St. Augustine – Castillo De San Marcos

We were so exhausted from our busy Sunday, that we didn’t leave Beatitude until almost 1 p.m. on Monday. We slept a little bit later than usual and relaxed a little. When we did make it into town, we headed for the Castillo de San Marcos (Fort St. Mark), the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. One hundred seven years after the founding of the city by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, construction began in 1672.. From 1763 to 1783, the fort was under the control of the British, but the Spanish regained control afterwards. In 1821, it became a U.S. fort and renamed Fort Marion. In 1942, Congress renamed the fort its original name, Castillo de San Marcos. Despite changing hands several times, it was never taken in battle. The only way an enemy took possession was through treaties or diplomacy.

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos

Cindy at the Drawbridge

Cindy at the Drawbridge

Looking across the moat and out into Matanzas Bay

Looking across the moat and out into Matanzas Bay

DSCN7597

After Sir Francis Drake attacked with his 20 ships and burned the wooden fortification which stood on the site in 1586, the need for something more substantial was recognized. Finally, after an English pirate attack in 1668, plans were made for the present fortification. It is made of coquina (compressed tiny sea shells) and was designed in a 4-pointed star shape, each point consisting of a bastion. My first thought was that coquina, a soft limestone, would not be a very good choice for building a fort. However, it turns out that it was an excellent choice. The relative softness of the stone allowed it to be compressed when hit by cannon fire, whereas a harder stone might crack and break.

DSCN7601

Soldier's Quarters in this casement

Soldier’s Quarters in this casement

Spanish writing carved into the coquina walls.  What does it say?

Spanish writing carved into the coquina walls. What does it say?

Spanish ship carved into walls

Spanish ship carved into walls

This is coquina. You can see the tiny pressed shells which make up the stone.

This is coquina. You can see the tiny pressed shells which make up the stone.

After wondering around the fort for a while, we did a little shopping and walked up to Carmelo’s for some more of their excellent pizza for dinner. On the way back to the boat we enjoyed stopping in several art galleries. While we have a few works on board, most of our art is in storage. Since we cannot enjoy the art on our walls as we once could, it was nice to walk through the galleries and enjoy the art on their walls.

A variety of ammunition was shot from the cannons

A variety of ammunition was shot from the cannons

The fort chapel

The fort chapel

Looking out over Matanzas Bay

Looking out over Matanzas Bay

Cindy standing at the point of one of the bastions.

Cindy standing at the point of one of the bastions.

DSCN7624

We then returned to Beatitude for a nice quiet evening. We watched an entertaining Disney documentary called “Morning Light” on the Transpac sailboat race (from California to Hawaii). Tomorrow, will likely be our last day in St. Augustine. So, we’ll hopefully arise earlier to get in a full day of activity. We also need to do a little laundry and get some groceries.

One of the four bastions

One of the four bastions

Cannons ready for battle.  The red and white cross flag was the flag of Spain for a while.  It is the flag of St. Andrew's Cross.  St. Andrew was said to have been crucified on an x-shaped cross.

Cannons ready for battle. The red and white cross flag was the flag of Spain for a while. It is the flag of St. Andrew’s Cross. St. Andrew was said to have been crucified on an x-shaped cross.

Atop the Fort

Atop the Fort

Looking down into the inner courtyard

Looking down into the inner courtyard

6 thoughts on “St. Augustine – Castillo De San Marcos

  1. Great blog. Glad to see you on the move again and sharing your travels. I was at the fort last Tuesday plus Old Town and the winery. Great place to visit. Enjoy your travels north.

    • Thanks, Jim. Boy, we just missed each other. We’re leaving in the morning. We’ll see how far north we can get tomorrow.

  2. Pingback: Our First RV Destination: St. Augustine, Florida | Beatitude II

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *