December 30, 2013


Weather was very nice last night. Windows open all night. No croaking or singing frogs though…must be hibernating in the mud or something.

I did have a cute little tree frog on the foredeck. Don’t know if he traveled with us or dropped from a tree that we sat under for awhile.

We headed for Butcher’s Bend at G 109, and decided to take a side trip. Dropped anchor and had breakfast.

These American Coots  kept an eye on us while we ate.


This Little Blue Heron posed for a picture…normally I have very little luck capturing these guys. They are pretty skittish, but we were anchored and he didn’t realize what I was up to.


After breakfast we hauled up the anchor and completed the trip around the island. Don’t remember having been back in here before…but most likely did when cruising with Larry and Diane. We’ll put this on our list of interesting anchorages.

Jim spotted these cute little guys.


They weren’t much more than 3 or 4 ft long.

You could tell they had never been hunted….Jim slowed down…circled around for a few more shots and they didn’t seem worried at all. A big gator would have been gone in a flash.


Here are some “one” legged Ibis.  Jim gets a kick out of these birds …they are always standing on one leg.


Back on the river we spotted this gator sunning at the base of a palm tree. Another tree that will eventually end up in the river as the wakes from the big boats wash out the shore around the base.


Our plans were to pull out on Monday, but once at Butcher’s Bend Jim decided to call our neighbor and see if our road had been paved. It hadn’t ….and it is a dead end.  Guess we’ll pull out today and make sure we can get home before they get started.

The rain held off until we had the boat loaded…..rained all the way home….quit so we could unload all our gear.

It was a great trip. Much nicer sleeping when it’s cool but the windows have to be closed and all the frogs and night sounds are gone.

Our next little jaunt will be with the Hudson and the Scamp. Need to road test it and visit some NY friends who are down for the winter.

December 29, 2013


Looked like rain this morning but by mid day it had cleared off and was sunny with a nice breeze.

On the way to Blue Springs we spotted these wild Turkeys.



They blended in so well with the Cyprus Knees that we almost missed them.


This Cormorant just caught dinner.


These are enjoying the sunshine with a few turtles.


Since the day turned out so nice we decided to stop at Blue Springs and see the Manatees. We were there fairly early and had plenty of room to beach.

They are easy to see in the clear spring water.


Looks like several young ones here. They were having fun playing together.


By the time we’d gotten back to the boat there were boats waiting for a spot to beach, so we backed out to let someone else have a chance to go ashore.

We headed up to the canal that leads to the Hontoon River. We did get to see a couple small gators.



We’ll anchor on the Hontoon River for the night. Getting warmer. Fired up the generator and heated water for showers. Sometimes roughing it isn’t so bad. (our shower is outside on the rear deck). We can put up shower curtains for privacy…but that doesn’t help with the air temperature. This shower was much nicer that the one a few nights ago.

Even got to have a window open all night.


Another cloudy morning but the weather is warming up.

Part way up Blue Creek we spotted this Limpkin. We haven't seen many this year.


This is Diane’s favorite bird. It is really very pretty and hard to see because it blends in with it’s surrounding so well.


Back on the St Johns River we decided to take another side trip….St. Francis Dead River. We haven't been up here since we traveled with Larry and Diane. We had the Adventure Craft (Lingerawhile) and they were aboard their Nimble Nomad (River Nomad).

This is all that is left of the “SS Minnow” guys.


An old wooden boat was left here…and someone had spray painted “SS Minnow” on it.


Another year or two and there will be no sign it even existed.


This looks like a shell mound. River Nomad beached on one side and Lingerawhile on the other. Great place to walk the dogs. Sure miss boating with you two, Larry and Diane.


We are anchoring at Drigger Island. Anchored there with the Big Duck, Ugly Duckling and Avitoon when we were cruising together.

A Manatee swam in ahead of us. I was hoping they would come visit but they turned around and swam right past.


I think there were 3 of them. Here’s the other 2. Guess they were heading to Blue Springs and warmer water.


Much nicer tonight….even had a chance to enjoy our wine on the rear deck. Have not had to put up the screens. Too cold for the mosquitos right now.

December 27, 2013


The wind blew most of the night but the anchor was well set and we had a nice night with water bubbling under the hull.

Shell Island (Lundgen) used to be a popular camping spot. Over the years we rarely anchored behind it without having a pontoon boat beached on the back side…with a fire going at night or campers in tents on the island. This year we haven’t seen any sign that it is being used at all. Of course, it means no trash left over but it seems a shame that no one camps there anymore.

We decided to head up Blue Creek and anchor near “Bubba’s” Island. It was overcast in the morning.

Jim had Captain’s duty…..while I cooked ham and eggs for breakfast.


I believe this is a Great Egret. Beautiful birds and many along Blue Creek.


“Bubba’s Island”. When we were thru here last it as almost underwater but the river is down at least a foot now.


Later in the day the sun came out…but Bubba never did. Bubba is a huge gator…..named by the locals….and one of the tourist attractions. There were at least 3 tour boats that came by and we saw more boats on Blue Creek this afternoon…than we did on the river for two days.


This Great Blue Heron spent most of the afternoon on this patch of weeds…grooming and fishing.


An Osprey.



Late afternoon the wind picked up and the weeds started floating in.


An Egret and a male Anhinga.


Bubba never did appear. He must have found a good sunning spot when the water was up and his island covered. Oh well….maybe next time. This turns out to be one of our favorite anchorages.

