When we were in Florida recently we took advantage of the good weather to spend a substantial amount of time outdoors. Because St. Augustine, America’s oldest town dating from 1583, was nearby, we spent the morning walking around the cobblestone streets admiring the Spanish influence that is clearly evident there as well as throughout much of the state. A bit north from there is Amelia Island where we took a 2-hour boat tour (yes, Gilligan’s Island fans, it looked as if it might turn into 3 hours) around part of the island with promised-views of dolphins, manatees, wild horses, and a glimpse of where John Kennedy, Jr. got married on Cumberland Island just across the Georgia border. As we approached that imaginary state line we all looked out towards the horizon where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Amelia River to see the Spanish Armada approaching with tall masts filling the sky. Talk about Spanish influence! The captain quickly explained that we were witnessing a returning nuclear submarine being escorted by numerous gun boats of various sizes to the marine repair facility there on the coast. In those waters the sub cannot easily maneuver so the other ships keep everyone else at a distance to ensure its safety.
While giving his explanation the captain revved our tour boat’s engines to get us rapidly across the approaching sub’s path saying that if we did not cross now, the tour would indeed be much longer because we would have to wait until the entire entourage passed by. Safely away from the no-go zone, we paused the rest of the tour long enough to get a few photos of the Navy’s finest. Here you can see the submarine in the center, flanked by two large warships, and preceded and followed by much smaller vessels, all with guns clearly displayed.
Once ashore ourselves, we stopped into a family run bakery where we picked up the key lime pie that you see here for that night’s dinner. It made for a delicious end to a perfect week in the Sunshine State.