Stop : Black Creek Marina Anchorage
After an unsuccessful diagnosis at Jacksonville Marine in Doctors Lake, we decided we werent letting the engine interfere with our adventure. Instead of investing more time trying to find someone who could diagnose it, we instead found Isle of Palms in Green Cove Springs.
They were willing to take or old engine in on consignment, and had 3 outboards ready to go for us.
We made arrangements to anchor off of Black Creek Marina and use their dinghy dock to facilitate the swap. It was handled in just a few hours and done. We were back on our way.
A working dinghy is very much part of this cruise with as much anchoring out as wed be doing, and there are lots of places to explore!
There was a fresh vegetable stand near the marina parking lot, so we stocked up on some produce for the days ahead.
The anchorage was well protected from the building fetch coming in from the north but it was also in sight of the main bridge. Fine for our purposes here for shore access, but not ideal for tranquility.
Rising Tides: Mccoys Creek Cleanup & End Of Year Celebration
Join Rising Tides young professionals for our monthly cleanup on McCoys Creek! As always, all of our cleanups are RAIN or SHINE! We’ll be celebrating all that Rising Tides has
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Cruises On The Historicst Johns River
My wife and I had such a wonderful time. Boat is really neat…we really enjoyed watching the paddle wheels and imagine how folks traveled the river in the days just after the Cival War. Food was good with excellent service. The live music was very good. Singer was talented and fun. We are looking forward to another Sunday luncheon cruise.
the best of florida.
The St. Johns Rivership Co. offers more than cruises. We provide a different way to experience Florida. To appreciate its wildlife, its beauty and its warmth. All while indulging in chef-prepared cuisine, live onboard entertainment and endless hospitality in climate-controlled comfort.
Family-owned and operated, the St. Johns Rivership Co. is the latest in a long line of sternwheelers that have been serving and sailing the St. Johns River for centuries.
From our homeport on Lake Monroe in Historic Downtown Sanford, the Barbara-Lee cruises the St. Johns River while providing a one-of-a-kind cruise.
Dont wait to experience the warmer, wondrous side of Florida. Book your reservations today!
A St. Johns Rivership Co. representative will be happy to give a presentation on all our cruises and services. Simply contact our Cruise Specialists by calling 321.441.3030 or e-mailing
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Stop : Deep Creek Anchorage
After finishing up our business in Green Cove Springs, it was time to head on. Next up we eyed an anchorage in Deep Creek about 18nm further south.
Getting there, wed pass under the Shands Bridge which is a fixed bridge at 45. This limited taller masted vessels from proceeding south of here at current time, although there are plans in the future to replace the bridge with a taller one.
The Deep Creek anchorage didnt have much information on it, and no recent reviews had been posted. We had conflicting charts that showed no depth at all to ample depths at the creek entrance. And the charts did show some submerged pilings to navigate around, so we proceeded with extreme caution.
All and all, it was an easy entry under the power lines with plenty of depth. We found anchorage at the first bend and enjoyed a rainy evening.
In the morning, we had swung around a bit closer to shore than anticipated and our depth gauge was reading 2. A bit of mud kicked up as we pulled out, but all was well.
And we continued on south to our next stop
Which well cover in the next segment.
Well, its not too much of a spoiler, we already shared in this post about our change in plans: Letting Serendipity Do the Steering
While we intended to turn around at Sanford and come back down the St. Johns were still here. Serendipity kept us here, and we fell in love with this little town and are enjoying life here .
Reopening Jacksonville: River Taxi Resumes Cruises On The St Johns
Jacksonvilles River Taxi sails back into action this weekend after being docked for the past two months during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
River Taxi and Tours will resume limited operations downtown with numerous river cruises starting Friday, although regular service is still suspended. This weekends service includes narrated Dolphin and History Tours, Sunset Cruises and Neighborhood trips into historic Riverside, Ortega and San Marco.
All cruises will offer one stop at Friendship Fountain on the citys Southbank, as well as one on the Northbank at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel on Coastline Drive.
The crew will sanitize the boats before and after each scheduled cruise. Seating will be reduced to 50 percent to allow for social distancing. Cruises will eventually be offered from the Riverside Arts Market dock every Saturday.
The weekend schedule is posted at rivertaxiandtours.com, but it may be adjusted for weather, or if the minimum cruising capacity has not been met. Reservations are required, and tickets may be purchased on the website.
River Taxi will soon launch a Cruise and Save program to promote downtown hospitality businesses and link them to the river through themed events and discounts. And more specialty cruises are planned, including a dog-friendly trip to Exchange Island, a Poker Run Cruise, and a brewery trip.
Dan Scanlan: 359-4549
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Back In Time On The St Johns River
A cruising couple takes a detour from The Great Loop to explore this alluring northeastern Florida waterway that offers bustling metropolitan ports and quiet ‘jungle’ passages.
