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Posts Tagged ‘St Augustine FL’

As I write, we’re wrapping up a six-week long stay in St Augustine.  After our engine drama and yard time in Oriental, NC and a frigid couple of weeks with even more engine drama getting south, we vowed to take a break from projects, rest, relax, and regroup.  We spent the Christmas holiday with Mom in the FL panhandle, and the weeks that followed back in St Augustine catching up with “old” friends, some who are here and some passing though, and making some new friends as well.  We’ve made visits to some of our favorite restaurants in the area, and have explored some new ones that have appeared on the scene since our last pass through.  Digging a bit deeper than the ever present tourists, we joined in a silent march and ceremony in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the Unity in Community March, a sister march to the Women’s March in DC.  The latter was particularly well attended, with the crowd estimated at about 2,000 strong… not bad for a town this size.  As luck would have it, we also caught a bit of the St Augustine Film Festival.  In between all of the above, we’ve enjoyed, as we always do, the Nights of Lights;  St Augustine does look pretty dressed up in her holiday finery.

I promptly signed up for an unlimited month of classes at the nearby yoga studio that I was introduced to a year or so back.  Several times a week, I take a short pedal from our marina, along the pond at Oyster Creek which offers some great birding, particularly at low tide, through a quiet residential neighborhood to the studio.  It’s been a great habit to step back into.

Along with some  small, routine cleaning and maintenance, I did decided to tackle one of my least favorite cleaning chores.  We have a storage locker at the foot of our master bunk (we refer to it as the foot locker), a wedge shaped space that reaches out under the foredeck.  With virtually no insulation, any kind of temperature fluctuations lead to condensation, and with little to no air circulation, gets pretty funky.  Our cold run south recently had pushed it over the edge of tolerable.  Cleaning it out requires half climbing into the barely-big-enough-to-do-so space.  While I had it emptied and relatively clean, Mike decided to install a 12-volt “muffin” fan between the foot locker and the adjacent hanging locker, in hopes that some improved air circulation will keep the funk down.

Mike also installed an AC/shore power monitor allowing him to geek the AC power numbers the way he does the DC numbers.  Of course the breaker tripping issue that prompted said installation ceased to happen immediately after the monitor was installed. Go figure.

So far we’d stuck to our plan… no big projects, rest, relax, regroup…

Then some local friends announced that they’d be leaving town for a week; we decided it was an opportunity to borrow some project space for the big project we’d been putting off… recovering the settee cushions in the salon.  When we’re inside the boat and not sleeping, we’re in the salon, kind of a combination dining room/living room/office.  It gets a lot of wear and it’s been looking progressively rough.  It’s been 2 1/2 years ago that we ordered new fabric, but at the time were distracted by other more priority projects.  Last winter while in Marathon, we ordered new foam cushions, but then the fridge died unexpectedly and replacing it became the priority.  We stuffed the new foam in the old cushions and threw some towels over the top to cover the holes.  It’s a project that takes some ample clean space, so it went on hold while we cruised up north last summer.  Our friends’ kind offer of their condo presented the perfect opportunity.

Step one was shuttling the cushions, materials and a monster-heavy sewing machine to the condo.  We spent 5 solid days disassembling and reassembling the cushions, 5 in all, 3 different shapes.  The horizontal ones required some complicated sewing.  The first cushion took a whole day and was pretty much a disaster.  Overnight, the Captain came up with a new design, and life got much better.  We recovered 7 cushions in all.  Three were  horizontal ones that took some tricky sewing.  The remaining four vertical ones required removing a gazillion staples from the plywood backing, re-stapling the new fabric, then making and installing a dozen fabric covered buttons.  I’ll just say that Mike continues to fine-tune his sewing skills, our heavy-duty stapler is awesome, and I have a whole new appreciation for covered buttons.

The process:

A before shot… taken during one of our first few days aboard back in 2011.  We were in the process of  emptying lockers and sorting out the junk that came with the boat purchase… patio furniture cushions anyone?

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settee, the early days

The following were taken last winter… the holes that prompted us to prioritize the project again, then the stripped down salon without cushions, while stripping/refinishing the back wall.

 

Here’s what it looked like during the project… cockpit cushions and every other available cushion and pillow on the boat pressed into temporary service.  ls_20170126_185344-settee-during

Finally, the the after photo.  Almost looks like grown-ups live here, doesn’t it?

