Monday, 13 May 2013

No 17/13 St Augustine & Fernandina Beach

Hi from Clare,                                                             Sunday 12th May 2013

We set out from West Palm Beach for St Augustine and picked up the Gulf Steam which gave us at times as much as 4 knots of current to carry us north. By evening we had caught two Mahi Mahi and all was well. Then an un-forecast 20 knot wind blew from the North West and we punched our way through short seas for the night.

Our first Mahi Mahi and the Castillo de San Marcos, St Augustine

Two small birds arrived on the boat looking for refuge twenty miles out from land. One was timid and clung to the safety lines. The other one was very friendly and hopped around the cockpit, checked out below and even sat on Andrew's finger. The night was cold and windy; we were in long pants and fleecy jackets. The timid bird clung to life lines in the cold and the wind. It disappeared around 3am, never to be seen again. However the friendly bird spent the night sleeping in the corner of our cabin. Then it sat by the window in the early morning sun. It didn't partake in the water and biscuit crumbs we offered, but around 9am it few off to freedom.
The following day the wind went back to the south west and we had a good sail into St Augustine arriving around sunset.

When last in St Augustine we bought a new anchor chain and much to our disappointment it was rusting after five months. Andrew contacted the dealer by email and we anticipated that we would be in for a fight. However it couldn't have been better. The retailer asked us to supply him with a sample of the chain for identification. Thanked us for our feedback and then supplied us with a new chain from a different source. They bought the new chain down to the marina, the change over occurred without fuss.

Whilst at St Augustine we found a sane and reasonable Customs Officer who issued us with a Cruising License for twelve months. This will make life a lot easier as now (like last year) we only have to phone Customs when we move the boat. Before the Cruising License was issued we had to present ourselves to a Customs Officer to firstly check in and then again to check out. We found the process time consuming and sometimes expensive incurring fares to the local airport to attend the Customs Office.

Pete, Amanda and Mark, Kourtney and Andrew

Clare and Harry and the St Augustine anchorage

We also caught up with friends Kourtney and Pete on 'Norna' who are residents of St Augustine. We met in the Med but they have now returned home. As you can imagine they enjoy it when their former cruising buddies come through town. 'Balvenie' (Mark & Amanda) and 'Malua' (Harry) also arrived and so we all celebrated Pete's birthday with a few drinks on 'Norna'. Our two Mahi Mahi went a long way supplying everyone with plenty of fish for dinner.

The marina has a good laundry and so I stripped the beds and the covers off the couch and did eight loads of washing. Needless to say I spent the afternoon wrestling with the couch and the mattresses to replace all the covers. The washing trip was planned before we arrived but after our little bird had spent the night it became a priority; dear little thing!


Around Fernandina Beach township

We did a day sail north on Friday and arrived into Fernandina Beach in time for a sun downer. We anchored next to an American yacht 'Bright Ayer' who we had briefly met in Cuba. At the time Wayne and Betty had very generously lent us a cruising guide for Belize and Mexico. The plan was for us to post the book back to their American address when we were finished with it. So we had the opportunity to hand delivered the book the following morning before they departed around noon.

Fernandina Beach is not the most attractive port to enter as there are two large pulp mills on the shore. The water due to the connecting St Mary's river is almost the colour of chocolate (we almost didn't want to put our new anchor chain down.) However the township is very attractive with well maintained buildings and homes dating back to early 1800s. The many boutique shops have lots of local art and crafts and the local self serve frozen yogurt shop with fresh fruits and many other temping additions is not to be missed.

More lovely homes

SO WHAT'S NEXT This afternoon we will go back into town and continue exploring. We will probably travel eight miles to the township of St Mary's and check that out tomorrow. We are waiting for a favourable wind to continue north. Our final destination will be somewhere in the Chesapeake Bay so we can leave the boat and head home in July.

Love Candy xx

At 1:55 PM12/05/2013 (utc) our position was 30°40.46'N 081°28.16'W

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