Let’s take a 310-mile journey on an American Heritage River, and step back into history to imagine Florida’s colonial-era British and American pioneer settlers. One of the few major north-flowing rivers in North America, the St. Johns’ headwaters emerge at Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County near Vero Beach to its mouth, where it empties into the Atlantic east of Jacksonville.
The river, the longest in Florida, has three distinct phases wide, deep, metropolitan, and commercial then a broad, deep estuary with woodlands and small towns and finally, narrow, deep, and twisting with subtropical vegetation and trees growing to the water’s edge. Its headwaters are just 27 feet higher in elevation than where it ends, so the slow drop rate of 1 inch per mile makes it one of the “laziest” rivers in the world, according to St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect and advocate for the river. We’d heard intriguing stories about this river, so we planned a side trip on our Great Loop adventure aboard our 52-foot Halvorsen trawler, Monarch.
St. Johns River and its chain of lakes.
St Johns River Taxi & Tours
The St. Johns River Taxi is probably the most underrated attraction in Jax! For a visitor without a boat, the easiest way to get on the water is via the Taxi. Whether you are going to a concert at Dailys Place or a game at TIAA Bank Field, moving across the river or just enjoying the sunset on the St. Johns River, its a fun tour and transportation option. The St. Johns River Taxi offers Sunset Cruises with live music as well as Ecotours and Neighborhood Tours. To book a tour, visit www.rivertaxiandtours.com.
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Now And Zen Sailing Charters
Cruise off into the sunset on a 42ft catamaran! Now and Zen sailing offers charters for overnight, weekend or weekday cruises. Enjoy this 5-star luxury experience in Jacksonville while exploring our amazing waterways. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or vacation, Now and Zen is the perfect way to celebrate!
Rising Tides: Mccoys Creek Cleanup
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River Rising: Brewing Up Solutions With Public Trust
Join us at Tabula Rasa Brewing as we talk with John November, Executive Director of Public Trust for Conservation, about the importance of the Clean Water Act and how it can be used to help protect and clean up the St. Johns River. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of this landmark legislation, we
Stop : Black Creek Anchorage
The Black Creek is one of many side creeks off the St. Johns River. It runs nearly 15 miles, and is all navigable.
Now, when I think of the word creek I imagine a slow babbling water run that you can walk across. Not something you can navigate a big boat like ours down.
Creeks around here weve come to find are actually mini-rivers and are super deep. Areas can be 15-40 deep!
The problem with anchoring up them is finding somewhere shallow enough were you can put out enough scope with ample swing room.
Thats where anchorage resources come in handy to find such places scouted out in advance by others. We rely on Active Captain, Waterway Guide, as well as word of mouth from fellow cruisers.
And there was one just 1.5 miles up the creek someone rated 6 out of 5 stars. Yeah, that got our attention.
We puttered up, found 8-10 of depth in a nice wide oxbow. Perfection.
We ended up staying here for 3 nights a perfect recharge after a rocky start. Aside from occasional recreational traffic gently waking us, it was peaceful and tranquil here. We gently swung on our hook enjoying changing views.
I just love seeing land views from the water .
We drove the dinghy around getting used to our new engine. We paddle boarded. We flew the drone.
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Where To Explore: St Johns River Taxi
Why use a bridge when you can take a river taxi? Hop aboard theST. JOHNS RIVER TAXIat Friendship Fountain on the Southbank for a fun cruise to the Jacksonville Landing on the Northbank. If you have the time and inclination, take the river taxi at night there’s nothing quite like the view of Downtown from the water.
With football season coming up, you can miss Jaguars game-day traffic by cruising across the river to Metropolitan Park. Sunset Cruises with entertainment are offered Thursdays through Sundays. Guided boat trips to the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens are offered every Saturday morning.
St. Johns River Taxi and Tours
River TaxiSundays, Tuesdays-Thursdays: 11am-9pm Fridays, Saturdays and Holidays 11am-11pm. Closed Mondays.Regular Round-trip fare: Adults $7, Children 3-12 yrs $5, Children under 3 yrs, Free.Special events or games at Everbank Field:Adults, $5 Children 3-12 yrs, $4 Children under 3 yrs Free.
Sunset Cruises from Friendship Fountain with one stop at the Landing, Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30pm-8:45pm, $20. Reserve online.
Zoo Excursions from downtown, Saturdays, departs 10am. 10:45am arrival at the Zoo, return trip departs from the Zoo 3:45pm and arrives downtown 4:30pm. Cost includes zoo admission. $30 child 12 or younger, or a zoo member, $40 adults. Must reserve online, select a dock for pick up at time of reservation.
