Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Augustine

I want to thank all of you for your loving support through our incident last week.  Your many phone calls, emails/comments, texts and kind words were so endearing and we really appreciate it.    

We pulled our boat out of the water to check for damages in St. Augustine. 
 The kids were in awe as they watched us inspect the underside hull and the yards-men pull the propellers off to be aligned and smoothed out. 
 This line was entangled in one of the propellers...not sure when that happened?
 You can see the minor damage done to the propellers.  It's amazing what a big difference it made in the performance overall.
 They put us back in the water and we sat at Camachee Marina in St. Augustine for three nights waiting for the propellers to come back from Tampa.  They had a courtesy car so we were able to provision and run a few errands for a short while. 
 The kids caught fish and crabs dockside.  A lot of people stopped to talk to them, including a family that did the loop a few years ago and a woman that wanted to buy some of their fish. Morgan insisted on just giving it to her though.   
 Our reconditioned propellers.  WOW, what a difference they they should....they appear to be gold plated or at least we thought they were after receiving the bill!     
 Morgan can not get enough of being outside and finding sea life and creating habitats for them.
 After our propellers were on we went to a mooring ball in downtown St. Augustine.  Ryann loved the cannons... 
 The "Oldest Wood School in the USA".
 S.W.I.N.G. is an awesome park that stands for St.Augustine Wishes Inspiration for Next Generation. 
 My sister, Michelle, asked me what a "mooring ball" looked like. It truly is a "ball" that's anchored or cemented into the sea ground with a line attached for us to secure the boat to.  It works out great as we are self-sufficient, but can use the dinghy dock, laundry/showers, etc. for around $20 a night.  It also gives you the peace of mind that you should stay in place...especially in high winds and currents.  We're experiencing much more winds, currents and tides than ever before.  The tide here is approximately 5 feet with around a 4 knot current. 
 The fort by the water front is Castillo de san Marcos National Monument and we were fortunate enough to watch a reenactment of a cannon being fired into the harbor.  This fort was built in _____ and is an amazing structure and has flown over four different flags. The history is amazing here and we've been to many forts in our travels and this is ranked one of the highest.  The girls were speechless when we told them how truly old it was and they might never step foot into something that old again! 
 The walls were made of coquina which is mostly shells.  This is very innovative construction for that time in the way it absorbed enemy fire.  From the outside you can see where it was hit, but the damage was minimal.  The fort was loaded with tourists, but spread out enough to still be enjoyable. 
 The cannon shot was very loud and impressive.  We toured through all of the unique areas, watched a video and walked the surrounding grounds.
 A typical bed 300 years ago in a fort!
 The kids did another Junior Ranger Program and were awarded with certificates and pins of achievement. 
 It was massive and impressive!
 We toured through the shops in the quaint downtown area and Ryann couldn't resist the opportunity to hold this boa constrictor. 
 After a long day of walking we went back for some dinner and off to the beach at Anastasia Island to watch sunset.  The next morning we made our way up to Jacksonville which is around 14 miles off of the ICW in the St. Johns River.  This is a very industrial port and holds everything from navy shipping containers to cruise lines.  These particular vessels were well guarded with a fence surrounding and full time armed patrol. 
 In our wake was a mother dolphin and her baby.
 Florida Gators played at the Alltel Stadium across the street from the dock we were staying at.
 The kids were so excited to play at the "Kids Kampus" (playground + more) area right next to the docks. We had heard it was a ton of fun and found out after walking the grounds that it was taken out this year due to lack of funds. A woman said it covered this whole area behind the kids....they were bummed! 
 Sunset from the dock..
 Ryann found a little turtle to make her new pet. She named him JV after Jacksonville. 
The weather has been great and super hot today at 92 degrees.  There's a Motocross race at the arena across the street with fireworks right now and huge full moon in the night sky. 
What we're looking forward to now.......In Georgia there is an average 8 foot tide and swift current which creates an extreme swift current and will very challenging to anchor.  Allowing the Negotiator enough room and depth to swing with a tide which is twice a day.  The true challenge may just be to find water deep enough for our four foot draft and the eight foot of water that leaves us everyday.  For example, when we go to a mooring ball that's anchored straight down we need 80 feet of circumference for the boat to swing during tide changes (tide seems to always win over the wind). When we're at anchor we'll put out approximately a 6 to 1 ratio so for every foot of depth from the bow pulpit we put out six times the length of chain (ten feet of water equals 60 feet of chain). This means we need to find quite a large hole in the river (that the government hasn't maintained in over 8 years) to be of safe anchorage.
Hope Georgia treats the Negotiator like the peach she is!! 


  1. The props were a bit dinged but not bad. Good that you got a photo of them after they went back on, hate to think that only the fish would get to enjoy their "gold" luster after all that expense.

    We had a couple of exchange students from Sweden a while back that we took to the City Museum. There's an old log cabin there that fascinated the girls so we took a close look. It was built around 1750 and I commented "wow, that is old". The girls giggled and said "that's not old, our house in Sweden was built in the early 1500's". Now that's old!

    Thanks so much for continuing to share your experiences and adventures with us.

  2. Castillo de san Marcos is definitely old! Construction began in 1672 and took 20 years to complete. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and several wooden forts preceded the masonry one that still stands.

  3. I,m not surprised the kids love the forts...Craig love going thru the fort on Mackinaw Island when he was young...Ryann
    , is that a real snake? Yikes! Hi Morgan and Jaxon. Love grandma Debbie