Friday, December 20, 2013

More dinking

Among the many things still new and slightly uncomfortable in this world of cruising is the dinghy ride; it is like being half in the water without being really in the water. The thing flexes and twists and seems to fold up when power is added; not that our 3.5 HP Merc adds much power. For added fun that same Merc has not inspired much confidence, mostly leaving the dinghy crew to paddle at least part of each trip. But here in St. Augustine the dinghy can't be avoided as it about half a mile from Kintala to the dinghy dock, usually against the current.

Best use for a dinghy in my opinion...

On the first trip into the dock today the Merc went about 98% of the way; then quit cold. We rowed the last little bit and, once secured at the dock the Merc fired up and ran fine. A few hours later, having walked hither and yon, (including a stop for ice cream) 'el dinko ran us almost all the way home. Once again rowing ensued to finish the trip. Frustrated by my inability to get a simple 3.5 HP motor to run right, I ripped off the cover and started tweaking. Such tweaking, by the way, when done in a dink tied to the side of a boat moored in the middle of a busy river and thus constantly rocked by the wakes of passing boats, is a kind of tweaking completely new to me. With a bit of grim determination dropping any parts or tools into the water was avoided and, eventually, the Merc seemed to be running, and idling, as an itty bitty Merc should. So we headed back into town again to meet up with some new friends. Low and behold la dink putted smoothly all the way to the dock.

This time we walked over to the fort. Once upon a time I was an airline Captain and St. Augustine was one of our overnight trips. I remembered the fort as a pretty impressive bit of history, and it was just as impressive this time around. We even managed to be there when they fired off one of the cannons; the blast and echo rumbling across the water was just plain cool. But imagining dozens of such going off in the fort, with ships in the harbor returning fire with dozens of cannon of their own; the thunder and smoke must have felt like the entire world was crashing in upon the combatants.

Really bad phone pic. Better one later.

Later we met new / old friends Paul and Deb for dinner. Making new friends like this has been the best part of cruising so far and we will get to spend more time with them before we leave. Good thing, since there are a bunch of stories left to tell. But the evening was wearing on and it was time to head home.

Which meant climbing back in the dink and heading out in the dark; not my favorite part of cruising. But the water was smooth, the night warm, and the Merc behaved itself all the way; making it 2 for 4 on the day.


As mentioned, the other day the dolphins welcomed us to the open water with an amazing display of speed, ability, beauty and grace. Not to be outdone, last evening two cormorants welcomed us to St. Augustine. They landed on our upper spreaders, opened their wings wide and proud, stretched their necks to the setting sun, and dumped a tandem load of bird shit that covered the top of the dodger, ran down the clear vinyl panels, and splattered the deck. An amazing amount of gross from two smallish birds.

And I used to like cormorants.


Joel and Emily said...

"I think his tail feathers are wiggling!"

S/V Veranda said...

I think that is a harbinger of good luck. Lucky

Pat and Joan said...

You just never know what harbinger of good luck and fortune are. Like being given a pot of fresh kimchee How nice is it to run into fellow cruisers .

Matt said...

Man I love St Aug. Especially beautiful at Christmas.

Deb said...

@Bill - if it's a harbinger of good luck then we are overflowing with it!!
@Pat and Joan - running into fellow cruisers is the best thing. For me, cruising is mostly about the people.
@Matt - St. Augustine is an amazing city. There is so much history here, some of the oldest in the country in fact, from the 1500's. The Christmas lights are almost overwhelming. It's beautiful.