We traveled approximately 15 miles to anchor behind Blount Island. We were very fortunate as we did not encounter shipping traffic aside from a couple of fast moving tug boats. Just after we anchored we saw a huge freighter go down the river. It's amazing to me just how big those things are, very scary looking to a little boat like mine. As it was about 45 degrees coupled with a cold north wind, I was practically a popsicle by the time we dropped anchor. I was so happy to get inside the nice warm cabin. Blount Island is about 4 miles from the place where the St John's River, the ocean inlet and the ICW (intercoastal waterway) converge. Our plan was to catch it at slack tide the next day.
Our plan didn't work that well, as we bucked a current, making only 2.2 knots. I was more than a bit nervous about this section as it's known to be choppy, busy (meaning freighters) and lots of current. The dog made it more interesting by choosing that exact moment to wreak havoc in the cabin. Thankfully, the only freighter we saw passed behind us a few minutes after we turned south to enter the ICW. We were very happy to be headed south! We had a lovely trip passing by beautifully decorated homes and docks. Shortly before 3 pm we reached our anchorage at Pine Island.
The wind was blowing like crazy and there was also a lot of current, but we managed to drop the anchor and get settled. What a gorgeous place. Tall pines trees coupled with marshes, very remote, although we did share the anchorage with another cruising sailboat. I actually managed to get a good nights sleep for the first time in a few days as it was a very secure anchorage.
We left early on Saturday morning as we had only 15 more miles to make it to Saint Augustine. Again we bucked a lot of current and were only making 4 knots, but it was a beautiful day and lovely scenery. Shortly before noon we picked up a mooring in Saint Augustine near the Bridge of Lions. We missed it on our first two attempts because the helmsman misjudged the direction of the current and was unable to stop the boat. The first mate snagged the line boat hook both times. Finally, a nice gentleman on a nearby boat came over in his dinghy and gave us a hand.
The Saint Augustine Marina is top notch. The mooring fee is $20 a night. They have a water taxi and will pick you up and drop you off at your boat, so you don't even need to launch the dinghy. We ended up getting a ride from our neighbors who turned out to be a family with a daughter Coleen's age and a 7 year old son. We enjoyed several hours of sightseeing and a nice lunch and Prince enjoyed getting a lot of exercise. We then relaxed for a while in the boaters lounge while waiting for the shuttle to return us to our boat.
Sunday, we attended worship at the First United Methodist Church. Coleen brought a change of clothes and after the service, changed into her 1800's style dress and shawl. We toured the Lightner Museum, which is housed in a beautiful building, formerly a Flager flagship hotel. They had an interesting collection of a variety of artifacts ranging from a mummy, dinosaur egg, hats, musical instruments, and lots of pottery & porcelain. We then headed over to Old Town and enjoyed a little window shopping, a nice lunch, touring the Oldest Wooden School House and of course the Fort. At the fort we saw a cannon firing, which was really cool. Coleen completed several activities and earned a Junior Ranger badge. We then raced back to the boat to take the dog out for a walk, as he'd been cooped up all day. We found a colorful dinner invitation from the family on Morning Star.
It was really fun to see their huge 67 foot boat, complete with dishwasher, washer/dryer, 3 cabins each with their own bathroom, but mostly it was fun to spend time with them. The meal was excellent too. Coleen was invited to spend the night, so I had the rest of the night to myself, a welcome change.
Today, I did some laundry, remarked by anchor chain, and completed several other needed chores. We got a ride to the grocery store and I re-stocked our fresh veggie supply. I invited the kids from Morning Star to come over for dinner so their parents could enjoy a night out. We made a little party of it and enjoyed lots of games including charades.
I'd venture to say that Saint Augustine has been Coleen's favorite stop. She really enjoys history and Old Town was just her kind of place. She also thoroughly enjoyed playing with other children. It's hard to leave, but we have to keep moving as we're due to meet up with Phillip on Friday. Counting the days until we see him!