Be careful especially for shoaling and current
in the St. Augustine area, specifically the Matanzas region, primarily north of St. Augustine. There are some real shoaling issues there, or at least there were when we went earlier this spring. Matthew hit this fall, so I cannot imagine the storm improved anything. Also, watch for wrecks in the ICW
because I would bet that some of the derilect and moored vessels we saw are likely on the bottom now, and I do recall
one such critter with exposed mast
, but no hull
visible. If the rigging
is gone now, you won't see the hull
until you hit it, and it WAS in the center of the channel north of St. Augustine (barely north). It was NOT on the charts
at that time.
The marina we used in the St. Augustine area was what I would call costly, I think we paid something like 50 bucks for a single
night at the one we used (near the inlet, at the base of a bridge, "Camachee Island" I think?). The marina had excellent facilities, however, and services that were available that we did not use, so I cannot honestly state that I felt disserved. They did not charge us for pumpout service
(we were using a bucket which they accepted, when Daytona's yacht club would not) and they also provided water
and power within the fifty bucks, if I recall
In St. Augustine, the people were nice as could be, but it was tight maneuvering in there, the tide was turning, the wind
was strong and counter to our needs, and the vessels we had to navigate through cost far more than our paltry sailboat did, so I was extremely nervous while there. There is a great pizza shop within close walking distance, though. The waitress had some great tattoos that were tasteful and she was an excellent waitress, the cooks were great, and it was a family
situation is better in one way, no real shoaling, deep channel, but keep good charts
and use a depth
finder in case because you may occasionally get chased out of the channel by power boaters, tugs, and very large transport container ships quite often.
The Jacksonville inlet can be dangerous for sailors because of the way power boaters race
through it, even the law enforcement boats don't watch their wakes. We took a 6+ foot wave when one of those powered by, and he did not even slow down. Had I not been watching and actively dodging wakes the whole time, the wake would have caught us broadsides, and the result may have been far less enjoyable. The admiral was lifted about two feet off the settee as it was. Barely woke her up. Gotta love the way a H27 Shoal keeler parts
and rides an incoming 6 foot wake! The outboard
was spinning freely out of the water
though, which was definitely not the best way to operate one.
Go to the Landing at Jacksonville and use the public dock
there, outside Hooters (who has a great cod sandwich plate and the burgers are out of this world), the Main Street Bridge will open for you, but there is also a rail trestle there, which would have to open as well. The same operator seems to run them both. There was some work
going on with those earlier this year, and I seem to recall the openings were going to be restricted, but that may be over with now. I don't know, and have not heard anything updating that since our trip. Regardless, the docking
of your vessel at Hooters overnite is free, and you can walk less than 30 feet to lunch or dinner. ATM is around the corner, outside the restaurant street entrance, perhaps 50 feet away on the port side as you leave the restaurant on that side (the part of the structure opposite the dock).
I will also say that if you go then into the Palatka area, on the St. John's (south of the Main Street Bridge), the owner of the Crystal Cove Marina rented us a transient slip for ten bucks a nite, and even with no power or water at the dock
for that price
, it was a great deal. He may do the same for you or not, I don't know, but they are a great bunch there. Ask for Kelly or his wife (cannot recall her name, but she is also nice).
The area is clean and quiet, and people seem to watch out for each other there.