St. Augustine to Daytona Beach December 16-22

Click on the above thumbnail for a map of points visited during this time period.

In Florida at Last...

After leaving Cumberland Island, we stopped in Fernadina Beach to top off the diesel tanks and then headed for St. Augustine.   Our weather-predicting-and-monitoring software sounded like it could get dicey just as we were arriving at dusk, so the skipper chickened out and pulled into the last viable anchorage north of the oldest city in America.   Turned out the winds weren't so bad that night -- they got much worse (for days) *after* we arrived in St. Augustine -- and it hardly rained at all -- it rained much worse (for days) *after* we arrived.   Just as it got dark we noticed a sailboat with a Danish flag arriving at the anchorage.  Spoke briefly with them (in Norwegian) as we passed them in the morning, and later in St. Augustine had an extended conversation (in English) with them.   They are on an around-the-world trip.   Arrived in the Americas from Norway by sea, and decided upon hitting the southern Caribbean to take a detour up the east coast of USA.   And so they were on their way back down from Maine when we spoke to them, and they were headed to the Panama Canal and on into the Pacific.   And some of you think *we* are brave!

We ended up spending five days in St. Augustine.  It is a beautiful and charming city.  We had been to St. Augustine numerous times, but never really hung around and saw the city.  Actually, we didn't do it justice this time either, but did see more than usual.  We definitely will stop in again on the trip back north. 

We filed for residency in Florida a while ago, but still needed to get our Florida drivers licenses.  On the second day there (Friday) Barb rode her bike to the motor vehicle agency to get hers.  She was quite impressed with the efficiency of the organization - they certainly have it all over Georgia.  Unfortunately, she discovered that her mono-vision Lasik surgery (that she was so pleased with) had created a problem.  Her left eye (that sees close for reading) could not pass the distance-vision eye exam.  The tester suggested that she either wear glasses or get her doctor to send in a letter documenting why she should be exempted from the eye requirement for her left eye.  Talk about being bummed out -- since taking the exam with glasses would require her to wear them every time she drove and filing paperwork would require an actual signature (not faxed) from her doctor.  Thus, if she opted for the paperwork, she could not get her license for a week or more and by then Tusen Takk II would be far south of the convenient St. Augustine office. 

Saturday, we rented an auto.  Used it to effect some local chores, including visiting the famous "Sailors' Exchange", where we sold our surplus battery box, a couple of rod holders, and the dinghy we had rescued.   (Cf. previous episode.)  Got more for the holders than Chuck expected, but we got rooked on the box and dinghy.

Sunday we got up early and drove to Leesburg, FL, where we visited Chuck's dad's sister Twila Malesh and her husband Walt and their daughter Sue, who had coincidentally just arrived that morning from Seattle for a short visit with her folks before flying to London.   It was great to visit with Walt and Twila again, and a special unanticipated treat to get re-acquainted with Sue, whom Chuck had not seen since the early 70's.  Walt and Twila had moved to a new retirement community so it was good to see that they were comfortably settled in there.

Monday we returned to the motor vehicle agency, where Chuck and Barb *both* got their driver's licenses.  Yes, Barb, by squinting mightily and making repeated guesses, managed to pass the eye test with her left eye!   She had her glasses along to use as a last resort, but luckily didn't have to go there.  We also registered our dinghy, a process that required neither squinting nor guessing, but did require an additional quick trip back to the boat to secure proof that we had already paid sales tax in Georgia, and so did not owe any to Florida.

Then we jumped back in the car and drove to our new "home" -- Green Cove Springs -- where we picked up our mail and took some pictures.   Our official address is 411 Walnut Street, but the mailing outfit actually has moved:  they have outgrown their old headquarters, and apparently persuaded the local postmaster to let them continue to use the old address at their new location.  Strange, no?  But one can see the motivation.   Had they not been permitted to do so, thousands of clients would have had to notify millions of correspondents about the new address of the mailing firm.   So, when you send mail to us, it doesn't really go to 411 Walnut Street, but to a plastic bin labeled #3216 in suite 102 of a different building several miles to the north.   And we don't really live in that plastic bin, but are permitted to vote and list our address on official correspondence (and our licenses) as if we did, and as if that bin were still at 411 Walnut Street.   It is enough to make my head hurt.

Then we rushed back to St. Augustine to relinquish the auto several hours after the due-time; but Barb kept up such a stream of objections to the clerk's notations on the statement that he quite forgot to charge us the late fee.   :-)   We chose to not be dropped off at the marina, but rather at a Greek restaurant for lunch.  Walking back afterwards, we passed the San Sebastian winery, where we stopped and skipped the tour but enjoyed a tasting.   Our packs were a little heavier as we continued back, weighed down by two whites, two reds, and one small-but-dear port.   (The whites may well come in handy on Christmas day when we share dinner on board with Monica and Debbie Jo, who will be driving over from Tampa and Orlando to join us in the Titusville area.)  When we arrived back at the boat, Barb immediately set about to making a German Sweet Chocolate cake.   Well, not quite immediately.   We've remarked before with some satisfaction and pride about finding places for everything on our shake-down cruise to the Chesapeake.   We have gotten really organized, we've claimed.  Yup.  So how come we couldn't find the extra baking shelf that we had previously removed from the gas oven and stored?  Yes, Virginia, it turns out that when one cannot use the gas oven, one can indeed bake a cake in a convection oven (so long as one turns on the generator in order to provide the requisite power.)   Why all the fuss about a cake?   Nuthin' so special.   Just Chuck's 62nd birthday, celebrated by all of the previously-described activity, but also with an extra-delicious dinner at the A1A Ale House, a quick trip to a local ice cream store for four scoops to go, and a quick dinghy ride back to the boat for birthday cake.   Is there anything better than German Sweet Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream?   Yes, but my account of the birthday will discretely end there.

In other developments, we have decided to get a new water pump for the boat since the current one is making a lot of noise after being run dry recently.  It will either need a rebuild kit or a replacement.  Since it is was so noisy even before the recent running-dry episode, we have opted for total replacement with one of the new "whisper-quiet" models.  But not before making a long trip on Sunday in the driving rain back to Jacksonville (in our rented auto) to buy a lesser model at West Marine.   Why all the way back to Jacksonville?   Because St. Augustine West Marine *said* they had one in stock, but they didn't.  Only after getting the pump back to the boat did Barb insist that we ask for advice from Krogen, whereupon we learned of the new quieter (and more powerful) pumps.   So, we'll be returning the pump to (some) West Marine and ordering a much more expensive pump directly from the specialty manufacturer.   Nothing but the best for Tussey!

We decided it was time to wander further south so departed St. Augustine on Tuesday morning.  We made it as far as Daytona Beach and found a pleasant anchorage just off the ICW near one of the bridges.  From our anchorage we can see the yacht club where we helped Jack and Jo celebrate their 60th birthdays this past spring.  Their kids gave them a great party in Daytona.  We had a great time -- haven't done that much dancing in a long time.  We decided it was time for a down day, and so spent all day Wednesday at anchorage having an easy day.  On Thursday we headed to Titusville to get provisions for Christmas dinner and get the boat cleaned before Monica and Debbie Jo arrive to help us celebrate Christmas.

Christmas on the ICW

Cousin Susan, Chuck and Aunt Twila

Chuck and Uncle Walt

St. Brendan's Isle - our mailing service

Chuck and his lopsided birthday cake

Pelican filled island on ICW

The only snow we're likely to see in Florida

Tug creating the snow/froth