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.
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.
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.
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.