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The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
Sailing The IntraCoastal, Our Second Trip

For our second trip our crew had diminished from the original five down to an intrepid two - myself and Cheryl. With Capt. Mike at the helm we once again left the marina and made our way through the Titusville drawbridge.

The Titusville Drawbridge
The Titusville bridge with the VAB in the distance.

Brown Pelican FlyingBrown Pelicans lounged comfortably on the bridge pilings as we motored through. It was a lovely, gentle day and groups of people were camping on some of the spoil islands.

A Brown Pelican on the bridge piling.

<<< Sidenote: Spoil islands are nothing more than the piles of dirt created when the channel was dredged, now covered with vegetation.>>> Spoil Island
Campers on one of the spoil islands.

After the wild weather we had experienced on our first trip we were happy to see that winds were light and no bad weather was expected. At least, you would think this would be a good thing, but we found out that Capt. Mike is somehow able to turn each trip into a special sailing lesson.

Being blissfully ignorant of what was in store for our day, we headed south.

Sailing on the Indian River
The calm waters were reassuring after the rough waves of our first trip.

Channel Marker
Cormorrants on channel marker 41.

Once clear of the bridge we cut off the engine and raised sail. Since there was barely a breath of wind Capt. Mike drilled the crew in sailing terminology, chart reading, navigation on the Intercoastal, and naming the sail lines and their purposes.

We followed the channel markers south as we reviewed what we had learned so far. Channel markers on the Intercoastal not only indicate where the narrow channel runs and show your location on the charts, they also make handy perches for the various waterfowl on the river. These Cormorrants look like they are standing guard on their selected marker post.

We saw a few dolphin (too far away to get a photo), a variety of birds, and an even greater variety of boats. Unlike the St. Johns river the water is so broad that you don't get to see much in the way of scenery, but sailing keeps us pretty well occupied.

The next bridge south - a different kind of drawbridge from the Titusville bridge.

We continued down the channel nearly to the next drawbridge before deciding to turn around. This is where things started to go bad.

Think about it - we're on a sailboat on a day with practically no breeze at all. I'll bet you can see where this is going...

...yep. The motor wouldn't start. We decided to sail as best we could to get as close to the marina as possible before calling for a tow. So we eased slowly northward.

As we approached the Titusville drawbridge Capt. Mike radioed ahead to request a bridge opening and notify them we were without power. I could see he was becoming more and more tense as we approached, but did not fully understand his concern until we were in the middle of the bridge. The bridge blocked what little breeze we had, and we watched our sails go completely limp. Eeek!

We squeeked through the bridge without drifting into the pilings and made it to just outside the marina before calling for a tow to get us to our dock. Capt. Mike kept apologizing for the mechanical difficulties, but Cheryl and I agreed that it was still a good day and we had had fun. So long as our captain keeps bringing us safely back to port we are happy to be his crew!

The sun set as we finally docked the boat and secured it for the night.

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