Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Despina on the St John River Cruise

Monday Mar 17th was our departure from the Florida YC in Jacksonville, about 25 antique boats of all sizes headed up the river toward our lunch stop.

Guy Marvin of ACBS at Cap'ns meeting
Bosche runabout from Switzerland

lots of bridges - this is I 295

MB and Ron with our new Gatsby crew,
Tom and Brian from New Orleans

Despina at the Crab Shack lunch stop

After an incredible sea food lunch of lobster, crayfish, shrimp and more, we were off again up the wide St. John on our way to Palatka where we will stay 2 nights.

frightning fuel stop!
amazing tress around here (Palatka)

one of Palatka's many murals

The view from our room out to fleet!

Day two was a side trip up Dunn's Creek to Crescent City on - what else - Crescent lake. It was a nice day and this cruise is always interesting - both for the wildlife and the river side life...

entering Dunn's Creek off the St John
elegant surroundings

Oops, better snug up the lines.

one of many fish hunters along the creek

There are also many really beautifull sights and this run is one of the high points of the trip.

Ibis, Egrets, Herons of many colours everywhere.
one of the biggest we ever saw, 18'?

didn't see any waterskiiers up the creek

just a little one

Once at Crescent City we got docked and wandered up to the Victorian Inn where a fantastic BBQ lunch was laid on. Sit on the porch and munch.

great food over and over!
nice run down Crescent Lake

More monsters and wildfowel on the run back to Palatka, a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and next morning we continue up the river. Gretchen has been wanting to get some pictures of the ospreys that roost on many of the channel markers on this section of the river so even though we are among the first boats away, by the time we have "Ospreyed" we are almost last. It doesn't really matter, just get Despina up to her happiest cruising speed at 3000 rpm which is - like most Shepherds - 30 mph and she tends to march through the fleet pretty well on a long run. (not the this matters)

MB shows a few ACBS members the ropes!
one of many nesting Ospreys

he finally lands his sticks..

we clear antideluvian bridge by a good 12"!

Lunch today is at Welaka, a sleepy little town along the river which seems to be swathed in Spanish Moss. Here there is a little boat museum which was jumping two years ago but this year is up for auction two days after we visit. The creator passed away and his many home-made classic steam and gas launches will move on. Huge shrimp buffet lunch - wonderful again, then back to the boats and out onto Lake George, Florida's second largest lake.

Welaka town dock - jammed!
Shrimp buffet being laid out for us..

museum all tagged for auction

neat active boatshop with observation door!

Welaka is full of these trees

Fort Gates Victorian - I could live here!

Lake George is channel marked up the middle because the left side is an active bombing range, and the whole thing is very shallow! At a certain marker we bear off to the right on a heading that takes us to Florida's lovely Blue Springs. We boat right in to the spring itself. Unfortunately it is not warm enough to frolic in the water, as it was two years ago but it is lovely in here! We tow our friends off the sand and head out to Blair's Jungle Den across the lake.

Anhinga drys its wings above crystal clear spring water
We couldn't read it either...

gettin ready to tow the Bosche off the sand

the fleet at the Jungle Den

Dinner across the river, another very nice outing but our very slow waitress left us stranded without a ride home! Some very nice ladies took care us us! Next morning is our last day on the river and they have cut out the lunch stop so the boats can get over to Tavares for launching into the boat show docks. We will take our time as we are staying at the Lakeside Inn in Mt Dora and will self launch there.

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