Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shore Leave in St. Augustine

Joe checking out the drawbridge into Castillo de San Marcos
     St. Augustine's harbor on Matanzas Bay has been a popular stop along the north south route for centuries. Today it still offers safe harbor as well as numerous amenities for cruising boats. Historical landmarks, restaurants and cafes, a modest but well stocked grocery on nearby Anastasia Island, a liquor store, marine consignment exchange and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The municipal marina offers a mooring field for a modest price where boaters can stop for a few days, catch their breath, catch up on laundry duties and reunite with fellow cruisers while visiting this historic city.
One of four bastions overseeing Matanzas Bay

A young boy enjoying the joy of music 
      We always look forward to having quality shore leave in St. Augustine. Even though we've made this stop several times it seems we always make new discoveries. Each year the National Park Service offers free admission on Veteran's Day for tours of Castillo de San Marcos. We'd arrived a day before the holiday and were able to take the free tour. The fort was once the northernmost outpost of Spain's New World Empire. Construction which began in 1672 was completed in 1695. The tour of Castillo de San Marcos was self guided with a few guides dressed in period costume stationed in rooms throughout the fort who were well versed in lore of the time period.

Crowds enjoying the beautiful day

      It was an interesting day albeit crowded with families along with us enjoying the fee waiver. Later that afternoon we met with fellow Island Packet cruisers at the Legion Post. This is a local "best deal in town" favorite of ours where drinks are always happy hour prices with the best ever shrimp basket for only $9.00! Great friends and good food. It's an extraordinary and occasionally a simple life.
A spontaneous rendezvous of Island Packet owners at the
St. Augustine Legion Post.
from left Kismet (Jim & Laurie) Salt Shaker (Gwen & Walter)
Simple Life (Michele) Slo Flight (Steve) Passages (Mo & George)
photo by Joe Boulsy

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