25 November 2010 | St Augustine, FL
Beth/ 80's daytime, coolish evenings
Here we are in another beautiful little Spanish city.
We pulled our anchor from the very sucky mud at Pine Island on Tuesday morning (I'm sure we could have withstood a hurricane there!) and ghosted back into the ICW. It was so serene and lovely - still still water, little birds flitting around and pelicans gliding. We accidentally timed our arrival in St Augustine perfectly so that we caught the 1030 opening of the Bridge of Lions and went straight to our mooring ball. St Augustine now has some balls north of the bridge and many on the south side. We have heard mixed opinions on the value of this, but to our minds it's a good thing. The holding is suspect here and the current is strong, and it costs $10 per day for dinghy docking including showers, laundry, lounge etc, (and they do pay attention to this - you must display a sticker). The moorings are $20 per day so for only $10 extra, we have security plus all the perks!
We hustled ourselves into the shower and shortly after that were standing on King Street with our thumbs out. No - not for a random ride. Our bestest buddies were in town! With their usual excellent timing, Steve and Sandi had driven down to show Glenn and Edwina the sights of St Augustine so we hopped into the van and headed off to the Sailor's Exchange. It is actually walkable from the waterfront - a handy thing to know for future visits. I was delighted to find another fender - for $35 instead of the $52 at West Marine and some odds and sods of line. I'm a sucker for line - all colours and sizes and materials - I never know when I might need it. Jim found a replacement catch for one that had broken on a floor panel, and we picked up some other bits of miscellanea to put in the "just in case" box. Steve snagged a really fine bosun's chair and I saw Sandi's hands full of brushes and sandpaper (Sandi is the Varnish Queen and I know what she'll do with those!) This is a grand place to prowl around - the shelves are stocked with thousands of nautical things and all the prices are negotiable.
The rest of the day was filled with rambles through pretty neighbourhoods to the south of King St and up St George St through the touristy shopping area. 4:30 found us perched on stools at the A1A for Happy Hour. The A1A is a fine brewpub across from the waterfront where boaters tend to congregate and we enjoyed fat juicy wings and good local beers before we parted ways with our pals. Each good bye seems to lead to another hello, but I think this was the last time for this fall!
Jim and I had a time out at the boat, and then returned ashore to try out the Columbia restaurant for tapas. It's a lovely building and the service was excellent but the food was mediocre at best. Maybe it was an off night. After one more stroll through the lights on the lawn of city hall we headed back to the dock and home under the stars and moonlight to bed.
We spent part of Wednesday morning on computers and in the afternoon Jim filled jerry cans and tried to track down a cable for his computer, while I went off on my own explorations. When we were here in the spring, we toured Flagler College (well worth it for the fascinating history and beautiful contents) and walked through the interior of City Hall. On this visit we roamed a little further. It is a truly beautiful city - the oldest permanent settlement in the US - and has had a primarily Spanish influence. The red clay tiled roofs and arches and columns, the embossed paving stones, flowers peeking over walls and gates make this a lovely walking city. We stopped in at Mi Casa for lunch and listened to a fine singer and guitarist while we enjoyed chicken tacos and iced tea, and in the evening, went to Harry's where we sat in the garden and enjoyed New Orleans fare accompanied by another musician. The people watching was good there too. The city is filled with visiting families and the small children dancing to the music, older ones attracted by the goodies in the shops, and still older children being cool but having fun anyway made us both wax nostalgic over memories of many trips with our own children. One older (than us) fellow with perfectly groomed white hair, highwaisted jeans and shirt tucked in without a wrinkle, arms and legs crossed and nary a smile on his face made us wonder what his story was, and a sweet much older (than us!) lady with a great orange shawl kept going up to the musician at Harry's to ask for favourite selections.
A guy in the lounge this morning was comparing the merits of anchoring, mooring and docking. He hates to tie up to a dock because he has to deal with cockroaches, dirt and people! Ha! We all had a good laugh - not sure if he listed them in order of importance or not! I was sitting on the dock last evening waiting for Jim when a passing gentleman commented that at one time it would have been illegal for an unescorted woman to be hanging about like that. He proved to be an interesting conversationalist and we passed the time very nicely till Jim showed up. While I still list anchoring, mooring and docking in the same order as the guy in the lounge, I guess having to deal with people is not one of my issues!
We decided to stay here until Friday rather than leave this morning. The wind would have been too low to sail and then would have been right on our nose overnight so we'll see what tomorrow brings. If it still doesn't look good, we'll take the ICW, but we would dearly love to get out in the ocean and hoist our sails.
This is a good place to celebrate our second Thanksgiving of the year. We'll go walking and looking, and we'll enjoy dinner tonight at OC White's on the waterfront. Happy "American" Thanksgiving to all.