After a lazy start to the final leg of our journey, we eventually arrived in St Augustine. It was nearly 5 p.m. so we were rushing to try and pack up the boat and prepare for a night of camping. We hitched up our little boat, Moby Dick and headed out. We had to make a couple of stops along the way. First was at our favorite bait shop located a couple of blocks from our house, the Oldest City Bait and Tackle. And since we were both too exhausted to pack for cooking while we camped, we decided to order a pizza from our favorite place on the beach, Antonio’s. I know pizza is a strange camping food but if you’ve been following us for the last ten days hopefully you’ll cut us some slack. We did a quick fuel top-off and headed to our favorite ramp at Green Street.
How fitting that we started the trip working on ‘Lil Blue and now end it tinkering with Moby Dick. Cooney remained calm as he continued to try and fire her up. We haven’t used her in a while. She took a couple of minutes to clear up but eventually ran like a top. We concluded that she must have had a little bit of water in the gas tank. Off we went with tackle and camping gear.
We headed south on the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) to Faver-Dykes State Park, fishing a couple of shorelines along the way.
We finally ended up at our destination for the night, a primitive first-come first-serve campsite on Mellon Island.
We used a dual anchor system to secure the boat, accounting for the 6-foot tide change. We positioned it so it would be perfectly afloat at the water line for our early morning departure.
Just passing by any of the docks or boathouses that line the Intracoastal Waterway, it’s obvious the drastic tide changes that occur here.
The sunset was beautiful! We spent a couple of minutes throwing D.O.A. shrimp at the creek near our site and I hooked a for-sure slot-size flounder that broke my line. Errrrr! After looking over my tackle I realized that one of the eyes on my rod was damaged causing a weak spot in my line. This marked the official end to my fishing for this trip being that I only brought one rod.
We decided to go back to the campsite and settle down for the night. The weather was perfect! We were so comfortable in our site. A nifty pole held our jackets, visors and lantern. We found a nice pile of pre-split wood that the campers before us left. Thanks! We made a nice fire and lit about 20 citronella candles that I had bought, but never used, for our site in Flamingo.
Enjoying our pizza and a couple of beers, we sat around for hours reflecting on our favorite parts of the trip, discussing where we’d go again and who we will be sure to visit. It was such a great idea to end our trip out here.
As fun as it has been to explore all of the different areas of Florida, our evening and night showed us that sometimes you have what’s best right in your backyard. On our way into the site, we even spotted a deer that had come to the water’s edge at sunset. We love it here! The decision to sleep without a rain tarp was perfect. We enjoyed a great view of the bright moon and stars tonight.
Cooney was up before me, and fished the nearby shorelines and little creeks on foot. The tide was going out hard and he wasn’t getting any bites so he decided to wake me up.
We packed camp pretty quickly and set off in the boat. Cooney had to make a couple more casts before we loaded the boat. We hadn’t planned on staying out too late today, but we wanted to fish the coves around Marineland. So we headed south. We’ve been gone more than a week—why not spend a bit more time on the water before getting back to reality?
We didn’t have any action, but the dolphins put on a great show for us. We headed back north, working the shorelines along the way. Cooney ended up with a bluefish—not a spectacular fish, we know—but it’s just another fish to add to our list of catches for the trip.
We rounded the corner and headed out to Matanzas Inlet. Pelicans were diving all over the place.
With my pole out of commission, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and nap, it felt wonderful.
But Cooney represented by catching a little redfish. The tide started to come in, and as bad as we wanted to fish the incoming tide, we couldn’t stand the thought of missing a homecoming breakfast at Beachcombers Restaurant. It’s their sunrise special that keeps us coming back. We chatted up a couple of locals and the bartender about our trip then headed home to crash.
But it’s really good to be home. We love our little town; it’s so beautiful and diverse. I hated getting back to reality though. I’m going to miss spending every moment of every day with my wonderful husband! I’m sure we will be doing some other adventure again soon. We can’t miss red snapper season in the Gulf so Pensacola is probably next on our agenda.