First off all, this is getting creepy. Oscar has been peeing on a rug that tied the room together, although we’ve now moved it outside for him. The day after including a line from The Big Lebowski AND noting that “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” is the movie’s opening song, we step off the boat in Daytona Beach just down the dock from El Duderino (“if you’re not into the whole brevity thing”).
We’ve noted some extreme coincidences before, but if we run into a band of angry nihilists any time soon this will jump to the top.
Now back to boating. Shortly after heading north out of Titusville Thursday morning, we angled a bit east through the Haulover Canal, which connects the Indian River to Mosquito Lagoon. Apparently, before someone dug the canal, Native Americans used to haul their canoes over the strip of land that blocked easy access to the ocean. Hence the name. None of that means much to us, but we had to get through it, dodging alligators along the way.
The Haulover Canal Bridge is significant to the country because it carries a road to the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility, which is pretty cool. For us, however, this time through the bridge was significant mostly for its insignificance. With Misty Pearl’s air draft we had to wait for an opening. On Tumbleweed, we slid right on under. Very nice.
In several prior posts we’ve lamented the lack of information after someone reports a maritime emergency. Often we’ll be riveted by the radio traffic, but never find out what happened. When Fishy Fishy’s Captain called in a man-overboard Mayday someplace off the coast near New Smyrna, however, we were able to follow the action until the Coast Guard officially reported that one of their boats had pulled Robert—38 years old and 5’11”—to safety. To United States Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida, thanks for the closure. We also enjoyed saying “Fishy Fishy” out loud more than a few times.
At the southern edge of Daytona Beach, the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse stands 175 feet tall, and since 1887 has guided weary sailors to wet t-shirt contests and Jell-O shots.
Obviously it needs to be renamed now that we know Ponce had to push John Cabot out of the way just to step on Florida’s shores. Plus, what kind of a name is “Ponce” anyway?
Our Daytona Beach destination was Halifax Harbor. As we turned into the channel, horrible flashbacks of our last visit to Halifax Harbor gripped us. In fact, based on our experience, 100% of the time we enter Halifax Harbor we’re blinded by dense fog and nearly crushed by every manner of huge fast ships we can’t see. Our panic subsided, of course, when we remembered that the fog was in Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia, and we probably wouldn’t hit any on a June afternoon in Florida. So we went on in.
A few things about our sixteen-hour Daytona Beach experience. First up, Brownie the Town Dog. The Waterway Guide says that Brownie’s grave and memorial are guarded by a topiary Brownie in a lush park and is a “must see” attraction. Brownie apparently was a street dog that captured the hearts of enough locals to justify a grave, memorial, topiary replica, and park. Since we’re Contributing Editors and all, we felt obliged to brave the 90° sauna to take a look. WTF? The park is a construction site, the grave is covered, the memorial statue is in a crate, and the topiary dog is nowhere to be seen. What a huge disappointment.
The minor-league team is the Daytona Tortugas, which we think is a cool name. The chocolate store has Christian books and a sign on the door telling anyone in a bikini that they can’t come inside. The newly-opened hot dog place is pretty good.
The best part of Daytona, however, was getting to know Doug and Pat on Talisman. They cruise at twenty knots so we can’t keep up, but they were docked at our marina when we reached St. Augustine, which gave us the chance to host them—as our first guests—last evening.
But before we hosted Doug and Pat, of course, we had to get to St. Augie. The tricky part was at the Matanzas inlet, allegedly the shallowest stretch of the Florida ICW.
Last time through we tucked in behind Clark and Evelyn on Sunset Delight, close enough that we could stay in their wake but far enough back to avoid a collision if they happened to stop suddenly on a hidden shoal. This time we were on our own, but never saw less than about nine feet under us.
What we did see, sort of, was a shark.
Which reminded us of the bear we photographed on the shoreline a few legs back. Somewhere a little girl has learned a valuable lesson: “I told you if you kept biting your brother I would put Miss Fuzzy in the rock pile.”
Yup, lots of wildlife along the ICW. Dana bagged her first roseate spoonbill, which may be even more odd than a giant pink stuffed animal or a shark on a golf cart.
We spent a good deal of time doing touristy stuff last time, and memorialized much of it in our post. So this time we mostly just did chores and stayed out of the rain, although Doug was able to work in a drone flight and two three-mile round trip hikes to Home Depot in sweltering heat. Because it’s fundamentally impossible to get everything you need for a project on just one trip to Home Depot. Even if you make a list.
To round out the animal theme of this post, here’s the marina cat.