Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Fort Matanzas (a guest post by Benjamin)

 May 24:

14 miles away from the Castillo de San Marcos there is a tiny fort  called Fort Matanzas. Its perimeter is only 200 feet and its sides are only 50 feet long; it is shaped like a very short L.

It was made two years after the British laid siege to Saint Augustine because the Spanish had been resupplied via the Matanzas River so they needed to protect the inlet. The solution...

Fort matanzas!  

The small fort only held seven or eight soldiers at a time; they were typically stationed there for thirty days. Because it is on an island we had to go on a boat, a pontoon boat to be exact. A pontoon boat is a boat with floaties on the bottom and a platform on top for the people and driver. After we got there the ranger talked about the history of the fort and then let us explore the fort.

Here's Alexander on the boat:

There was a ladder that led to the roof of the fort and we climbed up it and we could see for miles!

It was so cool! At the fort I joked that we could definitely man the fort because our family has nine people in the close area around Georgia, namely: Grandpa, Dad, Mom, Rachel, Meme, me (Ben), Zoë, Alex, and Phoebe. 

Here we are going up the ladder:

Forts make excellent classrooms:

This is my happy place!

The way to get into the fort is a staircase on the western side of the fort. I imagine that it was also the way to get into the fort back when it was used to protect the Matanzas inlet. It was attacked a dozen times when it was used but when it was attacked the fort fired one or two shots and the attackers retreated, which I think is just manifesting the power that small forts can have. 

The fort itself look like this:

With one of the little shooting nooks to the right and the living quarters to the left with the flag of the Spanish military billowing in the wind back in the day when it was used it was all white the shooting nook was the same color as the red on the flag and a couple other parts were red. Cool colors for a fort!

Here are all the kids with Dad:

Phoebe just wanted Mom.

At 4:15 we returned to the boat and back at the visitors center we took a pledge and got the Junior Ranger badge and then returned back to the beach house for lunch and more playing at the beach (which Rachel is blogging about). 

[Mom's addition]...

There were huge live oak out in front of the visitor's center; the kids quickly scrambled up into the branches.

And then they acted all scared when we asked them to sit still for a picture (it reminded me of a picture we took of our kids back in 2017 when we only had four):

The ferry ride was very exciting for some of us. Phoebe really wanted to climb out of the boat to go swimming.

She looks pretty subdued in these pictures, but inside...

...she was seething.

Here she is somewhat resigned to staying in the boat:

Once on shore, she immediately got to work transporting handfuls of the crushed-shell path to different areas of the crushed-shell path. This is a very important job and the only way to truly find happiness in life.

Take handfuls of crushed shell away and you're left with this...

Phoebe's just thinking about how much she wants to pick up handfuls of shells...

Can we go back down to the shell path now?

Here's Zoë up at the top of the tower:

Here's Alexander descending the ladder:

And here's everyone working on their Junior Ranger booklets:

I left them there to finish up so I could reunite Phoebe with her one true passion:

What a happy baby she is when she gets precisely what she wants!

Here's Miriam showing off the fort:

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading the history of this fort. It would have been neat seeing it when it was white and red! Love the picture of you in your happy place, Benjamin!