TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 71 NM
ANCHORED JUST BEFORE THE NEW SMYRNA BRIDGE ABOUT MM 844
SUNRISE AT PINE ISLAND: 7:06 AM
SUNSET AT NEW SMYRNA ANCHORAGE: 5:26 PM
This morning’s overcast skies delayed the visibility as well as our departure but we pulled out of the anchorage around 6:45 to find that there were 8 sailboats snuggled in with Quest last night. Someone must have sneaked in under the radar.
|THE SUN STRETCHES TO SHOW ITS BRILLIANCE|
News flash! It was a balmy 58 this morning at 5:00 with no heaters or sweatshirts required. We even slept with the windows opened. Sweet!
Our approach to St. Augustine brought us past Fort Matanzas whose job it was to protect the Matanzas River entrance to the larger Fort Castillo de San Marcos. With the low tide we were able to pass under the picturesque Bridge of Lions without waiting for its next scheduled opening.
|FORT MATANZAS AT ST. AUGUSTINE|
|THE GRACEFUL BRIDGE OF LYONS|
Florida is known for its mild winters that bring an influx of aged “Snow Birds” to inhabit it numerous resorts and beach condos. We, however, are loving their other seasonal Snow Birds. The American White Pelicans migrate here from December to March. These spectacular birds weigh between 10-20 lbs. and have a wingspan of 8-10 ft. Their feeding methods are quite different from the brown pelican’s that dive for their supper. The cleaver white birds float as a team to herd the sought after fish into shallow waters then just dip their huge beaks down and scoop up their catch.
|AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS INSTEAD OF SNOW IN DECEMBER|
Manatee! Manatee! Manatee alert! Dan caught sight of a manatee not far in front of us. We watched its peculiar trail of undulating rings until she finally stuck her nose up for air. Hooray! These “sea cows” average between 880 to 1,200 lbs. and about 9 ft. in length. They are herbivores and commonly consume up to 10% of their bodily weight each day.
|Image by Getty Images via @daylife|
|THIS IS MOST OFTEN ALL YOU GET TO SEE OF THE MANATEE.|
JUST A BIT OF NOSE BREAKING THE WATER IN SEARCH OF A BREATH OF AIR
As we were approaching our anchorage just north of the New Smyrna Coronado Bridge, a Good Samaritan beckoned to us from his dock. Seems we were heading right for a shallow shoal. Thanks to his advice we found the correct way into the anchorage. A light mist in the air resulted in a rainbow as Dan was finishing up with anchoring. Nice reward for a long day!
|JUST A SLIP OF A RAINBOW OVER THE FAR SHORE|
Now it was time for a scoot around the surrounding neighborhood in the tender. With shoes, an oar, charged phone and handheld radio we were prepared and ready to go. OK, so we have traveled over 16,000 NM in Quest and don’t you know that we run aground in the tender? There was Dan, dragging us off the sand with the paddle. Just glad it didn’t happen in the “big boat”.
|WE COULD HAVE "BEEN UP A CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE"|
BUT LUCKILY WE WERE PREPARED
Relaxing in the salon after dinner we could hear splatters and a cuffing sound. With the spotlight we were able to discern movement in the water but we don’t know if it was a dolphin or a manatee coming up for a breath. I, of course, chose to believe that we had a guardian manatee grazing around the Quest.