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Building a 1760 yall

March 20, 2011

March 20, St-Augustine

I’ve been staying in at the Pirate Haus in downtown St-Augustine for two days. I highly recommend that hostel because of its mellow ambiance, cleanliness and price. At 18$ a day, it cannot be beat. I left my kayak at the North Beach campground. This has given me the opportunity to visit the historical city quite extensively.

view from hostel

Flaggers College remains the centerpiece of the city for me. The College is actually the Hotel Ponce the Leon. It’s a national treasure. The place was built at the end of the 19th century to be the Newport of the South. It was easily the most luxurious hotel on the planet.

Yesterday I walked to a light house that can be seen from the city. The strip leading to it has surf shops and biker bars. I think they tried to reproduce the Californian surfer’s town vibe. I wonder why anyone would want to do that when you have something like St-Augustine next door.

When I got to the lighthouse they were concluding some sort of lighthouse festival. I got a free hotdog right before they closed the boxes. Next to the lighthouse, I found a worksite where they reproduced full size and fully functional 18 century boats. The one they were working on was at that moment was a 1760 yall. A yall is a boat that was used as an annex to a larger ship.

14 foot yall

I got to meet Samuel P. Turner, the director of archeology or the Lighthouse Archeological Maritime Program. We talked at length about the building methods. It’s a very complicated process with a lot of very demanding craftsmanship. He invited me to come and meet the building crew on Tuesday. Anyone who knows me can imagine how giddy this sort of thing would make me. To put you in context, my city apartment looks like a wood shop.

He also pointed out that there was a boarding house for volunteers. I may have to come back after my trip to build some wooden boats. If I was not so invested into my kayaking trip, chances are I would have put everything on hold in order to remain here to do this. I’ll be present Tuesday!

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