July 10, 2011

Monday…July 4th

We are meeting Carl at Lake Monroe Park, Debary, FL  where we leave our truck and trailer. It is a busy place today. Even more boats on the water.

On our way there we spotted all these boats nosed up to the shoreline.


I wasn’t able to get them all in the picture.  Normally we only see a few boats here…but the river is low and there is more beach exposed.

Everyone is out today…water skiers…jet skiers….fast boats…slow boats (us) and everything in between. Lots of big houseboats. Most will be anchored in the lake tonight for the fireworks.

We anchored and Jim and Carl took the dingy ashore to pick up a pizza for supper.  Boats coming and going all around us.

As the sun was setting the "River Queen” was heading out for it’s dinner cruise.


They had a big crowd aboard.


One of the nice things about watching the fireworks on Lake Monroe in Sanford, FL is the ability to watch all the fireworks in the towns around the lake.  I counted at least 20 different ones. We couldn’t hear the explosions but some of them on the opposite side were beautiful. Next year we’ll anchor in the middle and get to see them all.

Once the fireworks were over we took Carl back to the dock…dropped him off….took the trash to the dumpster, then  headed back to the anchorage by G109. Butcher’s Bend.

It was a fun evening. Glad we made a plan change so Carl could join us.


Now I know why we didn’t see many boats yesterday…..they all waited until today!!!

It was wonderful….boats of all kinds and sizes.

We don’t usually see much wildlife when there are so many boats on the water but did manage to find a gator sunning itself on one of the side creeks.


Most of the gators we’ve seen…and there have been many….have been in the water. The river is so warm I guess there is no need to sit in the sun. There were lots of Painted turtles.


We decided to anchor for the night behind Hontoon Island. We followed the river back always and find a nice spot near some very tall pine trees on the west side. It was very hot today and we’ll be able to get shade a lot earlier.

BIG MISTAKE!!!    We did get shade earlier than if we’d been someplace else….but forgot that the bugs are worse near the land.  The “no see-ums” were terrible.  We dusted down with baby powder …and that helped…but just before dark we decided to haul anchor and find another spot.  We ended up anchoring on the bend in the river that is near Lake Beresford.  We’ll anchor here again. We didn’t really have a breeze but there was air movement….and no bugs!!!.


We didn’t see many boats on the water yesterday. There were a few more today but not as many as we had expected for a big weekend.

As we were getting underway we spotted a deer swimming across the river. This was within a few hundred feet of where Jim had spotted the big gator. 3 guys on Jet Skis saw it and hung out with us to see if it made it to safety….It did!!   We were amazed because it was in a wide part of the river and we knew about the big gator….perhaps all the action with us and the 3 jet skis kept the gator away.

We don’t meet Jim’s brother, Carl, until Monday so we can take our time on our way back to Lake Monroe.

Our anchorage for the night is on the opposite side of the river of the Highland Park Canal at marker R36. It’s a wide part of the “jug handle” off the river and we’ll get a nice breeze while watching the boats go by.

It also has a nice piece of high ground for walking Raisin. We take her ashore whenever we can find a good spot…but she is trained to use a carpet on the foredeck…so there are no more trips ashore after dark (gator feeding time).   It is much nicer this way….and safer. We had an incident with her a few years ago….it was long after dark….and we were tied up near the lock on the E side of Lake Okeechobee, FL, waiting for good weather for the crossing. On our way ashore we had to row thru some water plants that evidently looked like grass to Raisin and she jumped overboard.  Very scary…luckily I was able to grab her before she could swim very far as she was headed away from us and the weeds were very thick. We decided then that she needed to be trained to the deck. The next morning we spotted a big gator swimming in that area.


It was a nice afternoon and evening on the water. 

July 7, 2011

Friday….another Lake George crossing

I much prefer anchoring out but the night was still pleasant.

We enjoyed our sausage gravy and biscuit breakfast and a nice walk. Picked up a few supplies and headed S.

Our trip across Lake George was very nice. Enough breeze to keep us cool but all the clouds were over the land and we rode in sunshine. Once we got thru the gates I snapped these Osprey. The channel markers are one of their favorite nesting places.


This Nimble Nomad reminded us of Larry and Diane’s former boat, “River Nomad”.   I think most of my posts a few years ago included them. We had some good times when we had the Adventure Craft and they the Nomad.  Both were very shallow draft and we checked out all the side creeks and rivers….places we can never get into with the Albin.



Anchoring near Lungun Island.  G3

July 6, 2011

Thursday…crossing Lake George

Forgot to mention the “little accident” when Jim spotted a big gator last night and told me to grab my camera. I was on deck while it swam towards shore so I started knocking on the boat to attract it’s attention….it worked…it started to really puff itself up and arched it’s tail. I wanted to get a picture of it like that so hollared down to Jim to knock on the boat. I didn’t realize he was in the galley fixing our evening  wine. He had 2 glasses poured …along with the soda he puts in his…when he leaned on the shelf to knock….it collapsed!…all the wine and soda spilled on the cushions. Needless to say…he was not a happy boater at that moment.

