New Smyrna Beach to Mosquito
29 April 2012 | Mosquito Lagoon
Our underway adventure, from Daytona Beach to New Smyrna Beach, was, again, under beautiful Fl skies!! The Waterway runs a straight line along the western shore of Indian River...outside is a maze of mangrove islands and winding natural channels. You can see evidences of previous routes through the groves; one of which is "Turtle Mound" (a Native American Look-out). It was built over 500 yrs ago out of oyster shells piled 50ft high.
Onward to explore Ponce de Leon Inlet. We came thru the Ponce de Leon cut, although both were accessible. The Inlet was all shoaled and not well marked. Both accesses allowed us to see the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. At 159ft, it's the tallest lighthouse in Fl and the 2nd tallest in the nation.
Once we reached north of the G. Summons Bascule Bridge, we saw many boats anchored on the western side. There was a visible sandbar...and it was beyond us as well as the bridge operator how to get there...so through the bascule bridge to the "free" town docks (2 curved docks). However, the docks are under repair and there is no tie-up...so onward to the Smyrna Yacht Club. The YC did not have dock space for us as they were hosting their annual Lipton Cup Races; however, they could not be more accommodating!! We were allowed dinghy tie-up at their dock, use of their dining rooms, Tiki Bar and access to the main road w/our bikes. And I must say....we met the most wonderful YC members!! "Lou" greeted us at the dinghy dock (we now have designated her as the official greeter!!), invited us to watch the races w/her and subsequently introduced us to very gracious welcoming people. Thank you Lou and Warren!! Plse stay in touch!!
Jim and I spent our 1st nite dinghy-ing around. Thanks to the late sculptress Doris Leeper, New Smyrna consistently places as one of the best small art towns in America. The ICW south splits the town into two. Flagler Avenue, the beachside main drag has an "Old Florida" mix of restaurants, art shops, etc. On the mainland, historic Canal Street serves as the center of attention and antiques. Dozens of art galleries are split between the two. We attempted to go to the "Little Drug Company," listed in the cruising guides as famous for their ice cream and milk shakes...but I must say we were terribly disappointed w/the lack of available hours that they were open. We tried twice...once they were just about to close (5pm) and the 2nd time they were closed (Saturday at 3pm...)...We proceeded to bring our dinghy into the municipal marina...the dockmaster is originally from Charlestown, RI...and he let us stay there while we went to dinner. Went to the "Dolphin View"...a real local, on the porch, paper plates kind of place but the fish was good!!
On Saturday, Jim and I biked to the New Smyrna Beach...beautiful...rode bikes on the beach, watched the races, biked to the Inlet and shopped!! Had lunch and watched races from a "must" local beach bar..."Tony and Joe's", at the end of Flagler. I had never heard of New Smyrna beach...located amongst a natural opening in the barrier islands that connects the north end of the Mosquito Lagoon and the south end of the Halifax River. The community has exacted a low impact development w/enforced setbacks to protect its' dune-laden coastline. The result is a pristine beach w/an unpretentious town!! It has its'farmers markets on various Saturdays, and the "art and wine walk" on alternating Saturdays! We took a break from our 15-mile bike ride (it is getting hot and humid here!) to stop at the Night Swan B&B (almost all food establishments on Canal St and around seem to be closed on Saturdays)...they had a sign advertising wonderful cappuccinos and desserts! (Of course this was after our ice cream at Treats on the Beach)...we were not disappointed as we relaxed on their porch and watched a wedding taking place on their lawn!!
Off to the YC...at which time our friends invited us for a cold drink and ultimately dinner...a wonderful, unexpected surprise of an evening. We said our good-byes...as the wait staff was trying to close...and plan to get up in the morning, u/w to Mosquito Lagoon for 1-night on anchor...or according to Lou, now known as "Indian River Lagoon" so as not to deter cruising tourists!
From New Smyrna Beach, the ICW tracks its' way through a large expanse of mud flats; depths right outside of the channel run in inches...keeping a careful eye on the marked Waterway AND the depth sounder is critical!! We were so pleasantly surprised to pass "Iolar" with Walter and Lynn on board, going North...friends we had met in Elizabeth City!! Lots of screaming, waving and ultimately a short radio conversation let us know they are headed home.
We arrived in Mosquito Lagoon (aka Indian River Lagoon!) late morning and anchored. Mosquito Lagoon is not a very reassuring name for an anchorage!! We explored the Canaveral Nat'l Seashore by dinghy and foot...the Atlantic looked a little ominous after being in the ICW for so long...and off on the far shore we could just catch a glimpse of the Space Center!!
There are suppose to be frequent sightings of dolphin and manatee in this shallow lagoon...but you can't prove it by me!! Jim, however, has spotted both. Supposedly, Christopher Columbus was the 1st European to report seeing a manatee w/its' cleft face and coarse whiskers...his crew thought they had sighted the mythical half-female, half-fish mermaids. Talk about delusional after months at sea without women. Oh well...stay tuned...