Sunday, 6 December 2015


Jacksonville sundown at the City Dock

Not a lot of water has passed under Taipan's keel recently and none of it has been clean! We languished in Fernandina Beach and enjoyed catching up with friends, met new people and enjoyed the hospitality of the Fernandina  Beach Sailing Club AGM and dinner. We fixed a few things as usual and finally dragged ourselves down the ditch, a little further south. Jacksonville a whole 20 miles south and 20 miles west up the St Johns River and back to the Jacksonville Landing. The City provide a free central city dock where you can pick up water, wi-fi and just enjoy the bright lights. It can get noisy but it's a nice changeand offers good bike riding oportunities. There are now good bike paths which take you round the river to Riverside on the western shore. Publixs. AT&T, Starbucks a few food outlets and banks.  There is a bike shop nearby and a new waterfront walk on the eastern side of the river. On Saturdays the Art Market is held under the Fuller Warren bridge. To the East over the main Street Bridge there is an easy ride down to San Marco, some nice shops and a Starbucks! 

Cindy and Bob some old friends from the River City Brewing Company Marina took is to St Augustine to collect some parcels we had directed there and we had a couple of social evenings with them. 


Veterans Day arrived with plenty of fanfare and a huge parade of veterans, floats children and vehicles of all description. We watched it pass by for over 2 hours. It was still coming. Now we know why everyone bought chairs!

Jacksonville’s Arena Marina. We are the only boat. Its free.

Then it was time to move on again.
One of the oldest Streets in USA is in St Augustine.

Intra-coastal Waterway. Fernandina to Jacksonville we know, and have done several times now, but the next leg is a new one, and with 65 feet of air draft and 7'2" of water draft we were a little apprehensive as we set off from Jacksonville to St Augustine. However, apart from an occasional grounding due to lack of concentration, it was fairly uneventful. There was good tide range so we were able to sneak under all the bridges without incident! We did have a slight hic-up when we realized the main engine was not spewing out as much water as it should be so we rolled out the sail and David did a bit of trouble shooting. Fortunately it was a very cold day and the engine wasn't over heating at all so we were able to just quietly tonk along enjoying the bird life and scenery. Once at anchor just north of St Augustine, David changed out the impeller which had spat out a few rubber blades and was the reason for the inadequate cooling water flow. Next morning back in business and into St Augustine.

The oldest wooden school house in the USA,

There are two big mooring fields and a marina so finding an anchorage was tricky. The first night we sat on the bottom for a while on the west side of the river, not a big drama, but annoying. Next night we crossed to the east side of the river and anchored just north of the bridge. It was fine there although there is a good current up to 3 knots during springs, at some periods of the tide.

 Beautiful “fish scale” detail on one of the historic homes in St Augustine. Florida.

We heard about the St Augustine Cruisers Net (they also have a Facebook group, Facebook site
) via Neil and Jeanette, some friends from Perth who we met in the Bahamas last year. They bought a boat here and are making their way back across the Pacific next year Thus we also learned there was to be a Thanksgiving cruisers pot luck. It was a huge event, with around 70 people off cruising boats attending. St Augustine is a gorgeous town but busy with tourists. 4 million per year ! Lots of tourists!? Lots to see.  Oldest town in USA. 1526 or near enough! The Spanish found it.


The Cruisers Thanksgiving Pot Luck was fantastic. Excellent traditional thanksgiving  fare and we met lots of people. We returned to Taipan after lunch with Neil and Jeanette from Echo Echo (Perth). After a cup of coffee, as they were about to leave, we noticed a boat dragging towards the low bridge which was very close to us. Neil and David in the two dinghies, rescued is as no one was on board. We tied it to Taipan. Had another drink... Or two.
We have been experimenting with making our own sparking Shiraz with the soda stream and it works great. They just bought a soda stream and so we had to have lots of samples!   Many more wines later and the owners came back... They gave us another bottle of red we drank that....Then another boat next to us dragged off so we rescued that. No one on board that one either. Tied it to Taipan. More wine! .......1.00am Neil and Jeanette finally left and the owners of boat tied to us were still partying elsewhere!  They got back about 2 am..... but we didn't wake up .....they were very sheepish in the morning and gave us another bottle of wine! Haven't drunk that , can't face wine today!!

View down to the deck from the mast head.

We caught the cruisers shuttle bus (see link to their web page for details Port of Call) one morning  and went driving all round town till about 2 pm. Got all the bits we needed and met lots more people. 

The weather has been a mixed bag. Windy ... Windy windy horrid out at sea so we decided to continue going south down "The ditch" a little further. We have been down the waterway from Fernandina beach to St Augustine and thought we could get to Canaveral.


The view from the mast head when I went up to check the instruments after the brush with Flagler Beach Bridge.

Our adventure was bought up short by the Flagler Beach bridge about 27 miles further south. We could not scrape under it with 64 feet on the board, we needed at least another inch to get the instruments under. Being neap tides now we can't get enough low tide to clear it even if we wait till dead low. Could have made it with springs last week. Darn. Turned round and wandered back to St Augustine. With a good track on the chart we were able to keep going well into the night. Had the whole waterway to ourselves after dark. Finally dropped anchor near Matamzas Inlet. Easy run the following day back to St Augustine. Now on a mooring waiting out another crappy forecast.

Well that's enough excitement for one post.

More Photos of St Augustine and Jacksonville