeless green things. We did have fun watching the manatees, and we escaped the $500 fine for giving them either food or water.

Julia and Joshua came from Winter Haven to spend the night on Saturday. They brought us a new bigger dinghy we had ordered and took away our winter coats and electric heater (good trade). We shopped for food and things we had forgotten filling Irish Eyes full. Bill still says we still don’t have enough beer. [A reasonable 2 beers per person per day times two people times 100 days equals 400 cans or 16 cases; WSM] We had supper at the Titusville landmark restaurant, Dixie Crossroads. The place is huge! The specialty is rock shrimp, so of course we had a few.

After short shopping trip for things forgotten and more beer [still not enough, WSM], we left Titusville headed south. Julia and Josh will have to unpack all our stuff from their car; poor things. They have our old dinghy and lots of long underwear! We headed south with all the Sunday boaters. We saw more boat traffic today than we have seen total on the rest of the trip. To make it a perfect day, we sailed on a broad reach under genoa alone for three hours at 5+kt this afternoon traveling without the drone of the engine.

We are anchored in the mouth of the Banana River in the town of Eau Gallie behind Dragon Point (although the once 200’ dragon is now in ruins, nothing but a pile of green concrete slabs). There is a little traffic noise now, but hopefully that will settle down as the evening progresses.

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