Tuesday, May 23, 2017

St. Augustine - 2017

May 21 thru May 23

--Blogpost written by Bob

This is our second visit to St. Augustine in 2017--we also visited here in February on our way south.  This morning, Sunday, May 21 is very quiet.  At 8:15 AM a light cool breeze is blowing from the southeast.  All the boats in the mooring field are facing into the wind--that was not the case yesterday afternoon with the strong outgoing tidal current.

This is the view of the Bridge of Lions from
our cockpit in the morning.

We have a new hitchhiker on board--a small lizard from south Florida.  We first discovered him/her hiding in the forward dock lines a couple days ago.  This morning he was perched on my fishing rod on the boat's stern.  So far, he/she has successfully avoided our cat's attention.

This is our latest hitchhiker--a Florida lizard.  We first saw
him hiding out in the bow dock lines but today he
was on my fishing rod on the stern.

About 9:15 AM, we got a text message from Jason Smith, the outboard service technician, about our outboard engine--he was in the downtown area and offered to pick up our engine.  So, we rowed the dinghy into the dinghy dock and met him and his wife.  He briefly looked over the engine and decided to take it back to his shop.  Since we didn't have time for breakfast onboard, we got breakfast downtown at La Herencia, a small Cuban restaurant.  We left our engine-less dinghy at the dinghy dock.

We had breakfast at La Herencia Cafe, a small Cuban restaurant
on Aviles Street (the oldest street in St. Augustine).  

The "cafe con leche" was excellent!

An old door on Aviles Street.

A guy making cigars in one of the little shops
on St. Georges Street.  He used one-half
of a tobacco leaf to make each cigar.

We were caught in a downpour just after lunch.  The hatches
on our boat were wide open.  We had quite a bit
of "de-watering" to do in the afternoon.

We got the marina's 2 PM shuttle back to the boat and dealt with all the water that came in through the open hatches during the downpour.  The threat of severe afternoon thunderstorms became a reality today--I'm glad we decided to cancel our offshore passage to Charleston because of them.  My computer, iPad, and camera were sitting on my nav station near the open companionway but never got wet!  Our guide books weren't so fortunate but they will dry out in time.

I think I may have to update my charts
for our next trip south.


It rained lightly during the night, enough that I had to get up and close the hatches and put the dodger window in place around mid-night.   By the early morning, Monday, May 22, the skies had cleared and a nice cool breeze was coming out of the south.

St. Augustine Municipal Marina is a large facility with 90 slips and 110 moorings (across two different mooring fields).  The moorings are occupied by a mixture of local residents and transient boaters, like us.  In the 2010 census, St. Augustine had a population of just under 13,000 people, while the current population is estimated at just under 15,000 people.  St. Augustine is the oldest continuously operated city of European origin in the U.S.--it was founded in 1585 by the Spanish admiral, Pedro Menendez de Aviles.  The city has a rich and colorful history--you can read about it on Wikipedia.

If we ever cease to be seafaring gypsies, St. Augustine would be a top contender for our land-based residence.  It is very much like Annapolis with its mixture of sailing, history, and tourism and both have an abundance of great restaurants.

The steeple on the cathedral as viewed
above the Plaza of the Constitution.

The mechanic that picked up our outboard motor did a compression test last night and found ZERO pounds of compression.  So, that means the problem is either a hole in a piston, cracked ring, blown head gasket, or something serious like that--my guess is a blown head gasket.  The engine is into its first year of a 3-year warranty.  Consequently, we will take it back to the dealer in Annapolis and get it repaired under warranty.  It's a bummer!  Fortunately, we shouldn't need our dinghy on our way north.

My expression when I learned our dinghy's
outboard engine was kaput.

The mooring field to the south after the first 
of two afternoon rainstorms.


Today, Tuesday, May 23, is our last full day in St. Augustine.

The sky cleared up by 8:30 AM this morning, then became overcast again, and then cleared up again.  It is difficult to tell what the weather is going to be like from one hour to the next hour.  A nice cool breeze is coming from the south southeast and the humidity has dropped a lot since yesterday's afternoon/evening showers.  Afternoon showers are predicted again for today--this seems to be a pattern for this time of year.

As we're eating breakfast in the cockpit, we're trying to make our grocery list for meals for the next seven days.  I've put together a 20-day plan for our trip up the ICW--of course, there's always the possibility of changes along the way.  I've planned marina stops about every four days and also planned around the tides in certain areas, like Jekyll Creek, Hell Gate, and others where shoaling regularly occurs.  Because we have more daylight hours, we can make more distance per day than we could in the fall/winter.  We should be in the Chesapeake Bay on or before June 10 and in Baltimore by June 15.  We'll spend the summer between Baltimore & Annapolis plus a 2-week stay in a cottage in Galesville.

One aspect of this trip has surprised me--the number of things that broke along the way!  My project list for the summer is now up to 35 (not all of them replacements for breakage) with an additional 5 projects for our boatyard.

This image was captured on Aviles Street--it is comprised
of several different reflections in a restaurant window.
It certainly captures the colors of St. Augustine!

We shopped for provisions at PUBLIX this morning and caught the marina's noon shuttle to the boat with our groceries and back with our dirty laundry.  We started our laundry at the marina's laundromat and then went for lunch at La Herencia (the same restaurant where we had breakfast on Sunday)--we both had delicious chicken-avocado salads!  Since lettuce doesn't keep well on the boat, we seem to crave salads when we go out to eat.

Tonight, we will get our dinghy motor back and then tomorrow morning we will get fuel, ice, and fresh water before leaving.  Our next blogpost will probably be from Jekyll Island in Georgia.

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