Sunday, March 30, 2008

4/01/08 More St Augustine Travel


This crowd is lined up on the sidewalk and river banks of Titusville, Florida, waiting for the space shuttle launch across the river. Our blanket is on the river bank and we claimed our vantage point about 6:00pm. Then with everyone else, we watched the sun set and the sky turn black. We brought snacks along but were excited when someone came by selling hot, fresh pizza. We were also thankful for fresh hot coffee from McDonald's about a block a way and of course their facilities as we waited for 2:30 am. Someone had their computer hooked up and the excitement grew as the final countdown began.

Goosebumps all around and then it was as if the sun were coming up again.

Lots of cheers and applause
and the space shuttle rose into the sky

In seconds it disappeared into the clouds,which glowed for several moments and then it was over.


A great roar hit us and we heard and felt the power of the launch all over again.
It was quite amazing. We had been so engrossed by the launch that we had not realized that it was silent! The launch pad was about 10 miles across the river so it took some seconds for it to reach us and catch us by surprise. Everyone stood awe struck for a few moments and then began to wander back to their cars. We took a nap in ours, had breakfast at McDonalds, and drove back to Hakuna Matata and St. Augustine with endless chatter about what we had seen.

Did you know that a car can go 70mph instead of the 7mph that Hakuna Matata does?
That's 2 hours by car or 3 days by boat.
Actually a little scarey at first. But we adjusted and took advantage of having the car.

A ride down South A1A took us to places out of reach by foot or little yellow bus.
If you look across the water in the distance you will see a small stone building, that's Fort Matanzas.

On this side of the river is a park with great old trees

nature trails
a gift shop with a short history film, and a ferry to take you across to Ft Matanzas.

St Augustine was protected by Castillo de San Marcos the very large fort on The Matanzas River. However, Matanzas Inlet allowed access by which enemy vessels could attack the town from the rear.
This small outpost built of coquina, a local shellstone, in 1742 had 5 guns that could reach the inlet that only fired once upon the enemy. It was evident it could easily protect the inlet.
Four infantrymen and two gunners rotated from St. Augustine for a one-month tour of duty.
Given the general living conditions at that time this little fort was considered easy duty with comfortable accommodations.

From the fort we could see fishermen in the river. This group are having fish tonight.

That's ok we have our own fish back at Oyster Creek!!
Cross the highway from Ft Matanzas Park and there is a beautiful, white sandy beach.
We took the car for a ride North on US1 to explore more areas out of walking distance and found there seems to always be a beach a stones throw away. How nice for us.

We enjoy the Floridian style homes many of
which we guess were built in the 50's/60's. Ovida is from Ft. Pierce and lived in a similar home. Her father was a contractor/mason in Florida about that time so there's always a chance one of these was built by him.

Dolphins still suddenly appear.

Some homes have a unique style.

Then there's some a little more than unique.
A sign told us this was Castle Ottis.
Another sign said to think twice before trespassing, so we did, and didn't.

We have found several very nice parks in the St Augustine area designed with children in mind.
This one has a beautiful carousel.
We enjoyed our car cruise.

The car gets returned
Bob gets creative with how to raise the engine for new motor mounts.
In the process the boat is a little bit trashed!

Ovida's not needed for this project so off to wander and just smell the flowers.

There's a park in the center of St. Augustine. Seems it was a requirement at the time St. Augustine was established. Similar to the New England town greens.
If you are ever in St Augustine, I'd suggest taking the trolley tour. You get to see the main attractions in town with a little history thrown in in an hour or so. Then you can ride for 3 days getting on and off at any of the stops. This trolley is stopped at the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling in Florida. Site occupied since the 1600's with the present house dating to the early 1700's.

Many of the early homes did not have doors onto the street. They had walls with an entrance to the garden and then to the house. This provided additional security. The walls are seen throughout the city.

There's an Easter basket on this doorstep.

At some point during the tour you might find yourself behind the bars of the Old St Johns County Jail with a promise of the gallows tomorrow.

The tallest gentleman in the old photograph with his cowboy hat on is the sheriff. There is no doubt that his stature demanded respect.

If you continue walking past the St. Francis barracks you'll find this historical cemetery.
With the carriages going by one would think they had stepped back in history.We walked across what looked like a park with lots of green grass and then sat on the seawall and took this great picture with all the birds at low tide scurrying about. They are very small and at the waters edge.
If you are in St Augustine, don't walk on that grass. It's not a park, or so the security guard for the military housing told us, it's their front yard and off limits. Ooops, the signs had been removed to mow the grass and weren't put back.

Meanwhile Bob is working on a plan to keep those motor mounts firmly attached.

The cats have no plan at all
Except for little Callie who plans to catch that tail.

There's always activity in St. Augustine.
The weekend brings another Festival.

There's new activity around the boat as Bob and a diver make a few minor adjustments.
Things are looking very good for Hakuna Matata's repairs but it's not what's keeping us here any longer.
We're staying because it's a great place to be till time to return North.

