Actually, shifting shoals are also common here and they occasionally intrude on the channel not only in the inlet itself but within the entire vicinity of the inlet. For this reason, many buoys are not charted as they must be moved often to reflect the best passage through the ever shifting shoals. Keep careful watch.
From the inlet the ICW follows the north Indian River southward to New Smyrna which, in 1768, was the site of the largest British attempt at colonization in the new world. The name, New Smyrna, was given to the area by Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician who secured land grants totalling 60,000 acres. (The birthplace of the doctor's wife was Smyrna, Turkey.) Reasoning that people from the Mediterranean would better survive and prosper in Florida's sub-tropical climate, he arranged for indentured servants from Greece and Italy. The plantation initially succeeded, but shortages and mosquito-borne disease eventually took their toll and ultimately led to the fall of the New Smyrna Colony.
Among the several marine facilities in New Smyrna is the Riverview Hotel Restaurant at mile 845.3. The hotel is charming, the restaurant excellent and that spa's great, too!
If anchoring out is more your style, the popular Sheepshead Cut anchorage is on the south side of the island between the two bridges, half a mile by dinghy from downtown. The Municipal Marina of New Smyrna has recently been rebuilt. The dockmaster, John Bauchman, has been a long-time Florida dockmaster, formerly in Marathon. Dolphin View Restaurant is south of the marina.
South of New Smyrna the waterway follows the North Indian River channel past a seven-mile maze of small islands and shallow channels that are pretty much off limits to cruising boats but very popular with area fishermen. The waterway then opens into Mosquito Lagoon (they didn't change this name!), which is wide and beautiful but still shallow, and extends 15 miles southward to Indian Haulover. The lagoon is often alive with dolphins and other wildlife and the fishing is excellent — as the number of fishing boats will attest.
Along the way the channel is paralleled by dozens of spoil islands, many of which offer places to anchor and dock, camp and beach. The Florida Inland Navigation District has published a series of guides to the islands with notes on those that can be approached by boats. Contact FIND in Jupiter at 561-627-3386.
For all of the natural beauty of Mosquito Lagoon — and it is considerable — most cruising types are happy to reach Mile 869, where the first land cut made for the ICW takes a sharp turn to the west through Indian Haulover Canal and into the deeper water of Indian River Lagoon. (These waters are deeper in general, but shoaling has been reported across the channel from the Canal south to Marker #12.)
This entire area is steeped in history, with its oldest settlements dating to the early 1800s. Of course, the name “Indian Haulover” is a reference to the area's original inhabitants' use of a low spot in the island to haul their canoes over land from one body of water to another, a suggestion that they, too, considered the area quite attractive long before the first European settlers arrived.
Then, in the blink of an eye, you find yourself suddenly out of the Coast with the longest history and into one that's on the cutting edge of the future: the Space Coast.
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