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new cushions installed

We even had a bit of fabric left over, enough to cover the headboard in our master cabin.  Very fancy…

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new headboard in master cabin

Many thanks to our friends Dawn & Paul who lent us their space and helped shuttle materials to, and to a fellow yogi Tamara who helped us shuttle it all back to Cheshire.

We’ve now finished our short list of departure chores, and had a few good-bye dinners with friends. Rested and recovered, tomorrow we cast off the dock lines and head a bit further south.  Stay tuned.

 

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After a fun stay in No Name Harbor, Cheshire hauled anchor and headed out.  The Plan A was to make a quick stop for fuel and water, then head offshore for a stretch. Before we got far, even to the marina for fuel, it was apparent that the weather was a little snottier than forecast.  Plan B might have been to just stay in the protected ICW and start motoring north, but neither of us was too keen on doing so heading into a weekend.  Too many bridges and crazies in south FL for that to be anything but unpleasant.  Perhaps our southbound trip through this stretch last winter is still too fresh.  We settled on Plan C, ducked into Marine Stadium and dropped the hook to hang out for a couple of days.

Come Monday morning, the forecast was favorable for an offshore run.  After an easy in/out at Miami Beach Marina, we ducked out Gov’t Cut and had the sails up.  We were able to sail all day into the night until the wind died early Tuesday morning not far off Ft Pierce.  We furled the sails, fired up the engine and opted to stay out and motor through the day into Wednesday morning to St Augustine.  We had a Northern Waterthrush join us for a short stretch off Cape Canaveral (who was most uninterested in the Wheat Chex Mike offered), and were greeted by a gorgeous morning sky as we approached St Augustine.  We had a brief visit by US Customs and Border Protection who pulled along side just as we were approaching the inlet.  After a short chat about where we’ve been/where we’re going, they were apparently satisfied that we aren’t terrorists or drug runners.  We asked for some local knowledge re the inlet and were informed that “it’s a mess”.  In fact it was a mess, as it often is, but we managed quite nicely.  At 261.5 nautical miles over 48 hours, this was our longest offshore run yet.

In keeping with our make-it-up-as-we-go-along cruising style, we decided midway through the inlet that instead of a couple of days in the mooring field, we’d see about getting a slip for a week at Rivers Edge Marina.  A quick phone call to dock master Paul and we were in.  We had a great week (coincidentally my birthday week), catching up with friends and visiting some of our favorite spots. Mike even got some bonus points (I’m a bit more of a folk music fan than he) for joining me for a couple of days of the Gamble Rogers Music Festival where we enjoyed some great local and regional music under the live oaks of the Colonial Quarter.  What a great venue, and a bargain as well… Friday night through Sunday afternoon, several stages simultaneously for $15.

As usual, I enjoyed birding the shoals off of E-dock and saw a new-to-me bird, a Red-breasted Merganser.

Early light over the shrimp boat docks were another welcome and familiar sight.  This was the view from our galley window as I made coffee each morning.

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early light on the San Sebastian River, St Augustine, FL

Tempted as we often are to extend our time here, we managed to hold this stop to nine days.  We opted to stay inside/on the ICW for the next pretty stretch, and enjoyed a peaceful night on the Jacksonville Free City Dock near the Sister’s Creek Bridge.  With any luck, in the coming days we might just get our Cheshire north of Florida… for the first time in about 18 months.

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Cheshire on the dock, Jax Free City Dock near Sister’s Creek

 

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No surprise to longtime readers of this blog, St Augustine, FL is one of our favorite cruising destinations.  We’ve paused here for a while with every trip south, and again heading north.  When we decided we’d spend the summer in this old city, it gave us the opportunity to dig a little deeper, beyond the more popular tourist destinations, to explore a bit of the city’s lesser known history.

