We left our anchorage off Cumberland Island at 0800, expecting and easy 3 hours to St Augustine. It turned out to be not so easy. We had 7 high rise bridges to go under (supposedly 65’ at high tide)
And one opening bridge that opens on signal. Those are easy. We also are in an area when there is a lot of shallow water in parts of the ICW, so you have to plan to pass those areas at high tide. Some of the bridges are not the stated 65’ they are supposed to be, so you have to pass under them at low tide. They all have tide boards affixed so you can see before you go under if you will make it. I need 64’-4” to clear my wind vane. The VHF antenna sticks up1’ higher but that’s flexible.
We left on an ebbing tide so the bridges should not have been a problem. We cleared the first one, but the second one was at 64’ on the tide board, so we anchored and waited an hour till absolute low tide. It still only said 64’-8”, but we made it with the antenna scraping. The next bridge, the Atlantic Beach Bridge, said 64’, but it was dead low tide so we tried it. Made the first few spans but then the VHF antenna snapped and fell to the deck. Another part of the anemometer fell also, but it still works, as does the VHF. Looks like another trip up the mast.
After all the delays, we decided to anchor for the night behind Pine Island and make St Augustine tomorrow. We had to cross a shallow bar to reach the anchorage, which was very secluded. We set Drag Queen, our anchor app that lets us know if we drag, then turned in early. We had to rise early to cross the bar again before low tide or we would be stuck for 12 hours.
Left at 0700 with one more bridge to go under, then went into St Augustine without further damage.
On the way we saw more sunken boats, another eagle and lots of mansions, all with boats at their docks. Everything is starting to look the same.
We reached St Augustine before noon and took a mooring ball at the city marina, cleaned up the boat a bit, put the dinghy in the water and went to check out the town.
Our daughter, Elaine, and Allyn her fiancé, were driving to Naples, Florida to look for jobs and a house. Like us, they are starting a new life. Timing was perfect for them to stop and rest for a while, and Allyn wanted to watch the Steelers play at 1:00 anyway. We found a sports bar and had lunch and watched the game till halftime, then Elaine and Karen and I went for a dinghy ride around the harbor, then back to the boat for a while till they had to leave.
We spend the rest of the day planning the next few days, then dinner and watched some “Granite Flats” on Netflix. A great show put out by BYU that is clean and wholesome. Not much of that around today.
We caught the free shuttle to the Publix grocery store and stocked up for the next few days. Then, after an early lunch we set off exploring St Augustine in earnest. It’s a huge tourist destination, with lots of history, Spanish architecture and tall ships. Most of the tourists spoke another language. I heard French, German and Spanish spoken on the streets, as well as English (from England).
The highlight of the walk for Karen was an art gallery that had some incredible pieces in oil of the sea. The highlight for me was the architecture, especially the Ponce De Leon hotel built by Flagler in the late 1800’s.
St Augustine is the cleanest, most well-run city we have stopped in so far, but still too touristy for us.
Back to the boat for an early departure to Daytona.