Statute Mile 803 Palm Coast Marina
“They get our mail and we get their mail,” said Debbie, Dockmaster of Palm Coast Marina about Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Sponsor Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville. This time, Palm Coast got us — we had the location right but confused the names in our head having read through Claiborne’s recent list of sponsors.
Oh well, we meant to patronize and thank a Salty Southeast sponsor, but oops, Palm Coast is not a sponsor — yet.
This is a small and clean marina in a handy spot to wait for a favorable tide at the infamously shoal-plagued Matanzas Inlet, which is why we stopped early one wintry day heading north. Palm Coast
Marina is, as its name implies, in Palm Coast, Florida, some 25 miles south of St. Augustine and 25 miles north of Daytona. Northbound, it positions you 12 statute miles south of the Matanzas inlet, so it is
good for catching a morning or late morning high tide. Southbound, it’s a useful stop if you are catching an afternoon high tide.
Palm Coast is a pleasant place run by the very friendly and affable Debbie Hogan. Debbie is already my new best friend as she is a fellow parrot and bird person — hard core enough to keep three pet birds in the lounge area in addition to those she has at home.
Working the docks is Frank, a true professional with great attitude and attention to detail. He was very patient as we fussed with lines, getting them just right.
There is a fuel dock, in-slip pump-outs, a large cruiser’s outdoor gathering area, and a small fitness center with two bicycles, two
treadmills and a weight machine. There is a 25% Boat US discount for transient dockage, bringing the price to $1.32 a foot. For boats 35 feet and under with 12 foot beam or less, there is a “no frills”
special advertised on the website of $20 a night, no electric, no water.
Mondays and Thursdays at 4 PM, there is a happy hour — bring your own beverage — for liveaboards and transients. There is a book swap with two hefty rows of books in the inside lounge which is part of the dockmaster’s office and ships store with basic supplies. Mango, a charming lovebird (actual not a metaphor) and Beep and ReBeep the parakeets add both color and song to the setting.
While it bills itself as part of a resort, we did not see any resort like amenities other than kayaks and bicycles for rent. There are walking paths along the busy road that borders condos and other
housing developments, including some that are unfinished. Perhaps this has more charm in good weather and spring, summer or fall than was apparent to us on a cold wintry day.
Heads are clean and climate-controlled. The laundry machines are in a door-free covered alcove-like passage and the machines have that ‘weathered’ look. While not inspiring, they appear to be adequate for the job.
Fearless and roving though we may be, we did not personally verify the Palm Coast Marina’s website statement that Publix, Walgreens and CVS are within walking distance of the marina.
We did, however, take a ten-minute walk from the marina to European Village, a complex of shops and what appear to be condos arranged around a large courtyard. Many establishments, including the hotel, appear to be, as Kinky Friedman might say, relegated to the past tense — victims of the recession. However, we did find several that are alive and eager to serve you.
Mezzaluna and Barbara Jeans are two restaurants Dockmaster Debbie highlighted in the map showing European Village she gave us with our information packet. Mezzaluna offers Italian food; specials on the
board when we walked by included roasted lamb shank. Barbara Jeans describes its fare as southern cooking. One column in their reasonably priced menu is called “Better than you think” with items such as
meatloaf and other comfort food.
Between these two restaurants, we found a well-stocked natural food store and grocery named Diane’s. Diane’s has pretty much everything you’d expect from a good health food store, but no Diane. The store manager is a friendly woman named Patsy. She had a small but good selection of perishables — fresh vegetables, greens and some fruit as well as organic deli meats and vegan cheeses. My first mate admired the ample selection of high quality frozen foods.
There is also an English Tearoom and shop that was open. We could not tell whether the Japanese restaurant is still open. While the wine shop is now a place that buys gold, there is a decent selection of Australian and California wines at the General Store there where you can buy beer, soft drinks and some groceries in a sports bar setting.
If you stop at Palm Coast Marina, watch out for the visually subtle tidal current. It runs up and down the fairway and parallel to the face and fuel dock. The current there is not as strong as, say, in
parts of Georgia, but it still deserves your careful attention.
S/V Lady Jane