Making a Beeline for Florida

One night at a Charleston marina: pricey. One day spent re-stocking fridge, freezer, pantry and two visits to Saffron: way pricey. One 29 hour overnight sailing to St. Augustine: price-Less! Oct 13 – Nov 9, I believe that would be less than one month to Florida. For once, when it counted, the forecast held true and the 200nm trip was uneventful, other than we hit 12.4kts for a few seconds, flying with the main and screacher on a starboard tack, a lovely beam reach… until the wind backed down just a few knots and we slowed down from the 8kts we’d been averaging. Seas a comfortable 2- 3 ft with true wind never more than 14kts. One we’d do again and that is saying something coming from “she who dislikes overnights.” Russ caught more zzzzzs than usual; still, nothing like the dead to the world sleep we get the next night.

40 miles off GA coast sits this Navy lighted tower- some tower!

A sparrow rests in the lee of Ortolan

Veterans’ Day weekend brought a pirate parade and other related activities to St. Augustine. We caught only a glimpse of the parade.

Free park entrance at Castillo de San Marcos for the weekend, so we took advantage of that freebie. Treated to a cannon firing demo which was very realistic, complete with the signal to cover your ears!

Cannon firing demo at Castillo San Marcos

Lightner Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel built by the railroad magnate Henry Flagler contains several floors of Victorian era displays. The Regina, below might be a familiar soundind name. The company since switched to vacuum cleaners!

The Regina- an early music player with a disk changer

Foiled by the bridge: Monday morning we found ourselves turning around at a “not-65ft” bridge just south of the St. Augustine mooring field. Sixty-four feet, hey that would’ve been fine too. But 62 and change with work (painting?) taking place such that the height must be less than shown on the height board, no way Jose. Yes, it was high tide but even so the clearance is supposed to be-at least CLOSE to 65 ft. Umm, we could wait an hour, maybe two. Or, we could jump outside and enter at the Ponce inlet; slightly better than St Augustine, but one we have not used. We’d been good little weather checkers and at one point thought we could jump out on Tuesday, mostly to avoid motoring against the current much of the day on the ICW. Well, that changed and we said oh heck, let’s get going on Monday because the weather was majorly falling apart on Thursday and we wanted to reach Vero Beach by EOD Wed. Monday was an ICW day due to SSE winds and we don’t do south when we are going south. Do you?

The influence on our thinking that we could jump outside on Monday was Mr. Wrong again NOAA who told us East winds Monday, even though Wunderground and Weather Channel said SSE. We made the 7:30 opening of Bridge of Lions and headed out the inlet which was nearly slack; never-the-less still its big-roller self; although not quite as bad as before recent dredging.  Shortly after turning south at the sea buoy (end of channel), Russ prepped to raise the main (only to motor sail), came back in and said, “we’re going back.” Must be pretty bad to choose that inlet again over the unknown! While we were headed out, a trawler made a request for St Augustine inlet info and we gave him the scope as we’d used it twice in four days. This was a serious, 58ft trawler and they were concerned about 4-6 ft seas further south along the coast. Don’t tell me that didn’t influence the Captain’s decision as he stood on the roof looking out at the swells. We meet up with him at the sea buoy and he seemed happy that we offered to go first.  The tiny inlet buoys get buried in the waves and are not charted due to the oft changing shoaling. ActiveCaptain was our savior once again on how to enter the inlet. A 40 ft monohull was heading out and I wish I had a photo- they were riding high on the swells and bam, down again.

Back to the Bridge of Lions for the 9:30 opening. The bridge tender was decent enough to refrain from a “nice to see you again” comment.

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