About a week ago, my friend Douglas and I went flying in the ANN Cirrus. I found myself in an unusual position … I was in the back of the airplane.
But, I’d brought along the mighty Nikon, and so found myself easily entertained with little more to do than enjoy the view … which was spectacular. It was one of those nearly CAVU days that make flying a joy, and we leveled off over the Atlantic Ocean maybe a quarter mile offshore.
Most people say if you ever fly over the shallow water at the beach, you’ll never swim again after having seen all the sharks that visit the shallows … but they weren’t in evidence last Monday off the coast of St. Augustine. I don’t doubt they’re there, but not today.
There are several places along the coast where the ocean meets the ICW, and allows boats to move between the open ocean and the protected water of the ditch. Just south of St. Augustine is the Matanzas Inlet, near Fort Matanzas. The inlet is a popular summer swimming spot for people and dolphins. The water has enough influence from the ocean to be clear and clean, and the gently sloping sand beaches make for a nice place to beach your boat … as long as you’re not on a falling tide.
In downtown St. Augustine, the Bridge of Lions is nearing its two-year refurbishment. You can see the temporary lift span that was put in place to keep traffic moving between the St. Augustine historic district and St. Augustine Beach, as well as the nearly-completed historic bridge. Though, about all that’s left that’s original on the Bridge of Lions are the pilings, some of the old bridge tender shelters, and the lions, which won’t be reinstalled for a while longer. Still, count me among those who are glad they didn’t just replace the old span with a modern high span, which was discussed.
So there it is. about 40 minutes doing the aviation equivalent of gunkholing around St. Augustine. Of course, gunkholing usually requires days, if not weeks, and a 6 knot sailboat rather than a 160 knot airplane. I’m enamored of both, to be honest, but I’ve spent more time around airplanes than sailboats of late. and the contrast is at times jarring. While both depend on carving the air to make them do what they’re designed to do, sailboats have been around almost as long as men has stared out to sea, while airplanes are a relatively more modern invention.
I’m fascinated by aerial photography, maybe because you “have” to go flying to get it, so it was worth it to sit in the back and take some pictures while Doug got to fly the airplane.
Not that I want to make a habit of it, you understand. I like it up front.