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The Salty Southeast
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Archive For: East FL – 2 – St. Johns River, Including Jacksonville, Palatka and Sanford

  • Destroyed Manatee Marker, off Christopher Point, St. Johns River, FL, 10/20/2016

    This destroyed Manatee marker is upstream from downtown Jacksonville on the eastern shore off Christopher Point and SE of Marker #5.

    FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER: Hazard to Navigation/Manatee Marker
    The U.S. Coast Guard has received a report of a Manatee marker destroyed and partially submerged in approximate position 30-14-35.52N/081-38-16.08W. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area.
    Chart 11492 LNM 42/16

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at St. Johns River

  • Praise for Ortega River Marina, off the St. Johns River, Jacksonville, Fl

    Located on the Ortega River just above the Roosevelt Blvd. Bridge and just upstream of the intersection of the Ortega and St. Johns Rivers, Ortega River Marina is especially convenient to the Riverside section of Jacksonville. This report comes from our friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association.

    Ortega River Marina. Paul Howe is the dock master at 912-661-3437. We keep our PDQ there in the summer and fall and are very happy with it. ORM (it used to be Ortega Yacht Club Marina) is a smaller marina than “Landing”, with clean bathrooms and laundry, a small pool, and friendly, helpful boat owners. ”Read

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Ortega River Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortega River Marina

  • Good Words for Ortega Landing, off St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL

    Only a mile or so upstream from downtown Jacksonville, Ortega Landing is the first facility on your starboard as you enter the Ortega River from the St. Johns. This report is from our friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

    The Ortega Landing Marina is a great spot. I have kept my boat there for the past three years and am very pleased. Modern floating concrete docks, spotless bathrooms, swimming pool, and an experienced staff make this an excellent choice. Contact the Dockmaster, Bruce, at 904-387-5538.
    Howard Entman

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Ortega Landing Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortega Landing Marina

  • Increased Naval Traffic at St. Johns River/AICW Intersection, October 19-27, 2016, Statute Mile 741

    The Waterway crosses the St. Johns River between Mayport and Blount Island, so keep a sharp watch while navigating the intersection where strong cross currents can affect the course of your vessel or while traveling upstream to downtown Jacksonville.

    The Navy will be offloading the USNS BOBO from October 19 – 27, 2016 in the vicinity of 30.41N/81.37W anchorage areas in Jacksonville, Florida. There will be increased Navy craft operating in the Mayport operations area to include the Saint Johns River to Blount Island during this time from 0600 till 2400 daily. Mariners are advised to avoid close proximity, or any other interference of these operations. Chart 11491 LNM 39/16

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

  • Blue Ocean Sails Newsletter

    Blue Ocean Sails (BOS) is a developing non-profit, educational organization, based in NE Florida, whose mission is to support, facilitate and assist students, educators, citizen and research scientists in all endeavors associated with marine science education and research. BOS is worthy of our interest and support.

    Friends of Blue Ocean Sails – this is the first quarterly newsletter summarizing the ongoing development and activities of Blue Ocean Sails (BOS).

