Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not so fast about the heat!

We were going to the beach on Christmas Day no matter what! But our plans to enjoy grilled burgers, etc was overshadowed by damp, chilly weather. We went anyway, we just didn't picnic there. We grilled back at the boat. Here's Vicki in her cold weather bathing suit. And, Mike, Norm and Fran securing the adult beverages so sand crabs don't abscond with them. But, the colder temperatures kept the beer cold and the wine chilled. So, after an hour--when the mixed nuts were gone--we headed back to the boat for burgers and to play with our new Christmas toys.

We left St Augustine on Friday, the day after our "sunny beach Christmas day" and continued our journey south--still in search of warmer climes. Our first stop was in the Matanzas River where we anchored in front of an old Spanish Fort. Very pleasant stop.

The temps have improved since then. We're in the 80's, wearing shorts and t-shirts again and enjoying sunny days. Saturday was the Memorial Bridge anchorage in Daytona, yesterday and today we're anchored at Titusville north of the bridge. Today we will tour Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space complex. This will be a first for Vicki. Norm did it in 2002 while completing the Great Circle Route. (For readers who do not know what that is, it is a 6000 mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the U.S.) Anyway, Norm is looking forward to the space port again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

St Augustine Christmas with the Kumbiers!

Its Christmas morning in St Augustine. We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.
We’ve been busy having fun the last couple of days with friends Fran and Mike Kumbier here in St. Augustine. Tuesday, our arrival day from an overnight anchorage in the Tolomato River, they toted us in their jeep to do some provisioning at a super Wal-Mart and then we dined at O’Steens. It’s just up the block from the marina and famous for fried shrimp. The shrimp and also the scallops were delectable and lived up to their reputation. Just beyond O’Steens is Stewart’s Market where Vicki stocked up on wonderful local produce at good prices. Yesterday we hopped on the bikes for some touring - good stops at Flagler College (previously the Flagler Hotel) and the Fort Castillo de San Marcos. Geezer Norm was able to get us all in free on his National Parks Senior Pass.
We then had a scrumptious Christmas Eve dinner at the Rain Tree restaurant—another highly recommended spot. Both the Beef Wellington (one of their specialties) and Ahi Tuna were to die for. We don’t usually eat out so much, but this being our Christmas stop we decided to “indulge”.

As you can see, Tide Hiker was decorated for Christmas. We packed a few things aboard… The tree is very festive. The stockings were hung with care on the back door. Rick and Lynnie gave us the coolest lava lamp snow man that plugs into the computer. Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without mistletoe which Norm cleverly hung by wedging a toothpick into the light fixture and hanging the mistletoe from the toothpick. This morning we exchanged our $10 gifts. Vicki got her back massager and a subscription to download music from Apple’s I-Tunes. And, Norm got the red and green crabs he’s been wanting forever. Let us explain: These crabs are for the pilothouse and as the red and green buoys change from left to right or vice versa, we change the crabs. This way we stay reminded as to which side of the waterway we should be in. It’s actually very important and a fun way to get it done. Oh, Oh, this guy didn't have red and green crabs.

Today, the four of us will be headed to the beach for a picnic of grilled burgers, baked beans, salad and homemade apple pie with cheddar cheese on top; and of course……….cold beer ! (No, not sun-baked beans, chiln’s). Norm washed the boat this morning so of course the rain clouds are approaching. On radar it looks like it’s a small cell that will pass—hopefully. Else, we will just have to have the picnic on the boat. We're definitely not skipping the pie!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fernandino Beach, and warmer weather!!

Saturday’s voyage was three hours from an anchorage in the Brickhill River south of Jekyll Island GA to Fernandina Beach FL. See Main street left and an interesting shot of the robust foliage growing up this huge tree at a private mansion. We got a mooring ball two nights and will head toward St. Augustine today, anchoring at Pine Island tonight and then on to St. Augustine tomorrow where we’ll stay for Christmas. It's been very cold and windy so we have been "horsing" around on the mooring line quite a bit. We found a great breakfast cafe in Fernandino Beach called Bright Mornings and would recommend it to anyone coming this way. Fernandino Beach is also home to the oldest tavern in Florida--The Palace.

Here are some priceless photos from Fernandina Beach.... A VW Bus for daughter Chris and husband Joel to covet. ...and Norm, the Chrismas Dandy!

A few days ago we were lamenting the fact that friends are all around us, a few cruising days or a week away, but none will be in St. Augustine. Rick and Lynnie plan to be in Fernandino Beach for Christmas, the Gypsies and Steve and Di are in Stuart where we’ll be to celebrate the New Year, Joe Nekola parked his boat in Georgetown SC and rented a car to visit family for Christmas, Robin and Jim parked their boat at Palm Coast and got a car to visit family. Then, out of the blue, we get a call from Fran and Mike who are neighbors on dock B in Delaware. They’ve been tooling around Florida in their land yacht (aka motorhome). They are now in New Smyrna Beach which is a short ride away from St. Augustine and will head to St. Augustine to spend Christmas with us. What a blessing!

We spent some time with Glen and Jill Moore yesterday. They are DeFever cruisers who reside in St. Augustine. We had called them to get recommendations of what to do in St. A and see if we could connect while there. They’ll be gone while we’re there, but were headed up the coast in their DeFever, so we got to spend some time together in Fernandina Beach. Of course, they know everything about this area and gave us lots of tips on anchorages, shoaling in the Intracoastal Waterway, Restaurants, etc. They are also experienced Bahamas cruisers and shared some tips. The one Vicki is most likely to remember is..... don’t swim after 4:00 PM because that’s when the sharks come out --- to FEED!