A Cruise Up Floridas St Johns River
The sun sets on a wide expanse of the St Johns River
The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldnt let me be. What if your air draft calculations were wrong? it said. And if youre just a little too high the mast will come down on you like a telephone pole in a hurricane. Fortunately, First Draft, my friend Richie Levines Catalina 25, put her shoulder down and sailed under the low bridge with several feet to spare. I exhaled in relief. Phew! What other challenges lay ahead?
Richie and I were partway through a voyage Id long wanted to make: southbound on Floridas St. Johns River, setting out from the Ortega River near Jacksonville and heading toward the end of the navigable water at Sanford, on Lake Monroe, 163 miles above the rivers mouth. I had been wanting to do this for years, as it promised to be a fascinating trip full of incredible scenery. I say promised because I had almost no advanced information about the upper river and knew no one who had ever been there. Adding to the mystery was the dearth of cruising guides for these waters. I wasnt even sure if a sailboat with any kind of draft could make it to the end.
That was okay with me, though. A great part of sailings allure, after all, is traveling to exotic, hard-to-reach places that are off lifes beaten path.
The farther you go upstream, the narrower the river gets
Map by Pip Hurn
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Stop : Doctors Lake Anchorage
For our first stop, we didnt want to go too far, just a nice relaxing 12.5 nm departure cruise south. We had a lot of hurricane preps to undo before we could shove off.
We had heard incredible things about Whiteys, a local fish camp reachable by boat. It seemed like a perfect way to start our adventure.
We intended to anchor, get situated and then dinghy over for dinner.
Well, we got the dinghy within smelling distance of Whiteys, when the engine stalled and we ended up having to row 2-miles back to the boat.
We enjoyed a pleasant evening and delightful sunrise, before tackling the engine problem.
Scenic Boat Tour Into The St Johns River
The brochure describes it as a tour into pristine areas to see and experience the wildlife and history of the St. Johns River in one of the amazing scenic boat tours through the river.
True enough, but to us it was a two-hour, 20-mile round trip escape into beauty and serenity on St. Johns River, one of the longest rivers in the world that flows north. Our boat was the Osprey, a 21-foot skiff, hosted by affable, knowledgeable Captain Ernie. We headed downriver toward Jacksonville where St. Johns empties into the Atlantic.
One of the prettiest and most tranquil stretches came when we swung off the main river into the several-mile-long waterway of Blue Creek, with the Ocala National Forest on one side and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge on the other.
No development marked the land, which gave us nostalgic insights as how it looked 100 years ago. It was overflowing with birds, wild life and tropical flowers. We even tracked a manatee.
While in the boat tour in St. Johns River, we cruised just into the edge of Lake George — Florida’s second largest lake, at 14 miles across — before turning for home into St. Johns’ main channel.
The channel swirled with boats, including a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it pontoon rig. Someone had mounted a bright red MG automobile on it, with all the controls transferred into the car’s cockpit.
Boats depart from the Blackwater Inn in Astor. Other tours are available. For more information call 866-349-0674 or visit St. Johns River Tours.
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Crazy Fish Airboat Rides
Come experience a crazy thrill ride and ecotour mixed in one! The tour boat is a 600 horsepower, state-of-the-art, air boat, piloted by a licensed US Coast Guard Master Captain. Sights you can expect to see include views of the giant naval ship at Mayport, planes and helicopters that do fly-over maneuvers, historic and active Mayport shrimp boats carrying a bounty of fresh shrimp. Flying and spinning around the magnificent marshlands, wetlands, creeks, streams and islands will leave you with goose bumps. The guides guarantee you will see dolphins on their tours! Not to mention countless other marine animals!
A Little About The St Johns River
The St. Johns River is Floridas longest river at 310 miles, starting inland in Indian River County and ending at the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville.
Its a very unique river for this part of the world, in that it flows north. Thus why we say were heading south UP the St. Johns River.
Albeit the flow is very slow. The drop in elevation over those 310 miles is just less than 30 feet and the flow is less than .3 mph.
Many lakes are formed along the way, and there are several natural springs flowing into it.
The river has a long history of commercial and recreational use, and many cities along the way. Today, its navigable and maintained from Sanford to Jacksonville for a vessel of our size and larger.
Many areas the river flows through are protected by national forests, state parks and wildlife preserves, so much of it is still very natural and undeveloped.
Wildlife is abundant. Making this side trip off the Great Loop a very unique adventure.
Its about 140 miles of twisty winding river from Jacksonville to Sanford, with many creeks, springs and lakes to explore as additional side trips. The only way out is to turn around and head back to Jacksonville.
The cities along the way are quaint and small, with limited opportunity for re-provisioning. There are very few marinas and a few free/cheap docks. Diesel, marine services and waste pump outs are scarce.
And hey.. this is just OUR kind of adventure!
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