Tuesday, February 21, 2017

St Augustine for the second time

We have noticed a change in our attitude this year. We don't seem to be in much of a hurry. Sure, we are still moving south bit by bit. But we don't mind the delays as much. We don't feel the urgency that pressed us forward on our previous trips. I guess we were so afraid that we wouldn't get around to all of our sailing dreams that we pushed pretty hard. This trip, it's OK if we just have to sit and wait for weather. We can take the ICW (which we are still not fond of but it is not quite as insane in the middle of winter) and make small progress as we can. It will all still be there later. Overall, a pleasant attitude.

This is a Flashback Photo from 2013.
That is Carolina Moon in front of us going
through the bridge at Sister's Creek.
The bridge has since been removed and
replaced by a high-rise span.





And so, we have stayed in St Augustine for three days. We came through here on our first Bahama trip in 2013 under the mentor-ship of Bejay and Michael on Carolina Moon. We thought of them many times along the way, especially as we ate at Pizzalley the other night.

Bejay and Michael took us under their wing after we met them in Charleston, through Fernandina, all the way to St Augustine. Their advice was much appreciated and we have sailed, traveled and visited with them since. We wish them well and wish they were here.








It was an uneventful trip down from Jacksonville except for the constant attention demanded by the ICW for the first 25 miles of the trip. There are numerous areas of shoaling within the channel so high tide and chart checking are mandatory.

The only bridge that has to open to let us pass is in downtown St Augustine. It only opens on the hour and half hour. The mooring field for the marina is just on the other side of the bridge - which makes for a painful wait if you miss the bridge opening by 2 minutes and have to paddle around looking at your destination. When we left in the morning, we thought we would arrive at the Bridge of Lions - yes, it does have lions at each end - for the 2:30 opening (another positive of ICW travel with no traffic. You can predict your travel time. As long as you successfully avoid the shoals).

We rounded the last bend, with the bridge still maybe just a little too far in the distance, at 2:26 with the hammer down and calling the bridge on Channel 9.

"Bridge of Lions, Bridge of Lions, this is sailing vessel SeaClearly".
"Bridge of Lions, Go ahead SeaClearly"
"Good Afternoon, Sir", I said, hoping that courtesy would help. "We are a 42 foot sailboat southbound and would like to make that 2:30 opening"
"Alright SeaClearly. You will have the tide on this opening"
"Roger that. Thank you."
The Bridge of Lions from our south field mooring ball.


Yes! We are making the 2:30! His comment about the tide indicated that we would have the tide pushing us and, therefore, got to go first before the northbound traffic passed through the bridge. Less than 10 minutes later, we were picking up a mooring.

We dropped the dinghy, went to town and - what else - got gelato. Tilly was happy to run around a new town. We had Roux, our big chocolate Lab last time we were here and we sure thought of him. We have seen dolphins regularly here and Tilly has gotten good at spotting them.

Flagler College. Used to be someone's winter home.
While we were hanging around St Augustine, friends Bo and Joyce on Dream Catcher were offshore on their way down to St Augustine from the Myrtle Beach area. We got together with them today and walked St Augustine on the Cruiser's tour - West Marine, Sailor's Exchange (the coolest nautical has-everything used boat parts store / junkyard - not meant in a derogatory way), Flagler College and Georgies Diner (excellent gyros).

Not too shabby. Now part of the college.
Also, not shabby.






Tomorrow morning, since the weather isn't letting us out into the ocean, we will go south on the ICW again towards Daytona and then on to Titusville. We can provision from there and be staged and ready to head either further south in Florida or across to the Bahamas when a window presents itself. Or, we can just sit in Titusville and go to the dog park. We'll see what Tilly says.



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