"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 31, 2011

May 30 - St. Augustine, FL

Day 85 - Concert in the Park
Anchorage Inn & Marina

We sat on the fly bridge this morning enjoying our coffee and watching the boats come and go. The ones that couldn't fit under the bridge would have to circle around until it opened. They open the bridge every thirty minutes...on the hour and half hour. Our first outing today was Stewart's Market to pick up a few more things before we leave tomorrow. Then we walked across the bridge for lunch at Harry's Seafood Bar & Grill.  It was very good, Stan had an oyster po-boy and I had shrimp tacos. The weather was wonderful so we sat in the courtyard. Our final stop was a concert in the park. We took our blanket and relaxed on the grass as we listened to jazz music. It was a very relaxing afternoon. Since it was Memorial Day we grilled hot dogs for dinner. It felt like an all American day to us.

Stewart's Market
 This little bird thought he owned the pier...he would chase all the other birds away
 Bridge of Lions is 25 feet tall and has to open for taller boats
 Bridge of Lions opened
 Looking towards Flagler College
St. George Street was the main street in St. Augustine's early days, and today the thoroughfare is still considered the heart of the city. Full of restaurants, shops, galleries and historic buildings.
One of the little side streets in St. Augustine
 Memorial Day Jazz concert in the park
 Anchorage Inn & Marina (taken from the bridge)

May 30, 2011

May 29 - St. Augustine, FL

Day 84 - Fountain of Youth
Anchorage Inn & Marina

We went to the Fountain of Youth Park this morning...a little touristy, okay...a lot touristy, but it is were the history of colonization in America began in 1513. It's a good place for us to start our American history lesson since we will be traveling up the east coast this summer to many other historical places. We did get to drink from the fountain of youth...so no more worries about getting old. We stopped at Fort Castillo de San Marcos on the way back. It is the oldest masonry fortification in the United States built in 1672. It was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. Though caught in the whirlwinds of colonial warfare and intrigue, it was never defeated in battle. Its scarred walls still stand witness to over 330 years of history and culture. The rest of the day we spent on the boat…catching up on things.
 Part of the grounds at the Fountain of Youth Park
 Indian village demonstration at the park
 The Fountain of Youth
 Cannon firing near the site where Ponce de Leon first landed
 City Gates of St. Augustine
 Fort Castillo de San Marcos

May 29, 2011

May 28 – St. Augustine, FL

Day 83 – Busy Day Exploring
Anchorage Inn & Marina

Our first stop today was the St. Augustine Lighthouse. There has been a lighthouse in St. Augustine since 1824, but during the late 1800’s it was replaced several times until the present one was commissioned in 1874. The original watch tower was Florida’s first lighthouse. The present lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps. At the top, a first order Fresnel lens serves the beacon. Fresnel lenses were originally divided into six sizes. The one in this lighthouse is the largest and has three bulls-eyes, which are approximately nine feet tall. Its beam can be seen nineteen to twenty-five nautical miles. The St. Augustine lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter. One interesting thing we learned today is that all lighthouses have unique distinguishing features and no two are exactly alike. The daymark of a lighthouse is its colors, and they never change. The timing of a lighthouse’s flashing signal at night has a signature or pattern of light called a nightmark. This varies from one lighthouse to another, enabling mariners to identify the source of the light.

Our next stop was at Stewart’s Market to do a little shopping. It was the only grocery store close to the boat and I wasn’t expecting much. It was very small, but had wonderful meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. It was a true find…the meats were fresh and very reasonable priced.

After lunch we walked back across the bridge to do a little more exploring. I think we must have walked down every street in the historic downtown area. Every building seems to have some kind of history…very interesting. We walked through the Memorial Presbyterian Church. It was an amazing site. It was built by Henry Flagler and construction of the church was completed in less than a year so it could be dedicated on the first anniversary of his daughter’s death in March 1890. Flagler was very influential in the development of the east coast of Florida…his name is on everything.

We spent a quiet evening on the boat…enjoying a great meal of fresh seafood and vegetables from Stewart’s Market.

St. Augustine Lighthouse
 One of the views from the top
 Lens of the lighthouse
 Looking up at the center of the lighthouse with the 219 stairs spiraling up
 Flagler College...Flagler originally built this as the Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1888
 The British Pub...one of the neat old homes in town
 Memorial Presbyterian Church
 Memorial Presbyterian Church
 Some of the stain glass windows in the church
The dome rises 100 feet and encompasses several religious symbols. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are symbolized, as are the crown of thorns, the Trinity and the Hebrew written letters for God (Yaweh)
 At the base of Bridge of Lions

May 28, 2011

May 27 - St. Augustine, FL

Day 82 - Oldest Town in America
Anchorage Inn & Marina
This area of Florida is known as the Palm Coast...for good reason; there are forests of palm trees everywhere. We continued to see lots of dolphins and even a few manatees today. We've seen more dolphins the past few days than we have in the last two months in the rest of Florida. We are staying at Anchorage Inn & Marina right over the bridge from the historic section of St. Augustine.  We wanted to stay at the municipal marina right in the heart of town, but they were full since it’s a holiday weekend. It's only a five minute walk across the bridge so it isn't bad. The docks are very nice, but I wouldn’t want to stay at the motel. I think this marina is used mostly by locals and they are very nice.

