Saturday, January 17, 2015

1/17 Fort Matanzas National Monument

I decided to take advantage of the first mostly sunny day in a long time to go out for some sightseeing.  Fort Matanzas is about 18 miles north of my campground on Highway A1A, so it was a pleasant drive.  It is an especially nice drive because the highway is directly on the ocean--no big high-rise hotels to block the view!

Most visitors park in the National Monument parking lot, but since the live oak trees have hanging branches and I did not want to remove anything from my roof, I parked across the street and walked.  Get a lot of exercise parking at the far ends of parking lots and in places where I can fit my big vehicle. 

The "fort" is really only a single guard tower, but it was built in 1565 by the Spanish, so that makes it pretty impressive.  Also, it is on an island, and you can only access the island by taking a free boat tour.  Most of the island is a nature preserve, so they want to keep people out.

This chart shows the history of the fort.  It was part of the fortification of St. Augustine, which is a few miles farther north.

This is the little boat that ferries you across the river.
The ocean used to be a lot closer, just before the bridge in the distance, so the soldiers could view both the river and the ocean at its entrance.

There were never more than six soldiers stationed here.  Most slept in this room, which was the only one with a fireplace.  It was on the lower level. 

You climb up a set of stairs from the outside and arrive at this second floor room, assumedly where the officer in charge slept. 

In the middle of this second floor room, there is a ladder to the observation area on the very top. 

I passed my camera to a kindly gentleman who took pictures of me climbing up.

A bit of a tight fit!!

But I made it!!

Only way to get down is same way I got up!  No photos of that, however.

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