SURPRISE — FROM BUFFALO TO ST. AUGUSTINE!!!

THURSDAY MORNING – ST. AUGUSTINE MARINA        APRIL 13, 2017

What a delightful coffee hour having Dana Holler and his brother-in-law, Matt join us from Buffalo via Palm Coast.   Dana and his wife are in Fl. to attend one of Marci’s sister’s wedding this Saturday.

Back track to somewhere around July or so when Salt Lick was tied up in Tonawanda, NY at the end of the Erie Canal for a few weeks.   It is there that I was adopted by the HOLLER family and some of their friends.    OH MY goodness……what fun to see Dana Holler again and to catch up on the Buffalo family news::::::::   Dad – Jim Holler, brothers and sisters,,,Dan, Doug (who tracked us down on the Illinois River at Joliet), Diane, their families, Marci, Dana’s wife, cousin John, good friend Lisa McCarthy, and the other sisters and in-laws.   You Hollers sure do get around and what a fun delight to see a “family” representative here in Florida.

LIFE IS SO VERY GOOD IN THIS SMALL WORLD WE LIVE IN!!!!!

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HANK AND ME WITH DANA HOLLER — ST. AUGUSTINE MARINA  4/13/17
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DANA WANTS THIS BOAT!!!!!!
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BROTHER IN LAW MATT TELLING STORY OF BEING LOCKED OUT OF HIS APARTMENT IN HIS UNDERWEAR!!!!       TEARS OF LAUGHTER!
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AWE —- LOVE THIS HOLLER FAMILY.       THANKS DANA FOR MAKING THE EFFORT TO COME  SEE US.
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THE M.O. AND CAPTAIN RELAXING WITH MORNING COFFEE.

After saying our goodbyes to Dana and Matt, we headed to the fuel dock and at 11:15 we were back on the “high seas”!

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LEAVING ST. AUGUSTINE HEADING NORTH  AT THE 11:30 AM BRIDGE OF LIONS OPENING.

Traveled around 30 plus miles to an anchorage at the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge near Jacksonville, FL.   After spending over a month at the dock in St. Augustine, it is great to be back “moving” on the waterway.

GREETINGS FROM DOCK SLIP #26

APRIL 12, 2017     ST AUGUSTINE MUNICIPAL MARINA

Well hello again from dock slip #26 , St. Augustine Municipal Marina.   This has been home to Salt Lick for the past 34 days.   Tonight we ended the MTOA Southern Rendezvous with a roof top cocktail party overlooking the Bridge of Lions and the Marina followed by our final dinner and awards night.  We have made a few new friends and reconnected with some old friends.   An enjoyable fun group of individuals.  One evening during this big party is always a “theme” night.   This year, it was “dress for your favorite decade” night.   One guy showed up in  footed light baby blue pajamas with a matching bonnet and a very large pacifier to suck on.   Said his favorite decade was when he was a wee babe in his mother’s arms.  Yours truly and Hank favored the 60’s hippy look!!     ARN’T WE HIP???

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PEACE BABY!!!!!!!!         PICTURE BLUE JEANS AND FLIP FLOPS FOR HANK AND FLARED BELL BOTTOMS BEGINNING AT THE KNEES FOR ME!    

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HERBES DE PROVENCE JOINT???

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WHAT OLD FOLKS DO WHEN LEFT WITH A BUNCH OF BALLOONS AND AN AIR PUMP — GETTING CREATIVE!!!!!!!

Last week while doing one of my many walks around St. Augustine,  I toured the “Oldest House” in the USA!    Initially built and owned by a Spanish family, then a British family and then back again by a Spanish family.   There were additions over the years but the original two room structure is still there.

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GONZALEZ-ALFEREZ HOUSE – SPANISH COLONIAL HOME BUILT IN THE EARLY 1600’S.                   OLDEST HOUSE  – ST. AUGUSTINE, FL.

PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9, 2017

On this day it is traditional for St. Augustine to have its Blessing of the Fleet.   Following the Mass and church service the procession marches a few blocks to the marina, down along the docks right past where we are docked and out to the T-dock where the priest conducts  the blessing of the fleet ceremony.  This was taking place while MTOA was also conducting registration.   I missed  the procession but did catch a photo of some of the costumes worn for the Blessing event.   A beautiful grand display of pageantry!!!!

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COSTUMES WORN FOR THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET.   ST. AUGUSTINE, FL.

 

 

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YEP —–IT’S OFFICIAL – SALT LICK IS FOR SALE.  After having Salt Lick for 10 years and with us  finishing the Great Loop, we have decided it is time to let her go to new owners.   A couple of days ago the sign was attached to her stern, and I must say it rather took my breath away!   OH< gee,,,,,no need to worry as Hank is already searching for another boat.   The next one will have less or NO teak, will move along faster than 8-9 MPH and will be smaller.   HA — at least that is the plan.

