After a couple of weeks of hot, steamy weather we were past due for a couple days of sailing. It is the 4th of July (the birthday of US independence) weekend and I put Annie in at the Lighthouse Park ramp. I live about a mile NW at the top of Anastasia Island.
I sailed out Salt Run, past the inlet and up North River. Terry checked in and said he and our friend Philip were heading out from downtown in his ODay Mariner. I sailed back south and waited inside the inlet.
St. Augustine Inlet is due a good dredging. Sand has filled in the north side narrowing the flow in and out. The wind was from the east onshore and the tide was streaming out at full ebb. The opposition created a ferocious chop. A larger sailboat running ahead of me peeled off and headed back in. Once we made the last breakers we bore off and found ourselves in a nice calm swell. Philip jumped on Annie and we continued down to St. Augustine Beach near the pier. Philip's daughter's graduation party was in a few hours so we tacked and headed back. The water was blue and the breeze about 10 knots. Terry left us in his lighter and faster Quest. We ran in the inlet with the tide and made our way through the marsh to Philip's house downtown. The party was a lot of fun and we took friends out for an early evening sail.
|Off St. Augustine Beach
Around 9:30 I motored over and anchored beside the Castillo de San Marcos. The fort was quite magical at night.
In the early morning (Sunday the 3rd) I awoke and set out south through the Bridge of Lions passing along the city's bayfront. St. Augustine, besides being the oldest continuously-occupied European settlement in the US, is arguably one of the nation's prettiest towns. With the Spanish, British Colonial, and Mediterranean Revival architecture and semi-tropical landscape, its beauty is hard to take for granted. Even if you have lived here for most of the past 30 years.
|British-period St. Francis Barracks
The Bridge of Lions reopened last year after a complete restoration that took several years to complete. It was listed on the National Trust's Most Endangered list and through grassroots efforts was saved from being replaced by a larger, modern alternative.
Sailing south I entered the mouth of the San Sebastian River that runs along the west side of the historic downtown area. Passing the shrimp docks we slowly motored up the winding river in the early morning calm.
|Apple Jack, one of the last wooden shrimpers on the San Sebastian
Hundreds of boats of every description dock along the river. I particularly like the more eccentric.
|Steel meets salt
|Beatin' the heat
I meandered around for another hour or so and headed back north. The east breeze returned and after passing the bayfront, the inlet and tacking south along Salt Run I anchored off a protected sandy beach for a swim and a nap in the cockpit. Decided to take out at the ramp and after waiting my turn with the holiday crowd I headed home. 33 miles by Google maps... I left the GPS at home. Happy 4th of July.
|St. Augustine, Florida