"3 Visits-December 2000, March 2001 and March 2002" Saint Augustine Travelogue by grandmaR
Saint Augustine Travel Guide: 724 reviews and 1,975 photos
Coming down into St. Augustine, we pass the airport with a blimp moored there (photo)
Warning: As you turn toward the town be SURE that you don't miss the three little floating red markers, esp R 60 or you will go aground. We anchored in front of the fort Friday night.43.1 miles from Ft. George which took 7.5 hours. We anchored near COSMOS (another boat like ours) that we met first in the Southport area.
Norm and Jan of Bandersnatch were going to a party that night, so they couldn't come and visit. They urged us to stay over for the Parade of Lights which was going to be the next evening. But we declined. So we made an appointment to go to a marina at Palm Coast and Norm and Jan said they'd come visit Saturday morning after they got up, as they expected to sleep in after their party.
They have a monthly pass for landing the dinghy at the Municipal Marina charges $5/aday for dinghy landing. This includes trash disposal and showers. At this time, Fernandina Beach dinghy dock was free, so I thought that charge was excessive. I didn't change my mind.
While we were in the anchorage, this boat which was decorated for the parade came by - it was waiting for the Bridge of Lions opening. We eventually did see a boat parade near Hillsborough Inlet north of Ft. Lauderdale. There was another one scheduled the night after we were there at Palm Coast.
Saturday morning, soldiers march into the fort (followed by some ladies in hoop skirts (I look through the binoculars). Then they come up on the ramparts, raise the flag (an hour late at 9 a.m.) and fire muskets at us. Bob said to wave the white flag. Then they soldiers fire the cannon about every half hour.
After our visit with Norm and Jan (they came over in their dinghy), we got underway and after a hard slog got to Palm Coast
Sunday we came up here to St. Augustine. The usual crazies in the channel - guys pulling kids on tubes in the ICW. Saw a statue of a manatee along the waterway to which someone had affixed rabbit ears. Didn't get a photo. They've dredged the Matanzas inlet- no trouble going through there.
The municipal marina in St. Augustine has no room for us, so I get an reservation at Oyster Creek, which is up the San Sebastian River. The manager takes my credit card number over the phone and says if we don't get there by 4 pm there won't be anyone to help us tie up. He gives us our slip assignment on the T head of A dock right behind a big schooner. We arrive at 3:30 after 53.4 miles at 6.2 mph after 289 nm since Jan 1st.
When we arrived at the marina, they were having a farewell party/barbeque for a boat a couple of slips over from us, so the dock master was there to help us, although we already knew where our slip was. I went up to the office, but they'd already charged my credit card, and she just gave me the restroom combinations and some stuff on restaurants. The weather was clouding up and started to really look like rain and was getting windy.
When I got back to the boat the Canadians on CARELLEN were there talking to Bob. We met them at the DIsmal Swamp Visitor's Center and again in Oriental. They had taken a sabatical (they are teachers) and were home schooling their boys who were 7th and 9th grade. Last December, they had just gone under the 312 bridge (near the entrance to the San Sebastian River) when their engine became inoperative - the boys rushed up on deck - Dad the cabin's full of smoke. So the tow boat towed them into Oyster Creek at 8 knots. (The dad said - why not go a little faster and then I can water ski.)
They decided just to spend the winter, so when his father died, they flew back to Canada and brought a car down. They will then have the boat shipped back to Canada this summer. They were offering help and a car if we needed it. Bob wanted to get ice as the refrigeration compressor doesn't seem to be working, and the dock master told us that we could just get our own ice from the ice machine and Bob didn' t want to do that as he wanted a bag to have it in. So they drove him across the street to get ice.
I called a friend and he said he'd finish up what he was doing and come over. He came and we went to a restaurant down US 1 (we were right next to it). It was St. Patrick's Day and the restaurant was packed. We ended up eating on the deck next to the fire but even then we about froze especially our friend who was from Ft. Lauderdale. It was hit or miss service. There was a live band. I had ribs and took some home. Then we went back to the boat and talked until almost 1 am.
