So, we were told that Ft. Matanzas was worth the detour. Not much of a detour really but what a crazy place to anchor. There had to be 6 to 7 knots of current
racing through the inlet next to the fort. The fort was built in 1740 and looked cool from Escape Velocity, but launching the dinghy in these conditions is not within our skill set.
Good thing we didn’t go because not long after we scrapped the dinghy ride, ah…wait for it escapees, a nasty squall came up with lots of rain obscuring everything and 40kts of wind, making EV sail back and forth across the river. It was the first time she was so poorly behaved at anchor. The problem was that the storm’s wind was directly opposed to that crazy current pushing EV over the anchor and then the current would assert itself and away she’d go. All of this was followed by two more squalls.
This really is not fun and while I’m writing this I can hear the wind picking up again. It’s 10:00pm, I can’t see a thing. Here we go again.
It came out of a bruised yellow sky. I’d noticed the color and said that can’t be good. And then the roar, it was deafening, honestly, because at the time we didn’t have much wind. One minute you’re peacefully bobbing at anchor off Daytona Beach wondering if maybe this Beryl business has been over sold, and the next you’re running both Volvos into 37kts of angry wind, hoping to take the enough strain off the anchor just so you don’t drag into underwater cables, seemingly placed near every anchorage in Florida.
It’s 7:15pm and as still as a church on Mardi Gras. Our 43 mile run today put us in contention for an overnight at Ft Matanzas which we’ve been told is worth the diesel. That will leave a short run into St Augustine for our rudder repairs and a week on the hard in one of our favorite towns.
So barring another pop-up squall we will have accomplished our first trip in Escape Velocity and the very beginning of our adventure.
Ok Escapees, sorry for the nautical jargon, but we have really tried to keep it to a minimum.
We’ve been asked to explain a mooring ball. A mooring is a permanent anchor with a float, or ball, on top. They are put in place by a marina or town, and together they’re called a mooring field. A boat can tie up to a mooring instead of dropping its own anchor.
This is our current set-up for mooring. The ball, or float is in the upper left, which is securely anchored to the bottom. Attached to the ball is a pendant, attached to the pendant ring is our bridle, each line is led to different hulls in a catamaran to settle the motion.
This allows the town or marina to pack in more boats and of course, charge money.
Today we press on.
Your responses are appreciated.
We weathered the part of Beryl that came near us and stayed put yesterday to let things clear up ahead of us. This morning we weighed anchor, said goodbye to the space shuttle and headed for Titusville City Marina to fill our fuel and water tanks and pump out the holding tanks. When we tied up to the fuel dock Bob advised us not to go any further north because there was heavy rain predicted and he warned that Mosquito Lagoon offered little protection if the winds kicked up again. Ok, we said and asked if there was a grocery nearby and a place to tie up temporarily. We moved to the water and pumpout dock and Bob said we were welcome to stay there for an hour or so while we walked to the Save-A-Lot a few blocks away.
When we got to the office to pay for the fuel, Bob showed us the weather radar and we decided to pick up a mooring for the night. A walk to a marginal grocery and a marginal lunch later we motored out to the mooring field and managed to secure Escape Velocity on the second try. We spent the afternoon taking turns scraping off the last of the baked-on tape residue from the previous-previous boat name. This is all in preparation for some serious hull surface restoration we hope to do, or at least start, while we’re on the hard in St. Augustine.
It’s windy and bouncy at the moment with gusts in the mid 20s but we’re much more relaxed at the mooring than we were at anchor in these conditions. We hope we can make some serious distance tomorrow. Today we did two excellent dockings, one pretty good mooring and a walk to town for groceries. We’re easing into the cruising life.
When I met Jack 22 years ago he had a 20-ft. boat on the Allegheny River. I’d been on plenty of sailboats and been taught sail- and line-handling by various people through the years, but a small power boat on the busy rivers of Pittsburgh was new to me. The light planing hull behaved differently from a keelboat and the constant wakes from barges and pleasure boats made for a completely different boating experience.
The first time Jack took me out on Mischievous this quiet, mild-mannered man turned to me and said, very seriously, “It’s different on a boat. When the skipper says do something, it’s no time for an argument. Just do it, because your safety or the boat’s safety may be at stake. Ok?”
His tone took me by surprise because it was so unlike the Jack I knew so far. I nodded.
“Ok,” I said. And in the following years I came to understand that there are two Jacks, the one on land, and the one who commands a vessel.
Jack was born to be on a boat. He understands instinctively the behavior of a hull in the water. He senses minute changes in pressure, movement, or sounds. When conditions are calm he grins like there’s no tomorrow, and when all hell breaks loose he acts decisively and with confidence. He takes his responsibility for the boat and its crew seriously and won’t rest until both are secure.
Yesterday after our re-anchoring incident we continued to monitor the weather, and especially the wind direction. We knew we were protected if the winds remained from the west or south, but if they turned north or east we’d be blown toward land, and land is a boat’s enemy. Land is hard.
We had heavy rains and some wind gusts around 9 pm and Jack stayed in the cockpit taking bearings to be sure we weren’t dragging anchor again. The rain stopped eventually, and Jack suggested I get some sleep. He stayed up on anchor watch all night, dozing occasionally in the saloon, going back to the cockpit when the wind kicked up. I slept peacefully, knowing that Jack was in command, and that he’d call me if he needed me.
This morning we decided to stay put. Our anchor is holding, the winds remain in the teens with gusts in the 20s. Jack makes frequents rounds, checking the anchor, the lines, the bilges and all the hundreds of other boat parts that need watching.
And I did what I do best. I made pancakes with raspberries and blackberries for the master and commander.
Dear Escapes, meet Beryl. We cut short our run today, rather than run head first into her. First mate and chief navigation officer found us a cul-de-sac of 10′ water right after the Addison bridge.
Oops! This is the track of our anchor dragging episode. One second we were discussing how clever we were and the next second we were going backwards so fast I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t even have time to see if the bearings had changed. One look and we knew. The squall line moved in incredibly fast with lashing rain and serious winds. We fired-up the Volvos and barely made it off the shoal. It was a near thing. Now our anchor has been dragged into shoal water and we are virtually surrounded by shallows. After the worst of the squall past, bit by bit we edged into the shoal water and retrieved the anchor. Once we were re-anchored we looked up and saw that we’re right next to the Kennedy Space Ctr Causeway.
I’m afraid it’s an anchor watch for Escape Velocity tonight
With the Melbourne Bridge in the background Marce tries to decipher how to make her iPad play nicely with the worst, most poorly designed navigation chart plotter ever visited upon man. Our C80 Raytheon. Arrrgh!