The joys of being retired! We decided to make an effort to blow away the post-holiday blahs so planned a mid-week run to the nations oldest city Tuesday January 15th through Thursday 17th. We were joined by three other yacht club boats and their crews. Frank and Julie on Escape, Ed and Cindy on Tally II, and Gary and Carol on Dog Days. George and Carolyn drove down and stayed on board Wednesday.
We actually had to leave on Monday afternoon as the tides were wrong for going through the lock and out the channel on Tuesday morning . We just ran a mile south and anchored off the ICW north of the Atlantic Blvd bridge. Next morning, Tuesday we ran south to St Augustine, noticing while passing the Beach Blvd area that some of the liveaboard boats were now sinking. Until about three years ago there were no liveaboards anchored here, now there are ten or so.
Two of the faster club boats passed us just north of the Vilano Bridge.
St Augustine Municipal Marina was hit pretty hard by the 2017 storms but we found the marina totally up and running, with all docks fully repaired after the storms. They have a large crew working on the Bellingham dock’s piping and woodwork. They have upgraded their WIFI network with ten separate SSID transmitters on the docks and transmitters dedicated to the north mooring field and the south mooring field. The office staff were at great pains to point out this WIFI upgrade, and it worked really well with strong signal and speed.
They have pump out facilities right at the slips, plus a free mobile pump out tender to the moorings on request weather dependent. They also have a free water tender to the mooring fields – all 365 days a year. They also provide the pump out boat to anchored boat for a modest fee.
No pre-payments and cancel at any time! Staff walking the docks 24 hours a day!
A municipal marina doing it right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRrutH8jDcY (By the way they also have this video in French for our northern neighbors!)
We walked the docks and chatted to the other club boats. Then arranged for a pump out as we wanted to start the new year with an empty holding tank, and this should last us now until we head across to the Exumas in March.
On Tuesday evening we hosted everyone on Sonas for a pot luck dinner and drinks. We had brought a folding table in hopes of being able to eat on the dock, but it was too chilly. However there was plenty of room in Sonas’ salon.
Next day, Wednesday we did some small chores and then got together as a group and walked through George street, finally arriving at Prohibition Kitchen for lunch, and were joined by George and Carolyn who were joining us for the night on Sonas. This is a relatively new restaurant with an extensive beer list and simply awesome burgers!
After lunch we all walked over to the Lightner Museum. We had heard that there was a special exhibition of model boats by a St Augustine native, Thomas Rahner. Not a big exhibition, but his detailed work is worth seeing.
That evening we had hoped to eat at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill, right on the waterfront. They don’t take reservations, but we thought it would not be busy on a January mid-week. Boy were we wrong! Got there to find an hour and a half wait. We waited for a while but even the bar was full, so we headed across the street to the A1A Ale House and got seated right away. Good food and the waitress was excellent.
Thursday morning and more clear skies but chilly temperatures. We were the last boat out as we didn’t need to be back at the channel to the lock until late afternoon. As we cruised back north we saw a number of police, rescue, and FWC boats off to one side. As we slowed down to pass them a Coast Guard helicopter came over. They then proceeded to do what looked like interdiction exercises. The helicopter first went after Ed and Cindy in Tally II ahead of us, chased by the small boats. Then it was our turn, the chopper came to us circled, and then I saw the small boats chasing us using the rear camera. No stops, just exercising.
Got back home and we were tied up by 3:30.