Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marineland!


Just note – I have always reported speeds and distances in nautical and statute measurements. From now on I will be reporting in statute only.


May 6, 2013
We pulled out of Titusville Marina at about 6:45 am under almost calm conditions. It was long day. We would cover 82 miles ending the day’s cruise at a new marina called Marineland Marina at mile marker 796 next to the original Marineland water amusement center. (More about that tomorrow.) Conditions were ideal with light winds and sunny skies. The cruise ended up being a three act drama each with its own characteristics.

Act 1 – The Opening
Heading up the remainder of Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon I pushed the boat a bit trying to eek out a bit more speed. I usually run the Cat at anywhere between 1600 and 1900 rpm and in calm conditions the boat would motor along anywhere between eight and nine miles per hour. Nine miles per hour was my target speed so that we would arrive at our destination at somewhere around 4:30 pm with a bit of time built in to allow for one drawbridge we might have to wait for and making slow passes for the inevitable traffic  throughout the day. So running at 1900 rpm was the norm. I would also be happy if we arrived at 5:00. All in all the first act went well and we made good time heading up to where the second act would start, arriving just to the south of Smyrna Beach.

Act 2 – The Plot Thickens
As we approached Smyrna Beach it was becoming more difficult to maintain our nine mile per hour speed goal. Traffic was a bit of a factor but the close confines of Smyrna Beach meant we had to slow down for the marinas until we could pass under the Mussen drawbridge. After that I could open her up again. But that effort was soon thwarted by the villain of this story, the tide!
Motoring north from Smyrna Beach our speed began to drop drastically as we were getting caught going against a tide swing. It got even worse going through the Daytona Beach area. I pushed the throttle up to 2100 rpm and at times our speed was no more than 6.5 or 7 mph. Doing quick speed/distance calculations our arrival time was getting later and later. If things stayed this way our arrival would be pushed back to 6:00 or even 7:00 pm. Not good. But then act three happened.

Act 3 – The Tables Are Turned (Tide Tables, that is.)
The antagonist of the story looked like it was going to win. But then somewhere between Daytona Beach and Flagler Beach we settle in right smack dab into the outgoing tide that flowed north on the Mantazes River to Mantazes Inlet and we were screaming along towards our destination. Our speed started climbing: 8.0, 8.3, 8.8, 9.3, 9.7, 10.1, 10.8, 11.1! We were going so fast we were a blur to onlookers on shore. Well, not really, but we were going fast! And we were able to ride the tide for a good hour or so. We started making up time and distance in a big way and ended up arriving at the marina at 4:30 pm, just like I planned. The conflict is resolved and the hero wins! Applause and a standing ovation from the audience. Curtain call. Good night everybody, thanks for coming and drive home safely.

There is a saying that applies here – Sometimes you’re good. Sometimes you’re lucky. Sometimes you’re good AND lucky.

Notice to mariners – If you are up this way and need a good place to tie up we would highly recommend Marineland Marina. It is a new marina. This winter is only their second winter season open. Nice place.

Marineland Marina

Why Knot sitting pretty

Tuesday, May 07, 2013
DDD – Dockmaster Distance Delusion. It’s a terrible disease that afflicts 9 out of 10 dockmasters causing them to totally misjudge distances from a marina to local services such as stores, restaurants or attractions. I’ve talked about this before. It grieves me to see such anguish in nice people. Case in point are the dockmaster and hands here at Marineland Marina. This is a first class little marina, but they have DDD very bad indeed.

We needed milk so we headed out on our bicycles to go the nearest Publix supermarket. The dock hands told us it was only three miles away. My butt its only three miles away. (And my butt was certainly letting me know they were wrong.) We traveled that far and there was no Publix in sight. It is probably more like five miles down the A1A. But at about the three mile mark we did come to a Kangaroo store (similar to Qwiktrip, 7-11, Mobil On-The-Run, etc) and bought a gallon and headed back. It really wasn’t a big deal but it does always seem that the distances to things is under-estimated, doesn’t it boaters?

One attraction that is not a great distance away is Marineland. It is literally across the street. I mean we can see the entrance from our boat. That is where we headed in the afternoon.
It’s now actually called Dolphin Adventure at Marineland, or Marineland Dolphin Adventure (saw it both ways) and it is very different than what most people think of when the concept of Marineland comes to mind. Most would think of jumping dolphins doing funny tricks while some guy named Biff and his lovely assistant Peggy smiling largely at the crowd. That is not the way it is now. (It actually has a interesting history. Look up their website for it.) 







Today it is a dolphin research facility. There are no more shows but there are lots of dolphins to see in the very large tanks with gigantic three inch thick windows. The admission price ranges from only $10 to saunter around and watch the dolphins and enjoy the very pretty ocean view, to $450 to be a trainer for the day. There are several different packages that let you touch the dolphins, swim with the dolphins and even to play poker with the dolphins. (That last one is a lie. They play bridge.) We chose the $17 guided tour that does take you behind the scenes to see the research facilities and some tanks of other sea life that isn’t on general display. (Tarpons are really big! And remora fish are really ugly and we understand why the Canadians are so keen on keeping them out of the Trent Severn.) All in all it is a good diversion for an hour or two and it won’t break the bank unless you want it to. We recommend it. 

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