St. Augustine

Happy New Year from St. Augustine!

We arrived on Friday, the 29th (Barb’s birthday) after an uneventful cruise from Fernandina Beach. Historic St. Augustine is one of our favorite spots on the trip south, we decided to stay over the New Year’s holiday. The town was bustling with holiday vacationers, as busy as we’ve ever seen it. Our New Year’s Eve was pretty low key, a walk through the historic district was the highlight, then we were treated to two fireworks displays. Although our view was obscured by the bridge, we enjoyed the show.  There were some changes since our last visit, most notable was the completion of the historic Bridge of Lions. The bridge has been undergoing a major reconstruction since our first trip south in 2008. A temporary lift bridge was constructed on the north side of the original structure. There was some controversy surrounding the rehab of the bridge since the cost was considerably higher to reconstruct than to simply construct a new bridge, but local pressure prevailed to restore the old bridge as an historic landmark. We witnessed the completion as the last of the construction gear was packed aboard three barges and moved north toward the inlet. The only thing left to complete is the replacement of the lion statues that guard the entrance to the bridge. The lions were removed at that start of the project for restoration and storage until the bridge is completed, when they’ll be replaced.

Another significant change was the installation of extensive mooring fields on both sides of the bridge.  We had previously anchored on the south side of the bridge, but this visit we were on the north side, at about the location of the now-removed temporary bridge as the location map clearly shows. Our stay was favored with mostly moderate weather, just a few breezy days, but we enjoyed some very pleasant days. We did some biking, taking a ride out to the St. Augustine lighthouse, and visiting the Alligator Farm while we were there. It’s a tourist trap, but it was interesting nonetheless. Sunday we attended services at Memorial Presbyterian, had lunch out, then spent the afternoon touring the Lightner Museum. The Lightner is the former Alcazar Hotel built by Henry Flagler, and now houses city offices and the museum. We spent our last day biking to Sailor’s Exchange, the marine consignment and used parts store. LOTS of stuff, I came away with a spare running light bulb, a few odds & ends and a piece of safety line rope we’ll find a good use for, maybe in the dive gear.

We dropped our mooring Wednesday morning of the 5th, and headed inside to Daytona Beach.

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