Saint Augustine Harbor – March 7, 2016, 7:00 a.m.

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Here is the Seven A.M. Harbor Report: There is currently an almost slack, incoming tide with light winds out of the northwest and some cloud cover that will clear later this morning. The water and air temperatures are both at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from water slapping against hulls and the unpeopled docks and the occasional splash of a fish, the marina is quiet. The sun has cleared the horizon, freshening the starboard sides of the moored sailboats at the harbor’s southern end. Two pelicans land in untroubled waters near the lead schooner there, and one is filled with a sense of peaceful confidence that all is as it should be.

Fishing on Poncho Creek

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I haven’t had a bite for maybe ten minutes now, and I am visited by an annoying grass-is-greener feeling as I gaze across the marsh at that house there on Robinson’s Creek. You can generally find some black drum under that dock behind the sailboat, and there is a steep drop-off in front of that boat where you might just luck upon a slot red.

The house looks minutes away from where I sit, but, in fact, I cannot set a direct course there because the marsh between us is too shallow, even for my pram’s light draft. I’d have to row back out to the Tolomato, then up north to Robinson’s mouth before heading back into that creek’s interior, and all this against an outgoing tide. It would take maybe forty-five minutes, believe it or not, and I’d drop anchor at the dock at about slack tide, at which point I might as well head back home across the river because the fishing would be over for the day. No, I’d best seek my peace and good fortune right here, right now.

Seduction, January 21, 2016, 7:00 a.m.

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On at least one star-filled morning each month, I can be found elbow-supported, wooden-railing leaning at the end of the Lighthouse Pier where I gaze toward the sand-duned line along the southernmost end of Salt Run. There, by the light of a sun that has yet to crest those sandy ridges, night’s quiet transformation into day occurs so swiftly that my brain can but register its changes as stop motion animation: changes in the sky where yellow intrudes upon dark charcoals, diluting them into steely blues; changes that brighten and polish smooth patches of water so that channel markers and mooring floats might reflect upon their states; and changes that shear night’s veil guarding a secured ketch till the boat’s emerging beauty seduces me once again.


Skiff, January 22, 2016, 7:29 a.m.

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Someone has tied up a skiff at the southern end of the marina flood wall. It sits hard aground in the outgoing tide amidst sea grasses and rocks. It has no oar locks, so whoever brought it to shore likely used a small outboard and then took it with him for safe keeping (a two horsepower motor can weigh as little as 30 pounds). There are two to three inches of water in the hull so the boat has been here since at least Tuesday when we last we had a heavy rain. Perhaps it belongs to the captain of one of those half dozen sailboats I see moored to the southeast. I wonder where the captain is now, and I turn west to study the houses and inns that line the quay, as though I might see him hurrying along on his business, as though I might learn in which of my mind’s thousand stories he belongs.