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Chasing The Space Coast

Chasing The Space Coast

 St Augustine to Palm Coast

 

 

 

After two nine-hour days on the water, it was good… no, great… to have a rare short day.  We wanted to keep moving as long as the weather agreed but we didn’t want to arrive in Stuart before the end of the coming weekend’s boat show there.  So we opted for an easy 28-mile day that took us from St. Augustine to Palm Coast, Florida in just three hours twenty-five minutes, fifteen of which were spent waiting for a bridge that we didn’t think we’d have to open.  We burned a mere 18 gallons of fuel in the process thanks to a fair tide most of the way.

 

 

Departing Camachee Cove Marina in St. Augustine.
“The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, the Castillo de San Marcos is a large Spanish stone fortress built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. It’s a National Monument and, at over 315 years old, it’s the oldest structure in St. Augustine.”
The St. Augustine Bridge Of Lions bridge opens every half-hour but has a listed clearance of 23 at high tide.  OLOH needs 24′ with her antennas down to clear a bridge.  We planned to arrive at 8:15, two hours after high tide with the hope that we could avoid the opening and the parade of sailboats that usually accompanies it.  No luck – the tide was higher than predicted.  But our plan afforded us a short wait and the sailboats that were there were happy to allow us to cut the line before the opening.

The ride from there was beautiful and very straight forward.  Even one notoriously bad spot on the ICW by Matanzas Inlet was a pleasure to transit having just been dredged.  We were in t-shirts on the bridge enjoying the warming temperatures (71 by the time we arrived at 11:25 am) and finally saw the greens and blues come out in the water, a relief from the brown that has been with us since New York.

Our slip awaits on the face dock of Palm Coast Marina. It’s a nice spot with super-friendly service, very fair prices, and a great reputation.

There’s not a whole lot in Palm Coast within walking distance of the marina but that was just fine with us.  It was more of a strategic stop in terms of distance than anything else.  There is the European Village about a ten-minute walk away (think Florida courtyard shopping center with a “European” theme).  It has a variety of restaurants and for the first time in a very long time, we had Indian food which, other than Tim’s, has been hard to find.  But we found it in a European Village.  And it was truly excellent.

For the OLOH crew, this was a rare find – authentic Indian cuisine. We went with an open mind and were greeted warmly by the friendly staff. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the authenticity of the food and the excellent service.
Light and crispy lentil pappadams with cumin seeds are a popular cracker served at Indian restaurants. These were served gratis with a spiced plum sauce, a tangy herb sauce, and a roasted red pepper chutney.
This was Captain Sean’s first experience at an Indian restaurant and he was quite pleased.
From the front clockwise: Perfectly steamed rice. Chicken Tikka Masala (charcoal cooked chicken in a medium spiced cream sauce), Saag Paneer (homemade cheese with creamed spinach), more rice, Chana Masala (chickpeas in a medium spiced sauce) and Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower in a spicy sauce.)
We might have ordered more than we needed! The arrival of the steaming Chicken Tikka (chicken marinaded in yogurt, ginger, garlic and baked in Tandoor) sent us over the top in tastiness.  And, a basket of Naan (traditional breads – Garlic Naan, Butter Naan, and Onion Kulcha).

So if you’re ever in Palm Coast and love or want to try Indian food, we wholeheartedly recommend 5th Element.  With our bellies full and leftovers in tow, we returned to OLOH for a good night’s sleep before moving on down the coast the following morning.

Palm Coast To Titusville

 

Shaking up our usual stops along this stretch of our adventure, while based on timing and logistics, was also so we could have at least a couple of new experiences.  Palm Coast was the first and bringing OLOH to Titusville was the second. Ordinarily we would stop at Halifax Harbor in Daytona but because of our starting position in Palm Coast, it made sense to put more miles under our keel and pass through Daytona and get to the Space Coast.  The ride between these two ports is as straight-forward as ICW cruising gets making for one of our most enjoyable and stress-free days yet.  By and large, we are now past the “notorious” problem areas of the ICW.  We covered the seventy-six miles in exactly eight hours, averaging 8.5 knots with a lot of no-wake zones, topping out at 18 knots.

 

We are now at a point where dolphins playing in our wake is an everyday occurrence. And as we say every time, it never gets old.
Daytona Beach: They certainly don’t have to have artwork on the bridge abutments (that only the people and creatures at water level can see) but we love that they do!
Jasper remained consistent in his routine on this leg, arranging the pillows just-so for a nap (when there wasn’t dolphin watching to attend to).
We are now officially on the “Space Coast” of Florida and dead ahead is the NASA Railway Bridge, part of the thirty-eight mile long NASA Railroad used to transport equipment which could not be transported over the road (rocket boosters and such for the space shuttle) between the Kennedy Space Center and other NASA locations. Since the shuttle program’s end in 2011 it has been largely unused.

Titusville Marina is a great stop.  It’s a municipal marina but privately managed and one of the best run municipal marinas we’ve encountered with incredibly friendly service.  While there’s not much to do within walking distance, there are a couple of big, wonderful parks nearby and a vibrant cruising community at the marina.

Flashback Photo: The last time we were in Titusville was in our pre-OLOH days when Jasper was just a year old and we were helping our friend move his boat south.
We rang in our first evening in Titusville by breaking into a bottle of Jefferson’s Bourbon (OLOH is a Jefferson Yacht) which had been gifted to us on our New York departure by our dear friends from Cabo Waboat. It was tasty!

One of the high points of the stop for the Captain was finally meeting Bob Sherer, otherwise, known as Bob423.  We’ve referenced Bob several times in our blog and owe him a debt of gratitude.  Also from the Hudson River Valley, Bob and his wife have been cruising the ICW since 2010 on Fleetwing, their Beneteau 423 sailboat.  Years ago on our first ICW trip during the proliferation of the excellent marine crowd-sourcing utility Active Captain, we noticed a number of very detailed entries for problem spots authored by Bob423.  Carefully following his guidance we have always successfully navigated the ICW without ever touching bottom.  Bob blogs about and publishes an annual book on cruising the ICW and is Waterway Guide’s ICW editor, all while continuing to post his findings, his actual tracks and maintain a very popular and helpful ICW Facebook Group among a few other pursuits.  Have you ever asked a retired person how they fill their days?  Bob has no problem answering that question.  Knowing that Fleetwing would be tied up in Titusville, the Captain was very much looking forward to shaking his hand and saying. “thank you.”

Captain A.J., Jasper and Bob423

While in Titusville, the sun was hot and the wind was stiff making our decision to stay for two nights an easy one.  We’ll follow Bob423 out of the marina next and make way for Vero Beach.  See you out there!

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And that concludes your OLOH instructions. M/Y OLOH back to 1-6

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Love following the dream (journey)! You two and Jasper always meet the nicest people. You are right the dolphins never get old, and neither do the pictures. KUTGW, Julie

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