In previous posts, I’ve written bits and pieces of the history of St Augustine.  What hadn’t made my radar until this visit was the role that this city played in the Civil Rights Movement.  Beyond the history of the Native Americans, the Spanish and the British, we’ve had an opportunity to learn about what’s been called the St Augustine Movement, and to be introduced to some folks, some famous and some not so famous, who were active in that movement, and who by their brave actions, contributed to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

LS_20150805_075843_01Our curiosity was piqued by signs we’d seen scattered about, markers for the ACCORD Freedom Trail.  Our efforts to locate a trail map proved fruitless; apparently they’d exhausted their funding and none had been printed in quite some time;  too bad, as having these available at the Tourist Information Center and other sites around the city would be a wonderful thing.  Mike and I, along with my new BFF Dawn, set out on bikes one morning to check out some of the sights.  There’s an interesting audio tour via cell phone, and a very extensive website (see earlier link) that offered copious information.  Many of the locations of interest are located in Lincolnville.  Settled by freedmen shortly after the Civil War, the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Districts, though since its designation, many of the historic structures have been demolished in the name of development.  Years ago, Lincolnville was the black residential subdivision of St Augustine, and in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement, the home of more than a few political activists.  Today, it’s a funky old neighborhood with a lot of history that’s making a comeback.  It’s also home to one of our favorite new restaurants in  St Augustine, the Blue Hen Cafe.  The local Catholic Church also has a pretty good Blues and BBQ Fest each fall.

There is a lot of rehab and renovations going on in the neighborhood, as well as some structures that have been approved for teardown.  In many cases, the old and the renovated exist side by side.

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the old Excelsior School, Lincolnville

The old Excelsior School, the first all black high school in St Augustine, is now home of a recently opened African American History Museum.  At this point they have pretty limited hours, but we look forward to seeing what happens with this place in the years to come.  Rumor has it they’ll be home to what was a temporary exhibit (and later a documentary film) at the city’s Visitors Center some time ago, Journey 450.  There is certainly lots of potential.

 

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79 Bridge St, Linconville

The Freedom Trail sites are numerous, but I’ll mention of few of the more noteworthy.  The building at 79 Bridge St was the first medical/dental practice not to have a racially segregated waiting room.  Dr Robert B Hayling, a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, established a practice here;  he was also the head of the NAACP Youth Council in St Augustine, from which came the St Augustine Four.

In July of 1963, sixteen members of the Youth Council walked into the local Woolworth’s, sat at the white’s only counter and tried to order hamburgers.  Seven of the group were younger than 17 years old, legally  juveniles.  Upon their arrest, the judge demanded that their parents sign a statement that these young people would not demonstrate again until they were 21 years of age.  Several of the youth and their families, no doubt intimidated, agreed to these conditions.  Four youth and their families however, refused; these kids were sent to the state’s reform school where they remained for more than six months until action by the governor of Florida finally effected their release.  The Woolworth building remains, though the store itself is long gone.  Kudos to Wells Fargo who now occupies the space, for having rescued a section of the Woolworth counter, now on display in their St Augustine offices in the Woolworth building.

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 the Old Slave Market, St Augustine FL

A couple of weeks later, Mike and I joined a free-once-a-month Civil Rights and Black Heritage Walking Tour, which visited some of the Lincolnville sights, but some other historic spots around the city as well.  The Old Slave Market on the Plaza de la Constitution was of course one of the stops.  Apparently it’s been a variety of markets over the years, but the Slave Market name is the one that’s stuck.

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LS_20150815_184608One of the most interesting bits of history though was about a place that no longer exists.  The Monson Motor Lodge, now the Hilton Bayfront, was quite the busy place back in the day.  In June of 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested there when he attempted to enter the whites only dining room on location.  The steps where he stood are the only part of the motor lodge that remains.  While he was incarcerated, he reportedly wrote a letter to a rabbi friend asking for help.  One week later there was a mass arrest of rabbis from all over the country who had come to demonstrate  at the Monson.   This was also the site of the famous “swim-in” during which an integrated group of blacks and whites entered the Monson pool, only to have the owner pour acid into the pool to force them out;  the photographs of this event are said to be some of the most widely circulated photos of the Civil Rights Movement.  The following day, the Senate passed the Civil Rights Act which was signed into law a couple of weeks later.

 

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Check out this link for an excellent slideshow of 1964 civil rights protests in St Augustine.

It gives me pause to think about this “history” having taken place in my lifetime… and I’m saddened by the echoes of this very racism and hatred  in the news headlines of today.  Mostly though, I’m reminded that even ordinary people can make a difference in the world… if we simply make that choice.

 

 

 

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Having decided to summer in Florida this year, we knew we were in for some warmer weather.  In reality, it’s not been as bad as we feared.  True, temperatures soar during the day, into the upper 80’s to low 90’s with heat indices sometimes topping the century mark.  We can pretty much count on a chance of an afternoon thundershower every day… sometimes we get one, sometimes we don’t, but even if we do, they come and then they’re gone.  Evenings cool into the mid 70’s which is just lovely.  We’ll sometimes walk into town in the evening for dinner with friends, or a popsicle from the Hyppo.

