Saturday, July 30, 2011

St. Augustine: Set Sail!

 When you visit St. Augustine, plan to sail aboard the magnificent Schooner Freedom, a replica of the 19th century blockade-runners that once cruised their waters. The ship sails from the St. Augustine's Municipal Marina and takes guests on quite an adventure! This is a child friendly sail and perfect for families. You can even pack a picnic to take on board! There is a head (AKA bathroom) below for your convenience. Pick up your ticket and be prepared for a great time! The views are unmatched!
 Our sail began after 12pm and it was really hot and humid outside. I began to wonder if it would be enjoyable due to the heat. We made sure we applied our sunscreen and then found a seat. The friendly crew made sure we were comfortable and then began bringing us up to speed on safety precautions, lacing it with some unexpected humor! I actually enjoyed learning about safety!!! Complimentary beverages were passed around just before we left the marina.
 As we left the marina, a slight wind kept the heat at bay. We could see the historic bayfront and we began to enjoy a different side of St. Augustine. Everything looked different from the bay and I tried to imagine how it looked when those first explorers entered this area all those years ago. For now, we were out of the hustle and bustle of downtown and preparing to set sail. The engines had carried us away from the marina, and they would stop just beyond the bridge. From the deck of the ship, we watched the Bridge of Lions open it's massive arms, welcoming us and making way for our Tall Ship.
 The drawbridge itself was quite remarkable and the children aboard seemed captivated by it when it opened just for us. They all stared up and watched in awe until we we moved past the bridge. When we passed through, the crew began preparing to sail.
Several passengers were given the chance to help out. Logan and Sam eagerly stepped forward to assist.They were excited to see their work pay off when the massive sails unfurled and we began to pick up speed. The crisp white sails snapped in the wind and I knew at once I would remember this moment forever. This was my first experience on a sailing vessel and I hoped it wouldn't be my last. The enormous white sails shaded most of the deck and gave us all a break from the sun's fierce rays.
 After the sails were up, we left the bay and made our way into the beautiful blue Atlantic. The waves gently rocked us as we watched for dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Every now and then a few jellyfish drifted past the ship and we all learned over for a closer look! The crew passed around a few more drinks and they visited with each passenger. They answered questions and told stories, which we all appreciated, especially Logan!
 Sailing is relaxing. I've heard that before, but until now, I didn't realize just how relaxing it could be. The sails billowing in the wind are stunning, and the occasional snap of the sails will lull you into a blissful state of mind. The cool ocean breezes are rejuvenating!
This was one of my favorite adventures from our St. Augustine trip. It was peaceful and relaxing, and there was so much to see from the ship! It was also a great way to escape the heat! The Schooner Freedom offers many different sails, just visit their site to find out more. I think their Sunset, Twilight, and Full Moon Sails would be even more magical than their Day Sails! Check them out on Facebook and Twitter to learn more! We enjoyed our sail and we will definitely plan another cruise when we return.
Disclosure: We were treated to a sail in order to complete this review. No monetary compensation received.

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