The Adventure Continues! We left Dayton Beach around 6:45am. North of Daytona Breach are four bridges, all of which we thought we could pass under. However, it was a very high tide, so we needed two of the bridges to open for us. Fortunately, the bridge tenders immediately opened the bridges and we were able to head north without delay.
As we cruised the ICW, we saw many dolphins, who rushed over to see us but none of whom wanted to play. Ade was very disappointed.
Today there was a caravan of boats heading north and it took a while to sort out the appropriate cruising order. The fast boats first, then us, then the slower trawlers and then the sailboats. For most of the trip, a faster trawler, Carry On, was right behind us; they probably could have gone faster but were content to follow us.
Just before 10am, we were traveling through a narrow part of the ICW at Palm Coast. Active Captain had warned us of a new red nun that marked some shoaling on the red side. We were warned to favor the green side. Ade and I were both carefully watching the nun, when we suddenly felt a significant engine vibration. Ade immediately slowed us down. We were in plenty of water, so we didn’t know what had happened. We both figured maybe we had hit a crab pot that we had not seen. We told Carry On what was happening and they came on around and passed us. By testing each engine separately, we figured out that it was the starboard engine. Everything in engine room looked fine. So we put the engine in reverse and then forward several time to see if we could cut the line and unwrap it. After several tries, we retested the engine and everything seemed fine. So we were on our way again.
I called Palm Cove Marina, our destination for the night, and got the name of a diver. Just wanted someone to check the bottom and make sure nothing was wrapped around the shaft. Fortunately the diver was available and agreed to meet us at the marina later in the day.
So now Carry On was in the lead and we were following; a situation Carry On would come to regret. Around the Matanzas Inlet there are a number of temporary markers indicating a shoaling area. Because they are temporary markers and easily moved, you would think they would accurately mark the shoal; however, Active Captain had warned boaters to stay away from the greens because the shoal extended into the channel. We watched as Carry On took the curve right next to the greens. About halfway around, I saw them suddenly tip and stop. They were aground. We eased around them heeding the Active Captain advice and found plenty of water even though our chart plotter had us on land! We transited this area with more than 8 ft the whole way.
As we passed Carry On we confirmed that they were indeed aground . They couldn’t free themselves by backing up and were planning on waiting for the rising tide, which was hours away. But about a half an hour later, we heard Carry On on the radio; they had freed themselves. When we slowed further on for some additional shoaling, they passed us again and we were glad to let them go first. We followed them to St. Augustine where they peeled off for one of the marinas north of the Bridge of Lions. We were glad they were able to make some lemonade out of some very sour lemons.
Our passage north of St. Augustine involved no groundings or snagged lines. What it did have was a 6-mile long congested zone that required us to cruise at minimum wake through all of Palm Village. We were close to our destination at that point and tired and had no desire to cruise at minimum wake speed. But we did. It was painful, especially for me because I was driving.
Finally we were past Palm Village, zooming past Cabbage Swamp.
By 3:30pm, we were at Palm Cove Marina and all tied up. The diver was waiting for us. After about 15 minutes, he came up and said all was fine. That was great. We knew then that neither the pot nor the grounding caused any damage. What a relief, particularly because tomorrow we are running outside to St. Simon Island, Georgia.
One thing that was confusing us was that, when Adrienne called this morning to confirm the Palm Cove Marina reservations, they said no problem but they did not seem to know who we were. I had made reservations several days ago. Well, around 5 pm, I got a call from the marina asking if we were still coming. I told them we were already tied up. After a few minutes of confusion, I realized that it was Palm Coast Marina calling. I had made reservations there instead of Palm Cove Marina, which is where we wanted to be and in fact were tied up! The worst thing is that I can’t figure out how to blame Ade for this. Oh well, getting old I guess.
We walked a half-mile to Publix for a few items, did the engine check and are off to Marker 32 for dinner.
Tomorrow, we are out the St. Johns Inlet and up the Atlantic to St. Simon Island.