We find that we keep a slightly different schedule than in previous summers.  We do “outdoor” boat projects early and late in the day and more often than not, hide out during the worst of the mid-day heat.  Sometimes we’ll catch a movie.  The local library just finished a Tuesday afternoon summer film series, “Based on the Book”,  free screenings with free popcorn.  We saw “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”, both very good films by the way.  We’ve also been reading up a storm in the midday hours.

We’ve also tend to cook/eat a little differently, careful not to heat up the boat any more than necessary.  I’ve been on a kick with chilled soups lately, followed by things off the grill.  Every little bit helps.

Even so, hot is hot.  When we decided to hang out here for a few months, we moved from the mooring field on the Matanzas River around to Rivers Edge Marina, on the San Sebastian River, our usual spot.  Our first task was to put up the sun shades that Mike made two summers ago, which go a long way towards keeping the boat cooler and as a bonus, allow us to keep the top hatches open in all but the most heavy rain.  The larger one, over the aft part of the boat, comes out only at dock.  The smaller shade over the forward section is easier to put up and roll up in place in the event of some unexpected wind; we sometimes put it up even at anchor or on a mooring if we’re going to be staying put for a while.  Last but not least, we have a mesh-fabric cockpit shade (navy blue in the photo).  Mike also made this, using the fabric they wrap greenhouses in.  It’s super light, and keeps the sun from beating into the cockpit (in our current case, the morning sun).  Hard core sailors may shake their heads at us, but living aboard full time, comfort is a top priority, and when we’re hanging out for a bit, a few minutes to deploy these sun shades makes a huge difference.

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Despite our minimalist tendencies, we enjoy air-conditioning.  It both keeps the crew more comfortable and keeps the humidity levels down so that things don’t get so funky.  Life on a boat is a constant battle with mold and mildew.  Some boats have AC built in, others figure out how to add a window or portable unit.  Others don’t have AC at all, but frankly, I’m not that die-hard.  We don’t use it often, but when we’re at dock during the dead of summer, but it makes all the difference.

The problem is we arrived in St Augustine without a functioning heater/air-conditioning system.  The unit original to the boat died last fall… it uses “green”/salt water for heating/cooling and started hemorrhaging said green water.  We had been using it in heater mode.  No problem.   It’s wasn’t that cold and we were headed south anyway, expecting to be away from marinas for a long stretch where we couldn’t use it anyway.  We shut it off, bumped it to next summer’s project list.  Fast forward to the Bahamas when we were anchored in West Bay waiting for Duncan’s arrival.  Turns out it was leaking even without use, most likely due to corrosion in the plumbing.  So we tore out the monster, left it in a dumpster on New Providence Island and enjoyed the extra storage space for a few months.

Fast forward again to June in north Florida, we had an easy time prioritizing our project/maintenance list.  It turns out that that was the only part that was easy.  Like most major boat projects, this one got a little complicated.  As is his habit, Mike did some thorough research, determined that replacing the old one (a Mermaid) with the current model was not an option… in fact we couldn’t figure out how they’d even installed the thing as we had to dismantle it to remove it.  It was also a noisy thing.  Enter Webasto.  They make a similar product, even better in some aspects, that we thought might come close to being a “plug and play”.  Mike ordered one, a 16,000 BTU unit from Defender (a major marine retailer), it arrived, we manhandled it onto the boat and began the installation.  Then things got interesting.  Turns out that both the electrical specs and the plumbing specs were incorrect in the manufacturer’s information; it needed a bigger breaker and larger hoses than had been indicated.  After several days of research and back-and-forth e-mails and phone calls with Webasto,  one of the techs suggested that what we really needed was a 12,000 BTU unit, which is slightly smaller but would still do the job.  Problem was we already had the original unit half installed, original packaging long gone.  After a few more conversations, it was decided that Defender would send a 12,000 BTU unit and a Webasto tech who happened to be in the area would come and collect the original unit and they’d figure out the math amongst themselves.  Awesome customer service!  The new one came, we used that packaging to bundle up the 16,000 BTU unit and after living on our helm seat for a few days, it eventually went away.

