Friday, December 1, 2017

Feeling Grumpy in Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine - often referred to as the USA's oldest city boasts a unique heritage that dates back to 1565, the Spanish style architecture at this time of the year is even more stunning as the Nights of Lights festival is ongoing, we were welcomed to a really fun Thanks Giving celebration and celebrated our Wedding Anniversary with a Peruvian feast however I have still been grumpy.....

Enjoying the Nights of Lights - only a little bit grumpy

We had an easy and fast trip overnight from Charleston after Andrew disconnected the faulty alternator. We arrived at the inlet channel to Saint Augustine a few hours earlier than the slack tide we had planned for, however the winds were light and the swell was only about 1 metre so we decided to brave the entrance with the tide flooding out at 3 knots. We were a bit nervous of this entrance as it is shallow, subject to drifting sands and we knew this harbour had received a battering from Hurricane Irma only a few months ago. To put our minds at rest we called the municipal marina and they assured us the buoyage was good although not charted so we set a course in.

Lovely conditions on the way to Saint Augustine

Motor sailing during the night we had both noticed the engine was a bit noisy and then when we slowed up to avoid a fishing boat we both heard a distinctive odd sound when the engine reengaged - we therefore entered the pass with sails and our anchor on standby with a lot of nervous tension. It was the first bar entrance we had crossed in months and it was pretty exhilarating with breaking waves on either side and the swell meeting the outflowing tide in the channel but the flat water was only a short distance away and Askari happily made 4 knots over the ground - yay we were in. Next we called for the Bridge of Lions to open and then we quickly tide up to a mooring ball ready to investigate the weird sound from our shaft and our burning alternator. Andrew tested the alternator the best he could but decided it needed to be bench checked by a specialist so we took that straight to a local guy who overhauled it and got it back to us the next morning.

Lights and Christmas Tree

That night we knew was the start of the Nights of Lights festival so we went into to watch the Christmas Lights being turned on and took in a great band - what a cool city this is.
Busy streets - palm trees though
At the Prohibition Kitchen

Next day was a swimming in the ICW day - Andrew's turn to take a dip after I did the last one in Maine. The muddy brown, alligator infested water was at least not too cold. He grabbed a go-pro and surveyed the propeller and shaft which all looked fine. Then moving inside Andrew spent a day working through the drive train and discovered the spare shaft seal was in the wrong place on the shaft (actually it was on the wrong way round and had been destroyed), also a couple of bolts were loose and one was the wrong. We ordered new parts online and spent another day putting the boat back together, while cursing the guy who changed our cutlass bearings in Rhode Island. Its just not worth having someone else working on your boat- they never show the same care as when we do it ourselves.

We managed to escape boat work to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary - I read about a really great Peruvian restaurant - The Llama so we booked in for a totally incredible tasting menu, complete with the best ceviche I ever ate, smoking appetisers and avocado ice cream.
Smoking Peruvian Appertiser - we hadn't had enough smoke this week after all!

Wedding Anniversary Treats

Exploring Saint Augustine

Lightner Museum - previously a lavish hotel

One of the earliest generators in the US produced power before the hotel before White House - Electricity was so new the hotel employed people to follow the guests around switching lights on and off

Lightner Musuem

Flagler College

Bridge of Lions

There's a great cruisers net in Saint Augustine that run a Facebook page and have a daily VHF broadcast with all the local information. We had arrived just in time for their annual Thanks Giving Potluck lunch, unfortunately the weather that day was just awful and there was no let up in the rain. That didn't put off over 80 cruisers gathering for an incredible spread of food and music under a borrowed canopy.
Thanks Giving 2017

Me with Dee (La Mischief) and Katie & Richard (Free Spirt)

Cruisers Jam

The storm passed and we planned to leave on Saturday for the Bahamas so Friday and slack tide we went to refuel and test our shaft work. We knew as soon as we left the mooring ball there was more work needed on the shaft - damn. Then as we came off the fuel dock, something must have got sucked into our bow thruster and we blew a fuse. Quick reactions in the now 3 knot flooding tide and gusty conditions allowed us to escape the tight inside berth, with only a big scratch on our outboard and another thing to fix! Seriously getting quite grumpy.....

This is how I have seen Andrew most of this week
Safely back on the mooring, I went ashore to plead if we could stay longer. 'No, you've outstayed your welcome' was the response I got. What the ???? We know they have a one week limit on moorings in St Augustine but I hadn't ever seen them all full - and so rude. Yes definitely grumpy now..... River's Edge Marina however came to our rescue all allocated us a lovely T-head berth we and welcomed us warmly. Dee & Steve were also there so great a night out was planned.
Beautiful Bobby Blackmon at San Sebastian Winery Roof Terrance

Safely tied up in the marina the work on the shaft continued and continued - Andrew can now remove the CV joint in 30 minutes. Our Oyster contact Adrian has just been amazing working through the issues with Andrew, everyday on the phone and getting opinions and guidance for us. Just amazing as this is not anything to do with Oyster - their customer support continues to exceed our expectations at every turn. Now they have finally co-ordinated to get us the replacement thrust bearing we need and ship them out to us as they are not available in the US. Unfortunately it will take a couple of weeks but at least we know what the problem is and have a plan. I can now stop being grumpy....
I have learnt new skills - servicing a winch for the first time

Tomorrow we move to Oasis Boatyard to wait until the parts arrive and then haul out yet again.



  1. My first visit to your blogspot. I'm inspired. Good work.
    Cheers Leanne

    1. Thx Leanne - it's alot of fun. You guys feature a bit.... Enjoy Antigua hope to see you guys soon x x