To St Augustine
To St Augustine, Florida
At twenty past eight Bear had the anchor up. After a tight u-turn I quietly minced my way out of our hidey-hole and into the main channel with a solitary heron watching my slow exit. Bear finished hosing off the mud from said anchor and back he came to the cockpit. Oh I didn’t expect you to get us out as it’s low tide. I am very pleased he had kept to the “keeping first mate in the dark about the risk of sailing on the spot”. I had been quite brave smooching us over 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.2, 0.1 and into deep water at 0.8 metres below us.......... I was quite pleased it was Bear’s shift until ten. Hopefully I take over in the next sound and won’t have to stare constantly at that little dial that makes me need a stiff drink every time it drops suddenly.
I went down to sit on our bed to ‘prepare the next blog and edit pictures’ but happily spent an hour playing Zuma. I find exploding balls very reassuring. It is such an odd business, you are aware of the girl trotting along happily, then you hear the rustle of sea grass touching her nose, then jerk, stop.
Nip out to see the skipper who is now ploughing us off a hump on the river bed. I think until we finish our journey on the ICW I will have to call Bear the ‘Tussock Hunter’. He thinks it’s all a huge joke and thoroughly enjoys himself.
I am now quite content as I hear the engine speed up, must be in comfortably deep water and Bear feels he can confidently speed up
We know we are in Florida (Yee-Haaarrr) as the vista has changed so completely
We went past a yard dealing with some very big girls, including a new sight for us – scaffolding
Our first sight of a Floridian allocation, this newbie has clearly got to gather some more nesting material
As we neared Mayport we were under constant aerial scrutiny as an aircraft carrier was being readied to set forth out of the St John’s River. The most lethal weapon we can fire is a small wet wad of kitchen towel propelled at speed out of the end of a multi-pack (1000 for a pound) bendy straw, somehow we see that as a nano-microscopic threat.
The Nimitz class carriers have an overall length of 1,092 feet and a full-load displacement of about 104,000 long tons. They have a beam at the waterline of 135 feet, and the maximum width of their flight decks is 257 feet 3 inches. The ships' companies can number up to 3,200, not including an air wing of 2,480. She has an unlimited distance in 20-25 years and has a serious engine under her bonnet. Two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors, (great for baked potatoes in three and half minutes – no cheese, makes a terrible mess), four steam turbines and four shafts that help her trot along at thirty knots. If we drove at her full tilt and hit her two and a half inches of Kevlar, we would be completely destroyed while she would a) not feel a thing and b) sustain barely a scratch.
Meantime our companions made sure we weren’t baddies and left us when it was clear we were far too busy enjoying the ICW than mess with a girl slightly bigger than ourselves.
At a navigational draught of forty one feet all I can say is if that big girl chooses to follow us, sack the nav man and break out the paddles cos she would be in deep do-do, or in this case nine feet of water.
Must go on one of these, don’t think the passengers look entirely happy, she’s clearly needing his leg for comfort ??? and he’s hanging on to the side bar. As Mrs Roosevelt said “Do something that scares you every day.”
Bear enjoyed tree planting the Merican way
Our first successful honeymooners
In the Tolomato River we see a chap called Bear, round the final corner and here we are in St Augustine. Needless to say Bear’s trigger finger is poised as soon as he sees the fort. Nothing more for me to do now but to hover on the spot and wait for the half past four opening of the Bridge of Lions, marina just beyond.
Just as I have spotted an osprey sitting atop a nearby mast, pinging away a seagull who dared to fly too close, I see a dinghy waving, fantastic surprise – Steve, Maggie and our little friend Trooper heading toward us.
Through the bridge, onto the marina, hugs all round, a cuddle for Trooper and an invite to a Cuban restaurant for supper. Grand Gromit.
After a really delicious supper, a little bimble round this beautiful city, Bear gets an impromptu satiation of the busy trigger finger. We get back to the marina and see the ban on alcoholic beverages. Just as well we only drink Diet Coke.....
ALL IN ALL HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE A DAY LIKE TODAY
LONG MAY IT CONTINUE TO SURPRISE AND THRILL US