Titusville to St. Augustine Florida

Another couple of days stop has dragged out into over a week. We wanted to stop and visit a friend and help out with a few chores and we did do that. The maintenance work on the boat mostly got done and the weather was lousy. A low pressure system sat over us for days and the front that seems to have been draped over the middle of the state for a month or more gave us daily rain and pretty much gloomy conditions. They should really rename this the “Sometimes Sunshine State”. Of course that would not look good on the tourist posters. It seems that once we tie to a dock it is very difficult to untie and get moving again. We even gave the low an extra day to move a bit further north and give us a little more space. And of course every low pressure system that develops, no matter where it is, will be forecast by the local weather folks as a potential killer hurricane. It is really hard to sort out the facts from the hype. But also, the longer we stay the more we know we need to get moving again. Realistically we are about 3 to 4 days from Beaufort, which is our destination but we also know that it will take us a bit longer than that. After cruising for so many years we have friends strung out everywhere we go, especially the east coast. Once we reach Fernandina, we again will stop and visit. We like to spend a little time in Fernandina Beach, St. Mary’s Georgia and the Cumberland Island area. It is just a great place and when last there we wrote the piece on the Triangle which is on this site. But rest assured we will update the information on this visit.
It is always good to get under way again after a brief rest stop. Well they are seldom rest stops but this time we did get a chance to relax a bit. At 7 AM we shoved off the dock and motored out of the marina. It was dreary and cloudy all day with light rain off and on until afternoon. Most of the 54 miles to Daytona went smoothly and again the boat traffic was light. But we did have some anxious moments crossing through the Ponce De Leon Inlet. The area shoals frequently and there is dredging going on in several areas. But near the northern extremes as you round red marker 4 the depths drop off to 7 feet at low tide and of course we came through at low tide. The guide books always recommend that you transit some of these places only at high tide but that is really not practical if the high tides are during periods that make it difficult to attain. For instance, if high tide is at 3 AM in the morning you would NOT want to run this area or most of the ICW at night. But we made it through without touching bottom and as we approached Daytona the small boat traffic increased. A small skiff was out towing daysailors around and insisted on towing them down the middle of the channel and weaving back and forth. But usually when one of these small boats sees our bowsprit heading for them they quickly change course and get out of the way. We keep a signal horn at the ready in case they aren’t paying attention. There are 4 bridges in Daytona on the waterway, 2 fixed at 65 feet and 2 that have to open for you. Our anchorage was just past the northernmost bridge and right next to it. We have anchored here several times in the past and know the water to be 7 to 8 feet outside of the channel. Several of the permanent fleet here anchors just south of the same bridge and cruisers going north and south during the season will also anchor in both places. There is a fairly good current that runs through here making the choice for two anchors necessary when things get crowded.
The next day went fine until about 12 noon when during one of my regular inspections of the engine compartment and bilge, I noticed the overflow tank for the fresh water on the engine was not only full but overflowing. This could only mean the engine was running hotter than it should. We were only a mile or so past Palm Coast Marina where we had previously planned to stop and visit friends but later decided to head straight to St. Augustine. With 23 miles still to go we decided to head back to Palm Coast and try to sort out the problem. Once again these periodic checks may have prevented a more serious problem at a very inopportune time. We called the marina and they said, “sure come on in”, and in fact had someone on the dock when we arrived. We must highly recommend this stop for anyone coming this way and needing dockage. These are some of the most friendly, helpful folks we have encountered at any marina so far. And the cost was very inexpensive by east Florida standards.
Once settled in and giving the engine time to cool down the troubleshooting process began. In the meantime we had called our friend to say we were stopping by after all and he showed up on the dock. The first steps were to pull and check the thermostat and look for any blockage in the fresh water supply lines. Unfortunately nothing obvious was found but the lines were cleaned and the coolant replaced as needed. I removed the thermostat completely since there could be something wrong that was not showing up testing it out of the engine. These types of problems can be troublesome since they have no apparent cause and only show up under way. So we will see if the run to St. Augustine, only another 24 miles, will make a difference without the thermostat. There is really no place locally to get parts for the engine, but we can get them in St. Augustine. If the problem goes away we will replace it there.
We would have left the next morning but after breakfast we wondered what the rush was all about and decided to visit our friend and spend another day. It turned out to be a good day, sitting at his pool and having lunch, then some shopping. Every once in a while we have to stop and remind ourselves that we don’t have to be any place special at a given time. So another day in a nice, friendly marina is not such a bad thing. We can get under way tomorrow.
We did not leave too early the next morning since we had to transit the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine at 1 PM due to construction. We ran from Palm Coast to St. Augustine and the overflow tank did fill as it should have but we have been at anchor off Castillo San Marcos, for about 2 hours and the tank has not pulled the water back into the FW tank. We have talked to a Yanmar mechanic and we discussed a few possibilities but his thinking is that the flange and radiator cap on the FW cap may be the culprit. The thinking is that if the cap leaks air, and it can leak air and not fluid, then it will not draw the coolant back into the tank. There seems to have been an issue with the flange and we have had 3 new caps leak and the only thing that stayed the same was the flange. Tomorrow we head up to Fernandina Beach. We have called the Yanmar dealer there and ordered the parts. They will arrive Wednesday and we will put them on and try to run enough to put it to the test. Our next run is offshore from Fernandina to Port Royal Sound so we want to resolve this.

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