St. Augustine Harbor & Salt Run
Only a few minutes drive to the south of Jacksonville is the oldest continuously occupied city in America. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine has seen the Spanish, French, British, as well as escaped and freed African Slaves and Seminole and Creek Indians. It is now a small city that has endured Pirates, the Civil War, The Industrial Revolution, and the Railroad Expansion of Florida. Here too, the Timucuan Natives flourished and supported large communities before the onslaught of the rigors and failures of the first Colonies. Not only is it a great place to learn history, it is also a unique area to paddle and tour. The fishing community here has grown as has the repeated level of tourism coming to fulfill curiosities such as the legend of Ponce De Leon’s fountain of youth, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. St. Augustine still has a rich Colonial history that includes the Minorcan and Huguenot descendants of European families in search of new lives and the continuation of Colonial Families first occupation. The Spanish records, the Catholic Diocese, Castillo De San Marcos, and Fort Matanzas still remain to be helpful and interesting points of interest. What makes the area a great paddling destination, is that you can paddle from the classic candy-cane striped lighthouse, at Lighthouse Park on Anastasia Island, through an estuary that borders the Atlantic Ocean, and into the St. Augustine harbor. The view is spectacular from the entrance of the bay and allows a new perspective from what is normally seen from downtown and around the shoreline. From across the bay towards the fort Castillo De San Marcos, there are small islands that have a variety of sea birds and animals and fish that come right in from the ocean inlet. Porpoise, sea turtles and manatees have been spotted, as well as eagle rays, various species of fish, and sometimes small sharks. The fishing is varied and consistent, and certain times of the year are more bountiful than others.
Our half day trip depends on the winds and the tides. We try to plan our routes based on the best tidal flows and the winds we deal with. There is a greater flow of current, and the bay crossing is rather wide. However, with good timing and planning, the trip can deliver great rewards with the scenery being most notable. This trip really expresses the unique and cherished value of the small yet historical sea town called St. Augustine.