After several towels and lots of sopping up we got everything shipshape.  I rinsed all the towels in the river and hung them on the rear railing to dry…now we look like liveaboards.

Captain Jim from “Sailbad the Sinner” dingyed down to visit over coffee this morning. After they hauled anchor, we took Raisin ashore for a walk then headed N.

Thunderstorms started to roll in and a bit of rain hit us. We decided to check Lake George and make a decision whether to cross or wait till evening when things settled down. Lake George is shallow and can build up steep waves quickly.

Once we got to the gate we could see storms all around but the lake was flat. The wind was on our rear quarter and would be a push if it did get worse so we started across. 


It turned out to be one of our best rides across. Just enough breeze to keep us cool and give us a bit of a shove.

Back on the river we spotted this gator sunning on a log.


I cant figure out if its smiling at me….or just showing off it’s pearly whites.


When we arrived at the dock in Welaka, we tied up next to this little pontoon houseboat. He has everything he needs for a stay on the river….including airconditioning…..the nice thing about a boat like this is he can get into places we only dream of going because of our 3’ draft.


Supper at Shrimp R Us, compliments of Ed and Carole (Tortoise).  We’ll be using up the gift certificate they gave us when we have our sausage/gravy and biscuits for breakfast.  Thanks so much guys….we’ve really enjoyed all those free meals. Too bad you weren’t here to enjoy them with us.  But I imagine you are enjoying much nicer boating weather in Maine.

This is one of the “locals”. It hangs out at the dock and the people fishing give it some of the small ones.


We’ll remain at the dock overnight.  Have breakfast then head S in the morning.

July 3, 2011

Wednesday on the St Johns river

After coffee this morning, we decided to take the dingy for a ride around Drigger Island and see if there were any gators sunning or interesting birds.
This Limpkin was poking around in a sand bar looking for tiny clams (mussels?).  Once it found one it pecked at it until it was open. Jim did a great job of “stealth” rowing to keep us close enough to video. Very hard to do quietly when weeds grab the oars with every stoke.
This is my friend Diane’s favorite bird. When they are in FL cruising with us we hunt for them everywhere we go. So far, I’ve seen at least 6 this trip…..and I think of Diane each time I see one. She is such a beautiful person….inside and out…and so much fun to cruise with.
Listen to the birds in the background. What a beautiful morning it was.
Limpkin feeding
Our anchorage behind Drigger Island.
We had planned on going to Palatka to watch the fireworks. We spent last 4th of July there and they put on a great show, but decided to call Jim’s brother and see if he wanted to meet us in Sanford and spend the evening with us watching the show they put on over Lake Monroe. He thought it sounded like a good idea …so we are going to make a change of plans. We’ll go as far N as Welaka and then work our way back S.

 We will anchor behind Lungen Island (Shell Island to the locals) at marker G3. Another boat was anchored where we normally do so we moved down a bit N of the island. Lots of breeze, thunderstorms and rain. Much cooler tonight. I think we like this spot better. It's a little farther to dingy to the island to walk Raisin but the view is better and there is lots of water vegetation between us and the river to keep the boat wakes down.

All in all...we had a very pleasant evening.

July 1, 2011

Slow Motion on the St Johns River, FL

Finally….we’re back on the water for a few days.

Monday we launched at Monroe Park….took our time and headed to G109, Butcher’s Bend.  One of our favorite gator watching spots. There were a few but they stayed in the water.

We had the place to ourselves for most of the day but by evening 2 houseboats had nudged up to the island for the night. The one closest to us nudged a bit too hard and had trouble getting off in the morning.


Slow Motion doesn’t look too bad now, but she was really dirty when we came out. Didn’t have the time to scrub her down….so when the thunderstorms came thru late afternoon….we put on our suits…grabbed the mop and hand mitt and went to work…washed the boat down and got a cool shower all at the same time.

It has been hot and muggy. Thanks to the cloud cover and rain it was bearable. I think it’s supposed to be in the 90’s everyday with thunderstorms.


When we got up this morning the fishing had already started. We jumped in the dingy and looked for a place to take Raisin ashore.


We were surprised when we spotted these “elusive” Limpkins. They were so pretty walking around on these old Cyprus roots, with the Spanish Moss hanging down.


They are such pretty birds. Especially when they look right at you.


Jim spotted these cyprus roots and thought they looked like 3 dolphins. Can you see them?


After Raisin’s trip ashore we headed N. It turned out to be a great day for wildlife. I spotted 3 more Limpkins and several gators.

As we were going by Lake Beresford I spotted this Doe grazing along the water’s edge.


Isn’t she beautiful? There was a time when I would have thought “venison stew” or “venison steaks” but that was when I hunted to put food on the table. Now I like seeing them fat … sassy ….and alive. I like hunting with the camera.


Here’s a short video


Our anchorage for the night is Drigger Island. Spotted a few gators on our way in and had one cruise by the boat several times after we dropped the hook.  Once the afternoon thundershower passed it was a bit cooler and we had a pleasant night reading and listening to the frog chorus.