St. Augustine

At the time we left Stanbury, we had discussed being in St. Augustine for Christmas, and although we could have made it with some long days and offshore runs, we opted for a more leisurely pace, arriving here in St. Augustine on the 2nd of the New Year.

We left Charleston on Saturday morning the 27th, delaying our departure from the Maritime Center long enough to allow a Carnival ship to complete its approach to the dock, still we were under way just before sunrise, and rejoined the magenta line at Elliot Cut in full daylight. We opted for an inside run from Charleston to Beaufort. We’ve made offshore overnights¬† from Charleston to Brunswick before, but decided on the more scenic route. The run to Beaufort (that’s Be-u-fert, SC vs. Bow-fert, NC) is just over 60 nm, a full day, but we could comfortably arrive in the dark if required. As it was, we had a breakdown just before heading into the Ladies Island cutoff from the Coosaw River: the #1 alternator unloaded its front bearing, driving the alternator fan into the front housing and loosening the drive pulley which then did a number on the rotor shaft and the pulley. Fortunately, we carry a spare alternator, so a little over a half hour to complete a swap-out, and we were back under way, still making Beaufort to pick up a mooring by about 1740. The 2nd alternator I added during the refit was beneficial since I could install the backup alternator without making any wiring connections, it simply functions as a place holder for the drive belt with the higher amp #2 alternator happily providing all the capacity we need. A replacement alternator will be ordered and I’ll put things back to normal when it arrives. Gotta love redundancy on a cruising vessel!

From Beaufort we made the 105 nm outside run to Brunswick, starting at daybreak on Sunday. We planned to arrive at Brunswick sometime before midnight; a long day, but we could do the bulk of the run during daylight and avoid the sleep disruption of an overnight. Brunswick is one of the inlets that can be transited in even poor conditions, it’s deep, well-marked and doesn’t change with shoaling like many do.¬† As it was, we encountered some relatively heavy fog offshore, but radar and AIS keeps us well aware of surroundings. We arrived in Brunswick before 2300, a successful run. Another minor casualty was our hailer/fog horn speaker, necessitating manual sounding of the air horn every two minutes. Another repair! Well, it’s a boat!

Part of our plan for our stay in Brunswick involved an Enterprise rental and a trip to Jacksonville, or more precisely, Green Cove Springs; the purpose of the trip being to retrieve our mail and complete the process of establishing our Florida residency. The process was painless, and went very smoothly, much in part thanks to our mail service, St. Brendan’s Isle. St. Brendan’s serves hundreds of our cruising and “homeless” compatriots, providing a mailing address and excellent forwarding services at a reasonable rate. They’ve helped countless cruisers and RV’ers through the process and they checked over our paperwork to insure we had all our ducks in a row. We did, and the whole process of Declaration of domicile, applying for Florida driver’s licenses and registering to vote took all of about an hour and a half. We’re now officially Florida residents. As you may know, Florida has no state income tax, and is cruiser-friendly; their requirements for establishing residency do not require that one have a “residence”, but will accept a physical address as domicile. So long as we can receive mail at the address, it is acceptable as our domicile.

We also had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with Selene friends Bill & Jeannie from Chapter III who are currently based at NAS JAX, and plan to spend some time on the west coast and keys, we hope to connect again in south Florida or the Bahamas.

We spent New Year’s Eve in Brunswick, just us and the dogs, a relatively laid back occasion, partiers that we are (not!). New Years’ Day found us at sea for the short run to Fernandina Beach and Maerin’s arrival in Florida. From Fernandina, we opted for an outside run to St. John’s inlet, then inside the rest of run to St. Augustine, a total of about 64 nm, a full day’s cruise. We arrived in St. Augustine before sunset, picked up our mooring ball and headed to town to brave the crowds. We were surprised at the number of people, evidently the New Year holiday is peak time, for we saw bigger crowds than we’ve ever experienced here. Just packed!¬† We observed many changes, lots of development of the old town area with more shops and restaurants open than before, and lots of improvements to streets in the area. Still a beautiful area during the holidays with buildings lighted, the skyline from the boat is simply enchanting. Still one of our favorite stops, even with all the people, it’s still a beautiful town, lots to see and do.

Comments are closed.