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    • A Boating Adventure off the St. Johns River, near Palatka, FL


      Maybe it is all the “gunk-holing” we used to do in the Chesapeake or the river-running we did in coastal Georgia, but this is the kind of boating adventure my family loves. And as Skipper Gorham attests, unmarked waterways like Dunns Creek are often very beautiful and just require slow travel and a sharp lookout. Good for you Skipper Gorham! Dunns Creek exits the St. Johns southward between Murphy and Rat Islands, south of Palatka.

      A St. Johns side trip down Dunns Creek to Crescent Lake
      Crescent Lake is the third largest Lake in Florida, and is connected to the St. Johns River by Dunns Creek. It doesn’t get many visits from cruising size craft, probably because Dunns Creek is a bit intimidating, but we recently took an overnight trip to the charming town of Crescent City, and it was worth the trip.

      Dunns Creek joins the St. Johns near marker 16 upstream of Palatka and winds for about 5 miles through beautiful hardwood swamp to the north end of Crescent Lake. Most of the creek is quite deep at 20 to 40 feet, but there are no navaids, and in places the depth rises very sharply to shallow sandbars that you cannot see due to the tannin stained water, which can cause a little anxiety. By favoring the outside of the creek bends and paying attention to the very accurate bathymetry on our Navionics chart chip, we never saw less than 6 feet. There is a broad shallow area at the north end of the lake, but we also never saw less than 6 feet crossing that.

      Once in Crescent Lake, there is a uniform depth of 10-12 feet all the way to Crescent City. At 29 degrees 25.822’N by 081 degrees 30.338′ W, there is a public ramp and landing with about 6 feet of water and a 50 foot face dock. Also here is the restaurant 3 Bananas, which has docking for dinghies and small craft. We had a fine dinner there and were allowed to overnight on their dock. Just offshore within dinghy distance to the docks is Bear Island, which has 7-10 feet of water 360 degrees around the island and good holding in sandy mud for an overnight anchorage.

      The town of Crescent City is very pleasant to walk around, with huge live oaks and a lot of antique stores. Also don’t miss the 600 year old white cypress right behind 3 Bananas – it is one of the largest and oldest trees of its kind in Florida.
      Jonathan Gorham

      crescent

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Dunns Creek Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dunns Creek/St. Johns River Intersection

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    • 10. Pirates Cove Anchorage

      10. Pirates Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 30 15.243 North/081 41.595 West
      Location: will be discovered on the waters of Pirates Cove, west and north of the Florida Yacht Club
      Minimum Depth: 4 feet ONLY!!!!
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 40 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: excellent
      Rating:
      Special Comment: can be used only by vessels drawing 3 ½ feet or PREFERABLY LESS

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    • 11. Plummers Cove Anchorage

      11. Plummers Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 30 11.565 North/081 38.221 West
      Location: lies southeast of unlighted daybeacon #9 and just north of the Interstate 295 bridge
      Minimum Depth: 6-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, open to western and southwestern winds
      Rating:

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. R. J. McMullen -  September 25, 2009 - 2:01 am

        We have used this anchorage for YEARS as wonderful weekend spot. The holding is great- sand under mud. Wind protection is good. No current. Few wakes. Scenery is nice- bridge is pretty at night. Can be noisy from the bridge traffic if the wind is from the south. Take the dinghy north around the point into Goodbys’ Creek to dock at Hooters and access local stores.

        Reply to R.
    • 12. Doctors Lake Mill Cove Anchorage

      12. Doctors Lake Mill Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: 30 07.449 North/081 43.184 West
      Location: found on the eastern 1/3 of Mill Cove; this cove makes into the eastern banks of Doctors Lake, south of Geigers Point
      Minimum Depth: minimum 4 ½ feet, but many soundings in the 5 ½ to 6 foot range
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 34 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, open to eastern and northeastern winds
      Rating:
      Special Comment: this anchorage should only be used by vessels drawing LESS THAN 4 feet; watch out for the charted pilings

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Jeanie & Wes -  January 30, 2012 - 11:35 am

