Trip Log - Pg 8

November 08, 2011 to November 15, 2011

November 08, 2011

Up and ready to go by 0900hrs – we needed to wait for the Lion’s Bridge to open at around 1000hrs.

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St. Augustine Municipal Marina – North Side – we are on the South Side after the bridge

We grabbed a mooring ball at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina at a cost of 20$ a day with access to showers, laundry and internet. It’s perfect since we haven’t had a good shower since the day before we left for the sea.

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I’m so dirty - I’m not allowed back on the boat ‘til I’ve showered ;)

Once all settled into our mooring, we got the dinghy off the deck and we got ourselves ready to go to land. The facility is fantastic – they offer laundry, internet and clean showers. There is a lot of tourist information available and a trolley stops here to pick up passengers. For 1$ we can get a tour around the historic downtown. We plan on staying here for a few days so it’s on the list.

Once all showers and smelling fresh – we walked around this lovely historical town…in search for a restaurant. The Spanish influence here is remarkable. We are looking forward to learning a bit of the history tomorrow. For now, we just took some random pictures of some beautiful buildings and houses.

First up was the Flagler College – I want to go to school here!!!

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Plaque outside the College detailing its history

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Inside the gardens

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The ceiling inside the main hall

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Staircase that I can picture myself climbing heading to class!

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In front of this lovely fountain!

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A close-up of part of the building – look at the detailed mosaic!!

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Neat alley with a cool car…it’s like we stepped back in time for a moment. 

 

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Steve walking by the Oldest House…I gotta snap him quickly…  

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One of the many lovely residential homes in the area – it’s lush with vegetation.

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A fence along one of the residential homes

The shopping and tourist trapp-y stuff is a little overwhelming but we did find a great Pizzeria that I don’t remember the name of – that we DELICOUS!!

We headed back to the boat with full bellies and made a plan to do laundry then explore the city some more tomorrow. We are headed to the Sailor’s Exchange to hopefully find some treasures.

November 09, 2011

After doing laundry and checking email we headed to the Sailors Exchange. It is the used sail boat stuff mecca! This place is not very big but has bits and pieces of EVERYTHING you can imagine. It’s organized chaos! It’s a little too chaotic for me but Steve was in heaven. Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything on our list but it was fun just the same.

We headed back to the “Historical” downtown to do some shopping. There are SO MANY SHOPS it turned out to too much for us. We walked around in a daze for a couple of hours but couldn’t bring ourselves to buy anything. I think being secluded on a boat for several weeks has made us a little sensitive to big crowds and loud noises LOL!!!

We did spend a few dollars at the Spirits store and bought three bottles of rum!! It’s so cheap here!! The biggest bottle of Sailor Jerry’s was on sale for 19.99!! We headed back to the boat for a relaxing evening of rum and diet Pepsi, dominos and left over pizza. We enjoyed the view and the lovely sunset – full moon tonight J

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View from our mooring while sipping a strong glass of rum – we got ice for the occasion J

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Another view from our mooring

 

Grocery’s tomorrow and a little culture with a visit to the Lightner Museum.

November 10, 2011

A beautiful, sunny, warm day in St. Augustine J

We started our day with a surprisingly expensive coffee and muffins at the Caza Monica Hotel Café. We saw they had free WIFI and a great view of King Street so we decided to do our email and internet work from there. We finalized plans for Steve’s kids visit in December. It will be a fun filled week in Fort Lauderdale and we are really looking forward to it!

We then headed to the Lightner Museum. The entrance fee was a modest 10$ a person. We didn’t know much about it only that it was across the street from Flagler College and it had an extensive are collection. Boy - were we in from a treat!

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Outside of the Lightner Museum – the statue in the front is of Don Pedro Menendes DeAviles – founder of St. Augustine in the mid 1500’s

First, a little history about the museum as told by a historian(trustee maybe) at the beginning of our visit. She did a presentation on Lightner’s collection of unusual musical machines. She was an excellent storyteller and the following is what I remembered from it…so forgive me if there are any inaccuracies as I didn’t take notes:

This building was built by Henry M. Flagler in the mid 1800’s.

The original building was a fancy hotel, built prior to the Ponce de Leon Hotel, now known as Flagler College (Pictures of the college in the Nov 08th log).

