Updated: May 15
Ponce Inlet is a pleasant spot like Peanut Island, but here the island is deserted and has a wide beach where the sand is so fine my feet made choo choo sounds whenever I stepped into the dry powder. The inlet is also considerably wider than either Jupiter or Haulover, so the current is not quite as strong and even paddling out against the tide wasn’t particularly tough.
I would have liked to have made it as far as Matanzas Inlet today, but unfortunately there aren’t enough daylight hours at this time of year to cover the 47 miles even with a good tailwind. Maybe, I thought, if I put in 2mph, and the wind and swell each give me another two I can make it, but my partners in this endeavor were not there to help me.
I thought about whether I should go through the intracoastal or the ocean. There aren’t many good places to camp along either way, none legal at least. When morning came, I decided I would try the ocean. Conditions will be mild for the next few days, and I left my little island headed out to sea.
Kayaking in the ocean is so different from the intracoastal. Here even a 4-foot swell can seem gigantic. Fortunately, today with the south wind, the waves were only breaking very close to shore so deeper water was somewhat calm if wavy.
The wind over the swells was not quite as consistent as I thought. When the swell crest rolled in, I had a strong breeze catch the sail, but once I dropped in the troth the wind died down. It seems that on small vessels like a kayak, even the moderate swells can be like mountains and cast wind shadows. This breeze and slack cycle went on wave after wave the entire time. Every so often there was a lull in the swells, and I could then get some good speed on the sail.
Immediately north of Ponce Inlet is Daytona Beach. I call it the Redneck Mecca because of the Daytona SpeedWay. Only a redneck can enjoy watching cars go around in circles for 5 hours. The Speed Way is gigantic. Ten coliseums can fit in it with room to spare. Seeing the place filled must be an almost religious experience. The cars go around like Muslims go around the Kaaba, and just like in Mecca, you sometimes get horrific pile ups.
It doesn’t look like Daytona cared much for the scenery on their waterfront. The condos are stacked right up on the water’s edge and have unsightly concrete sea walls that say, “Keep out! Private Property.”
Someone on the beach must have seen me about a quarter mile out. They flew a drone to inspect me, kept pace for about 5 minutes and flew very close to the water. Whoever was piloting either knew what they were doing or was extremely reckless; the drone was almost within reach of my paddle and I could probably have knocked it off the air if I threw one of my Cliff Bars at it. I would love to know who was flying it so I could see the video.
I came to the shore on North Peninsula State Park. The beach was really steep here and I had to dig into the incline to level the ground for the tent. I’m hoping nobody comes to kick me back into the sea. The sign at the beach gate by the road said no camping was allowed so I stayed a good distance from it to at least claim ignorance.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation