September 30, 2013

Monday 9.30.13

Good sleeping…love these cool nights…windows open and a nice fresh breeze.

Headed up the river. The St Johns runs North and it always sounds funny to be going South but up the river.

This part of the river has a unique look.


and a lot of the time these little ridges will have water on the opposite side.


The Bald Eagle can almost always be seen here.


This is the same one…but we did see at least 4102_1128cs

An Osprey watched us cruise by. They are not as big as a Bald Eagle but we have seen them doing aerial combat several times…defending their territory….or a nest.

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Jim spotted this big gator….not a good picture but it was so big I had to post it.


I saw another one just as big a little later but it hit the water before I could get it’s picture. This part of the river they are hunted and that is why these two are so big. The hear a boat and they are gone.

There are two places here that I really like. This is built on pontoons and is hooked to posts. If it floods this field…the houseboat floats. You can see a dark mark on the tree …just at the sign level…that is a high water mark.


This float home…just because it is so unique.


We crossed Lake Harney. The last time we did it we had the Adventure Craft and Larry and Diane had the Nimble Nomad. Jim and I ran aground. I used a kayak to carry the anchor out as far as the line would let me…dropped it and Jim pulled the boat to the anchor. We did this about 3 times before we were deep enough to use the motor. Larry said one of the fishermen that went by commented that they didn’t think I could tow that houseboat with a kayak. Pretty funny.

We didn’t run aground…went to the Jolly Gator for lunch. This is airboat country…on the weekend this place is loaded with them. We came through here with a small fishing boat hoping to scout out Puzzle Lake when we saw someone flip their airboat. We spent the rest of the afternoon helping them get it up and out of the water.


The C Dory has an unusual lift. Wonder how it rides when a big boat wake hits it.


Jim had to do some fancy driving to get this picture. He had to do about 6 donuts in the water until I could see them well. I thought it was Pink Flamingos until I saw the picture, but now I think they are Rosy Spoonbills. First time I’ve had a chance to photograph them and have never seen them here.


If you don’t take care of your houseboat….Mother Nature will.  We’ve been watching this slowly fall apart for several years.


We’re anchored in Coffey Slough. Almost the same place we were in last night. Found out this morning that we were anchored in the only way in and out of this spot so moved up into the small lake.

Sun is going down…we are going to take a short dingy ride then hit the sack….tomorrow is our last day on the water.

Sunset over the bridge at Lake Jessup.


September 29, 2013

Sunday 9.29.13 A great day for exploring

We made coffee in the new coffee maker. Ace Hardware in Astor, FL has most everything.

When we first got this boat the chair looked huge and pretty beat up….but you would not believe how comfortable it is.


We headed up river (S)…The big turtle was heading into the water…


Jim agrees with me about the chair.. Arms are adjustable and so is the back. Glad we didn’t take it out.


We haven’t been down the Hontoon River in quite awhile …..thought we’d see how far we could go. We’ve traveled it a good distance, but had to turn around because the river was blocked with weeds….and the Albin had a 3’ draft.

Today ..with the river up…we just kept going…we met 3 people in a dingy and asked if they had come from the St Johns River. They had and when I asked if we could get through the canal they said to watch the overhead branches.

We anchored just outside the canal and took a dingy ride to see if we had enough clearance.


We got part way down the canal and the dingy caught up and passed us. 102_1050cs

We had pulled over to the side to let a tour boat pass.


I couldn’t help but laugh….as we were traveling the river we only met one boat and you tend to feel like you are all alone. This happened to us when on Lake Powell UT. We’d go through a canyon with walls over 100’ high on each side and then you’d round a bend and a big ole houseboat would be beached in front of you…..Jim had just made the remark about seeing a big houseboat when the tour boat came in view. He thanked us for “giving way” and we turned around and went back for “Meander”. If there was room for him we’d have no trouble.

All the years we’ve been running the river we had never been down this section. I think it will be our new route. What a great ride.


Take a short ride with us…

Back on the river we did spot a couple of gators….most dove before I could get a shot. There were a lot of boats out today and that makes for a bad day of gator watching.102_1061cs

A cruiser made from a sailboat….


Paddle Wheel dinner boat. Docks at the Monroe Harbor Marina. We stopped there for fuel and water.



As we were crossing the lake this storm was headed towards us. Our fuel stop was short but by the time we got back on the lake it was really kicking up…lumpy ride to the Governor's Cut.


In the cut we spotted this Limpkin..


A big herd of cows…this one enjoying the water…


The cowboys turn their horses out with the herd….


A little more rain and then this beautiful rainbow.


We are a little S of the entrance to Lake Jessup. In a little side channel.


Lots of water lettuce and other water plants. Looks like we are in someone’s yard.


We had a great day!!!! A minor mishap when Jim was unable to take a wave head on….the bird cage flipped off the table onto the floor…she took a wild ride but was OK. It is now anchored so it won’t happen again.

And then there was Jim’s shower on the rear deck. I was on the computer and he stuck his head in and said “you didn’t tell me about that boat that went by”   and then he looked at the shore and there was an elderly gentleman with his four wheeler ..enjoying a cigarette and a beer. Glad I wasn’t the one showering.