We wondered over and walked through some of the old town area. It looks very quaint, you feel like you're in a city in Europe somewhere. We are going to have fun exploring here. The weather was a little threatening so we stopped for a beer and snack at A1A Ale Works. We also did a wine tasting at Vino Del Grotto Winery; it was fun and interesting they were featuring wines from Bulgaria and Austria this evening. More exploring and pictures tomorrow.

The tide fluctuates about four feet here...so people have long piers. They look a little weird during low tide.
 Our view this weekend...Bridge of Lions
 Oldest Wooden School House in America
 Sunset view of the bridge

May 27, 2011

May 26 - Daytona Beach, FL

Day 81 - Manatee Spottings
Halifax River - Anchorage

We were greeted this morning by dolphins and one manatee. The manatee came close to the boat while Stan raised the anchor. Stan uses a hose to rinse the anchor off as he brings it up, manatees like fresh water so he came over to check it out. He didn't stay long once he figured out it was salt water...but we enjoyed the brief visit.

We had a long day, a lot of it was through a more rural area with small fish camps. One pass we went through was full of manatees. We weren't close enough to take good photos but it was fun to see them. We are anchored out in Daytona Beach, but it was too windy and rough to take the dinghy ashore. We spent the evening looking ahead at marinas, we want to leave the boat somewhere the middle of June and go home for a visit.

Our morning visitor
 There were at least five or six manatees in this area playing.  So cool.
 Ponce de Leon Lighthouse - The ICW doesn't get us very close to lighthouse...unfortunately.
 International Speedway Bridge in Daytona Beach. Every piling has a tile mural of dolphins and manatees.
 We have traveled 2005 miles since we left Port Lavaca on March 7

May 26, 2011

May 25 - Cocoa, FL

Day 80 – Took Our Dinghy to Town
Indian River - Anchorage

We continued to travel through the Indian River today. It's wide and looks more like a lake to me. People were out skiing and jet skiing...summer is close. We anchored out in Cocoa; it is near Cape Canaveral and was the setting for 'I Dream of Jeannie'. This was our first time to anchor out and dinghy to town. We have left the boat while anchored, but we've always been with in site of it. Cocoa has a dinghy dock near their historic downtown area, so we left the dinghy there and walked around town. Stan had to take a look at the S.F. Travis Hardware store...it's been in business since 1885. They advertise they have every thing you need. Reminded us a lot of Melcher's Hardware, and they truly had a little of everything. We wondered through a few of the other stores and then had an early dinner at a little sidewalk cafe. Our anchorage tonight is right by a bridge, so it won't be as quiet and peaceful as last night, but it will do. We are planning on spending the holiday weekend in St. Augustine, so we have a couple of long days ahead of us.

S.F. Travis Hardware
 Historic Cocoa Village
We had company while we ate dinner

May 25, 2011

May 24 - Indian River Shores, FL

Day 79 - Back to Nature
Indian River - Anchorage

As we left Palm Beach we went by several mega yacht marinas...made our neighbors last night look small. We could see their crews busy polishing and cleaning. We joked we had a crew too, chef, captain, deck hands, cabin boy (girl)...they just happen to be the owners too! Who needs all that company? We saw beautiful homes today too, but as we traveled they began to get back to a realistic size. There were still huge homes but not lined up one after the other. We began to see areas that were undeveloped...back to nature. We also started seeing more birds and dolphins. We even saw a manta ray jump out of the water and we think we saw a manatee. We anchored off the ICW in a quiet cove full of dolphins and birds. We had a wonderful day on the water...great temperature, beautiful scenery, little boat traffic and good company. It just doesn't get much better.

Mega Yacht Marina
 Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
 This is just the boat house...can you imagine how large the main house is?
 This is what the shoreline looked like today.
 Our anchorage

May 24, 2011

May 23 - Palm Beach, FL

Day 78 - Big Boats & Bigger Houses
Palm Beach Town Dock

We continued our travels through the very affluent area of Florida known as the Gold Coast today. This area includes the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale as well as West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and Hollywood. The name Gold Coast comes from the coins that occasionally wash up on the shore in the area. This is due to a large number of Spanish Galleons that sank off the coast. However, the term is also used to indicate the fabulous wealth that has accrued in the area, especially near the coast east of U.S. 1 or, some would say, the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s unbelievable how many magnificent homes there are one after another, mile after mile. We traveled almost fifty miles today and it looked like we were driving down a residential street, with beautiful homes on both sides. There were also canals going off the ICW that had even more homes. No industry here, just amazing homes and yachts. We had 21 bridges today...only had to have three opened and we didn't have to wait long for any of them.

We are at the Palm Beach Town Dock which is at the end of Worth Avenue. Worth Avenue is Florida's version of Rodeo Drive, fun to window shop, but didn't buy anything. We walked along the beach and then had dinner at Pizza Alfresco. We are definitely the smallest boat in the marina. The majority of the large yachts we saw today are registered under the Cayman Islands flag; I guess they save on paying taxes that way.

This is what our view looked liked today...mile after mile after mile of beautiful homes
 Just a few of the nice homes
 Worth Avenue in Palm Beach
 Palm Beach
 Palm Beach Town Dock...can you find The Pearl?
 Don't we look small? It was low tide when I took the picture, which makes us look even smaller!