I’ve heard multiple times that “the worst thing to bring aboard a boat is a plan”, and now I know why. We had blithely planned to arrive here last weekend, have the seamstress we spoke to while traveling come aboard on Monday, have our shades made over the next couple of days while we explored St Augustine, and be out of here by Thursday. HAH. Cindy (seamstress) wasn’t able to come aboard until Tuesday afternoon, couldn’t order material until Wednesday, and didn’t finish until late Friday afternoon. In the meantime, we found out that the former owner of the Doodle had let the engine run out of oil, left the old gas oxidizing and solidifying in the nearly empty tank for months, and had admiringly told us, “You can run the engine even when it’s out of the water because it’s air cooled!”, and had obviously done so. After we bought our new motor because, incredibly, the motor he sold us wasn’t in prime working condition (sarcasm), we carefully read the manual and found out that any one of the things he did to it not only voided his warranty immediately, but more importantly, completely explained why it was non-functional. WHY didn’t we ask him to verify the motor was functioning before we handed over our money? Answer is always the same: we’re idiots. It was fortuitous we were in St Augustine waiting for shades anyway, so we were able to fairly easily locate a new motor in Tennessee and have it shipped to the marina. It arrived yesterday about the same time we were picking up the shades. So now one would assume we’d skedaddle out of here and head north, correct? Well one would be wrong.
As anyone traveling by boat should do, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. Though last night (Friday) was gorgeous, with a full moon, light breeze, and clear skies, a strong wind was predicted to build over the weekend. We awoke this morning to the sounds of flapping lines and whistling wind, probably blowing about 15-20 mph and not predicted to lessen anytime soon. So we’re holed up here for another couple of days, getting a little nervous because we have to send proof that we’re really out of Florida in 12 days, or be sent a bill for tens of thousands in sales tax.
However are you ready for lemonade? There could certainly be worse places to be stuck. St Augustine is a wonderful walking town, with two grocery stores, excellent restaurants, and Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot, and West Marine within easy biking distance. We’ve gotten to know the community of boaters who live in this small Marina full time–Kim found my lost diamond earring in the shower and loans us an old beater car whenever we need it, while Chef Rory tells us how to safely moor our boat in the high winds and suggests the best restaurants to try. Just 500 feet down the dock from us is the Conch Resort’s Tiki Bar, a friendly place perched on posts over the water, with stunning views of sunset and moonrise, and further inland, sitting waterside, is the resort’s restaurant, serving decent fresh seafood. Not to mention access to inexpensive laundry facilities and the friendliest dock hands EVER. Oh yes, and we have done some tourist-y things too, like wander the streets of old St Augustine, tour and climb the St Augustine lighthouse, visit a couple of museums, and amble around the old Spanish fort (we’re too cheap to pay to go inside). This is not a bad place to twiddle your thumbs waiting for this &^%&%^* wind to blow over.
1. David carrying home PVC pipe from Ace on which to hang some of our new shades. Too windy to put them up right now—will take pictures later…
2. View of St Augustine Light from our boat at sunrise
3. The three of us in front of fort. Notice we’re always wearing the same thing to save on laundry?
4. Another view of lighthouse
5. Finally, a typical street view in old section of St Augustine