7 Dec 2015

5/12/15 : Riding out the gales

We’ve had a somewhat bumpy start to our stay in St Augustine, quite literally from Thursday night onwards when an approaching front (a “nor-easter”) arrived bringing grey skies, a drop in temperature and very rolly seas, even inland on the IntraCoastal Waterway.
There aren’t really any decent anchorages in St Augustine for boats of our draft so we had reserved in advance a mooring buoy with the city marina.  The marina has two mooring fields: one north of the Bridge of Lions (very exposed) and one south of the bridge (far more protected).  We’d requested a buoy in the south field for obvious reasons and, up to 48 hours before we arrived, had had this confirmed and hence were somewhat disgruntled on arrival to be sent to the north field. 
Thursday night saw winds climbing up to 30knots and waves forming which had Tumi rock and rolling against her mooring lines and led to a somewhat sleepless night.  We’d booked a car for the weekend and so were keen to get ashore on Friday morning to collect it but viewed the dinghy ride with a degree of hesitation in the conditions.  We decided to “risk” it and so donned full wet weather gear and life jackets for the 300m ride to shore and made it relatively unscathed.
Later that day we returned to the marina only to find stronger winds, bigger waves and the prospect of getting wet through on the journey back to Tumi.  But it had to be done and so once again we suited and booted up and set off.  By this time the swells were 3 to 4 feet high which in a dinghy only 10 feet long is not for the feint hearted.  We took it slowly but got absolutely drenched!  The most challenging time came getting out of the dinghy and back onto Tumi, which was bucking around as though on the back of a rodeo bull, but we made it and after a hot shower and glass of wine felt much better.  Winds overnight on Friday were blowing in excess of 40 knots and were forecast to continue for another 48 hours before starting to abate so we radioed in and arranged to retreat to the protection of the marina on Saturday morning.

By a stroke of luck, a mooring buoy became available in the south field on Saturday and so we opted to take that and found life on the other side of the bridge so much calmer, so from here on, things can (hopefully) only get better!