The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Oldest City in America

Our next stop was another one-night stand at the Marina at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast, Florida.  After a cruise of about 44 miles, the crews of Boreas, Moonstruck and Once Around caught the shuttle van from the marina to the resort to check it out.  It is a beautiful place to vacation, and I think we were all a little sorry we had only planned to stay one night.  It would be a nice place to spend a few days…or weeks.  Saturday, my First Mate cooked up a great corned beef and cabbage meal for St. Patrick’s Day, and the six of us enjoyed the home cooked traditional meal that evening aboard Once Around.
Sunday we were all anxious to get moving and get up to St. Augustine, our next stop, some 26 miles north.  We entered Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor and all of us re-fueled and settled in our slips there.  It is a well run marina, and we planned to stay a few days and enjoy the many sites of the “oldest continually inhabited city in America” as my Looper friend Glen from Last Dance informed me.  St. Augustine is Last Dance’s home port and Glen and Jill gave us a number of suggestions for things to see.
The Inter Coastal Waterway in northeast Florida is often remote and picturesque
Our first order of business on Monday was to get Once Around over to the Camachee Yacht Yard, the boatyard section of this marina.  Since we were planning to be here a few days anyway, we decided to have the boat hauled and the hull waxed, along with getting the engines serviced and a few minor other items taken care of. 
The haul out...a too familiar site...happened on Tuesday

moving in to block the boat up for a day or two
We did get a lot of opportunity to explore the City of St. Augustine and enjoy a few meals in some of the many excellent restaurants there with the Moonstruck and Boreas crews.  Moonstruck left and headed back south towards home on Wednesday.  Judy is getting a new kitchen (she doesn't cook, so I don't see the point...)so they needed to be home by April 1.  We really enjoyed cruising with them again and were sorry to see them go.  Boreas headed north on Thursday.  We hope to catch up with them in a day or two.
Yesterday (Thursday) we took a trolly tour of old town with John and Rita from Brandy IV and walked St. George Street, the touristy shop section.  One of the highlights of the day was the tour of Flagger College, a small liberal arts college that inhabits what was once the Ponce de Leon Hotel, a very exclusive resort hotel built in 1887 and home to (among other things) the largest collection of Tiffany in the world.  The student’s cafeteria is in what was once the main dining and ballroom and is surrounded by Tiffany glass windows, beautiful artwork on the ceilings and woodwork throughout.
A beautiful tree lined St. Augustine street

St. George Street...the tourist section

Entrance of the old Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagger College

A view of part of the exterior...

..and interior.

One of the dozens of Tiffany windows in the dining room...

...and the Tiffany chandaliers were everywhere...

...even Tiffany turtles in the fountain...just kidding...wanted to see if you were paying attention!
Meanwhile, back at the boatyard…Boats are always full of surprises, and this was no exception.  The first thing that became apparent was that the bottom needed painting (not really a big surprise, we had thought it might).  So almost immediately after it came out of the water, we knew our planned three night stay would be a four.  One thing led to another, and tonight will be our fifth (and maybe not our last) night in St. Augustine.  Not that it hasn’t been fun, but we need to get moving.  Keith and his crew at the Camachee Yacht Yard have given us extraordinary service, responding quickly to everything that has come up.  We have been “on the hard” for three nights so the Admiral and I have literally been living in their boatyard.  James, their carpenter, along with Billy, the diesel mechanic, have been awesome, and Del and Vern (the self proclaimed “A Team”) have been thorough on all the exterior work.  More about the repairs made at the boat yard in my next post.
Billy in the engine room..

...while James does the woodwork

Del, one half of the A Team...

...and Vern, the other half.

The Admiral climbs to her boatyard condo...

...what the heck though, it has a harbor view!

We are scheduled to be dropped back in the water in a few hours (if the last of the parts arrive as scheduled), and will be on our way this afternoon or Saturday morning if all goes well.  Our plan is to head get to Jacksonville and then cruise down the St. Johns River on a week and a half side trip off the Loop.  If everything goes as planned, our daughter Carla and her fiance Evan will be joining us the middle of next week for five or six days.  I'm not sure who is more excited, Carla and Evan or the Admiral and me!

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