April 29, 2013



Our view from the forward door.


We are spending the afternoon and night at Butcher’s Bend, marker G109. It is a loop around an island. I think the reason there are so many “jug handles” on this part of the river is they straightened out a lot of the sharp  bends for barges coming to Sanford. So glad they did. Great anchorages and most are Manatee Zones….idle or slow speed.

The is a view  of the island  from our boat.


The last time we anchored here, Jim heard Roosters crowing….well…they are on the island.

We saw 3. One black and 2 white. No hens, but they could have been setting some where. If not….then someone needs to bring a few girls in for the boys. It’s a good sized island.


I spotted this Heron on our dingy ride around the island. Hiding in plain sight.


“Cruiser” made sure no one snuck up on us from the water.


We were going to spend the night and pull out Monday morning….checked the 5 day forecast and 50% chance of rain tomorrow, so we’ll pull out this afternoon. Our front door does not have a good seal and driving in pouring rain will just soak the floor. Don’t need any more mess or stuff to work on.

We are getting the loading of Meander down fairly well. No problems. Got home OK…no rain.

Jim has a few projects he wants to work on for the next trip out.

So far our routine is….run the generator to make coffee and put a quick charge in the batteries.( They are usually low after running the fridge all night).Shut it down, sit on the rear deck and enjoy the morning. Once under way…we start the generator and hook to shore power. That way there is no drain on the batteries and they charge much quicker……and you hardly hear it over the Honda 50 hp. We run the ice maker for ice water and put some in the freezer for our evening red wine on the rear deck. Once the ice is done we can turn on the  water heater so I’ll have hot water for dishes. We make sure the fridge is not running and unplug it for the 10-15 minutes it takes. The generator isn’t big enough to run both at the same time.

It isn’t as simple as on Slow Motion…she had a 100 amp alternator for charging underway and a water heater that heated from the engine. You always had hot water if the engine was running or had been run. It was also 110, but I don’t think we ever stayed tied to a dock long enough to need it.

Slow Motion now has a new “liveaboard” owner and is heading for the Keys. When we talked to him last night he was anchored near Dragon Point, just N of SM 915. They got held up for a couple days waiting for parts for the “buddy” boat traveling with him. I’ll check with him and if he doesn’t mind….I’ll post his progress.  I am thrilled every time he calls…..he’s doing what I have wanted to do for several years……live aboard……and travel. It’s just not practical for us….leave anything sitting in FL for any length of time and it rusts or rots. Plus, I haven’t figured out how to take the Honey Bees, or Jim’s ‘28 Buick, not to mention the cats we feed.

I’ve also come to realize that Jim is a worker….he can sit around and read just so much, casting a line doesn’t take much energy,  then he wants a project, and there are plenty at home. He’s out there working on one now.

April 27, 2013



Sunrise over the wetlands.


just around the bend…..


Look at the talons on this Osprey.


This little channel isn’t much wider than our dingy, but is at least 5’ deep. It widens out when you get back in there a little ways. This will be our next anchorage. I think we can turn the houseboat around if the wide spot with the dingy.


We saw several Bald Eagles.


same bird…different angle.


so beautiful I couldn’t pass up any of these pictures. South of Lake Monroe seems to be a preferred area for them.


A handsome black bull….cows are not an unusual sight along this part of the river. When we came thru yesterday we spotted a herd of several hundred along the river. There were a couple of cowboys with their pickups and sunshades set up.  Today when we came thru the same area we didn’t see any. They may have moved them to new pasture.


Palm trees being up rooted when the water was higher. There is a 25 mph speed on this part of the river and the wakes really erode the shoreline.


There is a car show in Sanford at the riverwalk…just behind the marina on Lake Monroe. Jim was going to go but the water was too rough for the dingy ride in. It is amazing….there is a lot of seawall along the riverwalk and not one ladder to get out of the lake. I guess no one has ever fallen in.

We are anchored for the night at Butcher’s Bend at G 109. 



Two big motors on the back of this one. We looked at one before we bought the 27’ Albin, Slow Motion. Liked the boat but not the head situation.


Jim spotted this one….


I always get a kick out of these “flying” turtles…wonder why they don’t fall in.


Our anchorage by Drigger Island.



This pair of Sand Hill Cranes were setting up house keeping just behind our boat. They build their nests on the floating grasses and lily pads. You can see the grasses in her beak as she fits them around her.


Cyprus Knees…


After our dingy ride around Drigger Island, we headed S.

Look at this cutie….love those gators…


Just past the entrance to Lake Jessup, there is a “no wake Idle Zone”. We decided to anchor on the bend. It wasn’t out of the river but most of the boats go slow thru here….not all…but most. It was a pleasant night. Our rear deck was pointed to the sunset. Great way to end the evening.


There is a big bridge crossing the entrance to Lake Jessup, but we couldn’t even hear the traffic. The St Johns River S of Lake Monroe does not have a lot of places to anchor. This one will do.

I love it when I can say  “another great day on the water”.


We started our day with a trip to shore for Raisin. That’s her by the little palm. She is at least 16, blind and deaf. But other than that she is a perfect boating dog. Uses a small carpet on the rear deck when we cant get to shore, or after dark.


We then decided to take a trip around the island in the dingy. This male Anhinga was drying it’s wings.


As we were rounding the upper end Jim noticed these Manatees in the water ahead. As we got insight of the boat they were getting close to passing it. You can see one’s back as it surfaced and the mist from another as it came up for air.


Jim thought there were at least 5 or 6 in the group.


What a thrilling way to start the morning.

I like the ripples and reflection in the water. Gator just makes the photo nicer.


We decided to anchor behind Drigger Island. This area was hit by a tornado several years ago. You can still see pieces of metal roofing back among the trees.

