What’s that old saying?
“The best laid plans of mice and men get screwed up faster than you can say dagnabbit”?
I may not be quoting that exactly right, but you get the idea. Janet and I had laid some plans for this long weekend, and were looking forward to a few days on the boat.
The plan was to go from our home port of Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach to Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast on Friday, travel on to St. Augustine on Saturday, back to Hammock Beach on Sunday then back to Halifax on Monday.
We have four cats, and one of the two males has a habit of annoying one of the two females, so we decided that Lynx would go on the boat trip with us. We arranged with our cat sitters to care for the other three while we were gone, and figured we had everything covered.
As the old saying warned though, we soon found that our plan and our reality were not in perfect synchronicity. Everything started out OK, and on a bright and sunny albeit cool Friday, we cast off our lines at Halifax Harbor Marina and pointed our bow northward. Now admittedly, this isn’t like we were venturing out and across the featureless deep of the Atlantic. We were going to be traveling north within the confines of what’s known as the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (usually referred to simply as the ICW) which is the aquatic equivalent of a crowded intra-city highway.
For the most part, the ICW has an “authorized depth” of about 12 feet. Because maintaining that depth is dependent largely on funding appropriated for the purpose by Clowngress, “authorized depth of 12 feet” has become a synonym for “hopefully, a little deeper than your boat’s draft”. We only draw about five feet, so we seldom have a problem as long as we have at least one eye open, but there are many boaters whose experience along the ICW includes some temporary unplanned stops due to an inopportune meeting of mud and keel.
Our goal for Friday was to travel the 30 miles from Daytona north to Hammock Beach Resort and spend the night at their marina. http://www.hammockbeach.com/marina
At a leisurely pace of 10 knots, it would take us three hours to get there. We left Halifax Harbor at noon, and a 3:00 arrival at Hammock Beach would give us the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore the plethora of amenities offered by the resort, all available to boaters staying at the marina.
Just north of Halifax, two bridges cross the ICW and we are just a bit too tall to slide under either one without swapping paint, so I called the bridge tenders on the radio and requested an opening.
Both the Memorial Bridge,
and the the Main Street bridge
opened right up for us, and we passed through as we smugly looked up at the land-bound whose travel we had interrupted.
Several other bridges along the route were of the high-rise variety with a height above water of 60 to 65 feet (like the one in the distance in the photo above). This allows all but the largest sailboats to use the ICW without having to have each and every bridge along the route open for their passage.
The last bridge we needed to have open for us was the L.B. Knox bridge near Flagler Beach.
The weather was great, the wind was light, and traffic on the ICW was minimal.
We arrived at Hammock Beach right on schedule and got tied up on a face dock.
When we got all tied up, plugged in and engines off, Janet decided that a short nap would be a good idea, so Lynx and I curled up in the forward stateroom and she sprawled ( I mean, reclined in a very ladylike manner) on the couch in the salon.
Although the resort has several dining options, we didn’t want to leave Lynx alone, so we decided to eat aboard. With dinner finished, we thought maybe we’d watch our latest Netflix DVD, but Janet said she felt a little congested, and wanted to take something first. We have a pretty good stock of OTC stuff on board, but no decongestants.
Google informed us that the nearest pharmacy was about 10 miles away, and the nearest Publix, about five miles. I called the concierge ( yeah, pretty cool…most places we stay, it’s just the guy named Vinnie at the front desk) and asked if there were any other options. There weren’t, but I was given the number for the local cab company and I called for a ride to Publix.
We loaded up on decongestants of various sorts, daytime remedies, night time remedies holistic remedies, voodoo remedies and anything else that looked slightly promising, and climbed back in the cab for a ride back to the boat.
By now, Janet was in obvious distress and I pretty much knew that we weren’t going to make it to St. Augustine the next day.
We both spent a fitful night sleeping, with Lynx alternately snuggled between us or wandering the boat, and Janet exhaling what I now know to have been toxic, germ-laden breath into my face all night long. The morning dawned with her feeling much worse than the night before, so as master of the vessel, captain of the ship and commander of my domain (I can say all that while she’s asleep) I made the decision to call it quits and high-tail it for home.
We got underway southbound at about 10:00 and made it back to Halifax around 1:00 where one of our dock mates memorialized our return.
We tied up and shut down in record time and jumped in the truck headed for home. By now, Janet was really feeling bad, and no clinic or doctor’s office was nearby or open, so I dropped her off at the local ER, took Lynx back to the house and then sped back to the ER to see what the verdict was. When I got there, she was waiting outside and said they had pronounced her the latest lucky owner of the flu.
Guess who’s probably next in line.