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MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
Sailing The IntraCoastal, the Adventure Continues

Captain Mike called for a crew to go sailing again, and again the true sailors came through for him. Cheryl and I arrived full of anticipation for whatever adventure was in store for us on this trip.

Capt. Mike & Cheryl
Cheryl puts her best side forward as we leave the marina.

Brown Pelicans on the Titusville bridge.

Sailing on the Indian River
Leaving the Titusville bridge behind us.

We motored through the bridge - which opened for us even though we had problems with our radio and were unable to request an opening. Thinking that the radio was merely disconnected from the power source, we didn't worry about it and continued on our way. Once we were in open waters we raised sail and Capt. Mike turned the wheel over to me while he worked on the radio. He wasn't able to get it working, but since we were already past the bridge where we needed it the most, we pressed on.

Fishermen on the Indian River
Fishermen walking in the Indian River.

FishermenThe Indian River, which is what this section of the Intercoastal is called, is extremely shallow except for the channel dredged down the middle. We need to keep no less than 2 ft. of water under our keel, so I kept an eagle eye on the depth meter as I navigated carefully from one channel marker to the next.

Off to the side of the channel we could see fishermen who had left their motorboat to wade as they fished. The water appeared to be no more than knee deep on them.

On the St. Johns in my little Gheenoe I seldom have to worry about the depth of the water. Being unused to a 4 foot keel on a boat, I asked Capt. Mike what would happen if we did run into a sandbar. He replied "We stop."

(I'll bet you can see this coming, can't you?)

By our charts we could see a large open area with plenty of deeper water. We made our way towards this area so we could have plenty of room to practice "coming about" and "jibbing" and other cool sailing maneuvers. As we approached the area where we should turn to enter this open area the winds increased and I timidly requested the Captain to take back the wheel as we came about.
Cheryl & Capt. Mike Cheryl and I both neglected to put on sunblock and got burnt to a crisp.

Capt. Mike took the wheel and headed towards the open area. We went along for a short ways, then suddenly the bow dipped sharply and we stopped. We stopped but good. We had run aground on a sandbar and were unable to get off of it.

Since our radio was broke we couldn't radio for assistance. We tried using the motor to move us either forward or back, but that didn't help. Capt. Mike jumped into the water and tried pulling and pushing, but nothing budged. The water was about 4 feet deep and we only needed 5 feet! We tried throwing out the anchor and pulling on the anchor line to free us from the sandbar - no good.

Pelican on a post in the marina.

We tried waving down passing motorboats, but no one would come to our aid. (I shan't record here the names that I called them. People on the St. Johns would have come over to help!).

We all had cell phones, so Capt. Mike phoned a marina for a tow but the tow-boat driver was in Daytona and said it would be at least two hours before he could get to us. Since we had tried everything else we could think of, we ate lunch and stretched out for a nap.

As I lay there feeling the boat being bounced and rocked by wind and waves I suddenly realized that the rocking of the boat felt different. Looking up at my landmarks I saw that we were moving! The wind and waves had finally worked us off the sandbar!

Capt. Mike called to cancel the tow and we quickly weighed anchor and headed back towards home. We had to circle around a bit in front of the bridge before they saw that we needed an opening, but otherwise we had no further complications.

Back in the marina I realized that I had missed a photo op by not getting a picture of Capt. Mike neck deep in the water. I tried to convince him to jump in the water again and let me get a photo, but he was uncooperative. Luckily he spotted a Manatee under the dock and distracted me into trying to get a picture of it instead. My camera is too slow - every time I would click the shutter it would go back under water again and I would only get a picture of his back. Oh, well, I'll just have to keep trying!

A Manatee feeds on grasses under the dock in the marina.

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