Exploring . . . . 2/26/15

Ted began volunteering last week at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center, so it seemed like a good idea last weekend to take the ferry over to actually SEE the fort he’d be helping folks visit! Does it seem funny/strange/coincidental to anyone but us that we’ve settled into a new home in Florida where we have to take a ferry trip across a body of water in order to visit a historic fort?  We find the irony of that just priceless!  Although Fort Matanzas (and its Visitors Center) is much smaller than Fort Mackinac – and the ferries are much smaller than even the smallest Shepler, Star, or Arnold Ferry – it’s still pure history, and Ted LOVES his history!

Each ferry holds 36 people and right now it runs on the half-hour.  If there are more than 36 waiting to go across for each trip, they simply take the first 36 over, then come back for the leftovers!

Each ferry holds 36 people and right now it runs every hour on the half-hour. If there are more than 36 waiting to go across for each trip, they simply take the first load over, then come back for the leftovers!  When things pick up during the summer I’m sure they put that other boat in the water and do pretty much constant ferrying back and forth.

It's only a five-minute trip across the Matanzas Inlet to the fort . . .

It’s only a five-minute trip across the Matanzas Inlet to the fort . . .

. . . and a park ranger accompanies each boat to answer questions and give a brief history.

. . . and a park ranger accompanies each boat to answer questions and give a brief history.

The fort is only 50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tower and is built of coquina, a local shellstone.

The fort is 50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tower and is built of coquina, a local shellstone.

The fort was built to protect the southern approach to St. Augustine, which was held by the Spanish.

Fort Matanzas was built to protect the southern approach to St. Augustine, which was held by the Spanish from 1565 until 1819 (except for the years 1763-1784, when it was under British rule).

If the British took control of the Matanzas Inlet, St. Augustine could have been starved into surrender.

Spain had good reason to fear an attack at St. Augustine.  In 1740 Gov. James Oglethorpe blockaded St. Augustine inlet with troops from the British colony of Georgia and began a 39-day siege of the town.  A few Spanish vessels managed to break the siege by evading the blockade and were able to resupply the town.  With the onset of hurricane season, Oglethorpe gave up the attack and returned to Georgia. If the British had maintained control of the Matanzas Inlet, St. Augustine could have been starved into surrender.  With the fort near completion in 1742, Oglethorpe returned to the inlet with 12 ships, but the fort’s cannon drove off his scouting boats and the warships left.

 

Soldiers were rotated from St. Augustine for one-month duty tours at the fort - usually an officer-in-charge, four infantrymen, and two gunners.  The officer-in-charge got a private room - everyone else bunked here.

Soldiers were rotated from St. Augustine for one-month duty tours at the fort – usually an officer-in-charge, four infantrymen, and two gunners. The officer-in-charge got a private, vaulted room, and everyone else bunked here.

In 1819 Spain transferred Florida to the U.S., and by that time the fort was so badly deteriorated that its soldiers could no longer live inside.  The U.S. took possession of the fort in 1821 but never occupied the fort.

After thwarting British attempts to gain the inlet in 1742, the fort never again fired its guns in battle.  From that point on the fort served as a rest stop, coast guard station, and a place where vessels heading for St. Augustine could get advice on navigating the river. In 1819 Spain transferred Florida to the U.S., and by that time the fort was so badly deteriorated its soldiers could no longer live inside. The U.S. took possession of the fort in 1821 but never occupied the fort.

Blake - looking across Matanzas Inlet.

Blake – looking across Matanzas Inlet.

Occasionally the photographer gets photographed.

Occasionally the photographer gets photographed.

It was a fun afternoon, and I highly recommend this little adventure into Florida’s history, if you’re in the area! Personal Notes: 1)  A huge thank you for the prayers and/or donations to Molly McGreevy’s medical fund.  You can access information and updates by clicking here: http://www.gofundme.com/mollysmedicalfund. 2)  Ted has had several skin cancers removed over the last couple of weeks, and this morning the worst one was removed by a plastic surgeon.  It was under the tip of his nose – in a very hard-to-get-to spot – and it was first thought skin grafts may be necessary.  But – YEAH – it was removed and closed with stitches, making everything MUCH easier and faster to heal.  We are glad that is over, and thankful he is now on the mend. 3)  The world of volunteering is becoming busier for me.  The hospital, which had said they needed no volunteers at this time, let me know a few days ago openings had become available.  I’m starting the process of volunteer orientation at Florida Hospital Flagler on Monday, and I think it takes about a month to complete the whole program and actually start working. 4)  Took a few more kitty photos this week.  My favorites are below:

"Boo"

“Boo” – a 4-year-old female.

