Friday, November 8, 2013

St. Augustine

Fernandina Beach did manage to hold us captive for one extra day. We were all set to get up early and leave on Tuesday. But the wind and the forecast looked nasty. Sure enough, Tuesday morning was grey, windy, misty rain, ugly. We talked it over for about two minutes before deciding to sit tight for one more day. Our friends on 'Carolina Moon', BJ and Mike, have been looking out for us since we met in Charleston and were also planning a 6:30 am departure. Instead, we got a knock on the hull and BJ let us know that they had reached the same conclusion - sit tight.

So, we had another day in Fernandina. We got some more laundry done, changed the engine and marine gear oil, walked to Fred's for a few more groceries and gave Roux one more day of easy access to grass. It was a good decision (if not cheap).

Wednesday morning was still grey and misty but less wind. The tide was in our favor and we had turned SeaClearly around to point out of the marina a couple of days earlier so we were good to go. There were even a couple off dockhands there early enough to shove us off at 6:40 am. Clean getaway. We passed Carolina Moon at the end of the dock and they shouted that they would be 5 minutes behind.

Passing a Turn-table railroad bridge on the ICW
All of our concerns about this section of the ICW proved to be unfounded. It was a very pleasant motor through marshes, past some beautiful homes and some interesting areas. We only saw shallow water once when I got distracted by something shiny and wasn't paying attention - a major no-no on the ICW. Fortunately, it was a quick recovery with no bumps, bruises or abrasions.

Sister's Creek bridge. Carolina Moon in the lead.

There were a few interesting spots crossing major sounds and rivers where the cross-currents were pretty strong. We went under several bridges including Sister's Creek which is a bascule bridge that you have to call on the radio to request an opening. We saw some joint military water exercises. All pretty cool.

As we got closer to St. Augustine, the current started pulling us in. We saw 8.7 knots just before we crossed the inlet at about 3:00 pm. The trip took about 8 hours. And, for our final challenge for the day - pick up a mooring ball in the St. Augustine Municipal Marina mooring field.

Now, we have picked up mooring balls before during our chartering in the Virgin Islands. But, we have never picked one up with SeaClearly. She is very high at the bow which makes snagging a ball a little harder. Did I mention the current running at 2.0 knots? Short story, we missed on the first pass. We went around again, lined up the approach and put the ball right where it needed to be. Junie hooked the pennant
but had to hold on with both hands. Which left no hands to thread our line through the eye. So she yelled, "I need help!"

View of St. Augustine's Bridge of Lions from our mooring ball.
St, Augustine waterfront
What she should have said was,"Get your ass up here!" Once I got the message, I scurried forward to help wrap up the landing and we plopped on the foredeck. And looked around. We were in St. Augustine. Oldest city in the United States. Somehow, as inexperienced as we may be, we have really made it to Florida. Sure, Fernandina was in Florida but this is St.Augustine! We have made offshore, night runs. We have done ICW runs. We have anchored out, spent nights in marinas and, now, grabbed a mooring ball. We have dinghied our pooch to shore, we have walked him down docks.
We have dealt with seven foot tides, 35 knot winds and strong currents. We have lugged our laundry and groceries. We have met a ton of wonderful people who have been kind to us and we are trying to pay that forward wherever we can.

Now, St Augustine. I am falling behind in these blog posts because we just have so much to do. We are already planning to move on tomorrow and I haven't even told the story of our three days here. But I will catch up. It involves new friends, pizza and the continuation of the East Coast Ice Cream Tour.


  1. Nice job guys ! Those mooring balls can be tricky... Back to Fernandina today for me... Headed south after Thanksgiving. ... Keep her movin! Glory Days

    1. Thanks Joe. Let us know where you are headed. I bet we cross paths again. See you then!