March 13, 2010
We’re on the move again and are safely docked in Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville. We spent three days in St. Augustine which really is a nice city to be stuck in, but yesterday was heavy rain and wind most of the day so we stayed hunkered down in the boat. As with most boats, we have a few minor leaks, especially with all this rain. We heard that 4 inches of rain fell which is the normal total for the whole month of March. I had walked up to the hotel pastry store in the morning and purchased two giant muffins and a cinnamon roll. When I got back to the boat I found they had shorted me the cinnamon roll, and I would have gone back to claim it, but the rain had set in, and it wasn’t worth it. We read and surfed on the internet for most of the day – not much else to do. Finally, around 5:00 the rains slacked off to off and on drizzle, so we got nice showers, had a few libations and went to Harry’s for dinner, which was quite good.
We’d been studying the weather, and the forecast didn’t look that great, but it also looked as though the majority of the showers would be south of Jacksonville, our next destination. We decided if the forecast hadn’t changed in the morning we’d go for it, so we set the alarm for an early hour and turned in after watching the latest Survivor episode.
Today dawned gray and dreary and foggy. The forecast still seemed acceptable, though the rain line was perilously close to Jacksonville. We decided to go for it, as we were ready to be home (as if you hadn’t noticed). The first obstacle was the Bridge of Lions where only one draw opened (in addition to the lift bridge). The sports fisherman who was supposed to go through the bridge ahead of us was hesitating because of a barge on the eastern side where the only span was open. The bridge tender called for us to go through ahead of him. We cautiously made our way through the opening and it wasn’t as close as we’d feared. Then the sports fisherman decided he could make it, too, after watching us. A sailboat on the north side of the bridge approached the opening. We waved and after a shout-out from them that it was a close passage and a return call from me on the bow that they could definitely make it, Bill took the radio call from the sailboat Celebration. Aboard was a friend, Greg, from the Oconee Sailing and Yacht Club. They were on their way to the Bahamas. As a friend once said, the world is only as wide as the waterway. We wish them safe passage and a much warmer journey than we’ve had.
As an aside, Bill tells me that the Bridge of Lions renovation cost $100 million instead of $5. Our tax dollars at work for a bridge that will continue to impede boaters traversing the ICW. But, it will still look like the old bridge! I guess it depends on what is important to you and evidently the good people of St. Augustine felt the bridge restoration was important.
After we made it safely through the inlet, the rains began. After getting the fenders in and coiling the dock lines, I was pretty soggy, so I headed below and left Bill to navigate the waterway only briefly taking the helm to let him don all his foul weather gear. During the passage I did manage to finish book #13, a weird James Patterson novel You’ve Been Warned, which I don’t recommend, and started on #14. At one point we heard a boat calling the Coast Guard to report “shoaling.” Seems the boat had grounded the day before in the Matanzas inlet even though it was inside the markers. Hope the Coast Guard will move those green cans to a more acceptable location, but if not, anyone reading this should definitely favor those red markers and stay away from the green. In spite of bucking the tide most of the way, we arrived pretty early at Palm Cove Marina. After a successful dockage and hot showers, I made spaghetti for dinner and we’re about ready for the V-berth.
Sorry I don’t have any more pictures, but you’ve probably seen enough of us in our yellow slickers and the gray, dull day didn’t lend itself to any interesting photos. My video of the sailboat race, although it uploaded, wasn’t viewable. We hope to leave tomorrow for Fernandina with Hilton Head in our distant sights.