December 12, 2015
We went ashore in St. Augustine early in the morning. The ladies went shopping. Joe and I went to the boat resale shop about a mile from the harbor. I bought a solar light that worked for one day and Joe bought some elastic chording that I hope worked a lot better than the light. I got a call from the marina telling me that they had another mooring ball for us, so we hoofed it back to the marina to reset our boat.
We untied from the mooring and waited for the 13:00 opening of the bridge to get through to the south mooring field to pick up our new mooring ball. First we fueled up at the fuel dock, pumped out, and filled our water tanks. The dock hand notified us we only had a minute to the next bridge opening and that our mooring ball was back where we just came from. We dropped our lines, called the bridge and just made the next opening back. Whew! We moored back in front of the Bridge of Lions in front of the beautiful city of St. Augustine. Nice.
We had been wondering about our friends on Dreamcatcher (Joyce and Bo Chesney.) They had left a month before we had and we expected that they were already in the Bahamas. We got settled in to our new mooring ball and noticed they were on mooring ball just a few boats over from us. Small world, isn't it? We saw them on another boat nearby and went over to say hello. They told us that they had been sitting there for the last two weeks waiting for the right weather window to go south. Their plan was to do a double overnighter to get to Miami and then cross at the next opportunity to Bimini.
We went back into town and met Joe and Kathy at the fort. The fort volunteers were shooting off the big guns and feeding the birds. The shot they were using were loaves of bread. We then went over to the Historic District and started looking for the Cruisers Lounge. We started at one end of the district and ended up at the other end without finding the lounge. We turned around and went all the way back to find the Cruisers Lounge right by where we started! The food looked good and the beer was cheap. Cruisers Lounge is supposed to have the best burgers in town. Our main goal was to get there for happy hour for cheap beer prices.
After visiting the Cruisers Lounge we went over to Mojo's for dinner. We had to wait 40 minutes for a table so we did that at the bar. When we got our table we ordered and got what we were looking for: good bar-b-que. The meat was very tender with an excellent smoky flavor. The beer was not so great.
We walked back to the dinghy dock and then rode our dinghies back to our boats.
December 13, 2015
We got in early and did our laundry at the St. Augustine Marina. After getting that all done we took a dinghy ride up to Cat's Paw marina. After getting permission to leave our dinghy there we went shopping at the nearby shops. Our first stop was at Home Depot. We were looking for two solar yard lights for the boat. The lady in front of us got the last two.
We then headed for Harbor Freight tools to look around but found Big Lots before we got there and went in. They had everything we were looking for and then some. We ended up buying two strings of solar lights to decorate the boat with. We needed to get into the holiday spirit. The lights work great!
We headed back to the boat for lunch and then met Joe and Kathy in town to do more tourist type stuff. We ended up at Scarlet O'Hara's for drinks and dinner. Food and beer were great. It started to rain heavily once we left from O'Hara's so we made a mad dash for the dinghies. The dinghies were a long way away and we got thoroughly soaked before getting back to the boats.
We spent one more day ashore in St. Augustine before heading south. We finished our day up at Pizza Alley before returning to our boats and getting ready to leave the next day.
December 15, 2015
The winds were still out of the south at five to ten knots. We were tired of waiting for the wind to come around and push us south. Caught the Bridge of Lions opening at 7:00 am and headed down the ditch. The current was with us helping us make good time. The rest of the day was uneventful.
We went through the New Smyrna Bridge at the 16:40 opening pushing against a 2 knot current. Once through the bridge we went into Sheep's Head Cut and anchored near marker #3 in about 18 feet of water. Anchors set well and there was good protection there for us to spend the night.
December 16, 2015
We pulled anchor at 8:30 am hoping to catch a ride on the rising tide. Left a bit too early and had a hard push all day. The day was warm and sunny. We saw a lot of Manatee sunning themselves in the channel before our passing disturbed them. These were areas where there are speed limits to protect the Manatee but sadly many boaters ignore the limits and put them in danger.
We started having alternator problems and I found a loose wire. I did a temporary fix until we dropped the anchor to fix it properly. (I should have installed it properly in the first place.)
We found a crowded anchorage off of Cocoa, Florida to tuck into for a few days. The next few days promised to be quite blustery.
Many of the boats in the anchorage appear abandoned. Many appeared as they could not leave the anchorage on their own. We saw at least 5 sunken boats in the anchorage. This is Florida's curse. Boat owners can anchor their boats in an anchorage and just walk away leaving their boat there for someone else to deal with. I am not sure what the answer is to curing this problem. These boats cause problems for us passing through because they eat up valuable anchorage space.
December 17, 2015
Worked on the electrical system in the morning and redid some of the wiring. Changed out the alternator belt but did not really find any problems??? Not sure the alternator is properly aligned with the engine which may be causing the alternator belts to wear more aggressively.
Karen, Kathy and I went ashore shopping. The town has a great old hardware store. It has just about anything you might need in that store.
Joe came in a little later and went looking for a barber. Many miles and an hour later we found what he was looking for way out of town. Also found a place that fills propane right across the street. We did not need propane at the time.
We hung around town and had lunch at a Tai place. We did some more shopping and ended eating at Norman's Raw Bar and Grill. Great food and great prices!
December 18, 2015
We decided to spend another day at Cocoa, FL because the weather reports were predicting nasty weather.
I went after the electrical system again and decided that the source of my electrical problems was the regulator. I went through the manual and it guided me through returning the unit to its factory settings. Hopefully that will solve the problem.