To Titusville via Daytona Beach

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sun 13 Dec 2009 22:49
28:43.30N, 80:48.39W
We enjoyed a pleasant one night stopover at Daytona Beach before moving on to Titusville, passing a most interesting bridge along the way reminding us we are now in Manatee waters, although we still have yet to see one!
The bridge has been decorated at the waterline by mosaic artwork depicting dolphins, which we see most days on the ICW and Manatees which we haven't seen yet !!
So on to Titusville. Titusville - where on earth is that?  Well, let me think what's nearby that anyone would know of - how about Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre? That's just 15 miles away and people in these parts are used to seeing rockets whizzing off into outer space every few weeks. Ajaya has arrived at Cape Canaveral and there's no rocket due to blast off until Feb 4th 2010. Not even a unmanned probe to some distant universe let alone the space shuttle off to deliver some more toilet rolls to the international space station. In fact the space shuttle programme is slowly drawing to a close, which is a shame.
Never mind we're further into Florida and its getting everso slightly warmer, until the other morning that is, when the latest cold front walloped us and the temperature dropped 15 degrees in the same number of minutes. One minute the wind was almost calm from the southwest - the next it was blowing 25 knots from the northwest complete with dark angry skies. We were bouncing up and down on the water as the Indian River showed its nasty side, just as we were about to up anchor and head into the marina for a few days. The dock master suggested we wait a while whilst the front went through and we finally secured in Titusville Municipal Marina (a mouthful on the VHF when repeated three times!) an hour later than intended.
If Fernandina Beach and St Augustine were all about Pirates then Titusville is all about space travel and with Canaveral so close by it's not surprising really, they are proud of their space centre here. So shops are full of toy space shuttles and kiddies orange astronaut suits, in fact anything that's been blasted up into space has a model in a shop somewhere close by. However, since entering Florida one common denominator in the tourist dollar market remains ever present - real alligator heads. Even the pharmacy we walked round today - similar to Woolworths but with a drug counter at the far end had a selection of alligator heads for sale. Presumably these are from farmed alligators where the remainder of the poor creature has long since been factory processed into a tin can. As the head is armour plated and full of teeth we guess it makes more sense to offer it as a tourist memento. Of course these are not the large man-eating 12' long versions but mere baby specimens of a couple or more feet. We've decided we can do without one for the time being although perhaps if strategically placed onboard near the entrance door it could help ward off the close attentions of any persons bent on unlawful activities.
On the subject of unlawful activities we were boarded whilst underway on the ICW by the police responsible for checking boaters are not polluting Florida waters with effluent - affectionately known by cruisers as the "Poo Police" they have the ability to materialize from nowhere at high speed when least expected and are aboard your boat in an instant. There is a $250 fine if you are caught without your holding tank valve in the correct position and locked off. Ours was in the correct position but not locked off. We were told to do just that and he left as quickly as he arrived whizzing off in his high speed RIB to check some other boats behind us. Ours are now padlocked with the key hidden so that only Nikki and I know where it is!
It's amazing how quickly 3 days pass when in a marina.  We always feel under pressure to achieve things when alongside as its easy to load up with groceries, spares and take on fuel. Day one we walked up to a Savealot store and did just that, although the product range was severely limited. On the way we called into the propane store to fill up an empty gas bottle - however, we're in Florida now, one of the most heavily regulated States in the Union and the 'gas man' was not going anywhere near our bottle for fear of a $5000 fine. So short of wandering around the Savealot with it in tow on its trolley we split up with Phil taking the empty bottle back to Ajaya whilst the ship's provisioning officer headed for Savealot.
It was on the way back, loaded with shopping that we encountered what for us has been the ugliest bird we've seen on our travels. There were 6 hanging around outside, perhaps not surprisingly, a live bait store where they sold shrimps etc. The owner said they were aggressive birds that wouldn't hesitate to walk into the shop and help themselves to any live (or probably) dead bait on offer. She called them Vulture Storks but we couldn't find any reference to the species on the web, but we took some pics anyway.
Pelicans we find endearing - these storks were just menacing and would only bring you a very ugly baby !!
Day 2 and we were visited by some wonderful friends who are on the St Johns River close by. They had use of a car and took us to Publix for more shopping, but first stop was a bakery where we bought homemade bread, banana nut loaf, drank coffees and caught up on all our news. OK we do get some time for relaxing on marina stops.
Day 3 and its off to the Pharmaceutical store to buy loads of wine boxes that were on offer, passing through a pretty public park on the way much to our surprise 2 squirrels shot out of a nearby tree and ran straight towards us.They stopped inches away before edging closer. Phil wondered if he looked like a tree and didn't fancy one climbing his leg so we kept on the move so as not to give the impression we were two new trees in the park.
Squirrel with attitude
Back at the boat we had engine oil changes to take care of and try and find the cause of a rough running starboard engine. The smell of diesel then permeates through the boat as we have to bleed the injectors and injector pump in order to be able to restart the engine again.
Day 4 and its up early to Skype home and a last minute panic to clean up the starboard engine bay, change it's oil then shift docks to empty our holding tanks before another shift to the fuel dock to top off the fuel tanks before going back out to anchor.
So that was Titusville. It's 12 days to Christmas and we have not the faintest idea where we will be on the day - so we need to start thinking of a suitable location, either in the Florida Keys or the Bahamas - oh the choices!
Our spot on A dock T-head for 3 days with a view over the anchorage                    ......Just how nice can a sunrise be...........