19 June 2010

Beautiful St. Augustine

Grrr... I am usually pretty positive about my voyage on the Blue Moon, but there is one little thing that really -- no, I mean really -- bugs me: lack of good cup holders.

If you haven't sailed a small, simple boat a long way, you cannot begin to imagine the frustration this causes.

Imagine opening up your last cold beer -- as I just did. Then imagine firing up your laptop to work on your blog. Again, as I just did. Finally, imagine maneuvering your way into your bunk with laptop, and having your foot just catch the top of your beer which was placed out of the way on the bottom companionway step.

Then imagine the streak of blue curses streaming up out of the companionway as you toss your laptop aside and leap for the beer bottle, which is now rolling away under the companionway ladder, spewing it's gloriously cold contents into the bilge.

As I say, grrr. This regularly happens with various drinks, both on deck and down below. There just ain't enough room in this boat for a cold drink and me.

Well, at least I managed to save half the beer, this time. I really need to build a couple nice, teak cup holders!

If I had to pick my favorite city in Florida, St. Augustine would win hands down. Helena and I made a short visit here a few years ago, and we both loved it. This time, I had the pleasure of landing in it from the sea side.

St. Augustine Lighthouse
photo jalmberg

The first sight to be spotted is the lovely St. Augustine Lighthouse. The picture above really doesn't do it's justice. It's much more impressive in real life.

I anchored off the Municipal Marina, which is located right downtown, at the foot of the main street. I arrived just in time to sit out the daily thunderstorm, which have started to become a real issue... They come like clockwork every afternoon around 5, and you really need to have an anchor down in a sheltered place before they strike.

Thunderstorm over St. Augustine
photo jalmberg

They do give the deck a good cleaning, though!

After the thunderstorm blew over, I rowed into the marina and paid my $10 dingy dock fee. This allowed me to tie up Cabin Boy for the evening, and to use the marina's showers and other facilities. This city marina had the nicest showers I've seen on this trip. Clean, new, and top-notch.

The Municipal Marina
photo jalmberg

I then took a nice long stroll around the city. St. Augustine's architecture is really striking, and unlike anything else in Florida. It's old, of course. The city is the oldest in North America, I believe, and looks more like a European city than an American one.

The City Hall
photo jalmberg

St. Augustine has definitly been 'descovered', and one of it's main streets, St. George Street, is a tacky tourist trap. But if you get off St. George Street, the tourists quickly thin out, and you can find some great restaurants, shops, and especially homes. It's a great walking city.

'Quaint' St. George Street
photo jalmberg

Even off St. George Street, you can be fooled. I thought I'd found real English pub (yeah, right... an English pub in a Spanish city? What was I thinking?) It looked like an English country pub. But all the details were wrong. In a real pub, you order food and drinks at the bar, which I always found much more efficient and social than the 'stay at your own table and wait for the waitress' system used by US restaurants. But wishing for a real pub atmosphere in the States is like wishing for traffic circles. Never gonna happen here.

But the real give away were the taps... An English Pub with no English beer?

What? No Budwiser???
photo jalmberg

They had all the right signs on the wall, but nary a New Castle keg in the joint. Ah well. I kept looking and eventually found a fabulous Japanese restaurant run by a young English guy. I was happy to get a real beer, and he was happy to find someone who could talk about the World Cup.

Being married to a Brazilian has more than one advantage! Go Brazil!

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  1. John:

    I recall seeing some sort of gimbal (sp) type beverage holders at West Marine some time ago.

    Keep writing. Great stuff! I enjoy it immensely!


  2. John:

    Look at page 844 of the West Marine on-line e-catalog.

    There are several varieties to choose from.

    All the best!


  3. Get your priorities right John,
    the hand is the beer holder and
    everything else just has to wait.

  4. John , I agree with your assessment of St. Augustine, a beautiful city, but in it's harbor is one of the most serious groundings we faced on our entire trip down the coast. We must have been coming down the intracoastal at that point as it is etched in my memory(which doesn't hold many etchings at this point). I quickly called the mate's attention to the problem I was facing(she having a keener mind than mine), "what do you think? WHY IS THAT RED OVER THERE!? AND THAT GREEN THERE!? AND WHAT ABOUT THAT GREEN OVER THERE!?" Too late - we slid up on a four foot clearance sand bar. How embarrassing, and us in this salty turn of the century design boat. I wanted to cut my ponytail and shave to lesson the impact.
    No damage done though. We kedged off eventually. Remember, we were real rookies or greenhorns, regardless of our appearance! Pull up http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11485.shtml and zoom and scroll to see that hidden monster lurking in the harbor entrance.

  5. You don't have to be a rookie to run aground in FL!

    Luckily, you usually just have to wait till the tide floats you off.


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