January 29, 2012

1.29.12 Silver Glen Springs, FL

It is very dark in the Springs at night. There are no street lights or house lights. You may see an anchor light or lights in the cockpit, but once everyone goes to bed, the only light is the moon and stars. It is beautiful.

That is also when the Bow Fishing crews come out. They have large generators and big spot lights. Even with our curtains up…they lit up the cockpit. I could see at least 2 different boats, but there may have been more, and they came in and out of the anchorage. Most of the time I could see their light closer to the entrance to the lake but they did cruise by us several times. I took this video. It isn’t very clear. My camera had trouble focusing on them. But I did see one catch a fish.

The bows have reels with line on them that is attached to the arrow. They shoot and then reel it in. I watched them for quite awhile. It looks interesting, but I don’t think I want to be out there in the cold, damp fog. I was inside with my heater going.

Jim and I slept in for awhile, waiting for the “solar heater” to warm up the boat. I don’t know how we manage to do it….but we are always behind the tallest tree. At least it didn’t have a lot of leaves and we did get some filtered sun.

After coffee and breakfast..(home fries, sausage & eggs) we went for a dingy ride. Captain Jim waited while I waded ashore with Raisin. It was too shallow even for the dingy. See how clear the water is?


I took a blank DVD over to Larry so he could copy the pictures and movies he took of us on the trip. While there we looked across the water and spotted this 5’ – 6’ alligator in the weeds. We were laughing because the lady with the dog in the dingy said she had been coming here since she was 2 and had never seen a gator in the anchorage.


So now we are on a gator hunt. We moved on down the spring run and spotted this nice one. When it realized we were watching….it slowly slid backwards into the water.


We circled around a small island and this one was sunning.


While we were drifting looking at the one on the stump…another one came swimming towards us.


We decided to run up the side creek and see if there was anything in there. I think this is a nursery. We saw 4 baby gators, only about 1 1/2 ft. long. Here’s 2 of them.


This is the one above in a different position. All the others disappeared right away. Jim doesn’t think this one will last too long. I guess it hasn’t been chased by anything yet and hasn’t learned to hide.


Here’s another look at the bigger one …it had come back out of the water while we were watching the babies.


This video is a collection of the video I took of the swimming gator, the one on the stump and the babies.

I also like turtles …this one was especially nice.


I think this might be the same one but it had moved a little between our run up and back.

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I was taking this picture of a group of turtles. Several disappeared before I snapped the picture, but when I looked at it….I noticed a good sized gator’s tail in the photo.

I marked it with a red arrow.


It has been a great day. Around 2 pm we decided to head across Lake George to the S end and find an anchorage for the night. We are hauling the boats out in Astor, FL tomorrow. Guess it’s time to go home. Jim is already planning a camping trip to the Silver Springs area for a weekend with a couple of car shows.


When we left Murphy’s Creek, it was in a little fog. It had cooled down a bit overnight. Visibility wasn’t bad, but we had our running lights on. You can just see A Dollar More’s port side red light. On the starboard side (R) it is green. If you can see both red and green you know the boat is heading straight at you. There is a white light on top…if all you see is a white light and no green or red…then the boat is going away from you.


Some river pictures. This is near Seven Sisters.


The fog must have something to do with the red tint around the sunlight and reflection. I took several pictures and it is the same in each one.

This is looking up the entrance to the Barge Canal. I think it was started in the 1930’s, then stopped, then started again, stopped, etc. Environmental issues, they say. It would have connected the Gulf of Mexico with the east coast.


We made it to Welaka, FL for a sausage gravy and biscuit breakfast, then continued on to Silver Glenn Springs. Lake George was pretty calm but not flat.

This Pelican followed us all the way to the Springs. It would circle around in front of us ….land next to us and watch us go by….a few minutes later it would be back. Several times it checked out A Dollar More. Like I said…we look like a fishing boat.


It was pretty shallow going into the Springs. A Dollar More was in the lead and we could see bottom being disturbed every now and then.

The lake near the entrance was full of fishing boats. Don’t know if there was a contest or not, but several had been flying at a high rate of speed all morning. Larry saw one flying along…..come to an abrupt stop….toss out a line and pull in a big fish. Must have a high dollar fish finder to be able to do that.

