April 20, 2014

Heron eating big fish, Cyprus Trees 4.20.14

Yesterday afternoon we anchored behind Butcher’s Bend at marker G109.

This Blue Heron caught a big fish…big enough to make most of the folks fishing jealous.


It had to reposition it several times till it could get it aimed the right way.



There it goes….look how fat his neck is now.


Looks like it’s almost gone. That should hold him a few days. I wonder long it will be before it’s hungry again.


Nice night at anchor….listened to the gators growl off and on all night long. I think they were on the other side of the island so it wasn’t loud enough to get on camera.

Decided to haul out today…here is a series of Cyprus Trees on the river banks.


All different….

010cs  019cs

012cs  013cs




024cs  027cs

Overcast…cool drizzly day….this was the only wildlife we saw on the way to the boat ramp.

April 19, 2014

Larry & Diane….1975 Yukon Delta

Yesterday afternoon we got a call from our boating buddies..Larry & Diane…to let us know they were boating with us on their 1975 Yukon Delta…only difference…they were on Grand Lake in OK and we are on the St Johns River in FL.

But ..at least we are on the water together.

Here’s a couple of pictures he sent to prove it to us.

Larry made this wheel. It’s a beauty and has been on 8 or 9 different boats that he has had.


Here is Diane at the wheel.



Just want you two to know…it’s not half as much fun without you.

I don’t know how many times a day we say “Larry and Di” would love this…..especially when it’s a new spot.

Hope we can both get together with a few other classic trailerable houseboats somewhere this summer or fall.

Get that dingy fixed so I can have some pictures of the boat on the water. We are anxious to see the difference 5 years makes in the building of the Yukon Delta.

Side trips…Wekiva River 4.19.14


A little storm blew through yesterday afternoon and we dragged anchor. Had to move to a more protected spot. We were definitely protected. Here was our guard.


Checked just before dark…and he was still watching us.


After breakfast and coffee on the rear deck, we headed down the side creek we were anchored near. It’s a nice trip and brings you right back to the St Johns River.


This Hawk kept his eye on us as we went by.


There are lots of boats along the river but this is one of a kind. I think they’ve added something to it each time we come past.

Hey DI!! What do you think of this one?


The river is low but we thought we’d see how far down the Wekiva River we could get.  Here are some scenes along the way.





This is the only gator we saw out of the water. Day started our warm and sunny then clouded over.

It isn’t very long but doesn’t look like it missed too many meals.


An Anhinga drying it’s wings is always a beautiful sight. They are like the Cormorants…they swim under water with just head and neck out. Sometimes called “snake birds” for that reason.


We started getting into 2’ of water and decided to turn around…a trip for another time…when the river is up. There are several spots like that.

We’ve anchored at Butchers Bend near marker G109. Guess we’ll pull out in the morning.

Not as much wildlife as we like to see…especially gators but it was still a good trip.

April 18, 2014

Hontoon River, FL 4.18.14

Here is a pair of Osprey nesting on a marker.


They didn’t like us getting so close to their nest and told us to continue on. Here’s what they sounded like.

We dropped the hook and had lunch on the back side of Hontoon Island. When Larry and Diane were boating with us we used to beach here but they don’t allow that anymore. We were hoping to see deer or a bear come for a drink..but no such luck.


This Blue Heron really blended in with this deadwood.


Windy weather creates a lot of weed jams on the river. While anchored yesterday we saw huge mats of weeds float by.

This one completely closed off the river. Of course, we had to try a run through it. This was taken when we got bogged down in the middle.


Jim spent a few minutes several times cleaning off the prop and then we’d make another run at it.


About 2/3s of the way through a tour boat came along and bulled his way through. Bet the tourists got a kick out of that.


Half an hour later we were through and on our way to the canal. Didn’t think we had to worry about meeting the tour boat coming the opposite way. He said he had cleared the downed tree…bummer…no photo op.

Our dingy sprung an air leak so it ended up riding in the bow. Probably a good thing…might have had a lot of trouble trying to tow it through….and we’re sure the trolling motor would not have gotten through if we’d tried to ride it out. The mat was 2 or 3 ft. thick.


This Limpkin did it’s best to hide from us in this Cyprus Tree.


Entrance to the canal…at marker R 80 (St Johns marker)


Ride part way through with us…..


We are anchored at Dutchmen’s Bend…marker G 81 …entrance to a side creek that we are going to take in the morning.