Except Hakuna Matata.
She is staying dockside on the San Sebastian River with a few boat friends a little longer.We'll make a couple of short runs to test the repairs and head North come May.
Until then...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2/10/08 Touring St. Augustine

Where in the world is Hakuna Matata ?

Last we saw she was being towed under the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine, FL.

She's tucked in between two boat friends at Oyster Creek Marina in St. Augustine, Florida working out repairs. That's a story all in itself. But it's a great place to be.

The view off our transom is interesting and wonderfully entertaining. We're looking at a marina off our stern so we get to watch marina activity, channel traffic and to the right US1 road traffic. All that activity can be interesting.

The most interesting is the bird activity. You must click and enlarge these pictures to see the variety of birds we get. The Alligator Farm is not too far from us and that's where many of these birds come from. They like to muck it up at low tide. I have so many bird pictures to share that I'll create a listing just for them for those that might be intereste

There's a well known restaurant located right at our marina, called Hurricane Patty's.

After our long day we decided to eat there, wandered in and were lucky to find a little table to sit at. During conversation with the couple next to us from Tenn, Connie & Bill, we mentioned we had boat problems and had been towed in. Bill said "Oh were you being towed by a red boat? Because we were held up crossing the bridge because it had to stay open. We got out to see what the problem was and a yellow sailboat was being towed by a red boat. We thought... 'What an idiot!' That was you??" A funny coincidence that made for a fun evening. Who would have thought we would be sitting next to eyewitnesses to our embarrassment. That's what we get for having a yellow boat, people remember us.

There's a little yellow bus that runs right by our yellow boat.
How nice.

We took a ride .50 each to walking distance of a beach.

The beach size depends on the state of the tide.

We were lucky, lots of beach area being enjoyed by bikers

Dog walkers

friendly dogs
and tired relaxers.

but no one playing volleyball....guess it's not summer yet??

Historic St. Augustine was about a 20 minute walk from the marina.
There is always something to do or see there.
The 12 frogs represent the months of the year and the 4 turtles the seasons

The student dining room ceiling is elegantly painted and has the largest collection of Tiffany windows ($$$). Not your usual school cafe. You are allowed to venture in and we found one of the original chairs from when it was the Ponce deLeon Hotel, so of course we had to sit.

Across the street is the Lightner Museum which was once
the Alcazar Hotel that provided entertainment for the many visitors to St. Augustine.
Interesting reading - Henry Flagler.
also look up

We had lunch in the restaurant that is actually the bottom of a giant pool - the deep end.
During lunch we read about the pool activities including exhibitions with trapeze acts.
Yes, lunch was very good.

One Sunday many of the churches opened their doors in the afternoon for tours.

There's a lot of history and beautiful stained glass, many by Tiffany in these old churches.

I can't help but wonder how Tiffany created all the windows
and art objects that are in this town?

This colorful building is right next door
Villa Zorayda - Architectural reproduction of the Alhambra castle of Spain.

Ximenez-Fatio museum is a historic boarding house from 1797.

Of course there are present day bed and breakfast homes to stay in.

There's lots of shopping to be done and shoppers to do it.
Bob's in the background....looking for Ovida who keeps ducking in stores.
How come she never moves this fast any other time?

Many of the streets are paved with old bricks.

follow the brick road to more shopping, bright shops, gardens and music around every corner.

There's actually car traffic on some of these narrow street
s and parking!!

Now this is the size car that works good on those streets.
They can be rented. Looks like fun...or are they praying?

There's marinas and anchorages along the waterfront that you can see from Highway A1A.

There's also a great place to eat called A1A where you can
try local brews.
Walk the distance from our boat and we were likely to stop by.

The fort, Castillo De San Marcos,
one of the landmarks that comes to mind when you think St. Augustine.

Just a short walk from there is a park
where a Festival is frequently in progress.
Crafts, Entertainment, and Food
This one has a few pirates wandering around.

We crossed over The Bridge of Lions to Conch House for Happy Hour Entertainment, and Happy Fishermen cleaning their catch of the day

but not so Happy looking fish.

There's also lots of activity dockside at Oyster Creek Marina

Friends gather
in and around Hakuna Matatato to swap sailing tales

We seem to be the only boater with cats.

But there are many seafaring dogs,

Some new to the game and just getting acquainted

This little pooch isn't a boater, he's a biker.

It's Bike Week from St. Augustine to Daytona
the streets are filled with bikes.

Bikers and Boaters - all waiting to eat at Harry's.
Different travel choices but same food tastes.

With the assistance of a diver, Bob has put the new propeller shaft and coupling in; only to discover that the engine needs to be aligned and has a broken motor mount! As if that isn't enough to keep him busy the outboard motor on the dinghy stops!!


Time for a change....

We've rented a car for a short trip to see the shuttle launch. Planned to be there by boat but plans change. Have we said that before?