I was on deck as we idled into the Springs. Jim gave a shout..”Raccoon”…it was washing something.


We passed a couple of men bow fishing. It is popular in the clear waters of the Springs.


This is looking back at the entrance. We came in on the L side of the island. You can still see the 2 men with the bows.


A Dollar More working her way into the anchorage area. There were a few boats already here, but not as many as we had expected on a Saturday.


There is a channel that runs around the outside. You anchor or beach in the center. There is a sandbar that runs down the R side, inside the markers, that only had a foot or so of water over it. That is where Jim and I were aground when we were here last. This time we put out a stern anchor so we couldn’t swing into the shallow water.

During the summer weekends, this is so packed with boats that you could literally walk from one deck to another. It is one big raft up.


This Bald Eagle watched everyone coming and going. I don’t think I’ve ever come in here and not seen at least one pair.


Once anchored, we went to work scrubbing all the salt off the boats. Mops, sponges, scrubbies and buckets. Larry is working on A Dollar More. Jim and I gave Slow Motion a good scrub and rinse. Jim worked from the dingy, I got in the water for a swim and walked around the boat getting what Jim couldn’t. Sure beats climbing up and down a ladder in the yard.

Slow Motion after her bath…


and A Dollar More…


After the clean up, we cruised over to see if they wanted to take a dingy cruise. Diane was still napping so Larry followed along in his dingy.


We stopped and visited with a few of the other boaters. One couple had a dog who liked to sit in their dingy.


After our visit, we journeyed on down towards the entrance to the Springs and headed into a side creek. This Anhinga was in the tree tops.

The Anhinga is sometimes called the “snake bird”. When it is in the water, all you see is it’s neck and head.


and one drying it’s wings…


Here’s Larry on his way back out.


Captain Jim trying to figure out just what I am doing staring at him thru the camera…he didn’t dare move….thought I was photographing something over his shoulder.  I can be sneaky at times.


No…..it’s not snow on the bushes….this is a favorite roosting place for Cormorants and Anhingas….the bushes are white with bird droppings.


I believe these are North American Coots. There are thousands of them in the area, up and down the river.

These were standing on a submerged log, preening themselves.


It started cooling off so we headed back to the boats, out of the wind. After supper we read for awhile then went to bed.

This is one of our favorite places to hang out.

It was a nice quiet evening…….then the sun went down and the bow fishers came out. They have big spot lights with a generator to run them. It lights up the Springs.





January 28, 2012


The trip from Green Cove Springs to our anchorage at Murphy’s Creek, was a very interesting one. The wind against the tide was creating some pretty good chop and for one long stretch of the river it was hitting us broadside and we had to do a lot of tacking to keep from having a rolly polly ride.

Jim commented it had been an unproductive day, I hadn’t taken any pictures. But, the reason I wasn’t messing with the camera is because I was doing most of the driving….and having a blast.

I guess he found it boring since he only got to drive when I had to make a trip to the head or take Raisin on deck when the water was smooth.

We rafted up in Murphy’s Creek, with a pretty sunset, a glass of wine and conversation with good friends.

Once the bugs came out and then the bats trying to catch them…the curtains came down and we buttoned up for the night.


I will finish “Wreckers Key” tonight.  It’s a good read.

1.26.12 Jacksonville, FL

We didn’t start out as early as we usually do…we were waiting for slack tide or at least as little tide against us a possible before heading into Jacksonville.

The city is beautiful in the early morning sunshine.



You have to look close…but right at the waterline in the center of the photo is a row of houses. They look so tiny with all the tall buildings in the background.


We are approaching Main Street Bridge.


Just beyond it, on the R is a Mall with docking space along the wall. We have never stopped there. I’m not much of a shopper so it doesn’t  have any appeal to me.

As we cruised past….we could see two boats tied up, and it’s not yet 0830.


The railroad bridge is down so Jim gave the bridge master a call on the VHF radio, asking when his next opening was…..1130 is the reply….they are closed for repairs.

