Mal de Mer

Gone are the days of the soft, electronic chime of my iPhone gently waking me for the day; my new alarm clock is gritty, mechanical, and loud: it’s the windlass. And right now it’s grinding and whirring as it spins, collecting our anchor chain: it’s time to go. Stéphane cannot wait to test out Super Mark and it’s time to get back to sailing! We motor an hour down the ICW to the closest inlet and from there, out into the ocean for a full day and full night sail to our next destination, Fort Pierce.


The mighty windlass / alarm clock.

Heading towards the Ponce de Leon inlet, we are met with several boats that just don’t look right. A reminder that you cannot stray far from the channel or you will be sitting on sand at a most ungainly angle, keel exposed to the world, with people like me taking pictures for your viewing pleasure.

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I’ve done research on the Ponce de Leon inlet. It’s runnable but you have to hit it at the right time (slack tide: the time in between the tide coming in and out) and in the right conditions (i.e., no crazy weather). You also have to be very careful to stay in the channel because there is some pretty major shoaling (shallow places where the sand has piled up). Stephane does an amazing job getting us to and out of the inlet – we had to rely on our eyes and not the iPad (chart plotter) this time (good practice for the Bahamas).

Safely out, we raise the sails, set our course, kick back and let Super Mark take the wheel. The waves are on our beam (they are hitting us directly on the side of the boat) – this makes for a fairly uncomfortable motion so we aren’t feeling all that great. We eat lots of saltine crackers and they help.

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Goodbye Daytona Beach!

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Three miles out and in International Waters, Stéphane throws out a line and immediately snags a fish.

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A BIG fish – about four feet long!

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After some back and forth, Stéphane gets the fish close enough to bring in but we do not have a net and, dangit, the fishing line breaks when he tries to haul the fish aboard.


After further research, we find out that this was a Red Drum (good eating)…Next time!


We pass Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Station – we’re about 10 miles offshore so don’t see much but the super big NASA building. Five days later, Orion blasts off from this very same spot – would have been amazing to have seen it from this vantage point!

We sail on into the night, the wind and waves steady on our beam. Now, during our first sail to Cape Lookout back in October, we developed a Sea Sickness Scale: 1 being slightly seasick, 10, you’re puking. So with those parameters established, you’ll understand what was going on on Free Range during our Daytona > Fort Pierce excursion when I tell you that we reached every level of this scale at one point or another, ten included.

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“Oh look! A pretty rainbow!” Yeah, don’t care. I’m sick. Get me out of these waves.

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If I close my eyes, I can keep to a Level 6 or so…

By morning we’d reached Fort Pierce Inlet and, once through and in safe waters, dropped anchor, ate some broth, and slept like the dead.



    • Hank on December 6, 2014 at 3:18 am
    • Reply

    Although you can eat a drum fish, I would never eat one. When they get to that size, they are almost always filled with worms. Not good…..

    • Vince on August 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm
    • Reply

    I agree with Hank on the bigger “reds” or drum, but I love the white flakey meat of the medium ones!

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