March 12, 2013

South to Lake Monroe Park 3.11.13

We only have about 4 hours of travel today so decided to spend some time in the dingy.
This Little Blue Heron looked cold while waiting for the sun to warm him up.
This Blue Heron looks like he’s waiting also.
During our ride we spotted this bird. I’m not sure what it is…it may be a juvenile Little Blue Heron. The beak looks similar and there are similar colors on the head .
After this of my followers, Robert Currie, emailed me with this "I believe it is a tricolored heron (used to be called a Louisiana heron).  Thanks, Robert....I'll make sure I put my bird guide aboard next trip.
These two Buzzards looked pretty against the blue sky.
Look at the size of this Osprey nest.
One of the Osprey flew off as we cruised past…..circled around and came back to this small limb.
What looks like a big rope draped over this fallen tree is actually a thick vine.
After our ride we tied the dingy to it’s towing bridle and headed S.  We’re going to stop at Drigger Island and see if the Sand Hill Cranes are nesting there. I took pictures of them a few years ago and was surprised when I downloaded them to the computer….there were little downy chicks with them.
It’s very windy and we don’t expect to see many gators today.
At Pier 44 we saw this cute little boat for sale.
Lots of windows….same on the other side.
We got to Drigger Island and dropped anchor. This is one of our favorite spots and normally you can go completely around the island.
We decided to see if we could do it in the dingy. When we came by going North it looked weed filled at the Southern end.
This gator gave us the eye as we went by in the dingy.
These White Herons are beautiful.
When we got to the entrance to the river…it was indeed weed choked….but we decided to see if we could get thru….this is looking back after we made it. Took a lot of paddling and pushing weeds out of the way but we made it. The arrow was our starting point. Two fishing boats turned around and went back the easy way. You would think that at our age we’d have done the same thing….nawwww…no challenge.
Once back underway Jim spotted this beautiful Tom Turkey along the shoreline.
Such beautiful feather patterns.
The forecast is for rain all day tomorrow so we are going to cut our trip short and pull out today.
We didn’t have any trouble getting the boat on the trailer even though it was windy. Gear all stowed for travel and we headed home.
The new to us Honda 50 4 stroke is a joy. Runs good and is soooooo quiet. I had forgotten how much difference there is between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke….much easier on fuel too.
The Yahama 2000 is just what we needed. Lots of hot water for showers.
The trolling motor on the dingy makes everything so much easier, and the whisper quiet as we cruise around the islands is perfect for bird and critter watching early in the morning. Perfect way to start the day. We found we used the dingy a lot more.
Our trip out this time was more for testing those items than for a cruise. Next time we will do some exploring in places we hadn’t been able to go with the 3’ draft Albin …”Slow Motion”…. although there are places we could go with Slow Motion that we’d never take Meander. Slow Motion is a much more seaworthy boat.

March 10, 2013

Revolving Bend, St Johns River, FL 3.10.13

Hot coffee this morning!!  What a great way to start the day. We were up before daylight…had a cup of coffee then took the rest with us for a dingy ride. It was so peaceful.
The air was so still the water made a perfect mirror.
Nature makes use of everything…even this broken palm becomes a spot for something to grow.
We changed our anchor spot for one that would get early morning sun. We are on the opposite side of “Bubba’s” Island. You can see it on the L side of the picture.
We’ve plenty of gas but decided to fill one tank with marine gas. It is more expensive but does not have ethanol in it. We’ll wait till the last hour of travel and run some of that thru the motor. Perhaps it will last longer. Same with the generator. Ethanol ruins older motors.
While at the fuel dock we talked with an Adventure Craft owner. When he found out we owned one several years ago…he invited us to take a look at his.
I think he has 4 solar panels. The one over the blue bimini runs the fridge and freezer, and the ones on the front run the flat screen TV and all the other stuff. He lives aboard..and yes…that is a sail you see on the upper deck. He’s going to try to conserve fuel when ever he can. Can’t wait to run into him again…maybe at Silver Glen Springs. He had made use of every inch of space in his “Nordic Son”.
I want solar panels too!!!!
We spotted a few gators on the way up the river.
Didn’t get pictures of them all…this one’s a youngster…only 6 or 7 ft. long
We’re anchored for the night at Revolving Bend marker R 30. This pretty Little Blue Heron….
Great Blue Heron….
Sand Hill Cranes…..they nest out on the floating lily pads and stuff.
and the beautiful Limpkins kept us company. It may be brown and white…but look how beautiful they are.
This may be it’s mate…they were together.
We spotted this one while in the dingy. It found a snail.
The Purple Galineau blends in well with it’s surroundings…
You can’t tell but this is a pretty good sized gator….he’s keeping us safe from intruders..
Time for wine on the rear deck while the sun goes down. Hope some deer or turkey come down for water.

