We left St. Mary’s on Friday morning and crossed into Florida. Guess what? It magically felt warmer! We timed the trip to cross the St. John’s river with an outgoing tide because of strong currents. After going through the Sisters creek bridge, we crossed the St. John’s river with no problems. The next fixed bridge we passed under was a different story. The current was so strong that we almost went through sideways!
Both Merlin and Onward were heading straight for St. Augustine. We decided to break up the trip with a stop over in Jacksonville Beach. We stayed at Beach Marine where there really wasn’t anything to do but laundry and rinsing the boat. After being at anchor for 3 days (the longest stretch so far) we had a nice accumulation of salt on the boat. Bailey was glad to see dry land. He refused to use the potty mat that morning and was holding out for real grass:(
The marina did have a fantastic laundry. I’m developing an appreciation for newer, large capacity machines that cost less than $2 a load. We took care of all the laundry, including washing the coverlet. I love clean clothes, sheets and towels!! I cooked dinner on the boat and Skip was most impressed with the shrimp carbonara meal.
We didn’t have a long trip on Saturday so we slept in and made breakfast before leaving for St. Augustine. This stretch on the ICW included a beautiful marshland area along with the typical Florida setting with housed lined up along the ditch with little canals going off into housing enclaves. I saw a lot of signs warning boaters about manatees but I haven’t seen any yet.
Ed had warned us about the approach into Camachee cove marina–narrow with very strong current. The boat crabbed sideways as we entered the channel. Once we were past the strong current area, we almost collided with a sailboat entering the main channel of the marina at full speed without any regard for incoming traffic. Yikes!!
They had us tie up to the fuel dock. That’s okay with us as it will be easy to top off the fuel tank. Since it was warm and sunny we decided to take a walk into town to see the sights. It was not a bad walk — about 2 miles. We’re getting used to our new primary mode of land transportation! St. Augustine was very crowded with holiday weekend visitors. There are many beautiful buildings between all of the tacky tourist stuff. We found lunch at a pizza place (I had a craving…) We wandered the old Spanish section of town, found the site of the Ponce de Leon hotel which is now Flagler college and visited the fort-Castillo de San Marcos. While there, some re-enactors fired cannons.
We had dinner at a Spanish restaurant called Columbia. The food was delicious. I had a house speciality chopped salad and snapper topped with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Skip had the roast pork with traditional Cuban sides. The sangria was good but lacking any evidence of alcohol–nothing like the sangria at Tip Pepe’s. We took back enough food for another meal! We looked to hail a cab back but couldn’t find one and ended up walking back.
Sunday brought a threat of a squall line moving through so we secured the boat and waited for the storms to start. The sky turned black and the wind blew strongly for a short while. The rest of the storm was just rain. A few brave souls made it to the marina just in time before the storm, including Osprey – a boat from Annapolis owned by Wendy Mitman Clarke and her family. She’s a writer for Chesapeake Bay magazine and now Cruising World. We have followed her stories of getting the boat ready for cruising. They were kinda busy tying up the boat–hope we get to meet her later…