First Friday in St. Augustine

Kindred Spirit bobbing on the mooring.

Kindred Spirit at rest on the mooring.

After our first four days of steady traveling northward, we stopped for a day of rest and to enjoy St. Augustine briefly. It would be a brief visit to this amazing city so we would not be revisiting the wonderful places we had seen back in 2013. (Old St. Augustine – A City of History).

 

 

What a great view of sunrise from our mooring.

What a great view of the sunrise from our mooring.

St. Augustine has a distinctive look to its skyline. It's really a lovely historical city to visit and explore.

St. Augustine has a distinctive look to its skyline. It’s really a lovely historical city to visit and explore.

First order of business was a grocery store run, by dinghy.  A trip to the Publix in Villano Beach meant a ride through the mooring field (long ride because we were at the very farthest end) under the Bridge of Lions, across the inlet, and onto the other side of the ICW. On our way there, we saw –

During the night, this enormous pirate-like ship arrived in St. Augustine, at the dock. El Galleon.

El Galeon – During the night, this enormous pirate-like ship arrived in St. Augustine, at the dock.

El Galeón is a 170 foot, 495-ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. Ships such as this one sailed Florida’s coastal waters during the 16th and 17th centuries, crossing the ocean from the Old World to the New for trade and exploration purposes. The Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville, Spain, began building this authentic replica tall ship in 2006. It requires a a crew of 28 to operate the seven sails (more than 9.600 square feet in area) on three masts in the same method used by sailors in the 16th century.  El Galeón  will be in St. Augustine from April 1 – 12, 2016.

El Galleon

El Galeón is a 170 foot, 495-ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.

As we passed the city marina, we spied the race markers sitting on the dock. It was Race Week in St. Augustine and there were lots of sailboats and sailors all around.

As we passed the city marina, we spied the race markers sitting on the dock. It was Race Week in St. Augustine and there were lots of sailboats and sailors all around.

As we crossed under the Bridge of Lions and into the inlet’s channel, we were among the sailboats heading out to sea for the race. Imagine our surprise when we noticed Santarella, a Baltic 38, from our yacht club in Connecticut. She was here for the Race Week.  How did Santarelli fare in the races?

raceFrom local news — “Neal O’Connell flew in from Connecticut to drive Phil Scalise’s Baltic 38 DP in the Cruiser A Tactical Challenge Offshore Series sail races at St. Augustine Race Week. O’Connell skippered the Santarella to first place on Thursday, Day 1 of the the three-day series. ‘It was a great day to sail,’ O’Connell said. ‘A lot nicer than it is in Connecticut right now. There was only a little spot in the middle (of the 16-nautical mile course) where there wasn’t much wind.’ Final standings — Santarella (Phil Scalese) won the Cruiser Cup and the Cruiser A Class.

Santarelli, a Baltic 38, from Shennecossett Yacht Club. Good Luck!

Santarelli, a Baltic 38, from Shennecossett Yacht Club. Good Luck!

Once across the inlet, we docked our dinghies at Villano Beach, a  little beach community on the barrier island, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Tolomato River.

We don't see many docks that are decorated like this. The dolphins are soaring over Dan, Al, and Marcia.

We don’t see many docks that are decorated like this. The dolphins are soaring over Dan, Al, and Marcia as they stand upon the painted faux water.

This funky winged statue is known as the "bluebird of happiness" in Villano Beach

This funky winged statue is known as the “bluebird of happiness” in Villano Beach. Al, dressed in his blue, could be “Bluebeard of Happiness.”

You have to admit that the sparkle of these blue and green sidewalks in Villano Beach makes for a happy walkway.

You have to admit that the sparkle of these blue and green sidewalks in Villano Beach makes for a happy walkway.

People and dogs enjoying Villano Beach in the early morning.

People and dogs enjoying Villano Beach in the early morning.

Sailboats competing in Race Week in St. Augustine. We could see them from the beach.

Sailboats competing in Race Week in St. Augustine. We could see them from the beach.

The streets of St. Augustine become an art stroll on the first Friday of each month. The diverse and eclectic art galleries located in the nation’s oldest city open their doors from 5 to 9 pm and welcome everyone to view (or purchase) the art on display. There are artists available to chat with, and refreshments ranging from snacks & cookies to gourmet cheeses and delights, with free wine. What a way to spend a Friday evening!

