Day 87, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 7—Jacksonville to St. Augustine
Date: Monday, January 5, 2015
Weather: Partly Sunny with Wispy Cloud Cover, N Wind 15-20, Temp in the 60’s F
Latitude: 29 53.741 N
Longitude: 081 18.561 W
Location: On a Mooring at the Municipal Marina, St. Augustine, FL
Miles Traveled: 30 Nautical Miles

Onward, onward. It was a tad sunnier today and our timing was good. We left Jacksonville at first light, crossed the St. John’s River, and went through the bridge that we so dreaded just before 8 am at near slack tide. It was turbulent, but not nearly as turbulent as we have read. And even though it is said that this bridge is not really the required 65’ in height, even at high tide we slid under with no problem. After getting through that bridge, we took a deep breath and continued the trek down the ICW. Traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway is never relaxing because you have to watch every second to make sure you are exactly on course. If you are not, you are aground. And that happened to us once today. But we were able to back off of the shoal and head further out into the channel. Thankfully we didn’t have to call TowBoat US.

I spent a great deal of the morning making phone calls to find a place to work on our dinghy motor in St. Augustine. We found two places, but one couldn’t do the work until tomorrow and was going to charge a small fortune to come pick up the motor and return it to us. The other had a dock we could bring Windbird to, but it was just after the first bridge here in St. Augustine and we had two to three knots of current pushing us along by that time. Mark decided it was just not worth the risk of trying to dock in those conditions, so after all the research and phone calls, we still don’t have a dinghy motor. We picked up a mooring at the Municipal Dock here with15-20 knots of wind pushing us backwards and 2-3 knots of current pushing us forward. It took us three tries and a bit of yelling at each other before we were securely tied to the mooring. So we took another deep breath, called the marina, and requested a ride to shore on the 2 pm launch. Even if we had a dinghy motor, I’m not sure we would have gone to shore until the current settled down a bit. So we were really glad that the marina has the launch service, even though it only runs every two hours. While we were waiting for the launch, Mark’s sisters that live in Bonita Beach, called to welcome us to Florida and Mark talked to his nephew Bryan that lives just south of Jacksonville. All of Mark’s family lives here in Florida and we are looking forward to seeing them in just a few weeks. We enjoyed talking to them today, but had to cut things short as the launch arrived. Lee and Lynda decided not to go into town, so just Mark and I hopped on. When we arrived at the dock we were greeted by El Galeón, a 170-foot authentic wooden replica of a Spanish galleon. It is visiting here from Spain to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine’s settlement. We didn’t go on the tour, but we enjoyed seeing the boat. We then walked through the historic district and toured the fort, Castillo de San Marcos. San Marcos translates as St. Mark, so Mark declared it his very own. We called Lee and Lynda and encouraged them to come ashore on the 4 pm launch pointing out that they could take advantage of the marina laundry. So they did. Not as much fun as touring the city, but time well spent getting a necessary job done. While Lynda did the laundry, Lee walked with us across the Bridge of Lions to go to a small grocery store named Stewart’s. I had read that they sell local shrimp and Mark and I both wanted it bad enough to walk there and back. The bridge looks longer than it actually is but when we got across the bridge, there was no Stewart’s. We kept walking and then finally inquired in a little shop. We were assured that it was only another two blocks. I missed the photo of the day when a guy came walking toward us wearing only bright green polyester short shorts with a leather belt, black cowboy boots, and a pirate eye patch. He must have been out for his daily stroll and was quite the sight. I so wished I had not just put my camera in the backpack, but in a few minutes we spotted him across the street walking back to wherever he had come from. I quickly got the camera out and photographed him from behind—not as classic as the front view, but at least I captured the moment! At the store, we got our shrimp and some broccoli and Lee got a loaf of bread and some cookies. Then it was back to the marina. We all had to get on the 6 pm launch back out to the boats as that was our last chance of the day. Lynda had to take clothes out of the dryers that were not quite dry, so I can only imagine what the inside of Sea Turtle looks like tonight. After we got home, I called Lee with some navigation info and it took him a few minutes to duck between the hanging clothes inside the boat to get to a pencil and a piece of paper to take notes. I was calling him because we need to adjust our plans a bit and we needed to consult the cruising guides on the boat before doing that. Lee heard from the manufacturer of his Lehr dinghy motor with the locations of the service places they recommend in Florida. One is just south of Cocoa in Rockledge, one is in Lake Worth, and one is south of Fort Lauderdale. So we will go to Daytona tomorrow, or a little further is time permits, get as close to Cocoa as possible on Wednesday, and then have the service work done in Rockledge on Thursday. The manufacturer in California will ship the needed parts tomorrow via overnight mail. So hopefully we and the parts arrive in time for the work to be done on Thursday. Mark and I will make some calls tomorrow to see if we can also get our outboard work done at the same time. If this part of the plan works, we will then head on to Vero Beach on Friday. From there we are about three days from Fort Lauderdale. One way or another, we will be close enough to Fort Lauderdale by next Tuesday for Mark to make his appointment. Weather and stamina will determine just how close we get.

150105 Day 87 Passage to Florida–Jacksonville to St. Augustine
Day 88, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 8—St. Augustine to Daytona
Day 86, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 6—Fernandina to Jacksonville