The signs around us all said we were in Florida, land of sunshine, beaches, palm trees and perpetual warmth. The ads on satellite TV (ours comes out of New York City) showed “younglings,” in Bikinis and Speedos, frolicking in the sand, all beckoning frozen Northerners to join them and escape the cold of winter. The harsh reality, however, was the temperature in Jacksonville Beach was only 45-°F by day and as low as 18-°F at night. Kim and I, along with the Locals, huddled against the cold, dressed in heavy winter jackets and wool ski caps and there wasn’t a single person in a bathing suit to be found. So, the only sensible this to do was pack up our belongings and head further south; searching for that elusive thing called warm weather.
So, with the decision made, we rolled out of bed around 7:00 AM on Saturday, and, after a quick breakfast, began unhooking water hoses, electrical cables and lines. We were clear of the dock by 0830, pulling out of Palm Cove Marina, motoring into the ICW and heading south. But, before we could go very far, we encountered a 45-minute delay, as the bridge construction site, where State Route 90 goes over the ICW, (it was supposed to be unrestricted on Saturday) was closed. A barge was delivering equipment to the construction site and had the entire ICW blocked. So, we puttered around, North of the bridge, until the equipment was off-loaded and the barge moved out of the channel.
The cloud cover finally cleared off around 10:00 AM and with it gone, the sun beat down upon us bright and strong. Although it was still in the high 50’s outside, inside our fully enclosed cockpit, the temperature soon reached a pleasant 78-°F. So, for the remaining 2 hours of our journey to St. Augustine, we sat about in T-shirts and shorts for the first time in over 2 months. It was really quite a treat.
Around 12:00 PM, we finally turned into the Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor, which is on the north side of St. Augustine. We had last been there right after our return from the Bahamas in 2008 and it was still as nice as ever. Camachee Cove is fully protected from the weather, right next to the ICW and less than a mile from the St. Augustine Inlet. They also have a courtesy car for transient boaters, so a trip to the grocery or other essential destination is easy to accomplish. Dinner that night was at the Kingfisher Grill, where the food and service was excellent and the atmosphere cheerful. The place was soon full and bustling with activity in spite of the reports of a bad economy.
With dinner done, it was back to the boat for a good night’s sleep. It’s about 50° here tonight (what a difference 30 miles to the south makes) so we won’t need to run the heaters and wake up with dried out sinuses. In the morning, it will be off to Daytona Beach, FL and the Daytona 500 and Bike week.