Hurricane Matthew had wrecked havoc on St Augustine, causing million of dollars in damage. The Municipal Marina also suffered over a million dollars worth of damage. Yet, they were still able to provide services to local mariners.
We really enjoy the city and community here, so we decided to stay a little longer. While no marinas in the area currently have monthly availability for slips or mooring balls, we can still take advantage of the facilities at a reasonable monthly price at the Municipal Marina.
Land access is great here, no matter where we need to go. The Municipal Marina provides easy access to the Historic Downtown District. Provisioning can be done by accessing the Cats Paw Marina dinghy dock. Vilano Beach is also just a few blocks from Publix. Home Depot and West Marine are also easy accessible and just a dinghy ride away.
**Not to mention there is a Cruisers Net every morning on the VHF radio. They welcome new boats while saying farewell to departing boats. They have announcements for community events and buy, sell or trade for cruisers.
Within a week of being back in St Augustine, our dinghy engine broke down. Willow worked on it for hours with no success in getting it fixed this time. We put up a post on the local Cruisers Net Page and received several helpful responses.
One of the suggestions included a recommendation to a local mechanic who also had an engine for sale. Through another response, we also met a fellow sailor, Gaelen, who introduced us to Sailors Exchange. We hadn’t been here yet and was quite impressed with their inventory.
**I use to get exited to go to Victoria Secret to pick up lotions or by shopping for clothes or purses online. Now, I get excited to shop for boat stuff!
After assessing the extent of the issue, Willow decided to purchase another engine, instead of repairing our current one. Once he picked up the engine we spent the remainder of the day doing laundry, updating charts, maps and apps, while using wi-fi at the Municipal Marina.
By the end of the day we were ready for a break and some refreshing drinks. We found a little lounge across the street, Tradewinds, that had just reopened since the hurricane.
We spent the evening here relaxing and listening to live music. They made great Margaritas as well!
We met up with Gaelen at the Municipal Marine for lunch one afternoon. He recommended a great local taco place, Burrito Works Taco Shop. They had amazing burritos!
I told Willow that I couldn’t figure out how we had passed this place up so many times walking down St George Street. He responded “That’s because we always get to Pizza Time first”. We agreed, they do have the best pizza ever!
Gaelen had another recommendation. We headed over to a little shop, Isabela’s Bar Cuba. While I’m not a fan of cigars, I do love wine! Isabela had such a great place. She hasn’t many selections of wine with a comfortable atmosphere to just hang out.
I ended up heading back to Isabela’s several times. Isabel and Priscilla are so welcoming. I have also acquired a taste for port wine now and they made me superb Cuban Coffee! I hadn’t had coffee this great since we left Key West.
After almost two weeks here we started missing the ocean and sailing. Another great aspect of St Augustine is its closeness to the ocean. The inlet is a little over two miles away, making it hassle free, to head out for open ocean sailing.
We headed out for a sail and spent a day doing nothing but that! No destination. No schedule. It was wonderful.
We came back and spent a few nights anchored near Vilano Beach. It wasn’t comfortable with the strong current by the bridge there so we headed through the Bridge of Lions to anchor south of the mooring field.
There is so much to see and do here. The town is very cruiser friendly, similar to Marathon. We discovered resources from not only listening to the Net every morning but also checking the Cruisers Net Page. A network of cruisers providing resources for each other is the heart of the cruising community.
“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”
~James Whitcomb Riley