Jacksonville to St Augustine

We begin our day with lovely, calm weather, very serene and very few boats out so far.

As we pass the inlet, we see that it is even rather calm off-shore. How nice. The sailboat is just inside the inlet entrance.

This is what St Augustine looks like from the water:

Once docked, this is what our view off our stern was. Tourboat was included:

We spent our first full day sightseeing. We walked around town, and explored the Castillo de San Marcos Fort:

(Incidently, we happened to be there on Veterans Day so it was FREE admission- woohoo!)

 

We also went to visit the William Warden winter home - AKA "Warden Castle". We had to! What a place. For its time, it was enormous. Though it isnt really meaningful to go inside because it is now the "Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum".

(in case you are wondering... no, we were not there at night. I stole this picture from the St Augustine website. My pictures didnt come out at all)

This plaque, though pretty much unreadable, speaks of when and where he and his family lived there etc...

A small side note to chuckle over: when we toured St Augustine we used their trolley system to get around which included an ongoing voice guided tour from the drivers. Our driver reported that Mr William Warden and his lovely wife had 14 children...all daughters. We just gaped at eachother. All daughters? Then, where, praytell, did the other generations we know existed come from? Bruce is thinking of writing them a short but polite  note. Just a reminder: don't believe everything you hear on tour buses.

We also climbed to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. I had to hold on very very securely to the wall, it was crazy high! But, I did manage to let go (holding my breath) long enough to snag a picture of the view out to the ocean:

(By the way, the marina to the left is where we were docked)

 

I know this blog post is a bit long but there is one more really important story I have to share with you...

So... our original plan was to stay in St. Augustine for 3 full days to explore and have fun. It's a very cool place. As it turned out, it was the PERFECT interval to have chosen under the circumstances of the time, but not for the reasons you might expect. You see, after our lovely day sightseeing, the weather changed - to say the least! By evening on that first day, the winds had picked up to 35 knots sustained and were gusting to 50 knots. That, my friends, is a LOT of wind. In addition to that, the direction of the wind was such that we were on the most exposed section of the marina. For about 36 hours we were pounded into our face dock. The wind came at us from our port stern quarter. Every 2 hours or so the first night, we had to start engines and engage our bow thrusters to push away from the dock to reposition our fenders. Those poor fenders were being battered about in all directions. The wave action was enormous and was rising and lowering the boat so much that the fenders kept either popping under the lip of the floating docks and stressing the rails from which they hung or popping up over the dock uselessly. What a night! Fortunately, by midday the next day things had calmed somewhat so we no longer had to reposition the fenders. Nonetheless, we did not feel comfortable leaving the boat at all. We remained alert and attentive to weather and weather alone.

Thankfully, as our 4th day approached, our originally planned leaving day, about 3am, the wind finally quit and we knew we could be on our way come morning. The washing machine ride was over. We were very lucky. All we suffered was some seriously abused fenders and a few more grey hairs. Alas, one of those fenders did not survive the abuse. It will not hold air anymore. Oh well..... a worthy sacrifice.