        We are in Mill Cove on Doctors Lake tonight. Lovely spot.
        Jeanie & Wes on
        M.V. Miss Ruby

        Reply to Jeanie
    • 13. Doctors Lake, Sugarhouse Cove Anchorage

      13. Doctors Lake, Sugarhouse Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: 30 07.533 North/081 45.532 West
      Location: found near the western limits of Sugarhouse Cove, north of Peoria Point
      Minimum Depth: 6 feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, open to eastern and northeastern winds
      Rating:

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    • 14. Doctors Lake, Swimming Pin Creek Anchorage

      14. Doctors Lake, Swimming Pin Creek Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: 30 06.039 North/081 44.811 West
      Location: found on the waters of Swimming Pen Creek, which makes off from the southeastern tip of Doctors Lake; anchorage lies just north, northwest of the charted 9-foot fixed bridge
      Minimum Depth: 5 feet
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 36 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: excellent
      Rating:
      Special Comment: Whitney’s Fish Camp Restaurant lies within easy dinghy distance of this anchorage

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Bernie Heinemann -  June 5, 2010 - 8:18 am

        We anchored a 50ft. boat just outside the creek entrance and went in to Whitie’s for lunch. A storm came through and the anchor dragged (a lot). Got back to the boat just before it hit a boat dock. Bottom is soft muck which doesn’t hold well.
        The dockmaster at Whiteys said the water up to the bridge is 6-8 feet deep and he has had 60 ft. boats at his dock. Call him and he’ll make space for you if you want to use the restaurant. It sounds as if you can spend the night there – no hookups.

        Reply to Bernie
    • 15. Julington Creek Anchorage

      15. Julington Creek Anchorage Lat.Lon: near 30 07.755 North/081 38.068 West
      Location: will be found on the centerline of Julington Creek, west of the charted 15-foot fixed bridge
      Minimum Depth: 5 feet
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 55 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, wide open to western and eastern winds
      Rating:

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Claiborne -  August 12, 2009 - 1:27 pm

        Just had to share our current anchorage with you, what a fun stop! We are currently anchored in Julington Creek which is about 15 miles south of downtown JAX on the east bank. I will warn you that the holding here is “soupy” at best, we actually put out both the CQR & the Danforth. We have only had 5 to 10 mph west winds so the chain on the CQR has just laid on the bottom, we would only come back here in setteled weather. We are anchored in about 7′ of water, about 300 yards west of the marina, between the sailboats. The reason for mentioning anchoring in the sailboats is that it’s the quietest area for boat traffic, I would not anchor south of the sailboats because that’s the area the boats use to get in & out of the marina, day or night. I guess a person could tie up at the marina but I don’t have info on their operation??
        On the north bank just west of the marina is a public launch ramp with a dock which would be a great place to potty the dogs. Now for the funky part………………….
        There is restaurant called Clark’s Fish Camp http://www.clarksfishcamp.com which is on up the river about a mile from the anchorage, take the left fork and you will see Clark’s on your left. What a great place to eat and drink killer Bloody Mary’s, see the menu on their website. See the attached photo I’ve included of the prime rib they serve, it’s HUGE.
        I have also included fellow cruisers who might be headed this way so they know to visit if they get in the neighborhood. It would also be a quick drive from downtown JAX if one had a car!
        The water gets pretty skinny getting in here but it’s WELL worth the effort!
        Brenda & Todd Lanning
        M/V Life’s2Short
        40′ Oceania

        Reply to Claiborne
    • 16. Cunningham Creek Cove Anchorage

      16. Cunningham Creek Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 30 05.664 North/081 38.446 West
      Location: lies west of the entrance to Cunningham Creek, and well east of the St. John’s flashing daybeacon #15
      Minimum Depth: 6-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: poor, wide open to western, northwestern and southwestern winds
      Rating:

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    • 17. Black Creek Anchorage

      17. Black Creek Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 30 03.219 North/081 43.305 West
      Location: Black Creek lies well west of the St. John’s flashing daybeacon #17A
      Minimum Depth: 8 feet
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 38 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: excellent, great foul weather hidey hole
      Rating:
      Special Comment: your vessel must be able to clear a 30 foot fixed bridge to access this anchorage

