Oct: 30-31: NO SEASICKNESS!!! Ocean to St. Augustine
We are off again to the ocean, this time stocked up on seasick meds! Of course I didn't take them right away since the waves weren't too bad. I held out just a bit too long, putting me in bed waiting for meds kick in.
When I woke Andrew had all of the sails out and the boat flying through the water healed over (the boat was sideways.) Although I was no longer sick, my body still felt terrible and exhausted. Walking and stumbling sideways was not manageable and I quickly went from my bed to curling up on the couch. The fails brought me to tears and wondering how far a person should go to support your blissful spouse and their dream. When you're miserable, it is easy to forget the times when your spouse has gone head-long in support of your dream.
A bit more rest and a mental reset later, Andrew and I came to a compromise to make the voyage reasonable. Finally, even in wavy waters, I was now able to clean, cook, prep and work on projects . . . perfect for my 'goal achieving' personality.
Andrew was also finding a new stride now that I could help out more. He was able to do more maintenance projects on the go, read, get more rest, and even pull out our guitar, working on his goal to learning to play guitar. We were back to our 4 hour watch shifts during the day and 2 hour night shifts. Fabulous!
The ocean always delivers engaging surprises to keep us awake on our shifts. Awe-inspiring wildlife sightings, moonlit waves sparkling in the night, and the most magnificent sunsets and sunrises.
Our unique experiences this voyage added the extra 'Stay awake!' spark needed to get through the night. For the first time a cargo ship cut right in front of us (handled without issue). Normally they are too far off to identify but we got a clear shot of the nasty ship Yang Ming.
On my midnight shift a ghost ship kept showing up and disappearing on our nav. When it would appear it also indicated that it was coming right toward us. Normally we see at least a light ahead of us confirming a ship is there but this time there was nothing. Thankfully based on where it kept appearing it seemed to be just far enough away that it would pass us. Needless to say I was wide awake, watching for anything that might show up suddenly.
As the object grew closer the boat icon stayed on consistently, thankfully still indicating that it should pass us safely. My eyes were pealed trying to catch a glimpse of this thing to ensure we were in fact safe when something began making its way into the moonlight.
I could barely make out the shape, not a ship but something that looked more like an 'A' shape with a crane like diving board jetting out near the top. Eyes focused, I watched it pass like a nether worldly ship that shouldn't be floating. Suddenly the icon on our nav system changed from a ship icon to a buoy icon indicating that it is a naval tower, one of 8 along the coast. Whew! Potential emergency averted and ghost ship identified.
Not long before noon we arrived at St. Augustine Inlet. The first thing to greet us was a very visible large cross. Made of 70 tons of stainless steel plates, the cross was erected in 1966 on the 400th anniversary of a momentous day. The cross marks the spot where Christianity (Catholicism), first arrived in America. Here Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed, proclaimed this site for Spain, knelt and kissed a wooden cross presented by the chaplain of his expedition. Which means that Christianity arrived in America over a half-century before the Pilgrims even touched their toes to Plymouth Rock. Who knew!
As we battled the outgoing tides the lighthouse welcomed us from shore. Each lighthouse along coasts around the world are painted differently. This is intentional. That way if sailors get lost, they can identify where they are on charts based on the style of the lighthouse. This one has a red top with a clockwise black swirl indicating St. Augustine.
On our approach we caught glimpses of homes devastated by recent hurricanes, while others seemed untouched. From small homes, to apartments, seaside estates, and even marinas, these properties were battered by the storms.
After waiting patiently for the bridge to raise for us, we finally arrived in St Augustine City Marina, located in the historic/tourist area of the city. This would be our first time using a mooring ball instead of a slip at the marina (another learning experience for me.) As we pulled up to the floating ball my job was to hook a rope attached to the ball, slip our ship's rope through the reinforced hole at the end, and then secure both ends of our rope on a cleat at the front of the boat. I then quickly did the same with a second of our ship's ropes on the other side. Mooring done successfully!
Stunning homes, historic buildings and other boats surrounded us in this sheltered area on the Matanzas river. It was so lovely that we just had to jump into our tender and head to shore to explore after we were securely in place.
We first stopped to check in at the marina office. An old-world dinner cruise boat and pirate ship greeted us. As Andrew checked in I captured video of dolphin families swimming and playing near the bridge (posted to facebook.)
O. C. Whites outdoor dinner patio beckoned with a fantastic canopy of vines. What a stunning place with food that hit the spot. Fresh ahi tuna topped with crab and seafood sauce for me and crab cakes for Andrew. Our server was dressed as a mermaid while other staff whisked by dressed in costumes from Beetlejuice and famous fairy tales?!?! It was Halloween night, a detail that had slipped past us in the midst of our ocean adventures.
Needless to say my feet were happy to be on solid ground so we decided to explore a bit. Buildings are ornate, decorated with wrought iron accents and historic Spanish influences. Art galleries line the central plaza and Old Town District. In the plaza locals and tourist gather on park benches and in gazebos.
After a short explore and a little more marveling at the Spanish inspired architecture we headed back toward our tender at the marina. Nearby sits the first mini-golf course built in Florida (we will have to play before we leave!) We boarded our tender and headed back to our boat as the bridge opened for other sailboats arriving, ready to settle in. Among them were some sailors we had met in Charleston.
Since we are at a mooring ball there is no access to electricity or water. This is where our water storage capacity and generator come in handy. We should have more than enough water for our stay here and at the next marina. To get electricity we run the generator for about two hours each day. This charges the batteries enough to run our fridge and freezer for 24 hrs, as well as any devices or the TV for the evening which is nice. For lighting we use as much solar powered light as possible but we can also use interior lighting as needed.
The Halloween parties ran late into the evening as we curled up to watch a movie for the evening. It was nice to not be completely exhausted after an ocean voyage for a change. Tomorrow we will explore more of this very interesting town and hopefully find a few more of needed supplies before arriving in Bahamas.
We are now in Florida so only one or two more stops before we cross to the Bahama islands where scuba diving and turquoise waters await! Amazing!