Hey, here’s the Atlantic Ocean again!
Wait, what? What’s the Atlantic Ocean doing on the “Intracoastal” Waterway? Well, this is the one place the ICW pokes its nose out into open water. Not coincidentally it’s also the place at issue when our healthy aversion to six-foot waves kept us at Jekyll Island. Sunday it was a bit chunky but not too bad.
Collectively we know a lot about submarines, because we both toured USS Silversides in Muskegon, Michigan, and one of us has watched The Hunt for Red October at least a dozen times. What we really wanted, however, was to see one in the wild. It’s not like we haven’t had chances. We were all around Naval Submarine Base New London, aka “The Submarine Capitol of the World.” Nothing. We heard radio chatter from submarine escorts bring them in and out of Norfolk. Nada. On prior trips we passed NSB Kings Bay, where—according to unkept promises in the Waterway Guide—mariners should keep a sharp lookout because subs zoom by at high speed, creating big wakes. Nope.
This time past Kings Bay, however, we found one in her pen.
Despite our best efforts at identifying her, we came up empty. The British Navy Flag made us a bit suspicious, however, and then that little crown confirmed our suspicions: not one of ours.*
But at least it’s still a sub. Give me a ping, Dana. One ping only.
Then past Fort Clinch, which both sides used during the Civil War until someone realized that masonry walls were no match for rifled cannonballs.
There’s more than just Civil War and Ponce de Leon to the history around here. In May of 1777, for example, the British had the temerity to fight back during an “invasion,” whereupon an American officer righteously burned British houses and killed British cows.
And now here we are tending to their submarines. Crazy.
Anyway, we do like Fernandina Beach.
Hey, there’s Sunset Delight! We last saw Clark and Evelyn when we followed them through the shallow shoals at the Matanzas Inlet, after that dinner at the fake European Village in Palm Coast. They go up and down the ICW every year, however, so maybe it’s not that odd that we met up again.
Up and out early, past Florida swamps and Florida ICW docks owned by people who wish everyone would cruise by at no-wake speeds. Some of these sights along the ICW are just timeless.
No really. Here’s Timeless, who we followed all the way to St. Augustine.
Whoa now! That’s Ocean Voyager, who last appeared in this blog way back on Lake Huron and who now rudely tied up with the sun behind her such that our photo sucks. Small world indeed.
More boats! Here’s USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer most famous for that time she collided with a tiny fishing boat in Japan. We’re not sure who, but somebody probably was more focused on doing the Wordle than watching where they were going.
Our former friends at Rivers Edge Marina apparently didn’t value our friendship enough to have space for us, so this time in St. Augustine we stopped at Camachee Cove instead.
Everybody will tell you that Vinny’s has awesome pizza, but really it’s just okay. We only had time for mediocre pizza and a walk through town before Tennessee opened the basketball season with a win, so basically passing the Bridge of Lions on the way south this morning was the next noteworthy thing we did.
The dredge people were dredging that shallow part where we previously used Sunset Delight to test the waters, so no worries this time through.
In our travels we’ve seen all types of boaters, and we try not to be judgmental. The owner of this beauty, however, obviously has no idea what he’s doing. A seasoned mariner would know to put the fenders between the hull and the palm tree, not leave them dangling uselessly on the other side.
Yup, we’re back in Florida alright.
And by the way, claiming that you just wanted to give pelicans a place to stand is not a valid explanation.
None of that should suggest, of course, that we have a problem with all Florida boaters. Our buddies on Exhale and Bucket List and Blue Goose, for example, are awesome. And so is the guy who owns this pontoon. Anybody who paints Tennessee Checkerboards on their boat jumps to the top of any list of cool people. Rocky Top, you’ll always be, home sweet home to me. Good old Rocky Top. Rocky Top, Tennessee.
After a long day we collapsed at New Smyrna Beach. Tomorrow, Cocoa Village.
*We were hoping mightily that the sub would prove to be HMS Vigilant, but sadly it isn’t. A Google search of the Vigilant shenanigans from a few years back is worth the effort.