"Faith"

“Faith”- a 5-year-old female.

Jazzabelle

“Jazzabelle” – a 7-months-old female.

"Tiger"

“Tiger” – an 8-year-old female.

"Panther"

“Panther” – a 2-year-old male.

And – GREAT NEWS!

Little Crossfire from last week has been ADOPTED!!

Little Crossfire from last week has been ADOPTED!!

Have a great weekend everyone!  God bless.

20 thoughts on “Exploring . . . . 2/26/15

  1. Just love the kitty pictures. Your blog may help get them adopted ya think? It’s been great to follow Molly’s story and see how quickly the donations are growing. I think your blog had a lot to do with that too and it shows the support, overall love and care that people have for one another especially for our Mackinac friends. Coincidental is an understatement about the ferry, island and fort……great photos! I am jealous of you sporting the shorts though!! We still struggle to get out of teens here and can we just say we are sick of winter, cold and snow!

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  2. What a nice little history lesson on the Fort. Nice photos, by the way, and it’s always nice to get a picture of the photographer……in shorts no less, I’m so jealous!
    Happy Ted’s surgery is over and glad he didn’t need a skin graft. Hope he heals quickly.
    Also enjoyed the kitty pictures. I’m sure your helping get those cute babies adopted to their forever homes.

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  3. Well, Ted, I know about black and blue eyes, but a black and blue nose? Or are you fortunate and that didn’t happen. Glad things are healing. I’ve not had skin cancer, but I’ve had a number of precancers frozen on my face. I’ll have to go to the doctor every six months to keep ahead of them.

    Brenda, I’ve described Ted as a walking encyclopedia of Mackinac history and now he will be (or already is) Fort Matanzas. I’m wondering if he looked for something that would make a ferry a necessity. I’m assuming he gave you most of the historical information about the fort. Either way, it sure interested me. When I was young, I planned on being a high school history teacher, but it didn’t turn out that way.

    I’m so glad that both the prayers and the donations are going up for Molly.

    You’ve done a beautiful job with the pictures of the cats. If that doesn’t help get some adoptions, I don’t know what will.

    It looks like both you & Ted are coming out of retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww, loving all the kitty pictures! Boo kind of reminds me of our dear sweet Oreo… ❤
    So glad to hear Ted is on the mend. That's so great you're both volunteering! Hope you have an awesome weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ask Ted after reading all the history, and I loved every minute of it,will there be a test on it LOL. Great pictures, and you are so skinny. Looking good girl. Tell Ted to take care of himself and sunscreen,sunscreen and hat! I have had so many taken off me as well. All that sun, when we all didn’t know that it would give us cancer! Love all the pics of those sweet little fur babies! Love to all of you. Finally our snow melted today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You need to get those eyes checked out, Dianne. No skinny girls here! But thanks for saying that – made my night! And yes – I’ve had a few of those skin thingies removed myself. We were all very uninformed back in the day.

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  6. Loved the history lesson. Of course I had to read it to Bud since he is like Ted…history, history, history. If he doesn’t have the history channel on TV he has the Military channel on. (Sigh). My least 2 favorite channels. LOL. I do like the “coincidental” ferry to the fort though :).
    Happy to hear Ted is taking care of himself and everything is going good.
    Love all the pictures of all the little (black) kitties. They sure are cute!
    Brenda what exactly will you be doing at the hospital?

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  7. Love that Jazzabelle’s black accent toe! You sure have learned how to photograph black kitties – and they are difficult to get right! You’re sure showing off their best feature (like gorgeous whiskers). Bet it helps their adoption rate!
    Glad to hear that Ted’s ordeal was less than they thought it might be. My Dad had those removed from his nose many years ago. He loved ‘a good sweat’ as he called it – just working outside in his garden in the full sun. Back then the cancers were called ‘Ronald Regan’s disease’ as he had some removed, too.
    You’re sounding happy and busy, and I am tickled that you’re adjusting and enjoying your move. Also thankful that Molly is getting monetary and prayerful support. It’s all good!

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  8. So glad to hear Ted is recovering well. Brenda you will have to get him plenty of sunblock and big shade hat. Love all the cute pics of the kitty cats.

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