    Read More

    QUICK LOOK ASTERN – Blue Ocean Sails enjoyed a very successful Ocean Sampling Day 2016 in June coordinating with NOAA/AOML and the European OSD Consortium to bring OSD/MyOSD to NE Florida. The local area response was beyond enthusiastic at all levels and volunteer sampling groups from Flagler College, St Johns River State College, Sea Grant 4-H Marine Ecology Club and University of Florida, Whitney/Osborne Laboratory conducted ocean water sampling from both coastal and offshore sample sites, processed samples and shipped them to Europe for microbe DNA analysis.
    OSD 2016 was a great kickoff to the Blue Ocean Sails primary mission – support, assist and facilitate marine science research and education for students, educators, citizen and research scientists. Throw in a 6 hour offshore sail on Sea Breeze, our Irwin 43, and you see in OSD 2016 a perfect example of what Blue Ocean Sails strives to be.
    PRESENT POSITION – Blue Ocean Sails is currently in discussion with the St Johns County school district exploring options to bring the NOAA Global Drifter Buoy Program into the classroom for both elementary and secondary students. Blue Ocean Sails will set sail from St Augustine, FL this October and deploy a NOAA drifter buoy 75 to 100 miles offshore in the core of the Gulf Stream incorporating classroom lesson plans and STEM activities for students and teachers.
    Work continues to upgrade Sea Breeze’s systems to improve her offshore capability for hosting students, educators, citizen and research scientists onboard in local waters and for a 3 to 4 week cruise to the Abacos, Bahamas next year – hopefully supporting a yet to be developed survey/research project in support of deserving students, educators and/or scientists.
    ON THE HORIZON – Blue Ocean Sails seeks to develop an active Apex Predator Tagging program in association with the National Marine Fisheries Services ongoing program. Growing out of relationships formulated during OSD 2016, Blue Ocean Sails also seeks to begin discussions soon with Flagler College, Whitney Marine Science Laboratory and the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project exploring opportunities to support, assist and facilitate ongoing programs, projects and studies.
    As Blue Ocean Sails continues to gain significant operational traction, enthusiastic support is coming from all levels of the marine science community. I haven’t yet begun to outline the unending variety of programs on the drawing board designed to champion marine science at all levels; programs such as ScholarShips for Students, Dolphin Sails, Ocean Awareness Sails, Students – STEM – and the Ocean, Marine Baseline Studies, Extended Offshore/Inshore Research Sails, Ocean Literacy Sails, Skippers for Science and much more.
    CHARTING THE COURSE – Blue Ocean Sails is growing – and we need you! Please see the letter below requesting anyone interested in becoming actively involved with organizational and program development to please contact me ASAP. Options for active involvement include becoming an advisor to Blue Ocean Sails and even sitting as a member of the inaugural Board of Directors as we move towards formal incorporation and apply for 501(c)3 non profit status.
    Blue Ocean Sails is excited to get even more involved – supporting, assisting and facilitating marine science education and research! We offer free use of a 43′ offshore capable sailboat that can be your “research vessel”! Tell us how we can be of best use supporting your projects and programs and consider volunteering to help formalize the organization and its programs.
    BLUE OCEAN SAILS IS GROWING – and needs you!
    Are you interested in marine science, marine science education, sailing or the ocean? If you are that person, please contact me. I’m seeking discussion with individuals interested in contributing ideas, discussion points, thoughts and relevant input in order to help shape the continued development, direction and growth of Blue Ocean Sails.
    We now need the ideas and involvement of others who are passionate about marine science, education and research in order to continue the growth and development of Blue Ocean Sails as a viable, contributing educational organization.
    You don’t need to be a research scientist or tenured professor to provided valuable ideas, input and suggestions. You only need to have a passion for the ocean and a desire to volunteer to help steer the development of a non-profit, educational organization focusing on marine science education and research along with sailing and boating activities.
    Near term, I envision talking with interested individuals over the next couple months, discussing ideas and gauging interest levels. Then the next step will likely be a group meeting of interested individuals as we begin to discuss options for forming a board of directors and advisory committees. Formal incorporation of the organization will follow as appropriate.
    While BOS is initially St Augustine based, the vision is to develop an organization that serves the marine science community both far and wide. As such, Im casting this net far and wide. Please don’t think you can’t participate if you live outside NE Florida – it’s a big ocean; it touches us all.
    This is an opportunity with a wide range of involvement – from as little as tossing in a few ideas, all the way to sitting on the inaugural Blue Ocean Sails Board of Directors. You decide how interested you are, how you’d like to participate – there will certainly be something for every level of interest and involvement.
    Contact me if you’re interested in helping with the development of Blue Ocean Sails. I’ll answer your questions and provide an executive summary of our progress and plans thus far.
    Please get involved – I need your ideas – I need to talk with you!
    Best regards,
    Mike Alyea
    Blue Ocean Sails
    St Augustine, FL
    FMSEA/NMEA member since 2016

    St Augustine Record OSD/BOS news article –
    Ponte Vedra Recorder OSD/BOS news article –
  • St. Johns Boaters Asked to Reduce Wake, Mile Point, east of AICW/St Johns River Intersection

    Mile Point is on the north side of the St. Johns River just east of Sisters Creek where the Waterway crosses the river. This construction will continue until November of 2016.


    Corps asks boaters to SLOW DOWN, use caution
    Jacksonville, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asks boaters to slow down and use extra caution within the Mile Point construction area on the St. Johns River.
    “We’ve seen some close calls here on the water because people are speeding through the area,” said Corps Construction Project Engineer Mike Lyons, Jacksonville District.
    “The Contractor is lifting 50,000 pound objects for construction of the west leg training wall, and a large wake within the construction zone while these objects are suspended can cause damage to equipment and harm to personnel. These wakes also make it difficult (and dangerous) for the crew boats shuttling construction personnel to different areas within the work site.”
    The construction zone contains a variety of large vessels, including a crane barge, an excavator barge, several support barges and a dredge with pipelines, in the Chicopit Bay and Intracoastal Waterway on the St. Johns. Some areas are restricted to construction personnel only due to public safety concerns.
    The Mile Point project will improve vessel navigation by rerouting the navigable waters in the Chicopit Bay and the Inter-Coastal Waterway system. Mile Point is where the St. Johns River meets the Intracoastal Waterway, resulting in difficult cross-currents at ebb tide. This restricts port navigation, causing delays and shipping inefficiencies.