March 9, 2013

St Johns River & Blue Creek 3.9.13

Somebody messed up….and I know who it was…I forgot to pack the coffee. Bummer…no hot coffee this morning on the rear deck…so we started early. There was a light fog so we had to use running lights.

The dingy tows great with the battery and trolling motor aboard.


Several fishing boats on the river, but not a lot of pleasure boats this early in the morning.

We anchored across from the boat launch in Astor, FL. Jim took the dingy ashore and hiked to the BP gas station and picked up a can of coffee.


So nice to just haul the dingy alongside and jump in…no fuss no back pain…but he did have to take a half hour hike ..each way.

Coffee was late..but better late than never.

Continued down the river to Blue Creek. This is a beautiful little side creek that brings you back to the St Johns just before the S entrance to Lake George. Always a nice ride but what a surprise today.

Jim spotted a gator but it was down before I could get the camera.  Then this one. Look at the size of the “scoots” behind its head in the middle, then see how worn down the ones on it’s back are. Maybe this is a female…not sure.


I counted 18 turtles on this one log.


Then I spotted these two…now we are tied. We considered anchoring here and dinking around for awhile…but when you see two gators together it’s a good bet you’re close to breeding season, and they aren’t very friendly…decided to move on.


Glad we did….look at this fellow..we saw it at the same time but I called it first so claimed it. Jim’s not too happy about that.


A beautiful ride.


There is a nice little island on a bend just before you leave the creek and we saw a gator there the last trip. We’ll anchor there for the night. Here’s the island.


and look what is on it…… Bubba…according to the locals. Another big one….but probably the biggest we’ve seen today.


another angle…and you still don’t see all of it’s tail. Looks like 4 turtles sunning with him.


A closer look at his claws.


There must have been a dozen boats go by and he just kept on sunning. Must be used to being the local tourist attraction.

We saw a total of 6 gators on Blue Creek. We knew they’d be in here just never saw any until the one on the last trip.

Jim is working on the outboard. Thinks the bulb on the hose is weak so changing it out.

Bubba is in the water….sure hope he’s not hungry for inflatable dingy.

We took a short ride around the island.

Not sure if this is Bubba or his girlfriend lying on a submerged palm tree.


Jim had seen several people pointing at an area …..we cruised over to see what the attraction was….didn’t see anything, so we decided to see how many turtles we could sneak up on with our quiet little motor. Managed to get close to several.


There was a flock of these little birds. Must have been getting insects on the water and plants.

100_9134cs 100_9140cs

Then back to the boat for a hot shower and supper.


St Johns River, FL 3.8.13

Launched mid morning. Not a lot of people at the ramp.

Headed North, and took a pass thru one of our anchorages. Here’s “Cruiser”. Affectionately nicknamed because he always cruises around us when we anchor there.


We are testing the new to us, Honda 50, 4 stroke…..the dingy with the trolling motor and the new Yamaha 2000 generator. Our Honda 1000 runs great and was all we needed on the Albin 27, Slow Motion. But we now only have a house battery bank of 2 instead of 4 and the outboard doesn’t have a big alternator like the Albin. It also heated water when cruising and the water heater aboard Meander uses 1500 watts.

The Honda runs great. Forgot just how quiet a 4 stroke is compared to a 2 stroke. Jim redid the gas can and generator area. We may not need the extended run on the Yamaha, it has a 1.1 gal tank. Should be enough to run a heater on low overnight if needed, but that shouldn’t be a problem this time of year.


So much easier to put the trolling motor on the dingy. Jim made a battery box out of a small cooler and we can tie it in place on the floor of the dingy. Everything stays in the dingy while underway…so much easier when you want to stop, anchor and do a bit of dinking around.


Our anchorage for the night is by marker R 36, just off the St Johns River.



Had a nice cruise, hot supper and enjoyed the evening. Took Raisin ashore in the dingy….ohhhhh …it works so nice and quiet.