We will be departing St. Augustine tomorrow.     I have a surprise visitor coming in the AM, but will save that photo op and info for my next blog!!    Cumberland Island here we come.

SOON TO BEGIN THE FINAL LEG>>>>>>

THURSDAY    APRIL 6, 2017     UPDATE FROM ST. AUGUSTINE

Hank, the M.O. (managing owner  🙂 ),   has returned to Salt Lick from his business trip.   He also had a chance to visit with his oldest daughter, Katey, and to help her celebrate her birthday last Sunday.  We will enjoy the  upcoming week by attending the MTOA (marine trawlers owners assoc.) rendezvous here in St. Augustine.  At the end of next week we will untie the dock lines and begin the final leg of this adventure.

Thru the end of March, we have cruised  5368.5 miles.  There is perhaps another 200 – 250 miles to go!!    Pretty amazing.

The streets of St. Augustine have been explored via my two feet over these past couple of weeks.   Not certain if I have seen everything there is to see, but feel like I have given it a good try!    Neat old, old city.   Definitely geared to tourism – it is their main industry.   One must be on safety alert to horse carriages, long open tractor like trains / trollies and masses of automobiles plying the streets.   It is not frenetic,,,, in fact, everyone is very laid back and seems to go with the flow.    I think most autos are looking for a place to park, as parking is at a premium here.

This past weekend I met up with one couple that used to live on Hilton Head Island, but now are in St. Augustine.   That was fun.   Thanks Dave and Ashley for making the effort to stop by the boat.   Sunday brought my old childhood friend Jeanne and her husband,, Russ, down from GA for the day.   We had a good visit and enjoyed a very late lunch at O.C.Whites.

HA — I failed to eat anything that evening and by 4:30 AM on Monday I was wide awake and hungry!!!     Messed up my whole day.

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RUSS AND JEANNE LEONARD IN THE BRIGHT SUN!!!    ST AUGUSTINE, FL

Mail Call is scheduled for today – most likely the last time we will have our mail shipped to us.   So bookwork and correspondence will be on our agenda!

YAY — BACK TO THE LAND, ERR WATER, OF FLOATING DOCKS

IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH –  to make me happy, as one might guess from the above title for today’s blog.    Since leaving the area of NC last year at the beginning of this adventure, the docks all become “fixed” — meaning that they do not float up and down the pilings of the dock structures.  The tides are so very minimal, that there is not really a need for floating docks.  BUT , let me whine here for a moment, for me the activity of getting off and on the boat becomes quite difficult due to short legs, fear of heights above 2-3 feet, and skinny assed docks.    I do use a small step stool, but even then, the task requires a crane in some situations  to haul my butt off the boat.  There is JOY now as we have arrived in the land of floating docks once again.   Altho’ that also means that we are nearing the end of this adventure where my emotions are of NO, I don’t want this to end, and YES, it is time to get back on the dirt.

All the way from Malaysia and the Grand Banks factory came this small vent cover via DHL.  We lost one to the sea somewhere along the way.

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$18.00 PART, $45 FREIGHT, #0 LABOR PAID TO INSTALL (thanks to Hank), JOY OF OWNING  A BOAT —PRICELESS!!!!   

 

Among many sites I saw the other day when wandering around was this Constitution Monument in the park/plaza near the Bridge of Lions at the center of town.

CONSTITUTION   MONUMENT     1813

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The  Spanish government instructed the Colonists to erect this monument to celebrate the newly formed Spanish Government.   After a change in the Spanish government in 1814 when rule was returned to the Monarchy,  St. Augustine was instructed to destroy the monument.   St. Augustine refused to do so and today this monument still stands.  It is believed to be the only standing and surviving monument in the World commemorating that campaign.

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ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHT HOUSE

 

IT’S A BLOODY HOAX!!!!

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LOOKS OFFICIAL, DOESN’T IT?

So here I am in the oldest city in the USA and off I go to seek the Fountain of Youth, just like Ponce de Leon did many years ago!!    WOO HOO       WHAT A RIP OFF THIS WAS —- after paying my entry fee, and  waiting for the bus load of school children to clear out – into the well house I go seeking the JOY JUICE to cause my body to return to its 20 year old self!!   I am thinking, THIS is exciting……..yuck,,,,nasty ‘ol mineral well, sulphur tasting water!    But hey, I am looking for miracles here, so I gulped my portion down quickly!!!

HA — joke is on me, as the following morning when I gazed at this face of mine in the mirror, all I saw was the same ‘ol me!   So much for this Fountain of Youth business.   My guess is that Ponce de Leon and his crew were so danged thirsty , shrunken, and withering away that by rehydrating with this “fresh”  water IT WAS the Fountain of Youth to them.