In the early 1900’s the economy wasn’t doing well and people didn’t have as much money to spend on fancy hotels. Since the Ponce de Leone Hotel was the nicer of the two hotels, it stayed open while the Lightner building closed. When Flagler died he left the Lightner building to be managed by the railroad magnate who basically abandoned it and left if for ruin. Enter - Lighter but first, who is he?

Otto C. Lightner (1887-1950) became an eccentric collector. He amassed his wealth from the printing business. He learned the business in his late teens and owned his own press at a very young age. When the press wasn’t doing very well, he sold it but kept all the printed assets. He then moved to Chicago and opened more printing presses and started a newspaper in called the Chicago Tribune. Newspapers during that time were not doing very well. So, Lightner had a great idea; he went around to all the businesses in the area and asked them if they would be interested in having their business information in his paper - known today as advertising. Yes, Otto C. Lightner was a genius - you could say he is the founder of advertising - and made a fortune!!

So, what does an eccentric guy with lots of money do – he begins collecting things. He would go to estate sales and buy entire estates. One story she told as an example of his obsession was: He went to a particular estate sale and loved the collection so much that he bought the mansion it came in! He also bought the mansion next door and built a bridge between them so he could be closer to his collection.

He collected so many things he needed a place to store them. Business brings him to St. Augustine where he discovers this abandoned Hotel – the perfect venue to display his elaborate collection. The city owned it and wanted 150 thousand dollars for it. Lightner offered a 125 thousand dollars. The city thought about it and countered with a price of 125 thousand but they would be trustees for the remaining 25 thousand. Lightner only wanted to pay 125 thousand so he agreed. He spent nine months moving his collections from Chicago to St. Augustine when he suddenly died in 1950.

Lightner’s two wives were dead and he had no children or other family. Since the city of St. Augustine was the trustee over the Flagler hotel, the entire collection and the building now became the property of St. Augustine!!

The city quickly discovered what a collection they had and decided to turn the old hotel into a museum. For years the city sorted through the enormous collection and renovated the old hotel to be a suitable museum. By the 1990’s the museum came into its own. There are many remnants of the hotel that were preserved and are on display amongst this elaborate collection, making this museum a MUST-SEE for anyone coming to St. Augustine.

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The historian giving us a history of Mr. Lightner standing in front of an Orchestra Machine – it has a piano, strings, flute and drums…

His collection is elaborate and sometimes odd. He had collections of shaving mugs and razors, match labels, buttons, women’s clothing, hand bags, children’s toys, oil lamps, ornate furniture from around the world, rare carvings and glassware, an entire wall of native arrow heads and spear points, African artifacts, porcelain figurines, statues, paintings, stuffed animals, mineral deposits, buttons, coins, tobacco holders, pipes, a Mummy…and on and on. These are the personal items of the rich from the late 1800’s and 1900’s which makes this entire collection a time piece of that era. I took a few pictures but none of them give it justice.

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One of the many statues…this one is displayed in the entrance

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A lion A Mummy!

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The collection of crystal and glassware

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The Porcelain collection – this used to be the gymnasium when it was the Hotel 

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Porcelain Figurine of the Goddess Diana made in Germany CIRCA 1910 

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Some of the furniture collection 

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This was the Great Ballroom in the Hotel days is now displayed with many pieces of furniture and other interesting things…

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A Secretary (Ecritoire) – displayed in the Great Ballroom

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Part of the Button Collection

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Cigar Label Art – yes this entire piece is made from Cigar Labels. 

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Interesting furniture

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View from the Great Ballroom of the restaurant and gift shops. In the Hotel days this was an enormous pool with a removable ceiling!! The restaurant side was the deep end of the pool and was filled in to accommodate the restaurant. 

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A collection of toasters…

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A room filled with a collection of stained glass. This room was the massage room in the hotel days.

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The gardens within the museum where Lighter is buried...

We were famished, so we headed for burgers and fries, then to the grocery store and back to the boat. All in all a great day!

November 11, 2011 – Remembrance Day

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A Canadian Moment

The plaintive wail of the pipes

And the soft beat of the muffled

Echo in the morning mist.

The maple leaf snaps in the wind

Above the bowed heads of the mourners

While the words of John McRae’s

Immortal poem: “In Flanders Field” are read

As the bugler sounds the last post

The youngsters fidget, and

Look forward to playtime.

