St. Augustine for the Holidays

We left Daytona via the Ponce Inlet and scooted up the coast via the ocean - to St. Augustine Inlet.  I've mentioned this inlet before, I think, but if not, it is interesting.  The St. Augustine channel is very clearly marked by lots of red and green barrels - and we were told by Seatow (via phone) to hug the red side.  However,  the current was pushing toward the red side, the waves were pretty high/strong in the inlet, and the waves crashing just on the other side of one particular red barrel had us changing our course to a center-of-the-channel kind of approach.
I'm just wagering that you might not want to hug that green barrel either...

The weather was still beautiful and we survived the inlet, so all was well.  Our next challenge was the mooring ball...  We'd already spent one night at the city marina on our way down - and while it was very convenient, we wanted to tackle those mooring balls - at 1/4 of the price it seemed like a no-brainer, especially since we wanted to stay 2 nights (which carried us over to Christmas morning).
We got through the Bridge of Lions (again) after dilly dallying on the north side while we waited on the scheduled opening.  There were a couple of catamarans also bobbing around waiting.  I have to say, we continue to be jealous of the draft on cats.  We had a really hard time deciding to go with our monohull when it was time to buy, since we'd had our minds set on a cat.
We have one of these yellow things on the boat:

Pic from: www.sailblogs.com/member/knotdreaming
And fortunately for me, it has a name/website imprinted on it.  I looked it up and we learned how to use it - before we headed into the mooring field.
Pic from:  http://esc-pod.com/2010/11/
Those white floating balls are mooring balls.  You drive up slowly, grab it with your boat hook and tie off to it.  No dropping of an anchor involved.  Yes.  I said boat hook.  After we spent a good 15 minutes figuring out how to use the fancy yellow contraption that was on the boat, it was just easier for me to hook the line with the boat hook while Mark coasted on up to the ball.  We got it on the first try and it was easier than expected.  It did make horrible noises the first night - and it took at least 3 times of Mark getting frustrated and heading up to try and solve the noise issue, but we eventually got some sleep.  The comfort of knowing that we were not going to drift anywhere (as opposed to being on anchor) was nice.  And I've since done research on how to eliminate the noises, so we'll definitely keep using mooring balls when its an option.

The next day we headed out (after taking advantage of all of the marina amenities!) and found some gelato and groceries.  And Chinese food and West Marine.  Thank goodness we didn't take the dogs - by the time we got back to the boat, we realized we'd been walking for 4 hours.  And I don't mean strolling along looking at the sights.  I mean serious ground cover.  But we picked up the few groceries we wanted - including a stop at a local, delicious produce stand and headed back to Luna Sea for some Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli.    (This is also the night of the Great Chicken Explosion)

We did have one incident on this trip.  Since we were on a mooring ball, we had to dinghy in to the dinghy dock whenever we wanted to be on land.  From the faaar end of the mooring field.  We've had some issues with our (brand new) dinghy motor since we bought it: it dies when you get it to the perfect idle speed.  It likes to go fast or not at all.  So when we were headed back to Luna Sea at one point, it just died.  Right there in the middle of the river.  With a current.  Fortunately, a very nice family was right behind us in their dinghy and were able to tow us to our boat when they saw Mark could not get the motor working.  When we got back, he'd had enough and took the engine apart to find the problem.  Glad he's handy like that.  He did find a tiny crack that he was able to seal, but it was apparently something that should not have caused the engine to die.  When he kept investigating he found the culprit.  No. Freakin'. Gas.  Yeah.  No gas.  We had a full gas can in the dinghy.  Lesson learned.  (Maybe.  That's not the first time it's happened.  We can be slow learners.)

We woke up Christmas day and enjoyed a bit of breakfast before heading on north in the ICW. 
Strawberry Crepes with freshly whipped cream

The homes along the ICW are so depressing.  I mean, I really feel bad for these people.  I wanted to pull the boat over and offer some of the families a hot meal, but we had an anchorage to find and had to keep on truckin'.

Next up:  How many miles should you really travel in the ICW when the weather is changing and you are not really on a schedule?


  1. If you travel the ICW at night you will notice most of the homes sit dark. The tough part to swallow regarding the ICW homes is the fact most of the homes are not the primary residence. This is the weekend or vacation home. Just imagine what the primary home looks like. Ouch, right?

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  2. That is super handy of Mark to tackle that problem thru and thru! What a relief for it to only be no gas (even if it was also a forehead-smackin' 'Doh!' moment). What a pretty coffee / tea cup at your extravagant Christmas breakfast table! I already knew all about the lovely breakfast but I had never seen the cuuup! I love it, bet you made it? I'm so glad your stories include super nice photos! Quality entertainment!

    1. I did not actually make that cup, but due to my knowledge of how freakin' hard it can be to make a coffee mug, I bought a coordinating set of 2 from an artist in Bham. :)


We ♥ hearing your thoughts! ⚓️

Popular Posts