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    • 18. Florence Cove Anchorage

      18. Florence Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 29 59.139 North/081 35.076 West
      Location: found southeast of the Shands – Green Cove Springs bridge and well east of flashing daybeacon #22
      Minimum Depth: 5-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair to good, but open to western and southwestern winds
      Rating:

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Claiborne -  August 12, 2009 - 1:03 pm

        Subject: Florence Cove Anchorage (St. Johns River, South of Green Cove Springs)
        Cruising News: We live in Florence Cove and welcome cruisers to our area of the river!!
        We monitor Ch 16 in the house for river traffic , and often go out to the boats anchored to welcome them. Anchorage N29 59.075 W81 35.232 (7Ft/Hard Sand), N29 59.105 W81 35.084 (6Ft/Mud) In the bottom of the cove are two mooring anchors we use for hurricans for our boats. Anyone wanting to use them for a nght or two is welcome. 5ft min depth normally(125ft+ swing).. soft mud bottom.. ve ry protected on three sides (open to the West)
        But if you want to go off the hook, Outback Crab Shack (Six Mile Creek) next cove South, has a great 1,500ft floating dock! They had a 100ft+ in there last summer! To get in.. stay South of Jackwright Island Point Sand Bar. then North of Palmo Point Shoal, large cove, lots of room. The shallowest part is just in front of last three docks to the South as you enter Six Mile Creek (5-6 Ft Soft Mud).
        N29 58.167/W81 33.708, N29 58.167/W81 33.634, N29 58.172/W81 33.606
        Rex & Jimmie
        42 Carver Mariner

        Reply to Claiborne
    • 19. Colee Cove – Pacetti Point Anchorage

      19. Colee Cove – Pacetti PointAnchorage
      Lat/Lon: 29 56.772 North/081 34.902 West
      Location: lies well east of flashing daybeacon #24, and south of charted Pacetti Point
      Minimum Depth: 8 feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, but open to western, southern and southwestern winds
      Rating:

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Rex & Jimmie -  August 7, 2009 - 12:09 pm

        The submerged piling shown on chart is still there and SOLID.
        N29 56.569 W81 35.079
        ALSO—- The row of pilings shown in bottom of cove (east) many are still there and solid!!

        Reply to Rex
    • 20. Colee Cove Anchorage

      20. Colee Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: 29 56.248 North/081 34.433 West Loction: lies well east of flashing daybeacon #24
      Minimum Depth: 6-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: poor, sheltered only from eastern, northeastern and southeastern winds
      Rating:

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Rex & Jimmie -  August 7, 2009 - 12:13 pm

        WARNING – Many of the piling shown it the bottom (EAST) of Collee cove are still there and SOLID!!!
        N29 56.392 W81 34.463

        Reply to Rex
    • 21. Rice Creek Anchorage

      21. Rice Creek Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 29 41.991 North/081 39.938 West
      Location: found on the waters of Rice Creek, west of the charted 45-foot fixed bridge, and north of the small, charted island which bisects the stream
      Minimum Depth: 6-feet
      Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 34 feet
      Foul Weather Shelter: excellent
      Rating:   Special Comment: your vessel must be able to clear a 45-foot fixed bridge to access this anchorage, be SURE to anchor NORTH of the small island

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    • 22. Cow Creek Anchorage

      22. Cow Creek Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 29 40.458 North/081 37.540 West
      Location: lies off the easterly banks of the St. Johns River, north of unlighted daybeacon #43
      Minimum Depth: 8-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: poor, fair weather and light air anchorage only
      Rating:

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    • 23. Carman Cove Anchorage

      23. Carman Cove Anchorage
      Lat/Lon: near 29 39.185 North/081 36.702 West
      Location: will be discovered on the centerline of Carman Cove, east-northeast of flashing daybeacon #48
      Minimum Depth: 5-feet
      Swing Room: unlimited
      Foul Weather Shelter: fair, but strong western and southwestern winds would be a problem
      Rating:

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