|St Augustine Lighthouse|
Yes, that is a picture of the St. Augustine Lighthouse above. Yes, you can go into it and climb the 219 steps to the top for what I am sure is a stunning view of the area. No, we did not choose to do this. Are you kidding? There is a time when we would have readily done this, but our knees and ankles have aged a bit since we began our annual adventures and some things we just have to let go....
Anyway, we awoke this morning to the alarm at 7:30am, a bit of a challenge since we managed to stay up until 3 am the night before journaling away. After breakfast we were off for the days' adventures which centered around an EcoTour of the inter coastal water that is one of the bodies of water that surrounds Saint Augustine. This tour, which doesn't seem to be very popular with tourists, was recommended to us by some of the locals working at one of the trolley stops. Again we were blessed with stunning weather for the day. We arrived at the city marina just in the nick of time to board our boat. There was only one other couple on the tour with. A lovely couple who were from Georgia and had wonderful southern accents.
|Our tour guide, Joyce|
Our tour guide was Joyce, who looked as if she lived outdoors and proved to be very knowledgeable about the waterways and the animal life that inhabits both the water and the air in this area.
|The Bridge of Lions|
Apparently this happens about once every hour throughout the day and can cause quite a traffic jam in town. We were happy to be on the water where it didn't affect us at all. Joyce then turned the boat inland and took us to an marshy inlet that is actually a river. Here she pointed out many a group of brown pelicans, a white egret and a bed of oysters.
We left the small inlet and went a bit further inland under a higher bridge where she pointed out a type of sponge that lives right at the waterline on the concrete pilings of the bridge. These small sponges are orange and I would have thought it was just some kind of rust had she not pointed this out.
We then turned around and headed back the other direction, towards the inlet where we first spotted the solo dolphin, because Joyce had caught sight of a pair of dolphins, a mother and her youngster. Pretty soon we all caught sight of these two as well as the first dolphin we had seen. After watching them a while, Joyce pointed out a young osprey that was sitting atop one of the signs posted for boaters and she brought the boat closer so that we could get a good look.
|One legged osprey|
She took us close to the fort that was constructed hundreds of years ago of coquina to defend the city. Coquina was the only rock available in the area when the fort was constructed and had never been used before, so the Spanish were unsure how well it would hold up when attacked so they built the walls 12 feet thick. Turns out this material which consists of millions of shells of dead sea creatures that has been compressed over the years into a form of rock is quite resilient and with all of the little air pockets in it just absorbed the impact of cannon balls launched at it and the fort never fell in all the years that it served to defend St. Augustine against attack.
|Saint Augustine Fort|
After shopping, we both realized that our late night of journaling had caught up with us and we were both pretty tired, so we decided to go back to the condo for a little bit to catch a quick nap so that we would be refreshed for our visit with our new friends, Julian and Shelley, whom we had met at Mi Casa Cafe and who had invited us to their home.
We napped, then went back into town to Julian and Shelley's beautiful home on Water Street. As one might suspect from the name of the street, their house had definitely suffered some damage from the hurricane and they were still in the process of recovering, restoring and replacing things that were damaged.
|Debris pile from hurricane damage awaiting pick up|
|The amazing fireplace in Shelley and Julian's home|
We left there around 8:30 or so and had intentions of staying up and journaling through this last full day of our trip, after Kathi's cooked up more delicicious hamburger and onions for us for dinner, but after eating we were both starting to nod off, so we decided that we get a good nights' sleep, so we could get up early in the morning to pack and journal.
Oh, and Kathi's Amazon package? She had received a text message from Amazon saying it had been delivered, but upon calling the front desk, she was told that no package had been delivered, so the saga continues. Where in the world is Kathi's package?