We’ve done most of our exploring on the St Johns River with Larry and Diane..our boating buddies….we really missed them when doing the Hontoon River and canal trip.

Tomorrow if the weather is alright….we are going to try getting across Lake Jessup to the Fish Camp. Jessup is very shallow. We hope the water is up enough.

September 28, 2013

Sat 9.28.13

This is the last of the rain going thru.


Jim was able to get the weeds cut from the prop. We tried it before we got to the entrance of the Norris Dead River…but sitting sideways to the waves was pretty rough and I could see another gust coming at us.

After the rain we had a pretty sunset.


Around midnight an airboat went flying past. Half hour later they were doing a slow cruise past us. We think they were gator hunting.

It rained off and on after 2am. Nice light rain…good for sleeping. The morning started the same way.

Jim used the bilge pump Larry gave him, to bail out the dingy.


It is a beautiful ride down the Norris Dead River. Some places are fairly wide and others are very narrow.


With the river up it extends back into the woods quite a ways. There are a lot of these white birds wading in the woods and resting in the trees.


When we were almost to the end of the run….there was a spot that was completely weeded in. At least 30’ of floating plants covered the river. Jim made his way thru them. This is looking back at it.


Our souvenir …Most of it was water lettuce…a very invasive plant.


When my sister had her place in FL, she had a beautiful pond. She and her husband spent a lot of time on the St Johns River with their air boat or just out in a small fishing boat. She said she saw some of the water lettuce and thought it was pretty and that it would look good in the pond so she brought some home. At that time she didn’t know what it was. This is just a small piece. They have stems tying them together.


A few years later she and I spent all day with pitch forks and canoes removing all of that beautiful plant from the pond. It was completely taking it over. We would load the canoes and then pull them ashore and dump them.

We are anchored at Drigger Island.


It is still spitting a bit of rain every now and then….and of course, as soon as we got in the dingy for a ride around the island it started again. You can see the patches of water lettuce floating by. When the wind kicks up they move all over.

Jim said we were blanketed in this morning around 4 am….he went to sleep wondering how we would get out of it…by morning it was gone.

Another great day on the water.

September 27, 2013

Wed 9.25.13 Launch at Lake Monroe Park

The weather didn’t look good. We had decided to wait and launch on Thursday….most of our stuff was loaded but not all.

I checked the weather map on the computer  and the storm we were waiting for had dipped a little south and was going to miss us. Last minute change of plans aren’t always the best.

We did get on the water Wed afternoon…but…we forgot the folding chairs. Not a big problem ..there is a battery box on one side in the back and a step on the other. A couple of float cushions and we were all set.

Come morning…we realized we had also forgotten the coffee maker. So we used our “Yankee Ingenuity” and put the coffee and water in a pan and heated it up…then used a filter in the top of the steamer to strain it. Good coffee….a bit stronger than we normally make but still good.

A few more missing items…toaster…bird treats…you know how it goes.

But the weather has been great.

Wed night we anchored in Butchers Bend. Windy and no gators. Not that they aren’t in there…just not where we could see them.

This boat was tied to a tree….but almost full of water.


Meander looks much better on the water….


This boat came by…looks like a “classic?”


Little sticky at night but the air was comfortable.

Thursday we headed N. Still no gators but did spot this big turtle sunning.


You never know what you will see along the river. These cows were enjoying the water.


Made the trip up Blue Creek hoping to see “Bubba” the BIG resident gator but his island is almost underwater and did not see him anywhere.


We anchored just in front of it….had a great breeze all night…even had to close the windows a bit toward morning when it cooled down.

Friday morning it was pretty windy but thought we’d stick our nose out into Lake George …decided not to head to Silver Glen Springs. We’d have had to take the waves head on and decided not to take the pounding. Always another day.

We wanted to see how high the water was on Shell Island and as we headed behind it we spotted this Anhinga trying to swallow it’s catch. It did.


The look on this one’s face is pure joy…enjoying the sunshine.


With the water up we decided to make a side trip thru Lake Dexter to Lake Woodruff and then up the Spring Garden River to DeLeon Springs.


The last time we went thru the connecting river…Tick Island Creek…we had our Adventure Craft and Larry and Diane were aboard their Nimble Nomad. We beached for the night on the river. A storm was coming in and the lightening was going sideways. We had no problem all night. The next morning friends from OK called to see if we were alright since they knew we were on the water. A tornado went thru the area just missing our anchorage…but with tornados….a miss is as good as a mile.

The river has been too low to make the trip across either lake until now.

We had a late lunch at the Old Sugar Mill.


The water flowing over the rocks is all coming from the underground spring. It is so deep scuba divers dive the cave. Kind of an eerie feeling when swimming and all of a sudden a head with a snorkel appears from no where.

A little storm blew up while crossing Lake Woodruff and we picked up a lot of weeds on the prop. Anchored at the entrance of Norris Dead River (S end of Lake Woodruff). Waiting for the rain to let up then Jim can clean the prop. Both lakes were only 5’ and 6’ deep…down to 1’.

Nice breeze. Should be good sleeping.