At the time, Jim and I had an Adventure Craft, “Lingerawhile”, and Larry and Diane had a Nimble Nomad, “River Nomad”. We had just spent the afternoon at Deleon Springs and were headed back to the St Johns River. After coming out of Lake Woodruff, we headed up Tick Island Creek. It was getting late and the sky didn’t look too good so we dropped stern anchors as we nosed up to shore. The sky was full of lightening…going sideways. Jim didn’t like the looks of it.

The next morning Larry got a call from his friends in Oklahoma asking if we were OK. They knew we were out on the St Johns River. Larry told them we were and wondered why they called. They told us about the tornado…we headed up Lake Dexter and into the St Johns River…there were helicopters flying all over and we were told to travel slow…there may be people and definitely lots of debris in the water….there was…we saw no people, thank God.

We traveled down to Lake Beresford and cruised out and around the lake. The Lady Beresford, a dinner cruise ship, had been picked up and set down on a piling which holed the bottom and she sank at the dock…not very deep water but enough to create a mess. There was roofing material and all kinds of wood floating in the water.

The storm must have passed right over us and we never even knew how bad it was.

Drigger Island got a lot of the debris and the small island across the river from it was completely denuded. It has since grown back and you wouldn’t even know it.

We like to anchor there because we saw Sand Hill Cranes nesting a year or so ago, so we stop to see if we can spot them.

Just before dark they showed up. Maybe I can get pictures tomorrow.

Another great day on the water.

April 25, 2013


Great night at anchor. Frogs sang for hours.

After another dingy ride this morning we spotted this guy. It can be a bit intimidating when they slide in the water and you are in an inflated boat.


We hauled up the anchor and headed N. Here’s some nice gator tail.


It turned out to be a day of Ospreys. They are nesting now and in some of the pictures you can see babies.


Now this one has the perfect spot….protection from the sun and rain….


Most of the markers have nests. Every now and then you’ll see the crews out with pitch forks pulling them down. Have to keep the solar panels clear.


Might be 2 chicks in this nest.



I see a little head peeking out.


Makes you wonder what is holding this one up. These nests can weigh a lot.


She’s got chicks and was warning us off…


Another handsome fella.


and then there is “Bubba”. This must be Bubba’s Island…he was here the last time and is a tourist attraction. One pontoon boat nosed up to shore and he didn’t move. I was able to get this picture after they left. This is one to judge others by.


It was pretty warm and no breeze so we headed back to G3, Lungun Island. We stopped there on the way past and dropped off a couple of Christine Kling’s books to Captain Jim of Sailbad the Sinner, who was anchored there. He told us some friends, Ron and Karen, were stopping by later this afternoon. We decided to go back after visiting Bubba, and anchor there for the night. We had a great time sitting on their pontoon boat and visiting, we hadn’t seen them for quite awhile.

Another great night on the water with a chorus of frogs singing us to sleep.

Meander on the river 4.23.13

After loading the last of the supplies and doing a check on the bee hive that we installed a package of Honey Bees in about 40 days ago ( www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com ), we headed for the launch ramp at Lake Monroe Park.

Beautiful weather. Warm and sunny with a nice breeze. It isn’t often we get to come out when it isn’t cold, rainy or so hot you can’t stand it. Even the humidity is low.

This is a MacGregor 26X…we had one several years ago, and took a cruise around the tip of FL. Larry our boat buddy was aboard his sailboat with a couple of friends. It was a great trip.


It is a water ballasted boat with a larger motor than most sailboats would have. The thing we liked about it was the mast raising system. It could be raised and lowered on the water to get under bridges. When we first bought it we had a 22’ Catalina sailboat on a lake in Missouri. The lake had 2 bridges that limited sailboats to about 1/3 of the lake. With the MacGregor we could go under both bridges by partially lowering the mast and raising it once thru.

It is also a good boat for a family with kids. The big motor lets you pull them on water toys and then when you’ve worn them out…they nap and you raise the sails and enjoy the peace and quiet. Jim’s favorite line: “It sails great for a power boat and powers great for a sailboat”.

We don’t see this one very often.


He thinks he can’t be seen.


This is a nice sized one…but not huge.


Our first night at anchor is just N of Blue Springs where the Manatees spend the winter.

We decided to do a bit of dinkin’ around.  Jim’s wearing his new sun hat. We bought these at a flea market to wear on the little fishing boat but they are good for the dingy too. I’ve got mine on but was smart enough to stay on the other side of the camera.


We put the screens up as soon as we anchored…the bugs were already flying. The bats came out later. Spent a few hours on the rear deck listening to the frogs and gators. Beautiful night.



April 11, 2013

Trip to Lake Jessup 4.09.13

We decided to register the little fishing boat and use it until we sell it.

Lake Jessup is a very shallow lake. We want to be able to launch our little Yukon Delta houseboat, Meander, at the local fish camp here in the Hammock. We decided to take the fishing boat out with our GPS and see if we could chart a path down the lake to the fish camp. Even took the poles Jim made for Meander, incase  we ran aground.

We didn’t get more than half a mile into the lake and we were churning up mud. Guess we’ll have to wait until we have more rain……a lot more rain.

So we took a trip on the St Johns.

This Bald Eagle was enjoying his breakfast.


It was kind enough to pose for a couple of pictures…..What a striking bird!


It looked right at us….then took his food and flew off.


Jim enjoyed opening up the motor to see what it would do. It was a beautiful day on the water. A little windy and the water got lumpy in some stretches but he still had fun.


This Heron was standing with his beak to the wind.


We saw several gators…but this was the biggest. It didn’t mind us going past but when we turned around he headed for the water.


Next trip we’ll take the fishing poles and see if we can catch anything. Jim better hope we don’t get any big ones……I’ll want to get into a Bass Tournament if we do.