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So, the new unit fixed the electrical issue, but the plumbing issue remained.  (Insert technical explanation by Mike here…)  Suffice it to say that we now have cool air flowing about the cabin, which is good, but the water from condensation is currently flowing by hose into a 5-gallon bucket in the aft cabin that needs emptied daily.  Not good, but manageable in the short term.  We’ll make a more permanent fix (which will require adding a new thru hull) when we haul for some yard time later this month.  Next up… some ground tackle maintenance.

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One of the perks of spending the summer in St Augustine is getting to see the Fourth of July fireworks over Matanzas River.  Lucky us, a couple of our new cruising friends have a condo in the historic district with a rooftop patio overlooking the Bridge of Lions, the St Augustine Lighthouse and the Matanzas River.  What an awesome vantage point for the fireworks, and a great evening spent with friends.

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I was reminded recently that I’ve not written a blog post since our return to the States… leaving some of our readers to wonder if we were lost in the Bahamas, or worse, at the bottom of the Atlantic.  Facebook is too quick and easy and threatens to turn me into a lazy blogger.  Fear not, we’re alive and well, in St Augustine, FL.  Yes, Florida.  More on that in a minute.

After a fast and furious reconnaissance run through the Abacos, we departed Great Sale Cay (translate: middle-of-nowhere Abacos) for our return crossing on a Thursday morning and arrived at the dock at Ocean Club Marina in Port Canaveral almost exactly 26 hours later.  It was a bit of a brisk run, with both wind and waves a bit more than forecast, easily our most challenging offshore experience to date, and our first overnight sail.  (We’ve done a number of overnight passages, but always under power.)  It was comforting to share this wild ride with our cruising friends Dawn and Paul aboard s/v Bubu, our buddy boat, whom we kept in touch with via vhf through the day/night.  I continue to experiment with anti-seasickness remedies that don’t require taking pills, and my ear plug/sea bands/MotionEase/ginger in various forms tricks continue to be helpful.  I’ve come to expect that offshore in most any kind of rolly seas, I’ll be a bit queasy, but if I can manage to not end up hanging on the lifelines, I consider myself fortunate.  This trip, I was once again fortunate.

Having signed up for the US Customs and Border Protection Small Vessel Reporting System and Local Boater Option in advance, we were able to clear back into the country via phone call rather than having to visit a customs/immigration office in person.  That left us plenty of time to enjoy the marina facilities (hot showers with unlimited water, a nice pool, etc.), give Cheshire a much needed bubble bath and wander about a bit.  Together with Dawn and Paul, we made a return visit to Seafood Atlantic, a restaurant/seafood market we had visited a couple of years ago, and added another “favorite” to our list, Smokehouse, which has great BBQ and all kinds of smoked fish and dip.  Rested and relaxed, and racing the calendar for our get-out-of-Florida-for-hurricane-season June 1 deadline, we threw off the dock lines and spent the next couple of days making our way north.  We were relieved to find that we could still negotiate locks and bridges without difficulty (none of those in the Bahamas).  This stretch of the ICW did not disappoint, as there were manatee, dolphin, tons of osprey and a sprinkling of other wading birds out and about to welcome us home.  Photos below of one of my favorite bridges in the Daytona area, with beautiful tiled murals. (Thanks, Dawn, for the photos of Cheshire underway.)

On May 31, only a bit behind schedule, we arrived in St Augustine and decided to pick up a mooring and pause for a few days before heading on north.  I don’t recall exactly how it first came up, but suddenly the Captain was making noises about maybe staying on in Florida for the summer, alternative to our usual stay in North Carolina.  Those who know him will appreciate my confusion… is he serious or just joking, as about every other time we pause somewhere he suggests that “maybe we could just live here…”.  At some point I realized he in fact wasn’t joking.  Long story short, we decided to stay… or rather he convinced me… I think he’d already decided.  Although there will be things I miss about our summer “home” in Oriental, NC, there are also advantages to staying in St Augustine, among other things the opportunity to get an earlier jump on the Bahamas this fall, with a longer range plan to head north earlier in the spring to do some exploring up in the northeast, Long Island Sound and environs.

view from our back porch

view from our back porch

So, after a few days on a mooring with a nice view of the Bridge of Lions and the Spanish El Galeon, we moved around to Rivers Edge Marina.  (You know you’ve spent some time in a place when you’re on a first name basis with not only the dock master, but the cleaning/maintenance staff).   We’ll enjoy some of our favorite things about St Augustine, with some new adventures sprinkled in, and get started on our lengthy list of summer boat projects.  Priority #1, looking at a summer in Florida, was getting Cheshire’s air-conditioner installed; the previous one died last fall, end of season.  It was a PITA project, but the new one is in and operational, though will still need some tweaking of plumbing/possible thru hull upgrade when we haul out later this summer.  Oh, and there’s the insurance issue to sort out.  It’s complicated.