  • Captain Jim Healy Discusses the Waterway from Charleston to St. Augustine

    Longtime cruiser and SSECN Contributing Editor, Captain Jim Healy, shares his knowledge and experience in these observations on this portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Thank you Jim!

    The entire region from Charleston to St. Augustine has high tidal ranges, ranging from 5′ at St. Augustine to as much as 9′ in Savannah/Beaufort/Charleston.  Those high tidal ranges create swift tidal currents, and especially for first-times, docking is easiest in the 1/2 hour before and after slack.
    There are many areas of shallow water in the region.  The very best resource for current data on low water and caution areas is available via  Two other  websites that all ICW travelers should know about are and  I’m sure you are familiar with the Waterway Guide book series.  The “Salty Southeast Cruiser’s Net” (SSECN) is  really a boating group.  It was founded by Claiborne Young.  After Claiborne’s untimely loss, the group continued in operation.  The Cruiser’s Net website specializes on the US Southeast.  There is some duplication of material between the WWG site and the SSECN site, but there is unique value to both.  Both are excellent resources for fuel prices, marinas and anchorages.  These websites would make a good sidebar for any ICW article.  Two of these websites require registration – SSECN does not – and all three are free, and all are very useful to ICW boaters.  Both WWG and SSECN also have smart phone apps that duplicate and augment website information and are very useful on small-format devices.
    There are some generalizations that apply to the region, including the stretch from Georgetown, SC all the way south to below Fernandina Beach.  In some of those areas, boats drawing more than 4′ will want to consider not traveling at low tide; especially celestial low tides.  The Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for dredging the ICW.  USACE is funded by state congressional delegations.  In recent years, the money congress allocates to dredging has been diverted to “more pressing needs,” and so many areas of the ICW are shoaling, and in fact, the ICW resource is slowly being lost; well, allowed to die, really, by congress.  There is a not-for-profit called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association.  The Executive Director is Brad Pickel;  That would make another sidebar for any article on the ICW.  There are some local knowledge bypasses around some shoal areas.  All of the cruising sites above can provide additional detail.
    Renting a car in any of these venues greatly expands what a boating visitor can see and do.  Some, but not all, marinas have courtesy cars.  Generally they can’t be used for long periods, but they are useful for re-provisioning when needed.
    Hope this helps.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Ft. Myers, FL
  • Limited Openings, Main Street Bridge, St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL, 6/9/2016

    The Main Street Bridge with a vertical clearance of 38ft (charted at 40ft) crossed the St. Johns in downtown Jacksonville. Except for weekends and holidays, these limited openings will affect cruisers wanting to explore the upper St. Johns.

    M&J Construction has advised the Coast Guard that they will be working on the Main Street Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida from June 6, 2016 through April 6, 2017. The bridge operations schedule has been temporarily changed to allow the time needed to complete these repairs; therefore from June 6, 2016 through April 6, 2017, Monday through Friday except Federal holidays the Main Street Bridge will only open at 12 midnight, 4:00 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 12 noon, 4:15 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, Federal holidays, Jaguars game days, the weeks leading up to the Florida/Georgia and ND/Navy football games, and for any other unforeseen event that would seriously impact navigation the bridge will operate on its normal schedule. There will be floating equipment in the vicinity of the bridge; but they do not anticipate restriction navigation during these repairs.
    Chart 11491 LNM 23/16

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Main Street Bridge

  • Report from Renegades on the Water Marina, St. Johns River, FL

    This report comes to us from good friend and avid cruiser, David Burnham, whose home port is Gulfport on Boca Ciega Bay, Gulf Coast. Renegades on the Water is on the eastern shore just south of Fruitland Cove between Little Lake George and Lake George of the St. Johns River.

