Sunday, March 24, 2019

Palm Beach to St. Augustine

Perhaps we should add another metric: How often we hit other boats. Officially, today is 1.
So, the scoreboard reads:

     2 - nights anchored
     2 - times aground
     1 - scrape

We planned on dawdling the morning in Palm Beach. The little marina was very friendly and very affordable. But when we saw other boats heading out just as the sun came up, we got itchy gills (since itchy feet on a boat just means you need some ointment). We were pulling out just after 9 am.

It wasn't a far ride to St. Augustine. We met and chatted with (via radio) other loopers on their way. The day was warm, sunny, and the water friendly. With the exception of being massively waked by a boat called Summer Villa (I deemed him Summer Villain), it was a dandy ride.

The marina we're staying at is off the ICW on the San Sebastian River. It got some great reviews from other loopers; cheaper than the marinas right in the city, quieter, and more private, with easy access to the downtown. Sounded perfect. 

See the bumps on the beach? Those are cannonball jellyfish.
And they are everywhere!

As we headed up the river I noticed both the current and the wind. They weren't crazy strong, but they definitely impacted the movement of the boat. Russ hailed the marina on the radio, got no response. Then he called the on cell. By that time we'd passed the place. While he was getting docking instructions, I turned the boat around. All fine.

The instructions we got was to park on the T, between two boats, on the B dock. We were told it was a 50 foot space (and we are a 40 foot vessel). Right away, I notice the wind was pushing us into the dock. Moreover, I'm not wild about parking between two vessels. But we gave it a shot.

Other boat owners came out (it's what you do when you hear engines nearby) to lend a hand. In front was a power yacht, in back, a sailboat. I aimed for in between.

The approached went slowly, which is good. Russ tossed a line, someone caught it. But my back end started to drift towards the sailboat. I moved closer to the front, but I didn't feel like I had enough space. Meanwhile, we continued to move to the sailboat.

Finally, I said I was giving up, threw the starboard engines in reverse, trying to swing the dinghy away from the sailboat. I used some throttle, trying to back away, but I wasn't able to clear the boat. Our bumper skid along their side. That is such a horrible feeling.

Frazzled, I noticed the A dock had NO BOATS on it. I just parked Cat-n-Dogs there, without permission or incident. Russ went to the office to see remaining here would be okay. He came back with thumbs up.

Safely parked in A dock. You can see B dock behind us.
Being conscientious boaters, Russ went to the sailboat to offer compensation. He saw the scratches, three of them, the longest was maybe three inches. In other words, really not much at all. The sailboat owners were long timers at the marina and knew a repair person who happened to be working here at the time. We got a quote for repairs, and shook hands. 

Throughout much of the day I fretted over the incident. I feel I should have declined the spot once I saw it and saved everyone the excitement. But, it's done, and no real harm was made. 

We got out our bikes and headed for the darling town of St. Augustine.

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