11 May, 2015
Sunny Mother’s Day, and we had to wait a bit for the tide to come in so we’d have some water under us on the way out of Salt Run in St. Augustine. Our plan was to head to Palm Cove Marina near Jacksonville Beach to get fuel, as their cost was nearly $.25 less than anyone within 100 miles, then motor up the ICW to anchor before heading into Jacksonville. As we were fueling up, we had plenty of time to rap with the dock dudes, as the pumps were SLOW. By the time we were done fueling, we had been talked into spending the night at the marina. In addition to the docks, the marina has several barns for indoor rack storage of boats up to 30’ or so in length. Here’s the drill: When you want to take your boat out, you call the marina, and they snatch your boat out of the rack (may be 4 boats high) with a forklift and drop it in the water. You spend the day or whatever, on your boat, then return to the marina, where they pop the boat out of the water and drop it into a temporary rack where you, or one of the dock dudes washes it before placing it back into one of the indoor berths until next time. It’s a real ballet to watch, and we spent a good while watching in total fascination. On a busy day, the guys move several hundred boats in and out-cool. We enjoyed a very good Mom’s Day dinner at ………., which had a very extensive menu. In the morning, we saddled up to time the flood tide for a push up the St. John’s river to Jacksonville. The river was very busy with commercial traffic, we talked to several barges, tugs, and container ships before the Ortega River came into sight 21 miles later. When we arrived at the Ortega River bridge, we saw a few guys in orange vests scrambling around the draw, so we weren’t surprised when the tender told us that we’d have to wait for an opening. Ten minutes later, the bridge was okay, and we were on our way through. As we passed this historic and busy (most openings of any bridge in Florida), the Ortega Landing Marina came into sight on our starboard. It was to be the Girl’s home for the next 3 weeks while the Admiral and I flew back to Michigan.