Another nice, leisurely day meandering down the ICW. Most of the day the channel went straight as an arrow with small, wooded islets on the starboard side and a big open bay known on the chart as Mosquito Lagoon on the port. We’ve been seeing pelicans for a few days now, but today there were tons of them. They’re the goofiest looking birds with that huge, long beak, but they’re such graceful fliers and it’s very cool to see them dive-bomb into the water and grab a fish. There were also many dolphins around; by now they’re nothing new, but there’s just something about dolphins that you never get tired of seeing them.
About half way down the route today we stopped and anchored about 100 yards off the channel for lunch. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day with a light wind and it was so pleasant to just lounge on the boat for an hour or so. Actually, we took advantage of the fabulous conditions and the absence of almost any other boats to both take showers on the stern. We have a shower in the head, but showering outside on the swim platform is pleasant and doesn’t require a cleanup in the shower afterwards.
About a dozen miles or so from Titusville we came to the Haulover Canal, which bends the channel 90 degrees to starboard and bisects the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and takes you west to what’s known as Indian River. As I think I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we’ve been seeing warning signs about manatees for several days but hadn’t seen any yet. There are a half-dozen signs just at the entrance to this canal, and sure enough as soon as we got into the 1.5 mile long canal we had to crawl along at absolute minimum speed because there were tons of both fishermen and women in small boats, and manatees. For the most part the manatees were along the edges of the canal, because they’re vegetarians and that’s where their food is. But they also swim out into the channel sometimes so you have to be constantly on the alert so you don’t hit one. There’s a cutout with a fishing pier and boat ramp about ¾ of the way through the canal where the manatees congregate for whatever reason, and as we passed we could see the water swirling all over that little inlet as the manatees were feeding and surfacing to breathe. It was definitely cool.
About 6 miles after the canal we arrived at Titusville Municipal Marina, where we took a mooring out in the river. We dinghied ashore to check in and pay for the mooring and we were hoping to take a walk around the area, but even more than in Daytona Beach there was absolutely nothing in the way of businesses anywhere near this marina, so we ended up walking around the marina itself a bit. I’d read that there are a lot of boats in this marina in rough condition, and that’s what we found. Quite a few liveaboards who seem to just live on the boat and don’t bother with maintenance. It was so obvious that it was kind of weird. No wrecks or sunken boats per se, but many of them were real eyesores.
After a while we dinghied back out to the boat for a cocktail, we watched yet another beautiful sunset, then I grilled dinner. The highway bridge near the marina had lighting half way up the upright supports, which is different and was really pretty after dark. The mooring field was peaceful and quiet for the night…except for the freight trains that came through every couple of hours and blew their horns what seemed like an excessive number of times as they went along the shore to the railroad bridge that crosses the river about a mile away. All in all, it was another nice and interesting day of intracoastal voyaging. Quite nice.
Today: 28.3 nautical miles
Running total: 1,405.3 nautical miles