Thursday, March 31, 2011

St Augustine – We go around! (again)

One of the many old streets of St. Augustine
At Ft Matanzas the morning was lost to storms but we watched the weather radar intently to see if there was a window for getting to St Augustine and a mooring sometime in the afternoon. From St. Augustine it would only be about 34 miles to our next anchorage at Sisters Creek. Sure enough, the storms finally all passed us by 1:00 pm so we prepared to weigh anchor and head north.

This stretch of the ICW is not supposed to be shallow so we anticipated no problems. However, we did start out at a dead low tide and was merrily tooling along when I came to a sudden stop, I checked the chartplotter and I was right on the magenta line (the preferred route printed on the paper charts) and also within the red and green buoys that mark the boundaries of the ICW. So it wasn’t possible that I was aground but I most assuredly was! But at this stage of our adventure we are not so alarmed anymore about going aground – it happens. So Ann pulled in the dinghy (so the painter wouldn’t get wrapped around the prop) and then I put Fleetwing in reverse and we backed off and turned to deeper water. There was 12 ft off to starboard where the chartplotter said not to go! As we proceeded further, I noticed several spots where the depth start to get shallow and so I started a “meander search” where I would meander over to starboard and watch the depth sounder to see if the water deepens, if not I’d meander over to port and hope for happiness there. So far, there’s always been deeper water to the right or left whenever I’ve found shallow water directly under the keel. This technique will be challenged when we reach Georgia and South Carolina where the ICW is notoriously shallow (no funds for dredging – where is government spending when you want it!)

Many modern shops too
We took a walk along some of the streets of St Augustine. It’s America’s oldest city and the streets are very picturesque and there are dozens of art shops and plenty of restaurants. The city seems to be in the midst of a revitalization but new parks and waterfront improvements. They’ve just renovated the “Bridge of Lions” over the ICW, a real showcase if you like bridges.

We’re headed for Sisters Creek on Friday, an anchorage with a boat ramp (for Hoolie!) nearby.