Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014 Off to St. Augustine

We are off to the St Augustine Mooring Field.  I called yesterday afternoon to reserve a ball for 2 nights…Sunday and Monday.  When I called on our way south, both north and south fields were full so we didn't want to take the chance of getting into St Augustine and not having a place to stay!  The weather looks unsettled for the next few days so there’s a chance we might be staying in St. Augustine even longer. 

Chuck started hauling up the anchor a little before 7:30 am.   The anchor had so much mud on it, he took longer than normal because he was trying to wash down the chain with his bucket.  The sun’s not up yet and it’s a bit brisk!  At first, I thought we were the only cruiser up and moving but soon a catamaran came motoring under the Twin Sea Breeze Bridges…and Chuck’s still on the bow working on the chain.   As we headed north, we heard other sailboats the the VHF requesting openings at the to lift bridges in Daytona.  That was the main reason we anchored where we did yesterday.  We didn't want to have to wait for bridges until we were away from the city!   Later in the morning, we also heard some sailors talking about the shallow water they were in but we couldn't figure out where they were.  We found out later from sv/Island Jim that those boats had to be south of us and possibly crossing the  Mosquito Lagoon.

Even though it was cool this morning, we still had a beautiful day to
motor on the ICW.  The sun finally broke through the clouds and the temps warmed up nicely…for most of the day.   The part of the ICW just north of Daytona follows the Halifax River and is between the spoil islands and the barrier island.  The houses here are so close to the water that it’s like we are motoring in their back yards…yet on the spoil side, the wildlife abounds!  What a  glorious day this has turned out to be.
reminded us of Gypsy Angel

sailing on the ICW
The major trouble spot today is our passage near the Matanza Inlet. I remember when we traveled
south, this area was well marked with 4  green cans that directed boats to navigate very hear the west bank…G 81D, G 81C, G 81 B, and G 81A…but G 81A is missing…there it is up on shore!  Wow.  I wonder why the coast guard hasn't re-positioned it?   As long as boats stay to the west of these green day markers, it is plenty deep 2 hours before high tide.  It wasn't as intimidating on today’s return trip!!  There’s also an old fort that was easy for me to spot today…Fort Matanza.  For those brave enough to venture into Matanza Inlet, anchor, and dinghy to shore, there is a guided tour of the old Spanish fort.  No thanks,  I just like taking pictures from a distance!! LOL

Once we passed through our last lift bridge today, the Crescent Beach Bridge, the clouds begin to bunch up overhead and the winds picked up quite a bit….up to 30 kts.   It’s not suppose to rain but I’m crossing my fingers…and it sure would be nice if the winds settled  a bit when we start to search for our mooring ball at St. Augustine.   After we motored under the Mickler O’Connel Bridge, I get on the VHF and Hail the St Augustine Municipal Marina.  It took several times before they responded.  The dock hand gave us our assignment of ball M31.    Great!  The south field is huge with 70 mooring balls.  We were given directions.
This is our first time mooring here and neither of us could quite
understand what the dock hand told us.   So while we were looking at the mooring field and motoring toward it….and bump…hey Chuck is playing Columbus today and found land!  Ha Ha.  I called the marina again and the dock-master came on and gave us better directions.  We had to go north toward the Lyons Bridge and then turn west toward and between R10 and R8 to navigate away from the sandbar!   Once we got into the mooring field we finally found M31 after dodging other moored boats.   I snagged the ball and Chuck was able to come to the bow and attach our bridle…50.5 miles and 7.5 hours later…not too bad!  We had stretches where our speed dropped to 5.4 because of the current coming at us and other places where the current was in our favor and we were cruising at 7.1 kts.    We couldn't relax yet because they wanted us to come to the Marina Office and settle our bill.  We launched the dinghy and lowered our motor and were off.  It’s $20 a night and this includes the use of their restroom/shower facilities, laundry ($1.50), and their boaters’ lounge.  They also gave us a dinghy pass so we wouldn't have to pay the $10 dinghy dockage fee.   Rita suggested if we ever were hungry for pizza to try Pizza Time in historic St. Augustine. Thanks Rita for telling us about this pizza joint!!

to the east of us tonight
to the west of us tonight

When I talked to Rita this afternoon, she me that they had a great night at the Sisters Creek Anchorage…until Keith on sv/Rising Sun woke them up at 5 am.  The currents in this river were so strong that somehow sv/Whisper and sv/Rising Sun swung around and were hitting up against each other.  The three of them stayed up from 5-7 am to fend off each other’s  boat so there would be no damage.  Finally at 7 am, it was just getting light that David and Rita decided to move out of the anchorage and head north.  Keith is going up to Jacksonville to summer his boat at Green Cove Marina.  As Rita started to motor toward the ICW, she went hard aground on a shoal just 30 feet from the ICW.  They had to call Tow Boat US.  It took the towboat 1 hour to get to them and he worked another hour to unsuction Whisper’s full keel from the mud!!  Needless to say, Rita was quite upset…crying, vomiting….you name it!  Once they were floating, they made their way north on the ICW and into Fernandina Beach Marina to sit out the high winds predicted for the next few days. 

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