February 16, 2013

Wednesday 2.13.13

While having our morning coffee the flock of Wild Turkeys came by.  We did see a nice big Tom strutting his stuff but he was too far in the trees to get a picture. He had a beautiful tail all fanned out trying to attract the hens.


Once we were sure there were no other animals coming for water, we decided to haul in the anchor and head to Lake Monroe and pull out. Weather is predicting a night or two in the low 40’s and even 30’s. All my milkweed plants are outside and I don’t want to lose them to a frost. I usually end up buying plants to feed the caterpillars.    Check my wildlife blog:  www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com    I have Monarch caterpillars pupating and emerging from their chrysalis.  Put pupating in “search this blog” and it brings up a page that has links to both. Of course, the blog is full of other critters and bugs that live here.

While traveling Jim spotted this Bald Eagle.


I tried for a second shot just as he took off….it’s probably the closest to an “in flight” shot as I’ll get with the camera I have.


It’s been windy all day and the side guides Jim added to the trailer made loading the boat much easier.


We walked the boat on with a couple of long lines and it centered perfectly….once between the forward guides the wind couldn’t turn it sideways.

Jim has a few more projects in mind….too bad he doesn’t get paid by the hour…..we’d be rich.

February 14, 2013

Tuesday 2.12.13

Before dark last night we untied the lines, hauled in the stern anchor and backed out to anchor for the night. Much nicer floating, especially if a few fishing boats go by.

Just as it was getting daylight I heard what I thought was a bird’s distress call. It was, in fact, a call from a Limpkin to it’s mate. They are beautiful birds but don’t have what I  would consider a pretty call.


I sure wish I had my best boating buddy, Diane, with me. She enjoys all the wildlife along the river, but her favorite is the Limpkin. These two spent almost an hour on the beach where we had been tied up. I took several pictures and videos, then got in the dingy, rowed closer and drifted by and got more….023cs

Once the sun topped the trees it gave everything a golden hue….



One would find a shell, I’m assuming it was the male, and bring it to the other.


It was a lot of fun watching them interact….after receiving several choice morsels…the female signaled that she was ready to mate.



I had been taking pictures and then video and back to pictures….unfortunately my camera was set for photos during this ritual.

I still don’t know how to tell one from the other.


There is a Limpkin in this picture….they blend in so well. Guess that is why they are called “Elusive”. Actually that term came from the Boating and Cruising Guide to the St Johns River,  by Tom Krantz. I think I found it on EBay.  It’s an older guide but we still find it pretty accurate. If you are planning to spend any time on the St Johns River, FL., be sure to get one. There are a lot of places that are pretty shallow and you wouldn’t know it without one. He even has some good anchorages marked.


Those of you in the snowy, cold North will enjoy the video.

Once I finished with the pictures, I went back to the boat and got Raisin for her morning walk. This is a view from the island.


In this picture you can see the ripples of sunlight that were reflecting off the water.


Captain Jim of “Sailbad the Sinner” came in and dropped his anchor. We always enjoy seeing him and Lungun Island is one of his favorite anchorages.


After our visit, we headed south. ….and it was another great day for gators…several very big ones.


big……but doesn’t have the “rolls of fat”  the one below it has.


Possibly the biggest and oldest of the trip….note how rounded from wear that front tooth is…and how big it is…good sign of age. Also, the skoots (bumps on it’s back) show a lot of wear.


This younger one has sharper teeth. Looks like he’s trying to show them off.


This one is pretty big also. Notice how wide it’s back is, and you cant see any tail at all.


Kind of a weird look on this one’s face. Looks more like a giant lizard than a gator.


This is a little guy…….probably only 7 or 8 feet long,  but notice how long the tail is compared to the body. Gives you an idea how big some of these really are when all you can see is the body.



We decided to anchor just past Blue Springs. While we were sitting there a canoe came along side and asked where they were. They had left Blue Springs 4 hours earlier and were lost. When I asked how the trip was on the Snake River, one said “scary”.


It was a nice day and even nicer evening. We saw a flock of Wild Turkeys come down near the water. I was hoping for Deer or Bear…but no such luck.

A beautiful sunset….


Sorry for such a long post….but I love my gators  ( I even left out a few )and Limpkins.

February 13, 2013

Monday 2.11.13

It was windy most of the night but finally settled down around 3 am. We were up at 5am….had our coffee….ship shaped things for travel and as soon as there was enough light to see our way down the run, we headed out.

The North American Coots like the river run. There was a big flock in the springs. It was dark when we went to the ramp to walk Raisin and dump trash and they were bunched tightly together and moved as one. It was like this all the way to the lake and it’s 4 or 5 miles.


The sun was coming up as we got to the entrance to Lake George.


Looks like we’ll be staring straight into the sun all the way to the south end.


You’d think, since we had the wind in our face on the crossing to the N that it’d be at our backs as we headed S….nope….another lumpy ride with a head wind.

