We woke to a beautiful, warm, sunny day at the free dock. It wasn’t hot like southern Florida can be, it was just nice. We took a walk around the park next to the dock, then got the boat together and left. We were the last of the 4 boats there last night to leave, but we weren’t planning to go very far and we weren’t in a hurry.
So came out of Smith’s Creek, went diagonally across the St. John’s River and past the Navy base at Mayport, and the ICW picked up again on the other side. Then we spent a couple of hours passing shoulder-to-shoulder houses and docks. I can’t say I blame everyone for wanting to live along the waterway, but after a while I began to wonder why people would have these expensive docks with boats and boat lifts when they’re an hour and a half away from open water by boat. What was nice was that many of the docks had 2 level decks, many with roofs, some screened in, many with grills, wet bars complete with bar stools and chaise lounges, some with dining-room tables, etc. These docks would be a nice place to enjoy a cocktail or even an evening meal. Personally, I’m a mosquito magnet so I’d have to have my deck screened in, but that’s just me.
And then, just like that you pass the last house and it’s mile after mile of open marsh again. Today was a beautiful, sunny day, and the colors in the marsh really comes alive in the sunshine. I think I’ve mentioned in days past that when it’s overcast everything looks gray: the sky, the water and even the marsh. But sunshine makes all the difference in the world, and now you have a blue sky, green trees, blue water, and the marsh grasses are multiple shades of green and gold. Not to make too much of it, but it’s the difference between boring and beautiful…hard to explain, I guess.
We arrived in St. Augustine around 13:00, and what a nice, pretty town it is! As soon as we got checked in to the marina and got the boat settled, we took a long walk around downtown. There are a couple of long pedestrian streets with shops, tourist traps, bars and restaurants, and small museums of different types. Of course, Juan Ponce de Leon is prominently displayed right by the water, but we didn’t see any mention of the fabled Fountain of Youth. Maybe that’s because he never found it? Anyway, the city has been careful to keep the old Spanish style architecture, for the most part, and there are historical markers all over the place. There are no really tall buildings and it’s a really pleasant place to walk around. We were surprised to come across St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine right in the middle of all the Spanish and English colonial buildings. We went through the Shrine, which is really a small museum to the Greek Orthodox history in St. Augustine, which goes back a surprisingly long time and continues to the present day. Interesting…
Then it was back to the boat for a while, and back to downtown for dinner in one of the many small restaurants within about a half-mile radius of the marina. We had our choice of Spanish, seafood, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Irish…and probably some others, and we chose an Irish pub with live Irish acoustic music. It was a really nice end to a nice day. We’re staying in St. Augustine for 2 nights, so tomorrow we’ll check out the rest of the town and do some shopping. I’m really glad we stopped here.
Today: 34.1 nautical miles
Running total: 1,316.9 nautical miles