So we circled back and joined those 2 boats tied to the dock. Larry is getting rid of trash, Jim is reading the sign that says you can raft up to 5 deep if the dock is full. I can’t imagine what it would be like. The current can be pretty fast thru here, and the outside boat has to have lines from it to the dock. Guess the first one in needs to plan on spending a lot of time shopping, cause there would be no way out until everyone else left.


I walked Raisin while Larry and Diane went in search of a breakfast nook. They found one, gave us a call and waited till we got there to order.

At 0930 we were back at the boats. The sailboat at the dock called Main Street Bridge for an opening. Here it is going thru.


I had to mail a letter and was just starting up the ramp when we saw the RR bridge go up…I ran back to the boat, Jim called to see if it was just a test or if they were open….it was a test….but they would hold it for us. We tossed off our lines and headed their way, with A Dollar More right behind us.

As we were nearing NAS Jax, we watched these big planes do “touch n’ goes”.  I caught A Dollar More just as one was landing.


I have been reading a book by Christine Kling, “Wreckers key”. In it, a couple of boats have run  aground because of possible faulty GPS systems….the lead character in the book thinks people depend too much on electronics….guess what happened…..our chart plotter quit…no GPS signal. It was working as we pulled up to the Jacksonville dock and shut down. No GPS signal when Jim turned it on to leave. I am really enjoying this book, and can’t get over the coincidence of this happening as I am reading about failing GPS units. What are the chances?!

When we got to the city dock at Green Cove Springs, Jim decided to stay aboard and see if he could find the problem, while Larry, Diane and I went to the Mexican restaurant for lunch. Jim had eaten his breakfast and half of mine and was still full.

Jim didn’t find the problem. He’ll check it out again when we get the boat home. I hope it is the GPS and not the Chart Plotter itself. The GPS is the cheapest part to replace….and that isn’t cheap.

We have a chart of the river, and Navigation Lite on the computer so we can safely get to where we are going, but really do enjoy having the Chart Plotter when it works. We’ve marked the entrances of our favorite anchorages. South of Lake George, we are very familiar with the river and could probably do with nothing but daylight, and the channel is well marked.

We anchored near the dock for the night.


We were up and heading out before daylight this morning. The tide was in our favor and we wanted to make the most of it. The short distance from the St Augustine mooring field was against the tide coming in the inlet, but, as soon as we turned N we got a great push.
I didn’t take many pictures today. I guess nothing really caught my eye and the dolphins didn’t come up to play. Though I did see a lot of them along the way.
After we left the ICW, and entered the St Johns River on the E side of Jacksonville, this big container ship passed by, going to sea.
The orange thing on the back of the ship is the crew’s life boat. It is an enclosed capsule to keep them out of the cold elements.
The ship was going very slow when it passed by, and it didn’t look as though it kicked up any wake at all……but it sure did. I thought I was going to bury the nose of our boat going over the second wave. Glad it wasn’t in a hurry and kicking up big ones.
The front of our boat looks similar to this little fishing boat….maybe that is why the Pelicans fly over and land near us…they even look at us like we should be tossing them a fish.
Our anchorage for the night is behind Exchange Island. Just before the first of 5 bridges in Jacksonville, FL.
Nice quiet night, didn’t even feel the boat turn with the tide.

January 26, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I was walking Raisin, and another woman was walking her dog. Both dogs are over 15 years old and losing their eyesight. Perhaps they sensed that in each other. Neither was intimidated by nose touching and sniffing, they got along rather well, which is unusual for Raisin. When another dog approaches her she will generally show her teeth to warn them off, and if they don’t leave then she yips and snaps at them.

During our conversation, I learned she lived aboard her sailboat and was single-handing. It made quit an impression on me. I’ve dreamed of living aboard.

This is her 33’ sailboat, Talespinner.


We were supposed to meet Larry and Diane at 9 am, this morning, for a trip to Sailor’s Exchange and breakfast. At 0730 they slid up in their dingy and said they were hungry. They walk a bit slower than Jim and I, so while they started out, we got dressed, walked Raisin on deck and closed up the boat.

It’s quite a hike to Sailor’s Exchange and the diner is on the way. We caught up with them a few blocks from it, had a good breakfast together then continued on to see if there was  anything we couldn’t live without at the Exchange.

