Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 22, 2007 St. Augustine, FL

We are just 25 miles from our destination for the Defever Rendezvous in Palm Coast, FL. We have traveled 575 miles. Since we don’t need to be there until Thursday, we are now anchored just south of the Bridge of Lions in historic St. Augustine for a few days. We had a pretty exciting day as a cold front came through and at times it was raining so hard that we could only see 100 yards in front of us, which would have been OK if not for bridges and other boats close by. It would also have been OK with us also if it wasn't raining inside of the canvas top where we were standing!

It rained off and on all day and now another shower has passed. We are back in sweats. Where is the sun and warm??

Storm coming over the boat.

St. Augustine Lighthouse.

View of the town from our anchorage. We plan to be here for another day and if the rain holds off to take the dingy in to walk around the town today.

This is the historic Bridge of Lions. Apparently, it was in need of repair and because it is historic they have built a temporary bridge beside it for the traffic and will rebuild the original bridge. Big project!

Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish fort dating back to 1672, taken from the water. And below, from the land.

West Gate to St. Augustine from the mid-1570's.

St. Augustine sunset.

LT driving the dingy to shore and St. Augustine architecture.
January 20, 2007 Fernandina Beach, FL

We made it to Florida! We had an uneventful trip from St. Simons to Fernandina Beach, passing the King’s Bay Nuclear Submarine Base. As we approached from the north a small patrol boat with red light flashing came running out to us; we initially thought he might want to board us but he ran on by and we heard him talking to the sail boat following us.

Fernandina Beach is one of the oldest towns which was discovered in the mid-1500’s and most of the buildings dating from the 1800’s. It reminded us of Beaufort, NC. We toured the town and had fish and chips at O’Kane’s Irish Pub. We had planned another day here to enjoy the town and the weather. The sun came out and we had shorts and t-shirts on for the first time, but this is a boat, so rather than doing that, Rick spent the afternoon trying to fix a slow leak in the forward head. Joy! I helped by handing him the requisite tools (tough job). The leak went from bad to worse then back to just bad, so we gave it up for the moment … with a mini bucket under the leaking valve. Guess a new part needs to be ordered.

One note on the folks here; we needed to go to the grocery store and were going to take a cab but sport fisherman, Capt. Bill, across the dock from us heard us ask directions and told us he would take us and bring us back. He was a real character and we took him up on his offer. Nice people!

Following is a picture we took the afternoon of our second day. The skipper of this sail boat either made a gross error in navigation, or a big mistake in his tidal range math. The tide here is about 7'. He managed to float the sail boat off on the next high tide and reposition.

About 8:00PM we were sitting on the aft deck and began to hear jet airplanes. Now, these planes were really loud, and we wondered where they were coming from. Turns out it was the paper mill, just south of town, venting stuff. I can’t quite imagine getting used to that amazing noise on a regular basis.

When we turned in at the party-animal crack of 9:00PM we heard an unmistakable snapping or popping all around the master stateroom … most of which is below the waterline. We’ve read that this sound generally comes from shrimp which use their claws as sonar, with the noise resulting from the water jet emitted by their claws snapping shut at up to 60 mph … guide books have some really interesting stuff. Another interesting, and new to us, happening is the presence of Manatee warning signs, and guidebook discussion of alligators and salt water crocodiles. Guess we’re in Florida.

January 19, 2007 St. Simons Island, GA

(We are catching up on the blog so here goes…you can skip the narrative but the pictures are great!)

We arrived in St. Simons on Friday afternoon. This is the home to Rick’s kindergarten friend, Gayle, and his wife, Dee. They met us at the boat then took us to their lovely home. We then toured The Cloister in Sea Island, GA which is just a few minutes away. You may remember that this is where the G-8 Summit was held in 2004. It is both a hotel and country club where the very rich hang out. Because of its age the old buildings were leveled and then rebuilt. It is simply marvelous. It is very old world, and no money was spared in the reconstruction. Below are pictures of the G-8 conference table and of Rick sitting where the President sat. The whole place was breathtaking. We were treated to a wonderful dinner in the old village section of St. Simons. Rick and I tried dirty martinis and enjoyed them very much!! All in all, a fun reunion with great friends who we will see on the trip back north. Gayle and Dee have a huge grapefruit tree and they shared several of them with us which we have been enjoying for breakfast. Gotta love the south!! Below Rick and Gayle.

Lobby of The Cloister.

G-8 Summit table and Rick sitting where the President sat.

Shrimp boats at low tide.
This is the house where The Big Chill and The Great Santini were filmed.

We passed this English long boat on the way south. What a surprise to see one in the ICW! They are specially built, 7ft wide, to transit the 9ft wide canals in England. Notice all the flowers.