Saint Augustine, Fl anchorage
13 December 2008 | Tolamato River Anchorage (30o00.043 x –081 20.168) to Saint Augustine, Fl anchorage (29o53.314 x –081 18.463)
Watched the other boats leave the anchorage this morning. Jon Ray hailed us to thank us for our contact with Rapscallion before leaving which was very nice of them. Sounds like both of them are heading for Daytona Beach. We’re headed for Saint Augustine for fuel, groceries and to take in some of the town. It’s the oldest contiguous city in the U.S. and has quite a history.
We left the anchorage before 10:00 am and headed for Saint Augustine – one interesting note – the charts have everyone going on the inside part of red buoy 60 which guards a depth of 3 ft of water. Why? – I don’t know, but we ignored the chart and went around it. I guess quite a few people follow the chart and end up grounded (one would think that someone would fix the charts) but the only problem we had was the current – very strong currents.
We checked out the anchorage before the Lion’s Bridge (currently under construction) and figured the one on the other side might be better protected so went through the bridge at the ½ hour opening then headed for the fuel dock. The currents were incredible and I was running at 2000 rpms to get into the fuel dock and pull up without slamming into them. It was wild but we fueled up, pumped out and filled our water tanks. Chatting with the tender there was very informative – I learned a lot about the city, the fort, and his feelings on sailboats anchoring and staying. We talked about derelict boats and transients and I guess they really have a problem with people abandoning their boats. They sell them to others on the cheap for “waterfront property” and somewhere along the line, whoever owns them gets lost in the shuffle. I guess the marinas need to find the owners in order to get rid of the abandoned boats or something, but it sounds like a real problem. Trying to get off the docks was also an adventure. I had to gun it almost full throttle reverse with the back line acting as a spring line until the boat would move sideways off the dock, then throw it into forward straight at full throttle. What a rush – hope I don’t have to do that again any time soon. Interesting marina - the city dock, they sell you a key card to use the dingy dock and their showers for $10.00 a day (the shower facilities and laundry facilities are A-1 but for $10 I guess they should be).
After squaring away the boat, lowering the dingy and locking up, we headed into town in search of pizza. Tonight is the boat parade in Saint Augustine and I guess it’s a big deal, which is why it took us so long to find a place to anchor and then to actually anchor. The harbor is packed with boats and none of them are anchored the same way! Most had two anchors out and with the currents here and the crowds – we did the same to stay stationary. We walked into the old part of town, then down St. Georges street. The amount of stores and each one pretty unique was amazing. We found several pizza places and decided to eat at Pizzalley. Pretty good pizza and the interior reminded me of the old Library restaurant/pub in the U.P.
After pizza we wandered to the town plaza park (very prettily decorated for Christmas) and noticed all the people lining the waterfront for the boat parade. The boats were amazing with all their lights & I was frustrated trying to take pictures – I had to zoom in and in the dark had problems focusing and they all look blurry. We hadn’t dressed for the cool evening so went back to the boat and watched from there. Two large boats that were decorated were trapped on this side of the bridge and couldn’t make it over to the parade side (the bridge wouldn’t open for them). I felt sorry for them because they were decked out beautifully and the one would have been a contender to win the trophy. ¾ of the way through the parade, he gave up and left and there was quite a crowd on his boat too – what a disappointment…
We have wireless here – it comes and goes - but we have wireless as well as our cell phones so we checked out where the nearest grocery stores are. It looks like there’s one about a little less than a mile across the bridge and a couple on this side of the bridge about a mile or two away. So tomorrow is the search for groceries.
The town looks very pretty from the boat. It’s all lit up for Christmas…