Two Days to Fort Matanzas

Day One

What a difference a day makes! Wednesday, we were wondering how many days before we would be able to leave Titusville and head northward. Well, Thursday, we decided to just go for it. The Onan Generator techs called me that morning and walked me through a few steps to diagnose and fix the problem. The problem is that the generator is not getting fuel. They felt it was because my fuel tanks were too low. When the levels drop below, say, a quarter of a tank, the generator is locked out as a safety measure and will not run (the generator draws from the same tanks as my engines). So, since we had to leave the slip to fill up the tanks anyway, we decided to head on out.

Pulling out of our slip at Titusville Municipal Marina. Our friend, Tim, waves goodbye after helping us with our lines.

Pulling out of our slip at Titusville Municipal Marina. Our friend, Tim, waves goodbye after helping us with our lines.

Around 10:50, we pulled from our slip and made our way to the fuel dock, where we filled up with 80 gallons of diesel. We had not filled up since Highbourne Cay, Exumas. Twenty-five minutes later, we had said our goodbyes to our friend, Tim, and exited the marina. The day was gorgeous. Temperatures were in the low to mid-80s and hardly a cloud in the sky. There was a north wind of between 10 and 15 knots throughout the day. Our ride was smooth and uncomplicated. Is it possible to be cold shivering in 80+ degree weather? The answer to that is an unequivocal yes (at least if your name is Barry Carey)! I was so cold with the north breeze blowing over the water, I had to put on a sweatshirt for comfort while at the helm.

Radioing the marina office to arrange to fill up at the fuel dock.

Radioing the marina office to arrange to fill up at the fuel dock.

Filling up the starboard tank.

Filling up the starboard tank.

Good-bye Titusville.

Good-bye Titusville.

We made our way through the NASA Railroad Bridge (which was in its usual raised position) and up the Indian River. A little later, we passed under the Haulover Canal drawbridge and continued northward through the Mosquito Lagoon (fortunately, sans mosquitos). From there, it was a few hour journey within the narrow confines of the ICW, shallows close by on either side. Upon reaching New Smyrna, we passed safely beneath the 65’ vertical clearance Harris Saxon Bridge (Cindy didn’t look). One mile later, Beatitude made her way through the George F. Musson Memorial drawbridge, for which we had to wait just about five minutes for an opening. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at our anchorage for the night, Rockhouse Creek. By 5 p.m., our anchor was down, our engines were off, and we were relaxing in a very nice and secure anchorage. This day’s journey covered 33.5 nautical miles. There was a fairly significant current running through the creek, which always makes me a little nervous due to Beatitude’s erratic behavior when subjected to the combination of current and wind. We had the anchorage, which is big enough for 5-6 boats to ourself when we first pulled in, but shortly after our arrival another vessel arrived and anchored not far from us.

The NASA Railroad Bridge

The NASA Railroad Bridge

It feels so good to be underway again!

It feels so good to be underway again!

A string of birds crossing the ICW.

A string of birds crossing the ICW.

The Haulover Canal Bridge

The Haulover Canal Bridge

This is how NOT to dock your sailboat.

This is how NOT to dock your sailboat.

Going through one of the eleven bridges.

Going through one of the eleven bridges.

Our new bikes on board Beatitude.

Our new bikes on board Beatitude.

It was so nice to be on the move again. I was a little antsy (you may have noticed) and anxious to get underway. The day went great! We saw numerous groups of dolphins today, including a pod which swam through our anchorage just after arrival. We saw a manatee and the usual wild fowl, including pelicans, herons, anhingas, and gulls. There were also hundreds of white butterflies which flitted and fluttered across the ICW.

A dolphin couple swimming past Beatitude.

A dolphin couple swimming past Beatitude.

Upon arrival, Cindy began to prepare her delicious spaghetti for dinner. I thought I’d check out the generator and see if the techs were really helpful, or feeding me a line to get me out of their hair. After priming the generator with fuel, I pushed the start button, and … nothing. Nothing but cranking and sputtering, that is. There definitely is a fuel problem, but I’m not sure what it is yet. Fortunately, as I said in our last post, the generator is a luxury and not a necessity in cruising. So, we’ll continue northward until we find a spot to have it looked at.

A beautiful twilight on Rockhouse Creek.

