We spent five nights on a mooring at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The moorings were full pretty much the whole time we were here. Since it’s later in the spring, the tourist traffic has picked up dramatically, and the town is bursting at the seams.
Whenever we go to a mooring field, we’re always wondering the condition of the mooring ball and whether it will hold us. Any concerns we might have had here were allayed when the Spirit of South Carolina took a ball near us. She is a 140 foot long sailing schooner of the type built during the 1800s.
It was built by two Charleston businessmen and is used primarily for youth educational programs in sailing, SC history, and the low country ecosystem. She is based out of Charleston Maritime Center in Charleston Harbor. This week there was a Boy Scout troop aboard. It refreshes your faith in humanity seeing those kids having a great time and working as crew; it will have a positive impact on their lives forever.
Since we had already “touristed” ourselves thoroughly here on the way south, we took it easy while we were here this time. We walked about 2 miles to the shopping center with a Winn Dixie and West Marine to do some shopping. The West Marine is mid-sized, and the Winn Dixie is huge. We also ate lunch there at Yummy Wok, which was a fantastic little take-out Chinese place. Chinese place: check.
One of the neat things about walking everywhere is that fun opportunities arise unexpectedly. Walking 2 miles to the grocery store isn’t always fun, but this time, we passed a wonderful farmstand with absolutely gorgeous fruits and vegetables. The owner kept cutting slices of fruits as samples to entice the shoppers, and the peaches and watermelons were to die for, and we left full. I got 3 pounds of tomatoes for $2.50. My absolute favorite sandwich is tomato with Duke’s mayonnaise (it has to be Duke’s) and salt and pepper on squishy white bread. Heaven! Had we been driving, we probably wouldn’t have stopped because the parking was tight.
Another neat sight that is best drunk in while walking. This bus was covered with sweetness and wonderful thoughts.
We ate lunch one day and dinner another day at Borrillo’s, which is a terrific pizza place on San Marco Avenue. It’s a little bit of a walk from the marina but well worth it. It’s in “uptown,” whereas the tourist side is “downtown.” The prices are cheap, the quality is high, and the portions are humungous. Pizza: check.
We didn’t just shop and eat, though. This time we went to the pubic library, which is great. It has lots of seating at tables, plenty of outlets, and smoking fast wifi. We spent the afternoon there working on routes, downloading movies, and checking the internet. There’s a huge park outside with an honest-to-goodness working calliope. I wanted to ride, but it felt a little creepy because I’d be the only adult with a bunch of kids. The library is also a hike, about 2 miles, but an easy walk along sidewalks.
We also did boat work like refilling our diesel jerry jugs and changing the oil and all filters. The marina has an oil recycling tank, which is great. We make it a point to dispose of our oil properly, and we are so grateful when it’s easily done.
Our plan is to leave tomorrow for an anchorage about 14 miles north near Pine Island. That will be a really short day, but it sets us up for a long leg to Fernandina Beach the next day. Then the plan is to hop offshore overnight to Beaufort, SC.
We wanted to just keep going, bypassing Beaufort and heading to Charleston instead, but that didn’t work out. We haven’t found any decent anchorages in Charleston, and the marinas are all booked solid due to race week and a boat show. We managed to get a reservation at Charleston City Marina for late next week. Bypassing Beaufort and going straight to Charleston would work with the weather, but we’d have no place to go once we got there. Rats!
We’re eager to get out of the ICW and see some open water again.