Yet another lovely start to the day.....
Our plan today was to motor on through to Daytona. We needed to punch our engines quite a bit this morning to get to the (now infamous) Ponce de Leon Inlet section of the waterway as close to high tide as possible. Since we ran aground last time we went through here, we were naturally anxious. ALso, the active captain (a fabulous internet resource of ICW cruising conditions) posts of late have given strict and dire warnings regarding more than one particularly bad spot in this area. It's quite labrythine and complex.
Alas, as fast as we could get started, slam! we had a delay. It figures, right? Just as we, and 3 other boats, approached we discovered that the NASA railroad bridge, which is normally open during the day, was down and there was a work crew working on it from underneath. Great timing - NOT! We all paced around and waited. At about 20 minutes or so, they finally opened up and we could be on our way. Alas, that did slow us down on our trek to the inlet.
Here is what the gorgeous (?) Daytona skyline looks like: (yuk!)
A good section of the waterway further on is very shallow. Here is a guy wading only feet away from the channel. A little shallow, huh?
We see lots of stretches of open low-lands... population 0.
(naturally, we had no cell or internet connections through here)
Our big challenge for the day, as I mentioned before, was getting through the (recently infamous) Ponce de Leon Inlet section of the ICW. We were able to approach at close to high tide so that was definitely in our favor. It turned out to be slow and gnarly but we had no problems after all. Some other boats followed behind us and were very happy to let us be the "guinea pigs". This is what some of it looked like. It doesn't look like much, but there are very sharp turns and very shallow spots in every direction.
The day ended with a stop-over at Halifax Harbor Marina. It was a lovely, large marina in a beautiful open basin. We had a quiet evening and had dinner out at the marina restaurant. Woohoo! We hung out at the outside bar, merely feet from us, and met some very interesting people. The best fun of stopping at marinas is the people you get to meet. Boaters are such an open group of people.
The funniest thing about this marina is the method by which one does "business" with the office. It's a story worth telling....
Since the marina is so large, the walk over to where the office is located is often quite a long ways. So, instead, when you arrive, they send a person over to you in a little whaler to check you in. No walking to the office at this place! Also, the security gates here don't use a numbered punch code as is so often the case at other marinas. Here, they actually give you a kind-of key device that opens the gates. The rub? You have to return the key before you leave......huh....what a pain, right? nope! The procedure for returning the key is the coolest part. When you are ready to leave (anytime after 7:15 am), you just radio over to the office. Then, as you motor on by the dock in front of the office ---just yards off to your port side --- someone holds out a pool-type catch net which you drop the keys into. It's hilarious! What a fun way to start the day!