44. Off to the Races

Well no race but off to Daytona Beach. With one exception, it was an easy calm travel day. About 10 miles south of St Augustine I came to Mantanzas Pass.

There have been reports of dredges working the pass over the past month plus. Literally not a day goes by without reports of numerous boats going aground. In addition to severe shoaling, the channel, such as it is, is narrow. This is complicated by the fact that there are 3 dredges working plus 3 tugs all of which take up what channel there is. It’s a game of Dodgem. The captain on the main dredge is helpful — if only he was understandable. The directions for southbound traffic was to head starboard to the western bank and when you get to the bow of the dredge, hard to port and cross right in front of it and immediately past it, head starboard again right along side the dredge – like close enough to shake hands with the dredge operator. The problem has been the boats can’t turn fast and close enough and are too far away from the dredge. So I’d been dreaming, bad dreams, and dreading this pass for a few days.

By this morning the dredge had moved a couple hundred feet And one of the little tugs was deployed at the corner to force your turn. That plus timing to go through within an hour of high tide made the passage easy. Whew!!

Someone’s hand drawn description which was posted last night As a help to cruisers. Apparently the poster did scrape bottom. It was a helpful in building a mental picture.
The diamonds hoisted on the dredge tell you that is the safe side to pass. “Diamonds are your friend”. In this case the diamond side, though ‘safe’, was crowded.
Could almost shake hands on one side of the boat and put it aground on the other side.
Out for a nice dinner on a deck over the water

Wednesday was a horrible weather day. Rain started Tues night and it turned cold and very very windy. The wind came straight out of rhe north and down the ICW slot. I was on the inside of the outer face dock, no break wall, with the stern directly facing north. The waves, and yes there were waves and whitecaps came bashing into my stern. The swim platform was almost continually well awash with water. I have a fairly heavy step I use to get from the swim platform to a dock which I place on a heavy rubber backed mat (to keep everything from sliding) on the swim platform. This morning the rubber mat had washed away and the step was washed and pinned against the transom. Oops!

The lousy weather and wind was forecasted to continue all day and the next leg will probably end with anchoring so rather than anchor in heavy wind I elected to stay another night. Comfy day inside and got my laundry done and watched the impeachment hearing all day. YAWN!

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