A beautiful twilight on Rockhouse Creek.

Day Two

On Friday, we weighed anchor around 7 a.m., and slipped from Rockhouse Creek into the ICW to continue our journey northward. Last night was not the most restful because we were both a little worried about how Beatitude would do contending with the wind and current throughout the night. We’ve had nightmarish problems in similar conditions in the past (see, Allen’s Cay, Exumas). Other than my anchor alarm going off around midnight (because I was so worried I did not set adequate parameters to check for dragging), everything was fine. I did almost break multiple limbs trying to get out of bed to check the alarm. But, no worries. The three boats in the anchorage all played well together.

Cindy, weighing anchor so that we can continue northward.

Cindy, weighing anchor so that we can continue northward.

A look back at our anchorage on Rockhouse Creek.

A look back at our anchorage on Rockhouse Creek.

Friday’s passage was all about overcoming Gephyrophobia. Our 41 nautical mile trip would take us through eleven bridges, three drawbridges and eight fixed bridges. All of the fixed bridges supposedly have 65’ vertical clearance, which is adequate, but not without producing anxiety for the crew of Beatitude with our 64 1/2’ high mast. The Admiral has a little bit more gephyrophobia than does the Captain. This phobia (if you haven’t looked it up by now) is the fear of bridges. Today’s travel up the ICW served as massive exposure therapy for Cindy. And, by the end of the day, she actually didn’t have to go inside and hide when we passed beneath the bridge.

A calm morning on the water.

A calm morning on the water.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

This is not how to anchor your sailboat.

This is not how to anchor your sailboat.

Nor this!

Nor this!

Complicating the issue of having to deal with so many bridges, was the fact that none of them had 65’ clearance, at least based on the height boards at the base of the bridge. A couple of them claimed there was only 63’. What to do!? Well… we gently inched our way to each of the bridges and prayed that we’d make it through. Thankfully, we did. The antenna that sits atop the mast scraped three times, once almost bending over at a 90° angle from its base. We really could have done without the stress.

One of the drawbridges, with fixed bridges behind.

One of the drawbridges, with fixed bridges behind.

What would you do with a 64.5' mast height??

What would you do with a 64.5′ mast height??

Now this is an interesting live-aboard vessel along the ICW.

Now this is an interesting live-aboard vessel along the ICW.

Looking past our bikes onto the ICW.

Looking past our bikes onto the ICW.

Other than dealing with bridge issues, however the day was great. A cloudy, cool, morning gave way to bright sunshine in the afternoon. The waterway was busy, but all the boaters were kind and courteous to each other. We had no problems, and arrived safely in our anchorage just after 3 p.m. We are anchored in the shadows of Ft. Matanzas, which we plan on visiting tomorrow. It’s a beautiful anchorage, though it was difficult to get our anchor to set properly. We had to try three times, each time retrieving the anchor to move to a different spot, before we were secure in about 12 feet of water. This anchorage has considerable current running through it, as well, but hopefully we sleep better tonight. Having to set our anchor three times before achieving success didn’t help with anxiety reduction, however. It’s nice to be on the move again!

Ft. Matanzas

Ft. Matanzas

A beautiful anchorage all to ourselves.

A beautiful anchorage all to ourselves.

Sun setting on the Matanzas River

Sun setting on the Matanzas River

Magnificent sky at sunset.

Magnificent sky at sunset.

Good night.

Good night.

7 thoughts on “Two Days to Fort Matanzas

  1. Glad you made it through all the bridges!! That would cause one to be anxious (or that phobia word you wrote-ha) LOVE the gorgeous sunsets! I bet you are thrilled to be sailing once again! Pray you have smooth sailing Captain & 1st Mate! Love you guys!

  2. I “feel” for Cindy!!!! I also hated those bridges because of our mast height… I’d close my eyes when we were “close” to “their limit” and pray. There was one bridge where I had to go down below because it really depended on the tide and it was close to high tide… (I can still get sick to my stomach just thinking about it…)

    Love the photos and your honesty in reporting your journey… Keep it up, Barry. 🙂

    Blessings, Hope (SV CARSON G II)

    • Thanks, Hope. Fortunately, none of the bridges were approached at high tide. I’m not sure we would have cleared ( or attempted it) if it was. It was about mid-tide for most.

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