    We cruised our 28′ Catalina sailboat (3’9″ wing keel) down to Renegades Marina and RV park this past weekend. Because Renegades has 4 transient slips next to their GAS and DIESEL dock it should probably be added to the list of St Johns River Marinas. These slips appear to have 4-5′ of water depth although we did not get to sound all of them, only the one we used next to the fuel pier.
    WE DID run aground on the shallows west of Renegades while approaching the fuel dock but backed off and came in again just a little to the south between the two charted shallow areas you encounter when coming in to Renegades from the north. Our chart plotter showed 6′ (or less) where we touched the bottom so we added a 3’9″ sounding to our Navionics Android GPS chart…
    We ran aground AGAIN as we left Renegades the next afternoon, while following our inbound track on the chart plotter (no, NOT the SAME spot).
    The best approach to Renegades if you draw more than 3′ is to go south to the green navigational mark just past Renegades, then turn East and approach from the southwest to stay south of the shallow areas that are to the West of Renegades…
    Great Tiki Bar and really good food and drinks…

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Renegades on the Water

  • St. Johns River Range Light Relocated, St. Johns River, Northern Florida

    This range light relocation is just east of the Waterway’s diagonal path across the St. Johns River and would be of interest only to those cruisers traveling upstream to Jacksonville and beyond.

    FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER – MILE POINT: Mile Point Upper Range Front Light (LLNR 7287) Relocate
    Mile Point Upper Range Front Light (LLNR 7287) has been relocated to 30-22-43.834N 081-27-10.552W. The range has a 360 degree arc of visibility to both Mile Point Upper and Lower Range traffic. While proceeding up river, the additional green light will be visible to the west of the existing Mile Point Lower Range Line. Mile Point Upper Range Line has not been affected. Mile Point Lower Range Light will be relocated beginning 18 April with an estimated completion date of 22, April 2016. Mariners are advised to exercise caution while transiting the area.
    Chart 11491 LNM 16/16

  • Great Review of Ortega Landing, off St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL

    Only a mile or so upstream from downtown Jacksonville, Ortega Landing is the first facility on your starboard as you enter the Ortega River from the St. Johns. Sonny Reeves’ blog report is so good, it could easily be one of our FOCUS ON postings. Detailed descriptions and beautiful photos. Enjoy! And thank you Sonny!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Ortega Landing Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortega Landing Marina

  • Possible Delays in the Opening Procedure at Main Street Bridge, St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL, 2/14/2016

    Experienced cruiser, David Burnham, offers good advice concerning bridge approach. So many of our mechanical bridges are old and not always maintained properly due to funding cuts. David’s word to wise: go slow and be prepared to stop or come about, not easy when approaching with current. With a closed vertical clearance of 38ft, the Main St. Bridge crosses the St. Johns in downtown Jacksonville.
    REMINDER: Don’t yell at the Bridge Tender! Such mechanical delays are RARELY, IF EVER, the fault of the Tender.

    Passed through the Jacksonville, Florida Main Street Bridge on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016.
    CAUTION: the bridge is experiencing some delay upon opening.
    As the bridge started to lift, I came about and began heading toward the bridge to minimize the time required to stay open but the bridge stopped going up after about 5-6 feet and there was a minute or two delay before the tender was able to get the bridge to continue opening.
    Until this is repaired, be aware not to approach the bridge until a safe clearance height is apparent as the water currents in the area of the Main Street Bridge can be swift at times.
    David Burnham
    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Main St. Bridge

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Bridge Directory Listing For Main Street Bridge

  • Good Words for Outback Crab Shack, Six Mile Creek, St. Johns River

    Skipper Burnham is responding to a lengthy posting/replies that Claiborne did way back in 2008, It is nice to know that the Outback Crab Shack is still in business and that the bucket of beer is still cold. Plow on Skipper!

    The Shands Bridge at GCS limits access to the Outback Crab Shack’s 1500 foot floating dock to southbound sailboats with mast heights lower than 45 feet, although at very low tides I have been able to clear the span with the 45′ 9″ mast on the Camper Nicholson 33′. However, I have to “power thru” the muddy shoal at the entrance to Six Mile Creek on the eastern shore with my 6′ 6″ draft fin keel so there are a few 6″ wide “channels” at the entrance of Six Mile Creek leading to the floating dock at the Outback Crab Shack.
    I have read a review that pans the seafood and service at this converted bait shop/biker bar, but they probably didn’t arrive by motorcycle or boat, and forgot to order the bucket of beer before ordering their food. I’m not a big fan of crawdads or chicken wings or overpriced seafood but I’ve never left the Shack hungry or sober and the service is better than the average biker bar.
    David Burnham

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Palmo Cove and Six Miles Creek

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, In Satellite Photo (“Hybrid”) Mode, Zoomed To the Location of the Crab Shack on Six Mile Creek

  • Continued Praise for Huckins Boat Yard, Ortega River, Jacksonville FL

    Huckins Boat Yard is located on the northern shores of the Ortega River off the St. Johns River, just upstream of the Roosevelt Boulevard Bridge with a 45ft vertical clearance. Skipper Alderman joins other skippers in praising Huckins Boat Yard. See for photos of their work.

