|Iconic lion statue at the Bridge of Lions bridge (note sailboats in the background)|
St. Augustine is the oldest-continuously occupied European-established city in the United States. (We'll later learn New Smyrna is older, but didn't make it initially). It was founded by the Spanish in 1565 (remaining in their hands for over 200 years) and would become a US Territory in 1822. If you haven't visited, you probably should. The architecture is Spanish influenced, including the Flagler University (Tiffany did some of the interior decorating, including the wall of windows in the dining hall). There are some old churches and cemeteries to explore (one of the oldest homes is now Ripley's Believe it or Not). It is also, supposedly, the sight of Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth (but there is an admission fee).
We paid $120 to stay on the mooring ball for a for the week (this is a real bargain when you realize parking in town is $10/day!)
We took a few walks downtown, but the crowds and commercialism made it unpleasant. However, one morning after stumbling into a particularly gaudy "Colonial Downtown," I discovered a Greek Orthodox Shrine, free admission. Huh. It was peaceful, absolutely breathtaking and very spiritual. I ended up having a long chat with a few of the employees in the gift shop, who pointed me to some of the restaurants and activities that they frequent. We also did the pilgrimage to Sailor's Exchange, a used boat part store. It's really surprising we haven't seen more of these considering the prices at West Marine vs the number of abandoned boats we've seen that could be salvaged.
|You can't swing a cat without seeing Pirates in Florida!|
Something unique for cruisers in this area is a Cruiser's Shuttle that runs to many area stores (separate entity from the marina). This allowed me to run to the grocery store while the Captain went for a leisurely bike ride. When I got back with frozen pizza (!) and 1/2 & 1/2, I decided to run out to the boat in the dinghy instead of waiting. Suddenly, the dinghy wouldn't restart for the trip back to get the boss! About this time, The Captain started calling, but our phones were acting up, so (another first) I tied the kayak to the mother ship, threw it off the front deck (Yeah! It landed right side up) and paddled in. He paddled out, got it started and came back to get me. And that's why it takes forever to run errands!
Of course, we couldn't resist a bike ride to West Marine. They even gave The Captain new flip flops when we told them the one's he was wearing were super glued back together & only five months old.
I got in a few sunset paddles in the pink-tinted, calm water. It's also a great way to check out the shoaling and other boats including the boat with two bird cages mounted on their rear arch & the Nautitech 47. (A few days later, while anchored out, we heard a familiar sound. The "bird boat" had anchored next to us again!)
Amelia puked on her blankie. That's kind of what it's for--mostly to absorb cat hair. But she chose a marina where laundry is $4! Thanks, pukey.
|The dinghy docks are getting busier...|
"I'm standing here. It's not here."
"Well, it was delivered an hour or so ago. Let me get you the tracking info."
"I have the tracking info. I've been wandering around since I got the text."
She finally calls UPS, who again, tells me it's been delivered. I start into the "Our credit cards were stolen. We're travelling. I'm standing in the office. It's not here. Call your driver and get more info" rant and she says, "what's the street address?" After I tell her, she says, "that's not a valid address." THEN WHERE DID YOU DELIVER IT TO?! "It's not our fault if the address isn't correct." I'll edit out the cursing, but she finally calls the St Augustine branch, who gets the driver on the phone, and suddenly they are being nice to me. "Please hold. We're working on getting more info." It turns out that instead of delivering it to the marina at 11 Avenida Menendez, he delivered it to Harry's Restaurant at 46 Avenida Menendez (and somebody signed for it!). ""Oh, I'll stay on the phone with you while you walk down. Thank you for using UPS. We're sorry for the inconvenience." I'm pretty sure she almost hung up on me right before that!
During our last few days, there was a Northerly forecast with winds gusts to 28 and overcast (no solar ie. no movie marathons), so we hunkered down with our books and watched the white caps, the motion of the other boats in the wind, and people trying to dinghy in the waves (a few had their engines die, but got them restarted before we had to jump in our dinghy. Later, I'd hear that a couple and their 2 dogs flipped and were assisted by some other cruisers). We even had some "deck slap" on our catamaran, which is waves hitting the bottom of the bridge deck between the hulls--we usually only get that underway on rough water!
|The Fort facing the inlet|