Jim wanted a compressor for his air horns…I couldn’t find anything I needed. We had a few other stops to make on the way back, so Larry and Diane took a taxi back to their dingy.

Back at the boat, Jim hooked up the compressor and was very disappointed. It only blew one horn, not both. We took a short rest and headed back to Sailor’s Exchange to “exchange” the one Jim bought for a larger one. While there…I found 2 folding seats. They are about 4” thick and hinge in the middle so you can take them up on deck and have a soft seat with a back rest. They work great in the cockpit for reading and I was very comfortable driving with one on the captain’s seat. Normally I sit on my feet to get up high enough to see, and then have to stand after they go to sleep. Today was wonderful.

Because they had a bit of “history” as the salesman told me, we got them for $15 each. History is good!!!! A bit of upholstery cleaner and they’ll look like new.

I did some searching on the internet…and found them at www.sportaseat.com  for $114.95.    So the trip back was well worth it. Isn’t “history” great?

While out in our dingy today, I told Jim I would like to stop if the “single-handing” lady was aboard her boat and see if she keeps a website or blog that I could follow. I am very interested in her travels. As we cruised around Talespinner, we noticed she was aboard, stopped and hailed the boat.

When I asked her about a blog or website, she said she had both, gave me a card and told me she was a mystery writer.  Her web page is http://www.christinekling.com/   from there you can go to her blog. Be sure to check out the books she has written. They take place aboard boats, with strong female characters.

I am currently reading “Wreckers Key”. Since I’ve met the author, and know that she is living life aboard, I find the story that much more interesting. She has a nice sized boat, but it’s not huge or real fancy. She has a wind generator and a solar panel that keep the batteries up for about 2 days. She then has to run her engine for about an hour to charge them. Being a writer, her computer is on most of the time and that is a battery drain.

We’ve owned 2 sailboats, a 22’ Catalina and a 26’ MacGregor power sailer. Neither required the maintenance that Talespinner needs. The bigger the boat, the more work required to keep her in safe shape, and I have Jim doing all the motor or engine maintenance. Like I said, I really have a deep appreciation for her ability to sail and maintain her boat…alone. Except for Chip (her dog), of course.

Another beautiful sunset…the bridge at St Augustine, FL.


Again….as I swing the camera around to catch A Dollar More at her mooring….the color changes.


I’d like to say we had a peaceful night but that would be untrue. The first couple of hours after sundown there were a series of small boats roaring thru the channel and under the bridge. It’s amazing how big the wakes are from some small boats. We rocked and rolled for at least 2 hours before everyone was off the water and it settled down. I think the wakes were made even worse by the sea wall that we were moored near. The waves couldn’t dissipate, as they would  on shore….they just bounced back. We’ll find a new spot next time.

It’s funny…as bad as the bouncing was, it put me right to sleep. When I woke up at 1 am, with flat water, I was unable to get back to sleep…so I read a few more chapters of “Wreckers Key”.  I find myself looking for things in it that she’s taken from her life aboard…like taking the dog ashore in the dingy…hanging over an engine compartment fixing a leak or several days running, without crew.  Of course, being on a boat as you read, makes it even more special.

Thanks Christine, for taking the time to visit with us. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your books. Oh…by the way….that is where I am headed right now….back to “Wreckers Key”.


January 25, 2012


Another early start with a nice sunrise.

Here is A Dollar More. The bridge street lights are still on. The pillars have beautiful work near the bottom of Manatees and Dolphins.


You can just make out the blue area near the bottom. It makes for a very pretty bridge, but wonder at the cost of the maintenance of such art work.


This is a very colorful boat.


Here’s another dream in trouble.


The C Dory is one of my favorite little trailerable boats. A  boating blog with a lot of trailering information is: 



They have cruised all the places I would like to. (We did do Lake Powell.) I believe he was a geologist and there is a lot of interesting information on the canyons etc. in that area. It’s a good site to check out if you plan to do any “trailer sailing.” They’ve done it all.

This is one of Jim’s favorites….another boat that we cant afford, but often dream about.


Our anchorage for the night is a mooring ball in St Augustine, FL. It is too late to do anything ashore, so we will stay 2 nights. That will give us a whole day to explore Sailor’s Exchange, and pick up a few supplies.