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As we continue to head up the East coast our time in Florida came to an end in our nation's first city St. Augustine and then Amelia Island, which were our last Florida stops. St. Augustine was really cool. It was so historical and our prior tour of Fort Matanzas was helpful in understanding the cities origin. We stayed right downtown at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina for two nights and everything was within walking distance. There was so much to see and do there. We started with a trolley tour....kind of. The trolley hit the high points: Castillo de San Marcos, Mission Nombre de Dios, The Fountain of Youth, the Old Jail, Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church, Flagler College, Lightner Museum (formerly the Flagler Hotel), Villa Zorayda, the Spanish Military Hospital and lastly the Oldest House. We filled in the rest of the gaps with several walks down St. George Street to eateries and bars. Below are photos of our time in St Augustine.
Above is the oldest home in St Augustine.
This is terrible, but I have to include it. There were alot of families enjoying spring break in St. Augustine. One was seated right behind us on the trolley. The Grampa was along. He didn't say too much during the tour, but when he did he sounded just like you'd think Pauncho Villa would sound in an old movie. At first I thought it was a joke, but no! I couldn't help but giggled everytime he opened his mouth.
Sunday we had planned to go to Palm Sunday services, but it was pre-empted by The Masters. Tom loves watching The Masters and they moved the time telecast up because of wind. He and Sam put together their "Players LIst" and they discuss who gets which player similar to Fantasy Football. Unfortunately, two days before The Masters our TV stopped working. I felt so bad for Tom. He was able to watch it on his Ipad, but spent most of Sunday morning swearing at the idle television on boat. It's a boat after all and something is always breaking or needs to be fixed. 🤔
While Tom watched The Masters, there was the Blessing of the Fleet in the St. Augustine Marina. I was able to see the priest and all of his entourage dressed in period costumes slowly make their way down our dock for the service.
Sunday night we headed downtown for some oysters and dinner at another Fish House. We've lost count how many Fish House's we've seen or dined at along the way!
Monday morning we hit the water early so we could travel on a rising tide. As we left St Augustine I was able to get a last couple of pictures of Castillo de San Marcos and the Mission Nombre de dios from the water.
Our float plan was to take the ICW to Amelia Island. We thought leaving on a rising tide to travel the 58 miles to Amelia Island would give us enough time and better water depth. Not the case. We are in a major tidal area now in North Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Tides can vary by 8 feet or more so planning is crucial.
After Jacksonville and the Nassau Sound Inlet, there's the North Florida Marsh that is about 20 miles long thru the ICW. To say it was "skinny" water would be an understatement. Not only was it shallow, but there were a couple of large tows and a dredge taking up most of the channel in a couple of places. There was shoaling everywhere on both sides. It was nerve racking getting thru this area. We draft 3 1/2 feet and our depth meter read zero several times. We made it thru thankfully!
By the time we got slipped at Amelia Island we were tired from dealing with all the skinny water. We got tied up, worked on our float plan for the next days travel leaving Florida and crossing the state lines into Georgia and Jekyll Island, had a little dinner on board and hit the hay.
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.