Jim …fishing for supper…fish or burgers…fish or burgers….bet it’s burgers.


We use Tom Kranz’s Boating and Cruising Guide to the St Johns River. I use the marker numbers so friends who have a guide can tell where we are.

If you ever plan an extended trip on the St Johns you should get one. He’s traveled most every creek out here and is pretty dependable. A drought that lowers the river level can make a difference in the depth markings but a check with locals as to how the river stands can solve that problem. Right now it is a bit low so we take that into consideration when we do a side trip.



April 17, 2014

St Johns River…heading south 4.17.14

The wind never let up during the night and was kicking back up this morning so decided to bypass a trip across Lake George. Very shallow lake and gets it’s back up very easily. We’ve crossed it in bad weather several times, but had the Albin 27….a very seaworthy boat.

Our little Yukon Delta has an open bow and any water coming over it flows under the floor and is picked up by the bilge pumps and put overboard. Not a problem if only small amounts but lots of water could cause a problem, especially if it is raining hard too.

We’ll save that trip for another time.

The last few times anchored by “Bubba’s” island, we didn’t see Bubba. We’ve been worried that gator hunters may have gotten him.


This morning while having coffee…a rather large gator cruised by. This is just his head.

102_2506 cs

It is hard to tell how large it is…but this shot of the back of it’s head shows how wide it it. We’re pretty sure it’s “Bubba”, as he’s fondly called by the locals.


It’s island was underwater for awhile so perhaps there is a new sunning spot.

A Cormorant…they swim underwater like an Anhinga, with just their necks and heads out.

You can see it’s webbed feet. Want a good laugh? Anchor near a nesting tree and watch them come in to roost. You can imagine the difficulty of grabbing a limb with those feet.


Just a baby…


One more step and this Blue Heron was in flight.


These channel markers make perfect nesting spots for Osprey. They get most of their food from the water….fish….though you do see one with a snake every now and again.


She flew off as we passed…but came right back so she must be sitting on eggs or little ones.


We decided to knock off early….anchored near “Revolving Bend” marker R30…boating is hard work…so we each took a short nap….had and early supper…weather was perfect for wine on the rear deck.

I think we have nesting Sand Hill Cranes near us. Hope to see them in the morning.

Sun is going down…batteries are charging and we’ve both got books waiting to be read. It’s amazing…we never have TV on the boat or when traveling with the camper…and we never seem to miss it. Enjoy the wildlife too much on the river and company of other campers when on the road.

St Johns River, FL 3.16.14

Launched yesterday….Jim’s brother, Carl, went out with us for a few hours.  Anchored behind the island at Butcher’s Bend..marker G109. Had a pretty good afternoon storm blow through and pelt us with a bunch of rain. Once it passed it was time to take Carl back to the dock. The gates are locked at sunset.

We headed down river (north) until we got to the canal at marker R 80 that took us over to the Hontoon River. Should have had my camera out…there was a tree that had come down and almost blocked the canal but Jim got us through. A few leafy branches dragged down both sides of the boat but no scratches. Sure missed a photo op.

Once through the canal we turned L and anchored for the night.


We picked this spot because there was a big gator that cruised out to greet us, so this morning we took a very short dingy ride for pictures. When they come towards a boat it is a good sign they are showing aggression either because they are getting into breeding season or want to defend their territory….since our dingy is an inflatable we don’t argue with them.

A couple quick shots of “Meander” and we were back aboard and underway.


This Blue Heron was working on catching breakfast.102_2462cs

Sunny this morning but a very cool wind.


This gator was getting some sun but stayed below the grasses to block the wind. Good sized…and you can see he has his eye on us.


Another sheltered area….guess no one told the turtle that a gator’s jaws can crack turtle shells.


Another one…


I never realized they had such long tails or nails.


All those bumps (skates) along it’s back absorb heat from the sun.






Same gator…another view…look at the teeth and the nails.


This small one gives you an idea just how big they can get. Most of the pictures I have of big ones don’t include all of the tail…and it is as long as the rest of the body….if not a bit longer. This one is only about 5-6’ long.


These are Cyprus “knees”…roots. I was told they grow so they are above the water. The tall one is about 5’ tall…if I understood correctly…the water level was that high for sometime.


These are about 3’ tall.


A very unique boat…


Are my eyes deceiving me…or is that a satellite dish on the pole?


We are anchored for the night in Blue Creek. If the wind lets up when the sun goes down…we may cross Lake George tonight.   Have to wait and see.