Ahoy from New Smyrna, FL!
Yesterday we got to enjoy watching (and feeling) the lift-off of a Titan-IV rocket which was carrying 2 spy satellites. We pulled out of the marina, went through a bridge and a lock, dropped our hook and waited for the launch. Unlike the day before it went off almost on-time (11:15). With the naked eye you could see the smoke and the flame coming out, but not much more. With binoculars you could actually see the rocket and payload, which was really neat. We were about 5 miles away so the sound didn't arrive for quite a while, but when it did it was an intense rumble which shook everything. We watched until a cloud obscured our view and unfortunately we couldn't see the first stage separate. So with nothing else to see, we picked up the anchor and continued our journey north.
We had decided to head N via the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) which is also referred to as "The Ditch." Believe me, this is a very appropriate description of the ICW in this area as it truly is a ditch surrounded by very shallow water. It has a controlling depth of about 12' and is about 50' wide. Many times you're surrounded by water that's 1-3' deep, so you have to make sure that you stay in the channel! It requires constant vigilance and even with that you can bump in places where it has shoaled. I laid in very accurate waypoints and was able to have the course computer steer for the vast majority of the time. I was quite impressed by it's ability to keep us centered in the channel by +/- 15 feet and to make all of the turns with the same accuracy. This doesn't mean that I could walk away as there's lots of boat traffic that you also have to avoid. But the charts were amazingly accurate.
The ICW around Cape Canaveral is a broad expanse of water without a lot of construction on the water. As you head N it gets even less populated and you're in very natural conditions. If you love wildlife, this is the place for you! There were tons of birds and there must be lots of fish based on how many dolphins we saw as well as people out fishing. As you head northward, the ICW narrows and the land and the trees get much closer, providing much better views of the wildlife. After we passed through the Mosquito Lagoon (which might be better named the Buggy Lagoon) we began to see signs of humanity again. It was quite interesting how the homes went from trailers to large mansions of the type that you'd see in Ft. Lauderdale.
We ended up pulling into the New Smyrna Marina which was just reopened a year or so ago. New Smyrna is just a few miles S of Daytona and seems to be a nice place. The marina is very nice with floating docks and wonderful facilities. There's a Tiki bar next door which serves food from a fish restaurant which is next to it. We stopped in for dinner last night and to listen to the band (the Pirates). If I wasn't so sick of fried food, it probably would have been good!
Today we're headed further north. Our goal is to get to St. Augustine, but I'm not sure that we'll make it.
-- Geoff & Sue
For the cruiser:
The New Smyrna Marina's rates are $1/ft and $6/30A power. What a deal! Highly recommended.
You can also anchor just S of the fixed bridge at about SM 853. The charts claim that there's 12', but the guide books say that there's a lot less. There were quite a few closed-up boats anchored there, but few cruisers.
You can also anchor in the Mosquito Lagoon, but it was quite buggy.
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