    Huckins is the best. We had a fuel tank replaced by them and some more work done to the Leprechaun 440 EB Sea Ray and I can’t say enough about them. They are the top of the line service and very reasonable on their price. Richard and Justin were the best and PJ was on top of everything and Trishia in the office could not have been better. If you need repairs, get it there you will not be sorry.
    Bill Alderman

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Huckins Boat Yard

  • Praise for Hawg Wash BBQ in Welaka, FL, St. Johns River

    With a name like “Hawg Wash,” this BBQ has to be good! For a 2013 report on Waleka, FL, see

    If you visit Welaka make sure you get to Hog Wash for THE Best smoke hog in the STaTe. U will not be disappointed. I promise uuuuuuu
    Pete Baleyko

    Address:413 Elm St, Welaka Fl, 32193. Tel: 386-524-4036. E mail:

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Welaka, FL

  • Reeves Reports: Astor Bridge Marina, St. Johns River

    Astor Bridge Marina is located in a cove on the eastern shore of the St. Johns River, south of the Astor Highway Bridge. Here is another of Skipper Reeves’ reports from the St. Johns – thank you Sonny!

    Easy stop on the river! Owners will give you a map to the awesome creeks and beautiful springs to explore in your small boat. Blue Creek is like the Amazon! Laid back old Florida marina. Limited supplies at ship store but the store across the creek has some grocery items and will take larger orders and fuel. Great people on the River! The marina is well protected, more of a basin, easy in and out. Turn in beside the Castaways Bar and Grill just South of the bridge. Can’t give the local restaurants a high mark at this time, check Trip Advisor for my reviews. Ask the dockmaster how to take your dink to Parramore”s for lunch. Town is a little more than a walk away. The focus here is on fishing and it is very good here for bass and more. Watch for gators. There is a large field for walking the dog. Some liv a boards very helpful! There are cabins for rent and the owners are good people. When we stayed during May 2015 the office is closed on Wednesdays.
    Sonny Reeves

    Click Here To View the St. Johns River Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Astor Bridge Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Astor Bridge Marina

  • Reeves Reports: Acosta Creek Marina, St. Johns River, Satsuma, FL

    Acosta Creek Marina lies on the east side of the St. Johns River between markers #41 and 42A, south of Seminole Grove, FL. New owners, Bob and Jane Simons have made many improvements and we wish them the very best with all their plans. Skipper Reeves continues his exploration of the St. Johns River.

    Great stop on the river. Good people, nice small laundry. Good people on the docks. Beware of current! and the wakes of idiots that fly by. We enjoyed our short stay . The dog walk and trails are nice but watch for snakes. Nearby creeks are great for bass fishing and exploring. The boatyard services are nice and we saw some quality work being done. Old Florida laid back with some amenities, Pool and Wifi, Ship’s Store. A few miles to shopping center. Will need car!
    Sonny Reeves

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Acosta Creek Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Acosta Creek Marina

  • Reeves Reports: Georgetown Marina and Lodge, Lake George, St. Johns River

    Georgetown Marina and Lodge lies north of marker #72, a short hop north of the St. Johns River’s northerly intersection with Lake George. Our thanks to Skipper Reeves for this report and photos.

    Good stop on the river at North end of Lake George. Great people and fuel prices. Limited supplies. This is a fishing marina set up for fishermen and small boats. Large boats will be in slips out side and open to wakes, weather and boat traffic to the South. A good place to explore Salt Run Spring and to enjoy the fishing. Good laundry service. You can see no where from here and if you do not have a car very little is close. Old Florida style marina with southern hospitality.
    Sonny Reeves

    Georgetown Marina exposed to wakes from speeding fishermen.

    Georgetown Marina is nice people and good fuel prices. Lots of fishing boats.

    Georgetown Marina, You can see nowhere from here and visit Salt Run Spring


    Click Here To View the St. Johns River Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Georgetown Marina and Lodge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Georgetown Marina and Lodge

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