|Motor sailing down Haul over canal|
The alarm goes at 6.30am each morning, we get up and we go, just like that. It’s cooler in the mornings and we hope to catch a favourable current. With so many inlets to the ICW the currents can get quite strong with between a foot and over 7 foot of tide depending on where you are. It takes a little bit of planning as we move from one place to the next, sometimes not getting off the boat for days. One day we'll be anchored off an urban town, the next in the middle of vast open wilderness with nothing around us but muddy waters and grassy wetlands. Our only company the birds and the marine life. It is, as our yank friends would say, truly awesome. The first half of the day is spent mouth agape from all the jaw dropping beauty and the second half of the day my jaw is clenched tight as the afternoon thunderstorms roll in bringing heavy rainfall, gusty winds, thunder and huge amounts of lightning. I truly dislike it. But what can you do – this is Florida. And the heat. OMG the heat, if I’d remembered it being this hot I would have stayed in the cool East Caribbean.
|Traveling up the ICW|
The wildlife we are passing is stunning, roseate spoonbills, blue herons, dragonflies, butterflies, manatees, and dolphins still grace us daily. We have passed through over 40 bridges, motored (because we are NOT sailing) past trailer parks with very expensive looking RV’s - these are not trailer trash, past sand banks galore where the local Floridians just love to beach their boats – and it seems that everyone has a boat, they pull out a beach chair and a fishing rod and happy days! The waterway traffic can be hectic especially at the weekends.
|Going past Daytona Beach|
Our next major port of call was the historic town of St Augustine – the oldest city in America founded 1565. I love this town with its Spanish Renaissance architecture. Its so well kept that it almost looks like a modern day replica, only its not, a lot of the buildings date back before the 19th century. We had to take a mooring ($20) with the municipal marina as you can no longer anchor there. We visited the fort Castillo de San Marcos and took a stroll around the Flagler College and Lightner Museum buildings. As we had been here before on Alianna five years ago we didn’t repeat a lot of the touristy stops. But we did visit Sailors Exchange – a consignment shop for marine stuff; and left with a new galley sink, and an anchor amongst other things. For Sim the shop is like an Aladdin’s cave, the people were real friendly and even delivered our items back to the marina. We bought two second hand bikes from a pawn shop so we could get about more easily but we really should have known better as my bike has a pedal that likes to fall off – and as the old Chinese proverb goes “a bike with won pwedal won’t gow wery far” – it’s not much good.
|St Augustine City Hall and Lightner museum|
But as always time is pressing on and this imminent haul out is in our minds – though we still have no idea when or where yet. North Caroline perhaps. So we press on, we have had a couple more nights anchored in the desolate beauty of the ICW and we have crossed the Florida border into Georgia where we had planned to do a jump (sailing) on the outside (this motoring business is a costly affair) but it seems we have some weather developing off the Carolinas’ coast and our weather man Chris Parker is suggesting boats should stay put unless moving up the waterways. So we wait to see what this weather brings and in the meantime are looking forward to some days ashore at Cumberland Island national park.
Pretty church in St Augustine
City Hall and Lightner Museum
Court yard inside the City Hall
Sims favourite - Sailors Exchange
Fort Castillo de San Marcus built at the end of the 17th century
Cute cobblestone streets in the Spanish Quarter
Couldn't make it to the lighthouse on Anastasia Island with only one pedal!
The murky brown waters of the ICW
Trailer parks on the ICW
So many dragonflies
Everyone has a boat in Florida and parks up in any old spot!
Ponce De Leon Lighthouse
Roseate Spoonbills - according to my bird book!
More pink birds
The sun rising on another ICW day
Great Blue Heron
And yet more ICW......!
You get the picture!!