Monday, April 6, 2009

St Augustine


We are meandering north on the ICW. This first week has been lovely, easy and slow boating.
With stops in small town marinas, great and simple views along the waterway, and pleasant interludes – like a lovely Farmer’s Market. Some muggy days, a few minor navigational challenges and a slight delay.

On Sunday I called to reserve a slip at the marina and after asking me our boat info (name and dimensions), the dock master queried “ETA?” I told him that we expected to arrive within the next hour or two since we were within ten miles. He responded, “No, mame, we won’t be able to let you in then”

Me – Why? What’s the problem?

Him – Well, it’s the dressing of the fleet.

Me – (Thinking Naval Ceremony) How long will the Dressing of the Fleet take?

Him – No, mame, it’s the BLESSING of the Fleet and it will take anywhere from one to three hours depending on the number of boats wanting to be blessed.

This is an annual Palm Sunday tradition in St Augustine.

When we arrived outside St Augustine, like all the other boats, we were stopped by a small police boat with the same information. We hung out for about an hour and a half and watched boats festooned with flags and laden with palm fronds motor out of the channel.

Today’s forecast and conditions convinced us to stay here another day. It poured briefly and was gusty. It is supposed to get colder and windier over the next few days but without the threat of thunderstorms.

It is a lovely city to walk around in with an historic district and good restaurants.
We also stumbled into an interesting event this evening. George McGovern speaking at Flagler College. Open to the public. He is, of course, much older (than I remember him) and less dynamic but still so thoughtful. He spoke about making St Augustine his winter home, about the Middle East conflicts and wanting to bring the troops home sooner than President Obama’s plan, about ending world hunger, and his 13th book, about Abraham Lincoln, just released as part of a series on presidents. Sweet, intelligent, nostalgic, inspirational, hopeful.

We are planning to move on tomorrow but with another scheduling challenge. There is construction going on at the bridge right outside the marina, that we need to pass under, and it is on a restricted schedule. This week the bridge will be closed from 7 am to 8 pm every day -- except it will open only two times at 1 pm and 1:30 (usually opens every half hour except during morning and evening rush hours).

I thought Alan was going to want to make it out before 7am but he says our running lights aren't good enough for dark/evening navigation. So we’ll spend the morning here – that’s fine with me, a morning shower and a stroll over to check out a bookstore which I noticed only after it closed.
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