The oldsters shuffle, cough

And look backward to wartime

The past and the future of this

Blessed land mingle here

At the eleventh hour

On the eleventh day

Of the eleventh month.

Lest we forget.

A poem by William Bedford

We are leaving St. Augustine this morning around 1000hrs headed for Daytona and will be remembering our fallen soldiers at the appropriate hour on this Remembrance Day.

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It was a chilly, windy but sunny day on the water. This seems to be the weather trend on our travel days. There is even a FROST warning tonight – it will be another cold night on our little plastic boat. We are regretting not bringing some sort of heater with us. Note to anyone thinking of doing this trip at this time a year to bring a heater!

We anchored in a little river called the “Cement Plant” in the Captain Bob’s Anchorage Guide. It really didn’t seem all that appealing in the guide but it was the only place available. Anchorages are really sparse between St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral and with shorter day light hours we can only do about 30 to 40 miles a day.

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Anchorage Cement Plant

This is a lovely protected anchorage – what a surprise!! There are birds of all kinds everywhere, jumping fish...but still no manatee.

November 12, 2011

The Cement Plant anchorage is fantastic!! The boat did not move an inch! Even though we were cold, we slept like rocks until we were woken up by condensation dripping from the ceiling onto our faces.

There is wildlife is everywhere in this little spot. Steve went into the cockpit this morning and spotted a stag on the hill, herons squawking on the bank, egrets and other birds feeding along the shore and even a sea otter swam by the boat and popped its head out at us. He joked that Disney must have sent out their welcoming committee!!

We made it as far as Daytona Beach – it’s not terribly scenic from the water but I am sure the beaches must be worth it. We did however, come across a sailboat race while passing through.

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Boats everywhere!

Florida is a Manatee Protection Zone…I have only seen a manatee on nature shows or for Steve, he saw them in the flesh in a zoo. Both of us are very excited for an opportunity to see one in the wild. Manatees are also referred to as “Sea Cows” because they are so big -anywhere between 800 to 1200lbs!! They are slow moving mammals who live in salt, brackish or fresh water areas. They eat grass and prefer warmer water.

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These signs are everywhere cautioning boaters to slow down. Boaters are a huge threat to the manatee. Many are often scarred and/or killed by propellers from passing boats.

The trick to spotting a manatee is to look for a swirl in the water from them coming up for air but we have not yet spotted any.

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LOTS OF PELICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pelicans are so neat – they actually fly in a similar formation to Canada Geese. They have tiny little airbags in their necks to protect them from breaking them when they dive for fish.

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Anchorage in Daytona Beach area

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Anchorage - other view - palm trees in the background :)

November 13, 2011

It’s a warm and sunny day as we made our way to Titusville where we plan on spending a couple of days with Steve’s parents at their winter home in Lakeland, Florida. I CANNOT WAIT to see them AND spend a couple of days on land J

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A sunken boat...we have seen quite of few of these sad little abandoned boats on this trip…I find they are a little spooky and wonder what kind of story it could tell...We arrived at Titusville Municipal Marina around 1330hrs. Fortunately for us, they installed a huge mooring field a couple of weeks ago. We got fuel, water and secured a mooring for three days at 15$ a day!!!

The facility is great – the laundry is cheap, the showers are clean and the people are friendly. Our only complaint is the internet was not accessible.

We headed back to the boat for supper and sleep as Steve’s parents are picking us up in the morning J

November 14, 2011

We saw a manatee this morning!

While waiting for Steve’s parents to arrive, we went for a walk around the docks. We were told by the dockmaster that 40 manatee live around this marina. One man was hosing off his boat so we stopped to chat and noticed a big snout popping out of the water sucking the fresh water from the drain hole!! The manatee was so cute - he even had bottom paint on his nose. The boat owner explained to us that the manatees hang out by the boats hoping to get a drink of fresh water. Manatees are crazy for fresh water. The manatee even let us pet his nose. We couldn’t see the rest of him but there was a great big body beneath the water. We hope to see another again soon J

Ray and Betty arrived around 0930hrs and took us back to their lovely home in Lakeland. What a ride!! Steve and I have not been moving faster than 10 MHP for 8 weeks. Getting in the van and driving on the highway felt like we were on a roller coaster!!!

We spent two wonderful days visiting. We ate well, we shopped and went to the movies J It was so nice to spend a couple of days with family - off the boat, in a real bed with unlimited showers ;) THANK  YOU J