Sunday, December 7, 2014

First Stops, First Coast

November 11 ‒ 30
St. Marys, GA to St. Augustine, FL

Covered with shade cloth at St. Marys Boat Services
Our winter of 2014-2015 journey is underway and Pelican is very happy to be back in the water. On November 4 we returned to St. Marys, Georgia, where she had been stored on the hard just across the river from Florida to fulfill insurance requirements. She needed serious cleanup after being laid up in a dusty boatyard (no surprise there) but otherwise was in very good shape.

Ready to splash
On November 11, we splashed and began our cruise. The first stop was just a couple hours downriver. Fernandina Beach is the northernmost town on the coast of Florida. It’s a uniquely desirable location, evidenced by the fact that this is the only place in the US that eight flags have flown over. We stopped here to fill the water tanks, which we hadn’t done in St. Marys due to the unsavory sulphur taste of the tap water there. We also wanted to visit friends there. More about that in the next post.

After our first night aboard, we continued down the ICW and stopped overnight at Pine Island, a peaceful anchorage in a remote area. The anchor chain clanked as it paid out, and soon the day-long clamor of the engine halted. Silence reverberated. It took a moment for the senses to adjust. Then peace reigned. Winds were calm and, at first, we were the only boat there. Blissful! The slanting rays of sunlight glinted golden on the marsh grass. Only squawking shore birds and splashing fish broke the stillness.
At Pine Island after other boats arrived

Reenactors in St. Augustine
The next morning we left the quiet solitude for the lively city of St. Augustine on Florida’s First Coast. The name refers to the first permanent European settlement in the New World. Spanish explorers discovered this coast and never left. We’re tempted to follow their example every time we visit. The weather has a lot to do with it, as well as the distinctive architecture and charm of the old city. The real reason we stayed for three weeks this time was that we were waiting for Cooper’s Canvas in Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor to make zip-on shade cloths to protect our cockpit and an awning to shade the cabin roof. They did excellent work, and we hope to have plenty of the sunny, warm days the shades were designed for.
Handsome little machines

While we waited, we did a little sightseeing and a lot of preparation. We replaced the chart plotter, which means that our radar will work again; replaced the VHF radio and remote mike with newer models that include an AIS receiver so we can identify and track large commercial vessels during overnight passages; bought nonperishable foods for the Bahamas; had our folding bikes tuned up, and added my favorite upgrade: a set of Magma nesting pots and pans.

Our first stops on the First Coast haven’t taken us far. First things first—now we’re ready for the next legs of the journey. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! You can see why we keep going back to this anchorage.