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PERHAPS OLD DOGS TURN INTO PUPPIES!!

This archaeological site also was found to have a settlement of early Native American Indians known as the Timucuans.   It is interesting to note that their shelters/homes were constructed in the same manner as those of Pocahontas’s tribe  in Virginia and the tribe of Indians discovered at Shiloh in Tennessee.

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ROUND THATCHED SHELTERS BUILT IN A CIRCLE.
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ONE OF SEVERAL TINAJONES

HISTORY             The history of St. Augustine is interesting and fascinating.  Being here for a few weeks allows time to explore and visit many of the old historical buildings and museums in the city.   Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain in 1513.   In 1565, Pedro Menendez, along with 700 soldiers and colonists, settled here establishing St. Augustine as the oldest city in our country.   About a hundred years later the fort, which still stands today, Castillo de San Marcos,  was built for defense of this vital territory.  Did you know that Geronimo was imprisoned here for a period of time??    This fort, the city gates and walls and the surrounding bodies of water helped to protect the city from foreign and Indian invasions.   Altho’, pirates had no problems finding their way.

South of here at the Matanzas inlet is a smaller fort called Fort Matanzas.   It’s purpose was to further protect St. Augustine.

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FORT MATANZAS     –     PHOTO TAKEN FROM ACROSS THE RIVER – TRIPS TO VISIT THE SITE ARE HALTED DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW DAMAGES

In 1793 the construction of the Cathedral Basilica de St. Augustine was begun.  The simplistic, serene beauty of this Cathedral was lovely to see.  As with many old buildings, this too had burned at one point in time, but there remains some walls from the original church that were incorporated in the reconstruction.

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STAINED GLASS WINDOW IN CATHEDRAL BASILICA DE ST. AUGUSTINE

This is the tour for today!!    Will bore you again perhaps tomorrow;;;;;;;;;;;;

TIME CHANGE

MARCH 12, 2017 ——So, for most of the day today I was running on “old time” – which was just fine as we are docked in St. Augustine, FL with winds at 21 mph, rain and ugly intracoastal waters!!!    A GREAT DAY for a nap.

Our past two days of cruising brought past Daytona, thru some very flat scrubby geography,  and some narrow channels with much shoaling.   Makes for interesting navigation —- ooppps — bumped that sandy bottom at one point.   NOTE that the operative word is “bumped” – not going aground.    WHEW………..

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A UNIQUE SHOAL MARKER!!     LOVE THE AMERICAN SPIRIT.

 

Again these past two days we saw many sailboats, and smaller motor boats up on the shores of spoil islands and along the shores.    The majority of the boats seem to be sail boats.   Also there were several smaller fishing and ski boats hanging up in their lifts at the end of docks —BUT THE DOCK FROM THE LAND TO THE BOATS WERE ALL DESTROYED!    Walkways just popped off.   Even though Hurricane Matthew was a CAT 1 and 2 storm, he sure made a big swath along the South East Coast.

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TYPICAL SAIL BOAT WASHED ASHORE BY MATTHEW!

As we cruised North we saw many motor home/ trailer parks in this section of Florida.   I think that we see a lot of these being towed and driven NORTH on I-95 every late Spring at the Snow Birds head back home.   Life looks rather laid back and easy —- at least at this park area.

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ONE OF MANY BOAT/CAMPER PARKS ALONG THE ICW.
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LOOKS LIKE THEY SELL ALL THAT A PERSON MIGHT NEED —- ICE, COLD BEER, LIVE SHRIMP BAIT AND YOU CAN RENT A KAYAK!!    UUUUMMM    NOT FOR ME, THANK YOU.

ONE of the pleasures we enjoy is anchoring out  (when Salt Lick is fully supplied with food and drink).    This setting is on ROCKHOUSE CREEK.   The view is looking East at sunset towards the Ponce de Leon Inlet.

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ROCKHOUSE CREEK AT PONCE DE LEON INLET   (photo by Hank)
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MESSAGES IN A BOTTLE FOR MEGHAN AND JUSTIN – THE NEWLY WEDS.    WE TOSSED ONE ON THE OUTGOING TIDE AT PONCE DE LEON INLET.

Our arrival yesterday in St. Augustine was made by extending the cruising day knowing that the weather was going to deteriorate over night for Sunday.   After a very long day on the water, we walked into town in search of oysters.   FINALLY we found a place, Cafe Maya, that was serving raw oysters.   The perfect dinner, eaten on a second floor porch overlooking one of the narrow streets in Colonial town of old St. Augustine.   A musician was playing across the street which was nice, the restaurant kitchen was not functioning, so they were not busy due to no grill, fryers, ovens, etc…..very quiet and peaceful way to end the day.    The entertainment was watching this guy trying to start his motorcycle by having a couple of his buddies push him……needless to say THAT was not successful!

