17 December 2006

St. Augustine, Florida

December 17, 2006, Third of Advent

We’re writing this as we are motoring down towards Daytona Beach. The weather is wonderful, mid 70s (24 degrees Celsius) and sunny. It finally feels like we’re heading for the tropics. The water temperature has also gone up drastically, from 16 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius in the past 35 miles.

We spent yesterday walking around in St. Augustine, Florida, During our travels down the ICW we’ve stopped in many towns purporting to have some kind of historical significance or other. St. Augustine was the first place to really live up to the hype. Although very touristy, once you get past the “Olde Tyme Photo Store,” “Fudge Shoppe,” various nautical novelty shops and the innumerable tourist traps, St. Augustine is a well preserved/restored old town with a tangible sense of its colonial heritage. The centerpiece of the town is an old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos. It was built in 1672 and is open to the public. The town itself was founded in 1565 as a Spanish military outpost.

The west wall of the fort.

Throughout the day the fort fires one of its cannons in a demonstration. Kristen tried to take a picture of the action, but the sound of the cannon made her yelp and move the camera, which explains the blurry picture. You may be interested to know that Kristen actually yelped (involuntarily) every time the cannon fired... she problably wouldn't hack it in a combat zone.

Hans keeps a lookout over the water. Any pirates?

Kristen with the world's largest pineapple! (no, it's actually a palm tree)

During the day we walked around town and stopped for a proper pub lunch at the Prince of Whales restaurant. Kristen had pork pie and a side of coronation chicken and Hans had bangers and mash. Yum!

Two pictures from Flagler College. Note all the seashells incorporated in the architecture (we're in the tropics now baby!)

After a day of sightseeing we met up with Jeanne and Scott Hunter, who live nearby. They are Kristen’s old neighbors from Mt. Vernon Street. They took us out for a great dinner at the Mexican restaurant “Acapulco” where we caught up over beers, mole chicken, burritos and chipotle chicken. Yum again!

We’ve got about 15 miles to go to Daytona Beach where we’ll anchor for the night. We’ll probably head out again tomorrow morning towards Titusville.

No alligator sightings yet and all toes accounted for.

We were lucky that our one day visit coincided with an holiday open house at the fort. The fort is usually closed after dark, but last night they stayed open (for free no less) and the festivities included a group of carolers singing Christmas songs in the candle-lit parade grounds inside the fort, cannon fire and historical re-enactors dressed as Conquistadors.