Sunday, he came back and we had lunch at the little restaurant around the corner (very good food, good service and cheap but only does breakfast or lunch), and then went over to Green Cove Springs (south of Jacksonville) and saw his boat and talked about it until 5 pm. It rained pretty heavily all day and was cold. Then we drove back and had dinner at the Gypsy Cab Company on the beach. Good eclectic food, and pretty good service too.
Then he dropped us off at our boat. I called Norm of BANDERSNATCH and he said he'd call us tomorrow at 10.
We decided to stay 2 more days as it was supposed to be rainy and windy. The folks the going away party was for didn't - the weather was too bad.
Monday, it rained and was cold. I was up getting e-mail, and also having a shower at 10, and Bob turned the phone on but he was a little away from it so Norm left a message. They came over to our boat and took us out to lunch at the A1A which is an ale house and brewery but they have sandwiches and stuff too. I had cheese soup with veggies to dip in it (sort of like fondue), and a root beer ice cream float called a black cow. They make their own root beer too.
They took us to the consignment hop, and to the grocery and to a specialty grocery where they had sausage that Norm liked. Norm and Jan invited us back to dinner, but I thought the weather would be too bad to get back to shore. It really blew hard all night. The next day, they came in the afternoon, and we went out to their boat for dinner. Picture was taken from the dinghy dock when we went out to their boat. They had the leftover pot roast from the day before, and Jan made a very good salad out of broccoli, raisins and red onions - dressing was mayo with apple cider vinegar. We got back to the boat about 10. I didn't think much of the municipal marina facilities, although they are convenient to the old town, fort, Post Office, etc
The weather said that there was still surf on the beach from the high winds we'd had, so we weren't going out the St. Augustine inlet. I looked up the tides etc on the boat, but neglected to look up the bridge openings. I was a little slow getting started, and then I read that the Bridge of Lions only opened on the hour and half hour, but did not open at 8 am. It was now 7:10 and we didn't think we'd make the 7:30. We were right.
We tried anchoring and having breakfast, but the anchor didn't set, so we ended up just circling and waiting. A motor boat named FARMER came and asked for an opening, and the bridge tender said that they were having electrical problems(!!) and might or might not open at 8:30, but that he'd give us an update on the VHF. Then at 8:30, he just opened the bridge with no warning. Fortunately we were close, and got through.
We passed BANDERSNATCH at anchor and the fort. The sun came out and illuminated the town so I took some photos. I also took a picture of the lighthouse and the surf across the inlet (below). The winds were fairly brisk.
Next: Pablo Creek
ICW 783 - Matanzas - there is always a tow boat here waiting for people to go aground. He fishes in between helping people.The last bridge before the San Sebastian RIver (where we are now), the bridge tender asked me if we knew what the intentions of a boat anchored there. As we came up to him, we saw him hastily pulling his anchor. He appeared to be a single hander from Canada (we'd seen him before), with an old white wooden ketch and a red kayak as a dinghy. Apparently he was waiting for someone else to go through the bridge because he either didn't have a radio or didn't know how to hail the bridge. So he went through with us, and stuck close behind us (we'd passed him north of Titusville and he was going a lot slower than we were then).
We got to the turn off, and he started to come up here with us. I think he wanted to go through the Bridge of Lions with us.
We got into a slip at Oyster Creek Marina (hope we can get out again) and went over to the restaurant that they were building the last time we were here for dinner.
We spent a couple of days in St Augustine- meeting internet friends. Norm and Jan took us and a guy named Fred from another boat out to beach bar where the food was cheap although the service wasn't too good. The restaurant at the marina which they were working on last year was closed Mon and Tues. although we got to eat there Sun. Bob also got to go to the marine consignment shop which he liked. We had been 900 nm since Jan 1 2002.
I had the temp filling come out of my tooth, so I went to the dentist again
today, and then we walked down the road and found a nice restaurant for
dinner. I had pasta. See restaurant tips.
Next: Pablo Creek
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