April 13-16, 2019
3 nights in my favorite town!
We left New Symrna Beach nice and early for one of our longest travel days yet to St. Augustine. I was beyond excited to arrive here by boat. We had stopped here last May after going to the Looper Rendezvous in Norfolk. This was the moment for me to decide if I was “In or Out” to do this crazy trip called The Great Loop. I needed to meet other “loopers” and see what this was all about. I remember one afternoon after a bunch of lectures, thinking how much fun this sounded. How it sounded like an experience of a lifetime. Different then a motor home trip where you can just pull over, this was going to take some planing and intelligence to figure out the waterways and tides, currents and navigation. I felt it was exactly the intellectual stimulation my husband needed. He was not that intellectually stimulated in his job and this seemed a great way to travel but would be very challenging. I said “I’m in!” Of course I’ve had tons of anxiety and fear because it isn’t like just getting in your car and taking off. This has taken TONS of planning. We decided to go “ALL IN” and sell everything, move onto the boat and call it home for awhile. We met lots of loopers that did just that, and they encouraged us. It’s been so freeing AND scary as hell. I am learning to trust my captain. I am learning how to go with the flow. I am learning how to “let go!” It is really hard. Everyday is new. I never know what’s next until we sit and plot/plan our next move. We get to a marina and we get comfortable. I LOVE marina life. When we get somewhere I never want to leave. I get comfortable. The nights before our planned departure I get a bit of anxiety. I am hoping as we continue, this goes away. All of our travel days have been wonderful. We have seen so much wildlife, beautiful homes, fellow boaters. It is wonderful. That fear of the unknown is exactly why we are doing this trip.
St Augustine is the coolest place. We are leaving tomorrow but I could stay another week. Me and the Captain have to agree. He said lets go, so we go! I am letting him take the charge. I am hoping he can slow down a bit as we go. It’s a bit like, take a step, drag Cindy. Andys perfect day usually involves 4 activities. He wants to do it all. The man had 2 knee replacements and can still outride anyone I know. I am working on building calluses on my butt as I am riding my bike more then I ever now. It is our main form of transportation, other then Uber. Today we rode to the lighthouse and beach. More then 10 miles!!
We walked the historic town of St. Agustine. We ate at Harrys for the best grits I have ever had in my entire life (picture below). We really enjoyed the city marina. It was really busy place with lots of activity. The marina was in downtown and was not gated so people walked the docks to see the boats. Lots of people stopped to chat. Lots of fellow loopers stopped here, everyone is friendly and it’s fun to discuss everyone’s routes, stops, towns, tides, navigation. Chatting with people about their life stories is really fun for me. I find it fascinating to ask what brought everyone to this point. What they did in their lives and where they are from. We are definitely some of the youngest people so far. Most loopers are retired at the normal retirement age. We are not the typical demographic. Everyone has something to offer and I just love these conversations. I am looking forward to meeting people as we travel.
I didn’t know this, but last Sunday was Palm Sunday (I am a bad Christian) and the marina was having a blessing of the fleet. We were getting stuff done on the boat and didn’t plan on sticking around for this. We were just about to leave to lunch when this happened!!!! Of course we stayed for the whole ceremony and our boat was blessed by the guy in white.
We felt privileged to be here for this. We got blessed. We walked into town after and found lunch and did some shopping. This was a good stop. I loved the busy marina.
Next stop will be a quick overnight at Amelia Island. We left at high tide and thought we had plotted out route to Amelia for the right tide. NOT!! We arrived at low tide and couldn’t get into the super narrow and shallow inlet to the marina. We drove past it for 30 minutes cruising super slow and then turned around and arrived an hour after low tide. The channel still looked terribly narrow but wider than before so we went for it. We called and told them we were coming in. 3 guys met us at the dock. We were fine but saw 2 foot under the boat coming in. Holy shit!!! Ok, We have been warned about the tides and this is not funny!!! Some places have an 8 foot tide. This is something to consider as we travel thru Georgia and the Carolinas. We checked into the marina and found they had a courtesy car. Yippee. We went to the closest Publix and I stocked up on stuff. I am always happy when the boats stocked up. Later Andy decided to Uber us to a really nice restaurant. We went on the app and it was a 20 minute wait for Uber. Turns out he is the only driver!! After dinner he picked us up also. Thank God he didn’t go home!! LOL We had a good day and felt really blessed. This was the first day we had navigation, narrow and shallow water and we had to be on our toes. I felt thrashed and a bit emotionally exhausted when we finally docked. All day we were watching our navigation and learning our limits while my mother in law was struggling with a serious health issue. I was on the phone with everyone and trying to be a second set of eyes on the charts. A few times we over very shallow water. It wasn’t really my best travel day. When we pulled into the marina I was super relieved and ready to chill.
Tomorrow we go. Jekyll Island. We will stay 3 nights because we have some weather coming at us. I cannot wait to explore this Island!