Friday, April 16, 2021

Fast track vax

We are under way northbound in the ICW, headed for St. Augustine from Ormond Beach. We had a nice three-night stay in Daytona Beach, where Louise got her second Pfizer dose. Daytona Beach is famed for three things: Bike Week, Spring Break, and the International Speedway which hosts the Daytona 500. This last item inspired today's post title.

We had a pleasant enough evening in the Titusville anchorage. I spent some time ruminating about how to get ashore, as the docks at the park are destroyed, and my plans to just use the bulkhead were foiled by a large crane barge which is apparently there to work on them. It became moot, however, when, after dinner, I went to check on my Amazon delivery.

Daytona Beach, Memorial Bridge, and, at right, the slingshot ride, from a very calm Halifax River anchorage.

While the commitment was "by 10 pm," deliveries are seldom later than 6 or so. And I never received the usual morning text saying "your items will be delivered today." So I was disappointed but not entirely surprised when clicking through the tracking link revealed that there was a delay and that my order "might" be delivered sometime in the next two days. Umm, no thanks. I pushed the "cancel" button.

Some back and forth via chat with Amazon yielded a $20 promo credit for my troubles, and a promise that my $250 order would be refunded just as soon as it all came back to the warehouse. That's always a little troubling when they can't even tell you why it didn't arrive in the first place. And, of course, I had to re-order everything to a different location. Too late, unfortunately, to get delivery in Daytona while we would still be there.


I had figured to be in Titusville for a couple of hours in the morning to get to the locker and back, but with that waved off, we instead weighed anchor first thing and headed north. We had figured to be anchored in New Smyrna Beach for the night, but with the early start we were able to continue all the way to Daytona, where we picked our way through the shallows to drop the hook in the anchorage off Bethune Park (map).

We arrived at low tide and had mere inches under the keel on our way in, assisted by fairly accurate crowd-sourced soundings. Still the soundings are often incorrect, and so I worked my way in at dead slow. It's all silt, but we don't want to run into the mud so hard that we can't back out under our own power. Once in the anchorage we had a couple of feet under us and all was well.

We splashed the tender and ran up to the Halifax River Yacht Club to tie up. There's a free dinghy dock at Bethune Park, but it's not walking distance to anything. From the yacht club we were able to walk to the little downtown area with a half dozen eateries, where we chose a sidewalk table at Ichi Ni San. The club itself is closed Mondays, but the dockmaster was on call and gave us instructions for tying up. We're glad we came in by tender a day early, as we found a few spots where we'd need tidal help on the way in.

Vector lost in a sea of boats. HRYC docks foreground, city marina background. Taken from the bar.

On our way to the club we passed a Grand Banks fairly hard aground off-channel. We recognized it as one that had passed us in Titusville first thing in the morning, and displaying different names on the transom and the AIS. Towboat was just arriving as we headed down the channel into the club. He was still there, alone, on our way back to Vector from dinner. A short while later the rising tide (one foot!) lifted him off, and he came down much close to us for the night.

We awoke in the morning to find a nearby sailboat so far aground that his bow was out of the water. We surmise that the reversing current swung him into a shallow spot during the night, and the falling tide stranded him. By the mid-day high he was able to get himself free. We weighed anchor on the same high tide, to have a whole foot of help on our way to the club. A small power boat two bridges north also called Towboat in the morning; things are real shallow around Daytona Beach.

Lots of motorcycle shops in Daytona Beach. This Indian dealership is one of the biggest.

We were tied up at the club docks in plenty of time for me to get some work done before Louise's appointment. With the tender not needed for at least two days, I made a second effort to patch the leak in the port tube, hoping this one works better than my last effort. I also got an eBay sale packed up and shipped out, items removed during the last electrical update.

Not knowing when we'd arrive to the club, or that we'd be a day early, Louise had booked a 5:30 appointment, and at 5 we walked over to CVS on Speedway Boulevard.. She was in and out in 20 minutes, including the 15-minute waiting period, and we walked to Stavro's Pizza, on our way back to the dock, for a celebratory dinner.

No wonder I'm dodging crab floats all the time. They're selling pots at Walmart.

She was pretty much down for the count all day Wednesday. Too tired to really even move, and certainly not up to bosun's duty, so we are very glad we were able to just get two nights at the dock. Meanwhile, I put the e-bike on the ground and went off to run errands. I struck out at Harbor Freight, where I was hoping to return a junk set of taps and dies, and AT&T, where I was hoping to get the firmware updated on our hot spot. But I did make a large Walmart run, so we are set for provisions for a while. My battery ran out a few blocks from the dock.

We were hoping Louise would feel energetic enough to stroll over to the club's casual outdoor dining for dinner, but even that was too much, and I ended up walking over alone and getting take-out from the Tiki menu. I found it decent, but I think Louise's taste buds were a bit off from the vaccine. I did enjoy waiting in the bar area on an uncrowded evening.

Yesterday we asked the dockmaster what time he needed the dock back for his next arrival, and he agreed to let us stay until 1pm, when we'd have enough depth to get comfortably out of the harbor. We did have to ask a gaggle of stand-up paddleboarders to move out of the channel, but made it out to the ICW without incident. With the late start, we could not make Matanzas Inlet, and so we dropped the hook in the last usable anchorage for us, a small area off-channel just north of Ormond Beach (map), which we also used on our last pass through.

Last night's sunset from our solitary anchorage on the Halifax River.

It was blowing 20 and choppy when we set the anchor, which kept the wakes down to a minimum. It settled by late evening and we had a comfortable night; this morning we weighed anchor after coffee before the wakes became too bad. We're now in a conga line of northbound migration, and the sheer number of boats is a stark contrast from this time last year, when it seemed like we were alone most of the time.

We've had the current against us all day ("uphill both ways"), and the plotter is projecting an arrival in Vilano Beach after 5pm. If the current gets much worse, we might make it an early day and stop at Matanzas. I've re-ordered my Amazon items to Jacksonville, and we should be in the St. Johns in a day or two.


  1. Glad you are all vaccinated! Your UPS experience is not unusual these days. We had two cases of wine simply disappear in February. The tracking number still says "check back tomorrow for updated delivery date". Fortunately we were refunded by the merchant who filed a claim with UPS.

  2. Hope Louise is feeling better since her second vaccine. It was a real relief for us to get our second one. We still wear our masks & keep our distance as one can never be to careful right now. Thanks for the pictures on your blog. You are a great photographer & it allows us (your readers) to *sort of be there* with you along your life on the waters.


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