Many Moons is tied tonight to the free dock in Palatka, a town of about 10,000, after traveling 41 miles down the St. Johns River. (Even though we’re traveling north, towards Jacksonville, we are going down river. That’s because this river flows north.) It was hard to leave the clear waters of Silver Glen Springs after three nights at anchor there, but what a glorious cruise we had, with perfect temperatures and calm seas…so perfect, in fact, that we drove all day from the fly bridge, which has a bimini for some shade but is otherwise exposed. We stopped for lunch at a waterfront place we’d heard raves about. The food and service was great, but the experience was marred by the many in-your-face political statements on display, both flags and signs, in a tone I haven’t seen before and too crude to post here. They went beyond support of a party or person, into harsh judgment of those who might disagree with their sentiment. I’m disappointed that many commercial establishments seem willing these days to alienate a whole segment of customers. Ah, well, it is their right! This briefly sent me toward a sadness that is familiar but not useful. A return to calm waters and light breezes helped shake it off.
Palatka is a town that needs a little TLC. It reminds me of my own hometown…not unsafe, but a bit run down, with the occasional vacant storefront and cracks in the sidewalk. Yet the church bells chimed like everywhere else, parents held their kids’ hands to cross the street, and the local Dollar General provided what I needed. (One difference from my hometown is the racial diversity here — seemingly about 50/50.)
We will hit the sack early for an early-morning departure, planning to make it to Jacksonville tomorrow. It’s just 50 miles and we’ve gone much longer distances than that — but we now have the tide schedule to consider, and its impact on our forward progress. We now look at the tide app (Tides Near Me), alongside my wind app (PredictWind), to make daily decisions about when to move. Navigation decisions will become a bit more complicated soon. Photos and captions follow. (Doing this post mostly on my phone, for the 1st time, since signal here is too weak for laptop. Hope it works. Typing on the phone is laborious so please forgive any typos!)