23 November 2012

Days 120-133: St Augustine – 10/11/12-23/11/12

Yes, I admit it, I am still alive but have been a very bad girl in not writing the blog.  My lazy logic … we haven’t actually been sailing Jeannius … so I didn’t realise it was obligatory!  Apparently my daughter and husband think it is, so this is very retrospective!!!

We have spent our days since we arrived wandering around this beautiful town and working on the boat.  We are going to put her on the hard here for 6 months while we go back to Europe then come back out and maybe go to the Bahamas while our insurance still allows us to (we have to be north of 30.5 degrees by mid July).

In order to leave the boat in good order, Mike has been replacing hatches and all the valves on the heads to make them easier to switch from holding tank to straight over the side (and visa versa).  Not a nice job as it involved removing the old ones and having the lovely smell from the holding tanks come wafting through the boat.  Thankfully, the sun was shining the day he did this and we were able to have the door and windows over to shift the smell out – nothing to do with me obviously!

P1130853 Photo:  One of the lions at the Bridge of Lions – Jeannius in the distance

P1130855 P1130858 P1130860 P1130861 P1130866 P1130867 P1130871 Photos:  St Augustine in the sunshine

The weather when we first arrived, was glorious – sunny with lovely blue sky.  This lasted for five days then the grey stuff arrived, not so much in the form of rain, just gloom, light mist and windy.  Basically like the UK only warmer - just.  We felt quite at home and it certainly reinforced our decision not to go sailing ever again to anywhere cold and damp!

The pirate thing which was going on when we arrived, continued all weekend although there was much more happening on the Saturday.  I followed the parade for a while and watched the shenanigans – they really threw themselves into it and there were a lot of Mr Depp wannabes.

P1130840 P1130842 P1130847b Photos:  It’s a pirate thing

We were loaned boat bikes from a friend Mike knows from the BVIs who lives here but at the time of writing I haven’t plucked up the courage to use one although Mike has.  I find two legs safer.  I was  deprived as a child and never allowed to have one.  My policeman father wouldn’t allow us to have them in case of accidents - well that’s what he said anyway.  Consequently I am terrified of falling off one and things break easier at my age.

In an art gallery we came across the most beautiful glass blown pieces – small jellyfish encased in clear glass.  They were so amazing, so translucent and so life-like that at first I thought they actually are real jellyfish suspended in glass only to find out that they too are glass forms.  I cannot even begin to imagine how they are made and though expensive, given the amount of work involved, probably worth the price.  These little beauties are created by Californian glass artist, Richard Satava.  Mike said I could have one as long as it came out of my flat re-modelling allowance.  That stopped my credit card from coming out as there are things I want more than that.  Another time maybe.

Jeannie and Keith from the catamaran Mucho Gusto came down from Jacksonville on Tuesday to meet us for lunch at Harry’s.  We had first met them briefly in Beaufort, NC, then again in Charleston.  They had gone ahead of us under one of the bridges to check the height, them and their guests all whooping with delight when we managed to skim underneath.  They are from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I would hope to see them again.  The food at Harry’s was fantastic – good southern seafood – although we over-ordered and had to take some back to the boat with us.  Luckily Mike was still stuffed in the evening with an accompanying over-eating stomach ache who prevented him from having the left-overs for supper.  Not me though, and I even polished his off.

When we first arrived at the marina we only booked in for three days but we liked it so much we decided to stay here until the boat comes out of the water so we paid for four weeks.  We were told though that due to the annual Nights of Lights switch on a week later, they were fully booked and we would have to leave for two nights and go on a mooring ball.  What actually happened was that on the Wednesday before the weather changed – rain, cloud, and lots of wind.  Consequently loads of boats just didn’t turn up and we were able to stay on our slip.

The grand ‘switch-on’ was on the Saturday and at 6.30 pm the whole of the downtown area was suddenly ablaze with millions of small lights; treetops, tree trunks, bushes, windows, lanterns – everywhere flickered and shone.  There was live music in the square and people in period costume parading about.  The atmosphere was jovial and friendly although I couldn’t understand the people sitting around in their deck chairs, soaking up and enjoying the entertainment as it was so cold and damp although the rain managed to stay away for a few hours at least.

P1130882 P1130894 P1130902 Photos:  St Augustine’s Night of Lights

The next week continued with more boat work and wandering around town to break it up.  The bad weather also continued – not actually raining but cold, damp and a strong north wind which goes right through you. 

P1130875 Photo:  Jeannius in the grey stuff

Mike fixed four new hatches to the boat to keep Jeannius nice and watertight while we are away and bought a dehumidifier that has a timer and an outlet pipe so that we can drain the water into the bilges for the bilge pump to deal with.  With the solar panels and wind generator to power it and just keeping it on for a few hours a day using the timer, it should keep Jeannius nice and fresh.

The rather large birds continue to be a problem, shit-wise.  For a while we had an osprey sitting, shitting, at the top of our mast, and at night pelicans roost on the bow seat rails, leaving large mounds behind when they leave.  We have scrubbed it all off but know that this will be a recurring activity until we leave.  Thanks guys!

P1130876 Photo:  Something large and poop filled at the top of our mast

The weather finally started to change yesterday and although the sun shone all day, the cold north wind was still with us.  It was Thanksgiving Day and the town was not sure whether it wanted to be open for business or not.  Some shops were open and some not; the only restaurants open for lunch were those that we didn’t want to eat at or were finishing serving just as we found them.  The only people really wandering around were foreign tourists like us, to whom the day had no real significance.

Today it is sunny and warm and finally the wind has dropped.  We are now half way through our stay in St Augustine and I have to say, I am really enjoying it despite the work!


Position:  29 deg 53 min N, 81 deg 18 min W

Distance so far:  3573 miles

1 comment:

  1. Jean, please don't stop writing! There are some of us who would read your laundry list. You write so well and it's great to get away from real life for a few minutes or so.
    So, thanks for your time sending out your blog. I can't wait for the big RV adventure.