Cooler air has filled in behind the passage of a cold front on Monday afternoon. The anchor is up at Pine Island at 7:45 AM for the short trip to St. Augustine. Early morning clouds give way to sunny skies and windy conditions as we make the 10 AM Bridge of Lions opening. Within minutes, Cutter Loose is snugly secured to a mooring in the harbor. We will remain here for a few days to relax and enjoy the City.
St. Augustine is steeped in history. Don Juan Ponce de Leon sailed here in 1513 and claimed the land for Spain. But the Spanish experienced difficulty in establishing permanent settlements in this area. Meanwhile, the French established a settlement nearby on the St. Johns River. This caused Spain to redouble its efforts to fortify its claim. The arrival of Spanish Admiral Menendez here in 1565 coincided with the Feast of St. Augustine. Menendez defeated the French and built the town, 42 years before the English settlement in Jamestown and 55 years before the Pilgrims established the Plymouth colony.
Fast forward to the 1880s, Henry Flagler transformed St. Augustine into a resort destination by building the Hotel Ponce de Leon. Today, the former hotel is the architectural centerpiece of Flagler College. Students, boaters, tourists and residents alike contribute to the vitality of this City.