We are beached at G3, Lungun Island. We wanted to try out Jims swim ladder…turned bow ladder. Works great at either end of the boat.


In the photo above….do you see the light colored branch above the lily pads? Jim was looking out the head window and spotted this gator under the trees. Just his head is out of the water….you always have to check out your surroundings in Florida. This spot we are beached at is a popular swimming place for those who camp on the island or just beach for the day.


It’s only 30 or 40 feet from the boat.

There is such a wind blowing down the cut behind the island that we had to put out two lines to keep us straight and we even have a stern anchor out that we dropped on the way in. Guess it’s a good thing we got across the lake early…it would be pretty rough now.


We tied up around noon….had our lunch….Jim is napping. I’m catching up the blog and will hike the island later.

Had a nice call from my daughter, Tammy and son Dave, in VT. Sure glad I’m not up there enjoying 2’ of snow and sleet. This is Tammy’s first winter in awhile, though she was born in VT.  Asked her is she was going to be a “snow bunny” or a “snow bird”….her answer was “bird”. She’ll spend summers in VT and winters in FL.

Can’t beat a warm day on the water.






Sun 2.10.13

When it’s cool at night the 72* water creates fog. Here is an early morning Manatee enjoying the peace and quiet.


A lot of people came out to enjoy the beautiful weather and watch the Manatees. There were several swimming around our boat and the kayaks.


The kayaks came in for lunch….and Jim was kind enough to put on a show and create some laughs. He was showing me how much water his shoes held and brought into the dingy when he lost his balance and fell into the water. He’s still trying to convince me I yanked the dingy out from under him….he laughed as hard as everyone else. Those with kayaks do it all the time, trying to get in and out….so they were especially appreciative.


Our friends, Karen, Mike, Tony and the ever faithful, Walker showed up and we went for a ride in their boat. It started taking on a little water so Mike hauled it out and checked the plugs. I guess the one in the live well was leaking. After everything drained they relaunched and went fishing.

Mike caught 7 or 8 in a short time. This White Heron watched and every time Mike reeled one in…. it flew to the boat and hovered …waiting for him to throw it in the water. It never took any of them…but came back each time.100_8609cs

Here it is…..standing on our boat waiting….


Nice little boat….and it can fly!!!  But no sleeping room, so I’ll keep ours.


We had a Manatee swim up and under Mike and Karen’s boat. It hung out for quite awhile. Karen was able to get a close up look at one. It’s always amazing to see how big they are.

Mid afternoon they loaded up and headed home.

Tony and my Dad raced horses together and have been friends for many years. Mike and Karen now have a place in Florida and they’ve be come “snow birds”.

It is a nice warm night. Wine on the back deck and fun watching all the boaters pullout or load up their kayaks and canoes.

Our fridge quit on us today…… we’ve loaded it with ice. I remember “iceboxes” from the old days. But blocks of ice last much longer than cubes or this chipped stuff. Managed to save most of the meat and plan to stay out till Thursday…guess we’ll have to see how it goes.


Sat 2.9.13

Spent a good night at anchor. Up early and headed for Lake George. We’ve had a head wind since we started…today will be the same. The lake was a little lumpy and we got a free window wash every now and then…but not a bad ride.


We’ll get fuel at the Georgetown Marina. $4.79 a gallon, tax included. Non-ethanol with additives. We saw $5.20 and $5.34 at a couple of places on the river, and passed them up.

After fueling we headed to Salt River Springs. Lots of boats on the run and in the springs.

Supper, glass of wine on the deck and we were ready for bed.

St Johns River 2.8.13

We checked the depth at Lake Jessup and decided we shouldn’t try launching there until we’ve had a bit of rain, so we headed to Lake Monroe.

Once the boat was in the water, I got things stashed while Jim visited with a gentleman who was interested in our 1928 Buick.

Decided to carry the dingy aboard, and inflate it later. That is it in the bow.

The docks here are a popular spot for fishing.


There is a low railroad bridge near the launch ramp. A small houseboat was waiting for an opening but we are low enough (since Jim removed the tall railing), that we  could get under.  A few minutes later it was passing us. It looked small, but is actually a 26 ft boat.


A beautiful day!!!! and a great day for spotting gators. This one only let me get one shot…and was gone. Guess it’s been hunted a lot.


This kayaker has a great little set up….


Hontoon Island was popular for the weekend.


Look at this beauty…..what a nice boat. Low profile, compared to it’s neighbor and a couple of kayaks on top.


A Stork rookery….I can see at least 3 nests. They are very small and look flimsy for such big birds.


You see a lot of turtles sunning near gators….guess no one has told them they can crunch turtle shells.


Look at the size of this one…and I didn’t even get all of it’s tail.


This one didn’t look very big…but has a thick tail.


Lots of meat here…same gator above


We traveled 34 miles today. Don’t usually run this far when we launch but we have to be at Salt River Springs on Sunday to meet friends.

Our anchorage for this night is G3 Lungun Island.