Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Four cannons overlook the walls of Castillo de...Image via WikipediaWhy I love my job

I spent the day sailing, all in the name of research. Work, work, work! Does this grind never end?

Seriously, it was delightful. I joined Captain Vic and First Mate Ellen aboard their 33 ft. boat Liberty in St. Augustine. I was well prepared with enough sunscreen to shield a vampire, my guaranteed-not-to-fly-off hat and my notepad. Oh, and ginger candy just in case.

But everything was perfect. We had to cut our outing a bit short because of the typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms. We wouldn't have minded the rain, but the lightning's another story.

I was given a tour of the boat, an explanation of the lines and rigging, a crash course on how to use the radio for emergency calls, and we were underway. Captain Vic really is a licensed captain and a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, so I knew I was in good hands.

Modern sailboats come equipped with small motors, which made it easier to get in and out of the marina, but once we were out on the water, the wind took over and off we went, out of the inlet and over the bar that's protected St. Augustine from raiders for centuries, but also kept it from becoming a shipping center. We sailed out into the Atlantic and I got to haul on lines, take the helm and learn a little about reading the compass and navigating out of the inlet and past the city.

We saw a number of Homeland Security boats out on the water, and it looked like they were doing exercises.

The weather was perfect in the morning--light, steady wind, small chop, and nothing ahead but nautical miles of ocean. I also learned there was a sulfur spring off of Crescent Beach that I would have loved to visit, but we didn't have time on this trip due to the afternoon storms.

When we brought the Liberty about and came back in to the city I saw the Castillo de San Marcos from the waterside, just as pirates, privateers, rum-runners and other nautical riff-raff have seen it for hundreds of years.

It was an absolutely splendid day out on the water, and I hope to do it again soon!
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Tara Parker said...

Sounds like a fantastic day - I'm jealous! (g)

When I went Jacksonville University, my friends and I spent quite a bit of time in St. A. - I love that city.

We were supposed to go on a boat that was a replica of the 17th-18th century vessels (HUGE), but alas, they never showed up in Jax to pick us up. Bums. (g)

Darlene said...

I love St. Augustine. At least once a year I bop over there for a day of research, a nice lunch and a look through the funky little shops. It's a great get-away.

Tara Parker said...

I miss it. Flagler college and that area is my favorite.

I love the history - which is right down your alley!