November 25-December 2, 2017: St. Augustine, FL

I realize that I kind of glossed over Brunswick, where we stayed the week of Thanksgiving.  It was a great stopover made even better by the Brunswick Landing Marina, which gets top billing in our book.  But on to more recent events.

Our offshore passage from Brunswick, GA, to St. Augustine was a pretty short one, 18 hours overnight for 87.7 nm.  While leaving Brunswick on the 25th, we saw fireworks in two separate towns.  I don’t know if post-Thanksgiving fireworks are a thing now, but it was sure cool to see at night from the boat.

Thanks to the Captain’s meticulous planning, we hit the St. Augustine inlet just right.  It is notorious for being short and narrow, aiming you between a beach and a bulkhead, and having strong, surfy conditions. Hitting it at anything other than daylight and slack tide was a deal-breaker for me.

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We weren’t the only ones out at dawn at the St. Augustine inlet.  This fishing boat brought a zillion of his closest friends with him.

We took a mooring at St. Augustine Municipal Marina for one week; at $143 for a week including launch, nice dinghy dock, laundry (4 washers and dryers), nice bathrooms (2 showers each), generally good wifi, and the ability to receive mail/packages, it’s a deal that cannot be beaten.

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Wherever there’s cruisers, there’s dogs.  And dogs are always on the bow of anything moving fast.

Hurricane Irma tore up the dockage quite badly, and the many of the slips that are available lack power.  There is no gasoline available, but there is one diesel pump working.  The dinghy dock was mostly destroyed, but now the unofficial dinghy dock stretches along one of the deserted slipways, so it all works out.  Most of the moorings appear to have been replaced, although it’s clear that some are missing.

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I loved these dinghy chaps.  Having made ours, I can commiserate with the “patch ’em with whatever you’ve got” mentality, because there’s NO WAY you are making new ones!

I wish I could say that our stay was seven days of blissful relaxation, but things rarely work that way.  The outboard on the dinghy was running weakly.  After hours spent diagnosing the issue (bad gas? fuel supply? spark plugs? carburetor?) and then removing and taking apart the carburetor piece by piece, it became clear that carburetor would have to be replaced.

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Ah yes, another beautiful day on the water slaving over something mechanical.

We called the local Yamaha dealer, Backwater 2 Bluewater, and ordered a new carburetor and gaskets, plus expedited two-day shipping since we wouldn’t be in St. Augustine for very long.  Insert “cha-ching” and “ouch!” here.  Thank goodness for the marina launch, otherwise we would have been rowing the dinghy to shore for a couple of days.  I want exercise and everything, but let’s not be stupid.

The dinghy is now spiffed up with a new carburetor, new spark plugs, and a new fuel filter and bowl.  She’s humming along like a champ.  We made our usual contributions to the local economy at West Marine, Advance Auto, Winn Dixie, and the liquor store.  We found Bota Box wine for $15.99 a box, and at that price, we stocked up on five of them for the Bahamas.  The Captain carried four of them in his backpack the two miles back to the marina—now THAT’S dedication! Four boxes = 16 bottles of wine.  I carried the really important stuff, though (Oreos) as well as the other groceries.

We also did some tourist-ing through the beautiful old buildings.  There really are some lovely nooks and crannies in this town.  I love all of the little alleys that are paved with bricks.

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Not all of the beautiful sights are small and unobtrusive.

We did manage to visit Borrillo’s, our favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza place; Yummy Wok, the excellent Chinese takeout next to West Marine; Gaufres and Goods, a Polish and Greek restaurant where we had cake and lattes; and Carmello’s for pizza.  I swear we do eat on the boat, although you’d never know it from the list of restaurants.  For soft taco night I made corn tortillas from scratch and used my new Norco tortilla press, and they were pretty freaking awesome if I do say so myself.

One night after showering, we walked through downtown to see the beautiful lights.  The entire downtown area is completely draped in Christmas lights, and it was truly lovely.  There was a choir singing and everything.

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I will never get used to Christmas lights on palm trees.  But I like it!

Then the next day we accidentally saw the Christmas parade, which was a hoot.

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A parade is not a parade without the Elvis impersonator.

We are headed to Ft. Pierce and decided to take the ICW down.  Our plan is to go St. Augustine to an anchorage near Memorial Bridge in Daytona Beach, to a mooring in Titusville, to an anchorage in Melbourne, and then to Ft. Pierce City Marina.  We may add a stop in between Titusville and Ft. Pierce, we’ll see.

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