Throughout our several days in St. Augustine, there has been a powerful presence behind the scenes. No, not ghosts, although St. Augustine boasts many haunted locations, including the site of two of our gatherings: the “ghost bar” in the loft of Scarlett O’Hara’s restaurant.
The presence was St. Augustine Cruisers Net or SACN, an all-volunteer organization of cruisers who provide welcome and support to visiting boaters. It is kept going by a rotating group of boaters, depending on who is moored in the home port while others are off cruising. For starters, every morning at 0800 hrs the SACN moderates a net on VHF 72, where boats can check in, check out, share news, and get help.
The SACN, especially Lisa Tarlecky on s/v Tiki Trek, were instrumental in coordinating the fleet’s activities here in our final port-of-call. Thanks also to Alex Tarlecky, Linda Radford Allen of s/v Kokopelli, and Dan and Jay Lunsford on s/v Cinderella, and many more who helped behind the scenes.
What sort of events? Let’s start with their “Think & Drink,” which is a gathering with a marine-related presentation. Here Rodney Olney, owner of Big Boys Play Toys, and Mike Connor, the Southeast Sales Rep from Honda Marine, explain what we should and shouldn’t be doing to keep our dinghy engines well-maintained. Saltx, synthetic oil, ethanol-free gas, fuel stabilizers, sources of corrosion, and storage do’s and don’t were some of the topics covered. The room was silent, meaning everyone was listening very carefully!
Then, on Thursday evening, it was the SACN’s “There Be Pirates” gathering. This event was open to the entire St. Augustine cruising community, many of whom dressed up for the event. It was a chance to make new friends and meet old “virtual” friends from Facebook, like Lori & Mike Steinbrunner on s/v Cheshire:
And one of the voices of the SACN on the morning net, Jaye Lunsford, who is very active as an “edutainer” sharing the pirate history of St. Augustine with children’s groups:
The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Captain Jack (Rick Mauldin) and Lady Aruna (Aruna Andes), incredibly talented character actors who recounted the piracy and settlement history of St. Augustine. Here is Captain Jack asking Rallyer Frank Schubauer if Frank “has a ship.” Ummm… what is the correct answer??
We all departed with our ships intact, learned amazing tales about this 450-year-old town, and had a great time.