This was the closest to a day off for Jim. We were anchored by mid day and spent the afternoon reading, boat watching and he even had a short nap.

Too windy and cool for sitting on the rear deck tonight….

December 25, 2013

Christmas Day 12.25.13

Last evening we watched all the Ibis, Egrets and Herons fly to their nesting sites. This morning they were coming back.


This Heron looks chilly.


Naturally…we had anchored in the shadow of the trees. We could hear several Sand Hill Cranes calling so we hauled up the anchor and headed closer to them and the sunshine.


We had coffee on the deck in the sun….

This little Blue Heron looks like he and I  had the same hair dresser this morning.


Another good gator watching day. With so few boats on the water they are more likely to be sunning themselves.


A pair of Wood Storks.


Caught this guy just as he was headed back into the water.


The best one of the day…..this is one of the biggest ones we’ve seen on the river. Look at the width between the skates on the tail behind the hind legs.


We circled 4 times for pictures before he got nervous and went in the water. You can see he has his eye on us.


Not only is it a big one….but look at the setting. Could you ask for a prettier picture?


We made a stop at Hontoon Island and visited with a few boaters…walked Raisin…picked up batteries for the camera, snacks and tooth paste (had to forget something) then headed N.

Our anchorage for the night will be behind Shell Island (Lungren Island) at marker G3. Should have sunshine first thing in the morning.

What a great Christmas Day. That big gator was the perfect gift…..besides being on the water.

Christmas on the St Johns River, FL 2013


Rain early this morning but by the time we had coffee it was looking better, and by the time we’d finished loading the boat the clouds had passed and we had blue sky.

No problem at the launch ramp…this is an easy boat to load and unload.

Almost no one in Monroe Park or on the water.

Our trip thru the canal looked a bit different…what a change a month can make. With most of the leaves off the trees it is really opened up….but still one of our favorite areas.


It turned out to be a good gator watching day late afternoon.


This one is bigger than it looks.


This one wasn’t going back in the water no matter how many times we circled.

102_1754csWe decided to anchor on the Hontoon River. We spotted a couple of Blue Herons nesting in the tree tops. They seem to prefer Cyprus trees.


We were sitting on the rear deck enjoying the sun going down, with a glass of wine and watching the Herons.

Jim noticed these two mating.


In the next half hour he’d made at least 8 or 9 trips to other tree tops and bringing back twigs or Spanish Moss.

Here he is handing her a twig…she places it in the nest where she needs it. It was pretty neat watching the whole ritual.


Once the sun dipped below the tree tops the temperature started to drop so we went inside and read for awhile…then went to bed.

What a great way to spend Christmas Eve.

November 17, 2013

Lake Monroe and South. 11.15.13

We stopped at the launch ramp. The Ugly Duckling was already on the trailer but we could see they were just tidying things up for the trip so stopped to say goodbye.

Lake Monroe was flat so we crossed and headed S. The river is much different here. Some homes but much wilder. Even saw a herd of cattle.

It started to rain so we made a U turn and headed back to Lake Monroe Park.

The lake was just starting to kick up as we finished the last part before the bridge.

Decided to anchor in the cove and hang around while Big Duck and Avi-Toon pulled out in the morning. It continued to rain a little in the evening. Too bad we didn’t have our fresh water catcher figured out yet.

Nice quiet night on the deck with a glass of wine. I did spot a good sized gator cruising between the boats. Good to know we have a guard gator.


Jim was up before daylight fixing coffee. I thought it was a little early so looked out the window. We were in the middle of a fishing tournament start. There were about 20 bass boats all waiting for enough light to be released.  It was a very controlled start. Someone was calling out boat numbers and they took off slowly.

We saw one in Palatka a few years ago and it was a mad dash to get going. Couldn’t believe the wakes they were kicking up and jumping.

We helped Big Duck and Avi-Toon get loaded then decided to load Meander and head home.

Jim has a couple of projects calling to him. And we were almost out of water.

It was a great trip. 4 boats…8 people and 3 dogs and 1 bird. It was fun to see other older boats and what each couple has done to them.

Maybe next year we can have a more central location and get several more boats. I know there should be at least one more.  Larry and Diane are working on their Yukon Delta. Hopefully it will be ready by then.

Blue Springs, FL 11.14.13

After a good nights rest we were ready to hike Blue Springs.

There is a small area where several boats can nose up and tie off to a few trees.  Normally there is a little beach but it was under a few inches of water.

These are pictures of the Manatees that spend the winter here. They were taken in 2011, but I wanted to show you how beautiful it is.


There is a nice boardwalk to the head waters and it stays 72* year around. That is why the Manatees come during the winter.


I didn’t make the walk this year. As I was getting off the boat I stepped in a hole and fell to my knees in the water. Got just a little bit soaked.

Sue wasn’t able to leave the boat since there was no place to dock…so I decided to change clothes and dingy over to visit. I wanted to hear about living aboard a sailboat for 3 years and a trip to the Bahamas and Caribbean. And they did it aboard a 27’ or 28’ Bristol. 


After everyone saw the Manatees, we headed S.

We docked at the launch ramp. Bud, Jim and Jerry went to see if the trailer and tire were ready…picked up pizza and we enjoyed dinner and conversation. It was the most time all of us had spent together since launching.

The Ugly Duckling decided to stay at the dock. They wanted to pull out early. 

We headed up to Butcher’s Bend near marker G 109. One of our favorite anchorages. Of course, on the river, we have a lot of favorites.