We are docked for a few weeks while Hank goes off for business and I make a short trip to see a friend.   We will attend a boat rendezvous  later on before leaving St. Augustine.

UP THE LAZY RIVER ….this one is for Ralph!

MARCH 7, 2017         Departing Vero Beach we cruised up the lazy  Indian River and arrived at Cocoa, FL.  We have been here for two days enjoying the weather and a trip to visit the Kennedy Space Center.

SPECIAL NOTE!!!!!!    Since leaving Naples, FL we have been tossing “messages in a bottle” for our niece Meghan and her husband , Justin.   These bottles contain “messages” written by those attending their wedding last September whereby wedding guests wrote notes of love, encouragement, advise, etc..   We have tossed about 8 or 9 of these bottles with several more to go.   GUESS WHAT ???    THREE OF THEM HAVE BEEN  FOUND.   It is so exciting and a ton of fun!!!!     ONE of the bottles contained  Hank’s message to the newlyweds.   JOY!!

Along the way we saw this abandoned boat off in the shallow waters with orange spray painted letters USCG —OK.    We noted several other smaller boats also aground at spoils islands due to Hurricane Matthew.

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PARTIALLY SUBMERGED BOAT ALONG THE INDIAN RIVER

The dolphin have been very frisky and having a lot of fun playing in our wake or riding the bow of the boat.   We keep attempting to get videos of them, but none are good enough to “publish”.   Hopefully we will get a good one soon to share with you.

We think some  of the “booty’  from Hurricane Matthew comes in the form of floating oars, boat fenders, etc. – both of which Salt Lick has picked up along the way.  Moving closer to home will no doubt exhibit  more in the way of debris and destroyed property.

Wed. March 8th, we visited the Kennedy Space Center.  Very interesting and when up close to these space machines, one is humbled by the bravery, scientific knowledge and pure faith that they would make it to the Moon and back.   Lives were lost in this process, but the Space program continued until the mission was accomplished.   What exciting times those were.   Our race was with Russia in the beginning.  Sputnik had us all in an uproar.  I imagine each of you alive at that time, stood out in your yards looking skyward as we watched the “moving white glow” cross thru the sky.   Later  on, the International Space Station was created and built for multiple countries to participate in the research and science of space living.   Russia being among those other countries involved in the joint venture.     Our World and this STAR called Earth are a small part of an extremely large Universe!    How very humbling that is to us.

Anyone remember the First astronaut into space?    And what year??

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A COLLECTION OF EARLY ROCKETS
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APPOLO 8     INITIAL STAGE
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FINAL STAGE THAT POWERS THE CAPSULE INTO SPACE!
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APPOLO 8 SECOND STAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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APPOLO 8 CAPSULE
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A PEEK INSIDE THE “LIVING’ SPACE!!!!
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CONSTRUCTION SITE AND BUILDING FOR THE MISSLE TO GO TO MARS

THIS BUILDING IS SO LARGE THAT ONE HAS DIFFICULTY DESCRIBING IT!!!!    The Stars on the painted flag on the side of the building are each 6 feet across and the bars/stripes are 8 feet across!!!    The gray doors along the left side weigh several tons and will open to move the missiles out to the launch pad when the time comes.

All of this touring around created an appetite that we each satisfied when going to Cafe Margaux that evening.   We set off on foot  (without cell phones) as Hank said he knew right where it was.   Well —- that really wasn’t the case, as we wandered around Cocoa Village for about 30 minutes looking for it.   We asked two locals, and they didn’t know, and a random bar with some “interesting” characters hanging out in there had NO clue as to where we were talking about. Finally we found it in the back of a courtyard!!!   Once we got there, our  evening was saved by a delicious meal  — escargot, salmon, pheasant and some lovely wine.   It was a good day.

Today, March 9, 2017 we toured this hardware store after returning the rental car.   I LOVE hardware stores and we were in need of a couple of fuses for Salt Lick.   This place has everything!!!    It has been in operation since 1885!!!!     132 years.    It is in a great old building, with wooden , uneven floors, and dusty old shelves.   There were several employees working there and they all know exactly where to find what ever a person is looking for.   The fuses were located within seconds.

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ISN’T THIS COOL???
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NEED OR WANT A STOP LIGHT??    OR PERHAPS YOU NEED A BEAN POT OR A LARGE CROCK TO MAKE PICKLES — YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.

Tomorrow we will leave Cocoa Village Marina.   Plans are to get to New Smyrna Beach.