Tuesday, November 23, 2010

UPDATE: Brunswick to St. Augustine and Great Weather

Well, Monday, November 8th we said goodbye to summer long friends at Brunswick Landing Marina and started our 2010-2011 adventure to southern latitudes. We will miss all of our new friends we spent part of the summer with and especially friends at Dock 7. Each of the 15 docks has a covered entry way that we call the porch. It’s a great gathering place for afternoon chats, cocktails (coined “hooley dooleys”) and a great place to grill. One of the long time boat owners on dock 7 named our porch “the porch of knowledge” because many of us would come up and discuss repairs and upgrades to our boats. I think everyone who participated in the discussions benefited by expanding their knowledge base. Many thanks go out to the staff of Brunswick Landing Marina for making our stay very comfortable.

Our run from Brunswick to Fernandina Beach was a good one. We timed the tides for the trip about optimal. We stayed on a mooring in Fernandina Beach and the weather was awesome. Tuesday morning we were up and underway by 7:30 am. Our goal was to anchor north of St. Augustine Tuesday night and then move down to St. Augustine on Wednesday morning. We ran the section between the Fernandina Beach and the St. Johns River (Jacksonville) at a leisurely/cautious pace due to shoaling in the ICW. 

The anchorage on the Tolomato River we had picked was crowded so we moved down river to another anchorage picked as our bailout point. When we arrived we poked our way back into the anchorage and set the hook for the evening. We enjoyed an awesome sun set and Ginny cooked a great meal. Just after sunset and with enough light to still see, a waterman on a small boat passed by and said “it doesn’t get any better than this”. I was thinking the same thing and felt very lucky to experience nature at her finest.
We weighed anchor around 10 am and ran down to St. Augustine. A couple miles or so north of the Vilano bridge Customs and Border Patrol were practicing chase maneuvers. These guys were “hauling some butt” as they chased each other on their patrol boats equipped with (4) 250 Hp outboards engines. Rooster tails were flying high as they made tight turns and crossed their own wakes. I thought, this looks like a job I would enjoy until I remembered bullets could be added to the fun. Hats off to our CBP for the work they do to keep us safe.

We picked up our mooring at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina just before noon and lowered the dink for a run to shore. A hot shower and quick downtown tour was followed by a great late lunch at O.C Whites which we highly recommend. As forecast the wind picked up and we were glad to be on a secure mooring. The city recently constructed two mooring fields near the marina. The small field on the north side of the Bridge of Lions and the larger field on the south side near the marina. The construction of the mooring fields have done a great deal to make safe and to cleanup the area as many derelict vessels use to be anchored in these areas. The city removed the derelict vessels and has created a much safer environment for cruising vessels. The mooring fees are $20 per night and include the Marina facilities. 

Thursday morning we went ashore to the serendipitous fortune of seeing the 122 ft Schooner “Lynx” come to the main dock at the marina. “Lynx” will be staying in St. Augustine for 3 months and will be available for touring and cruises during her stay. This vessel was built in Rockport Maine and launched July 28, 2001. She is owned by The Lynx Educational Foundation and serves as a sailing classroom. If you are in St. Augustine, step back in time and visit “Lynx”. Gee – That almost sounds like a commercial. Maybe they will consider sending us some kitty cash if they see this. Lol.

The south mooring field in St. Augustine is surrounded on the east and south by shoals and on the west by land. Deep draft vessels have to enter and exit the field from the north end. Every morning while we were there, vessels would try to exit to the east and would be warned by fellow cruisers before running their vessels aground. Saturday morning one sailing vessel slipped past everyone’s attention and ran aground. Now mind you running aground here is not the end of the world. It usually only hurts one’s pride and creates a few minute delay. Well in this guys case all was good until he backed off the shoal and over one of the new heavy duty mooring balls. Somehow the prop sucked the mooring chain into the prop and wrapped it around the prop and shaft. With a loud thud (which caught Ginny’s attention) that was the end of their trip for the day and several others days until the boat could be freed, hauled and the prop and shaft repaired. They were very lucky they didn’t hole the boat and sink. We felt very sorry for the misfortunes of this couple. Regardless of our feelings, their calamity must be filed in our LLWWONOB file (Lessons Learned While Watching other Non-Observant Boaters – pronounced “el-wo-nob”). 

Friday we found an awesome Pizza Restaurant called “Pizza Time”. It’s Brooklyn style pizza by the slice on St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine. Hands down the best pizza I have had in years. Not to mention their very reasonable prices. A must try for Pizza lovers if you are in St. Augustine. 

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