We’re determined to balance work and play, and so far, so good.  Friends Dawn and Paul introduced us to Ed and Beaux who are one of the options for carriage rides around this lovely city.  We were invited to see the stables and ride along with Ed one morning to Avenida Menendez on the waterfront where the carriages stage.  One day we might spring for the tour.  We also toured El Galeon where cruising friends Dan & Jaye have been volunteering since last fall; blog post to follow.  This impressive ship has since departed St Augustine, bound for the US northeast coast for the summer, but is scheduled to return in time for the the city’s 450th Anniversary Celebration in September.

This evening we’re off to check out a restaurant that’s been on our radar for some time… Catch 27.  A bit of a splurge to celebrate our anniversary… four years ago today we moved aboard our Cheshire to begin this great adventure down the rabbit hole.  There’s lots more of Wonderland to explore too… thanks for tagging along.

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I’ve realized that 2 of the 3 posts I wrote during our time in St Augustine were about the birds… first the mergansers, and later the birds of marker 33.  (The other post was of our farewell to Kiwi Spirit, who by the way is well into its/his solo circumnavigation, somewhere in South Atlantic as I type. Here’s wishing him continued fair winds in this second and final attempt.)  This seems hardly representative, so despite our having visited and blogged about this fair city numerous times,  I’d thought I’d hit the highlights of some of what we did this visit.

There are things that are a given when we visit St Augustine… pedaling to the Old City Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, visiting the shrimp boat docks on the San Sebastian, some provisioning at our favorite Asian market on the east coast, and during this time of year of course, the Night of Lights, where the city gets dressed up in all its holiday lights for a few months.

We also made a return visit to the annual British Night Watch;  see my post of a previous visit two years ago for details.

LS_20141108_152051 Dan N JayeNew-to-us this visit was the Pirate Gathering.  We donned our pirate garb and headed over to check it out.  Not many photos as there was threat of rain and I opted not to risk my good camera; besides, a fancy camera didn’t fit the look.  I did however manage to catch a couple of our cruising/pirate friends, Dan and Jaye, in the midst of a sword-fight.

Also new-to-us, though a St Augustine tradition, was the Christmas Regatta.  Hard to capture moving boats at night, but some of my photos turned out OK.

LS_20141202_173818On the food and beverage front, we of course made return visits to some of our favorite spots, and found a couple of new ones.  During my cousin’s visit, we toured and sampled at the newly opened St Augustine Distillery.  They’re making small batch spirits, including bourbon (currently in the aging process), making/sampling and selling vodka and gin, and rumor has it, when some of the bourbon barrels are freed up, they may take a stab at rum.  I especially love that they’re using Florida ingredients (sugar cane among others) and even more that they’ve repurposed the historic Ice Plant for their facility.  More on their story here.  (Again, the threat of rain had me with only my i-phone, so not much for photos.)

Also this stop we were able to reconnect with some cruising friends we’ve met in recent years, and make some new ones as well.  There’s a very active  St Augustine Cruisers Net and we hit most all of the events they sponsored during our visit.  We’re looking forward to crossing paths again along the way.  Photos credit: Lisa and Michelle.

Finally, as always, there were boat projects, a couple of big ones and several smaller.  The big one, and the reason for our delayed departure, was an upgrade to the fuel filtration system; we now have a dual Racor filter system that lets us drain fuel filters from the cockpit while underway, which is awesome as the situation that generally has us needing to drain said filters is when we’re getting tossed in rough seas and/or rude boat wakes, which is not generally a good time to be shutting one’s engine down.  Mike also replaced the cabin heater which had recently died.  A messy, multi-day project had us stripping/refinishing a bit more of our inside teak, installing louvered vents on a couple of doors and making new inside window coverings (with the Phifertex fabric left over from the windshield and hatch covers projects we did in Oriental this past summer).

All in all, a good balance of work and play.  Then it got cold.  Time to get moving.

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