November 28, 2020
I can see how some cruisers grow roots. The days have been passing so quickly. We are here in an anchorage where everything feels safe and comfortable, and I just have to peek around the corner to see the big rollers from the ocean coming in the inlet. I was surprised when I woke up and found three of our “boat neighbors” were gone this AM. I checked the AIS, and there they were, just off shore, headed south. Looking at the weather forecast, they may be smart, because in 3 days, a cold front is going to come through, taking temperatures from the high 70s to the low 50s. Brr!
These last few days have been idyllic weather. The gusty wind let up, and the sun came out. That made us decide to tour the St. Augustine Lighthouse, over on the beach side. It is like a picture of a lighthouse in a story book. It has beautiful grounds with palm trees and live oaks dripping Spanish moss, and several restored outbuildings to investigate. The keeper’s house is large and even the basement was renovated and set up with exhibits. We decided to hike the 216 steps up the circular staircase to the top of the lighthouse and the views were worth it.
Another day we dinghied over to the free pier at Vilano Beach (north of the inlet) and biked around. There were cars that drove out onto the beach right to the edge of the waves. It looked both weird and cool to see the vehicles on the sand. The neighborhood was quiet and residential, with a mix of houses – bungalows from the fifties, and big modern beach castles. Our favorite area had small shady lanes with more of the oh so picturesque Spanish moss. It’s important to note that there is a very nice Publix (grocery store) just a quarter mile from the pier. I popped in for a back back of stuff, but we were defrosting the fridges that day, so I bought no cold stuff.
Thanksgiving was a great day. We woke up on a clear an sparkling day and went for cappuccino and muffins in town. All the tourist stuff was closed, so we wandered the historic district almost alone. The next day, Black Friday, I repeated the walk but gave up because of the throngs of people! We had a Taylor family zoom call at 3pm. That was fun because we saw some West coast relatives we wouldn’t normally see. The call quality was great, and except for some exceptionally long and loud sounds of an electric carving knife (I’m looking at you Wayne!:)) it was a good call where we got to find out what everyone was up too.
Then, it was over to a friends boat for Thanksgiving Carnitas. They were awesome, and we’d had the turkey 2 weeks ago, so absolutely perfect. LaShon and Carl were great hosts, and Megan and Chuck, and Amy and Rob were good fun. Megan wisely left before Amy LaShon and I started dancing to ABBA’s Dancing Queen. While Jeff and Rob plugged their ears.
Jeff has been especially busy with a big boat project since we’ve been here in St. Augustine. The batteries that run lights and water pumps and most other thing on the boat were getting long in the tooth, and it was time for new. We decided to make a pretty major change from lead-acid to lithium-phosphate. The lithiums are much more expensive, but they last longer and should save money in the long run, plus they can be charged up more quickly, which is nice.
Here are some before and after specs:
Number of Batteries 6 4
Total Weight 972 lbs 304 lbs
Usable capacity 700Ah 1200 amp hours
The technology and why they work differently is pretty interesting, but there are lots of better sources for that info. I will just say we are running the generator less, and the boat doesn’t list to port any more. Our boat always listed a degree or two to port. The previous owners told us that was because our liquor locker (on starboard) was dangerously low on rum, but it turns out removing hundreds of pounds of lead batteries from under the port settee was another solution.
We have reserved our mooring here until December 3rd, a total of 2 weeks. That’s the longest we’ve been anywhere since we left Oyster Bay.