We decided on an early dinner of beer and sandwiches at J.P. Henley’s, a place with “a worldly twist on the neighborhood pub.”  With over 70 beers on tap and 100 bottled beers, there were hard decisions to be made. And with happy hour specials of 16 oz beers for $4 and sandwiches, 2nd one half price, how could you go wrong? Add in Dan and Marcia’s company and it was a recipe for a good time.

J.P. Henleys had a cute "old world" decor. The beers listed are just one small section of the list. I think the creative names are worth noting.

J.P. Henleys had a cute “old world” decor. The beers listed are just one small section of the list. I think the creative names are worth noting.

GAlleries 1

~ Contemporary art work in a variety of mediums.                                                              ~ Sketches by Renoir, Degas, and other masters.

Galleries 2

~Interesting displays of twig horses covered in different medium.                                  ~ A gallery devoted to a sea and ocean theme.

Saturday, April 2nd and it was time to move on again, but questionable weather was forecasted. We had spent a good amount of time planning and questioning the 60 nm trip to Cumberland Island, Georgia. The icon forecasts on the weather apps said it all – pictures of sun, lightening, rain and clouds. How could that forecast ever be wrong?  WE decided it would be doable if we got an early start, just before 7:00 am, which is before the sun officially rises.

The lighthouse itself was barely as we made our final preparations for departure.

The lighthouse itself was barely as we made our final preparations for departure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The illuminated United States flag on shore glowed in the early morning.

The illuminated United States flag on shore glowed in the early morning.

 

A look backward at the Bridge of Lions, one of the most attractive bridges we pass through. We did not need to wait for an opening because our mast was still in the lowered position.

A look backward at the Bridge of Lions, one of the most attractive bridges we pass through. We did not need to wait for an opening because our mast was still in the lowered position.

 

In just the short span of time it took to go from our mooring to the open channel, the daylight increased significantly. We listened to chatter on the VHF between an incoming boat and the local SeaTow about the green entrance marker inside the inlet. At low tide, and it was a LOW tide, the boat was warned that the green can is on shore. Imagine trying to follow that into the St. Augustine without knowing! We vividly recall our trip into this channel on the way south – that foggy morning after 22 hours from Savannah.

This was not a sight you want to see - a channel marker on the beach at low tide. Imagine counting on the markers to guide you through a safe passage. ;-(

This was not a sight you want to see – a channel marker on the beach at low tide. Imagine counting on the markers to guide you through a safe passage. 🙁

 

There was an eeriness to this abandoned boat, made all the more forlorn by the dreary mist surrounding it.

There was an eeriness to this abandoned boat, made all the more forlorn by the dreary mist surrounding it.

 

Truthfully, it was one of those travel days that we call, “let’s just get it done.” It would be a long stretch in poor weather.

The wet and windy weather made the inside helm station more appealing to us. It's actually nice to have a choice.

The wet and windy weather made the inside helm station more appealing to us. It’s actually nice to have a choice.

This picture captures the essence of the morning's travels.

This picture captures the essence of the morning’s travels.

We had rain, thunder in the distance, and winds that increased during the day. But by mid-day, we were able to move from the lower helm up to the flybridge. Surprisingly, we found that we had a good current with us for almost the entire day. A bright spot, in a way.

And yet another bridge! Sisters Creek Bridge which will be replaced by a new 65-footer in the near future. The construction work was underway as we passed through. Does that mean the bridge tender will be out of a job??

And yet another bridge! Sisters Creek Bridge which will be replaced by a new 65-footer in the near future. The construction work was underway as we passed through. Does that mean the bridge tender will be out of a job??

 

 

 

 

 

The "infinity project" - what is it? Even after checking the url, I still don't know!

Here was another curious sight – the “infinity project” – what is it? Even after checking the url, I still don’t know! Those are ducks and birds in the canoe.

 

 

Crossing the St. Mary’s River from Fernandina Beach to Cumberland Island, we can see Fort Clinch on Amelia Island.

Crossing the St. Mary’s River from Fernandina Beach to Cumberland Island, we can see Fort Clinch on Amelia Island.

 

Our first sight of Cumberland Island's wild horses.

Our first sight of Cumberland Island’s wild horses.

 

 

We covered the 61 nautical miles in 8.5 hours, with an average speed of 7.1 knots. Not bad. It was a long day for that kind of weather, but it felt good to be at Cumberland Island, especially with the promise of better weather tomorrow.

The sun set in the west as we crawled into bed after the long day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *