To Jacksonville


We rock tonight in tidal waters and fabulous views at a floating dock in a big city, 50 miles north of yesterday. People strolling by stop to gawk and speculate about the boat name, as they do whenever we sit in a populated area.

Jacksonville, Fla., population 900,000 — just 20 miles from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which will take us up the east coast.

I was looking forward to seeing this city, home to some major Navy installations. I drove through it at night on my way down to the boat a few weeks ago, and it looked captivating with the river and lit-up bridges. And it is captivating…at night. In daytime, not so much. Oh, it’s clean, and “nice”…but, well, it’s a big city. Concrete. Construction. Noise. I almost forget that I lived happily in one for decades. (And still do, half the year.) Have you noticed how one’s impression of a city can vary from daytime to nighttime? That’s one reason I drive my guests around at night when they visit me in Washington D.C. Night-time is so much more magical.

And it is magical tonight, if I can ignore the noisy vehicles gunning their engines on the nearby bridges. I hope I don’t sound grumpy, because I really am not. It just reminds me how much I prefer silence and solitude. But variety is good!

It took us 7 hours to travel 50 miles today because the incoming tide slowed us. We expected that. We also knew about the 5-foot tide at Jacksonville itself, at least 4 feet higher than the tide at last night’s port, and knew the schedule for high and low tides. But we’re still puzzling out how this affects a moving boat on an ongoing basis. It’s sort of like the “the 1s” and “the 2s” on the inland rivers. By the time we truly understood how barge captains communicate, we were nearly done with the rivers! Seems like it shouldn’t be confusing, but somehow it is. So we continue to learn…

We’ll get very close to the Georgia border tomorrow, and maybe over it, if our intended schedule holds. Mist hangs over the river tonight so that may mean fog in the morning. We’ll see. Photos and captions below.

We were under way by 0700 and hungry by 0800. Since seas were calm, I made breakfast on the old propane-fueled Coleman Stove that we keep on the stern. Eggs with sausage, mushrooms and cheese….
…wrapped in a grilled tortilla. An easy “hand-meal” for eating while under way.
We passed this small working barge, the first I’ve seen since returning to the boat. It made me think of the many huge barges we encountered on the Mississippi and Tennessee and Tombigbee.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville was busy as we passed by. This Navy aircraft made its approach right in front of us.
Approaching Jacksonville, after the first of four bridges.
We first tied up on the east side of the river. After talking to a watertaxi driver, we moved across the river to a more secure dock. We made this move as the tide was shifting, and the waters were yurbulent! Jeff maneuvered the boat skillfully, as always. When I stepped off with line in hand, I had to pull strongly to keep the boat against the dock.
Securely tied to the west side of the St. Johns River.
The view from our stern.
The dock is below the level of the sidewalk that lines the waterfront park, so passers-by look down at us and speculate. They seem to like the name of the boat.
Jeff took this great shot from the boat, dockside at Jacksonville.

3 thoughts on “To Jacksonville

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