March 9-10. Left the docks of Daytona Beach at 7:30am heading to St. Augustine. We are cruising the Palm Coast. We’ve never seen such a jungle of palm trees; they have grown so close together that you couldn’t walk through the wooded area. Now that’s a lot of palm trees considering they have no branches on their sides (all their growth is on top). – The wind blew up as we approached St. Augustine at 2:30pm hitting 25mph making it bumpy to dock.
Explored in 1513 and founded in 1565 by the Spanish it is the oldest continuously occupied European established city and port in the continental United States, earning its nickname “Ancient City”. Officially Florida became a U.S. possession in 1821 and gained statehood in 1845. There is so much history here with beautiful and well-maintained buildings. – Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is located here, and we heard an interesting story about Ray Charles. He attended this school from 1937-45 learning classical music and Braille, but he was a bit of a rascal. Charles was more interested in jazz. He used to sneak out at night and get into “mischief” by playing at various bars which was frowned upon. He did it so often they kicked him out, and it didn’t take him long to become famous with his wonderful new style of music.
March 11. At 7:15am we left the docks of St. Augustine. The temperature has dipped to 30 degrees, “brrrrrrr.” Where did the 70′s/80′s go?? – After a bumpy cruise we arrived in Jacksonville, FL 2:30pm. At last we are on the St. John’s River. Oh my goodness, where have we docked. After tying the lines, we got off the boat and lo and behold what should appear but a micro brewery. Me thinks we are in trouble. – We got a call from “Breaking Away”, these are Loopers that we last saw on the Illinois River. We had a reunion at guess where– happy hour at the micro brewery (see, I knew we were in trouble).
March 12. We decided to stay another day to see the sights of Jacksonville. There is a 15K race (mini marathon), a farmers market where we were able to get some needed fresh produce (our timing is good since there’s no grocery store within biking distance), and a mall (Landings of Jacksonville). What a wonderful bike ride along the shore of the St. Johns River. Jacksonville, Florida (nickname is the River City) is the largest city in the state and the 13th largest in the U.S. It was named after Andrew Jackson who we know was President (7th), but he was also the first military governor of the Florida Territory. Some of the oldest pottery was found here dating back to 2500 BC.
March 13. At 8pm (but it’s really 7am since we turned the clocks ahead for daylight savings time last night) we left the docks of Jacksonville. We are on our way to cruise and explore the St. Johns River. This is something that we have talked about doing for 20 years but somehow never got to it. Well, we’re getting to it now. – This river is the longest in Florida and has springs that you can get to from there ( Alexander Springs, Salt Springs, Silver Springs and Wekiwa Springs to name a few). After 8 hours of travel we anchored on Murphy Creek off of the St. Johns River.