Wednesday, December 05, 2007
St. Augustine's Backside
If you visit Saint Augustine, you will most likely spend your vacation time on the other side of those trees, for there lies the heart of the old city. The photo above was taken on the San Sebastion River, a tidal estuary that flows along the west side of town. With the bay on the east side and this river running along the west until it meets the bay to the south, Saint Augustine sits on a small peninsula.
That makes for an excellent defensive situation which is why the Spanish chose this particular site to create a military outpost. British troops from Georgia and South Carolina had only one land approach ... from the north ... and this greatly complicated their unsuccessful attempts at destroying the Spanish garrison here.
I like this view, this day, because I think if one of my St. Augustine relatives from the 1800's were standing with me, they wouldn't feel too out of place. A sea of masts, a stern wheeler, and a forest of trees with city spires poking through would be familiar views in the second half of the 1800's.
When I was a kid, there were bustling shrimp boat construction yards along this river, but the focus these days is mostly pleasure craft.
Look at that brown beauty trawler style boat in the midst of those sailboats. Now THAT is a boat!
A guy could chug off to exotic islands on that baby ... if he could afford the boat
... and the diesel.
I did manage to find a few working shrimp boats moored along the San Sebastion. I have a softspot for them that's half nostalgia and half sheer admiration for a time tested seaworthy boat design. The small one on the right is kind of dinky for the Atlantic. The big one to the left is more traditional.
These girls can handle foul weather.
The view above is looking south from a construction site where a fancy rich guy marina will replace the old working fish docks along King Street.
This view is of the same two boats in the previous picture, but from a more southerly viewpoint.
I spent countless hours in and on the San Sebastion while growing up. Things happened there that deserve their own post when time allows a thoughtful analysis of the effects of saltwater, marsh mud, and fish on growing boys.