Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
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).
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.
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 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.
FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER – MAIN STREET BRIDGE: Bridge Repairs.
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
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… http://renegadesontheriver.com/db/
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
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!
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.
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Main St. Bridge
Skipper Burnham is responding to a lengthy posting/replies that Claiborne did way back in 2008, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=1237. 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.
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 http://cruisersnet.net/?p=146584 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.
With a name like “Hawg Wash,” this BBQ has to be good! For a 2013 report on Waleka, FL, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=110746.
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
Address:413 Elm St, Welaka Fl, 32193. Tel: 386-524-4036. E mail: email@example.com.
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.
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!
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.
Skipper Reeves continues his exploration of the St. Johns, visiting some of the off the beaten path locations. Boat Tree Marina lies just north of the St. Johns’ entry into Lake Monroe. This facility features a well sheltered harbor.
We visited Boat Tree and stayed for a couple of months. Would have stayed longer but the docks are dangerous, in need of replacement. See for pictures web site attached. The people are wonderful. Kristy is awesome ! Taking care of us and all. The marina is about 2 miles from nearest food store and 4 miles to shopping center. Ships store has some supplies. The bicycle trails are not there or they stop just when you need them to stay out of traffic. The restaurant/bar was closed. The showers are clean and the laundry is clean. The pool is nice. There is a cafe with good food & prices for breakfast and lunch on site along with a Hair Salon, Sherry the owner is most gracious allowing us to use her wifi at the cafe otherwise we never saw the free wifi. The leash your pets rule is not enforced and a small dog was bitten by a boater’s big dogs running loose. For pics and more see http://ontheofficewautoteacher.blogspot.com/2015_06_01_archive.html
These temporary markers are in a small bay just east of the Sanford waterfront leading to the Sanford Boat works and Marina.
FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER: Temporary Aids Established.
The following aids have been temporarily established to facilitate local PATON [Private Aids to Navigation] construction.
-Mothers Arm TRLB 2, Fl Q R in position 28-48-59.873N 081-14-33.773W
-Mothers Arm TRUB 4 in position 28-49-00.574N 081-14-22.831W
-Woodruff Creek Cutoff TRUB 5 in position 28-48-55.856N 081-14-07.355W
Located on the Ortega River just above the Roosevelt Blvd. Bridge and just below the intersection of the Ortega and St. Johns Rivers, Ortega Yacht Club Marina is especially convenient to the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Our thanks to Skipper Herl for this report.
Ortega Yacht Club, Florida
Ortega Yacht Club is a bit out of the way if you plan to stay on the ICW. It is 20-25 mile from Sisters Creek on the ICW so if you go, you have to do it on purpose. If you have some time and want to get away from the ICW for a few days the Ortega would be a great place to do just that. Ortega is not affiliated with any FCYC Yacht Clubs.
Paul the dock master is great, tryes to help you in any way he can. One day we needed to get to a Wall Mart, Paul carried us to Wall Mart in his truck so we could replace a TV that stopped working.
We stayed over a week. Completed some chores, did laundry, (and that needed to be accomplished) and were able to get away from the boat for a while to do some shopping. The shopping is within walking distance. Belks, West Marine, Publics, CVS, restraunts and lots more. I was able to stop into a hearing aid place (not my brand) to get my aids checked and cleaned. They were actually exited to help us as well as interested in our trip. Another hint is to buy a real comfortable back pack for the grocery runs.
Boathouse Marina overlooks the shores of the St. Johns River west-southwest of Palatka City Marina and marker #1. As Skipper Herl points out, cruisers docking here are within walking easy distance of the shops and restaurants in downtown Palatka.
Boathouse Marina, Palatka
Was a very pleasant run from Lake George to Boathouse, 3.5 hr @ approx. 9 knot. We arrived in the pm and were docked and tied by just after noon. This was really different for us, we normally don’t get in until 3:00 or 4:00 pm.
The marina facilities are very clean but rustic. We were able to catch up on our laundry. Boathouse is also within walking distance to good eats and to just see the town. Very nice walk.
We do have friends on the area so we were able to commandeer a car. Publics, WinDixie and a Walmart are within a short drive. We were able to just relax, even took the dingy out for evening cruises on the river. We were also able to visit Ravine Gardens, spent several very pleasant hours there.
Acosta Creek Marina lies on the east side of the St. Johns River between markers #41 and 42A, south of Seminole Grove, FL. Congratulations to the Simons and we wish them the very best with all their plans.
Recently, Bob and Jane Simons acquired Acosta Creek Marina (formerly Acosta Creek Harbor) in Satsuma Fl. from previous owners James and Cathy Towles. Eager to bring more business into the marina, Jane & Bob have been working hard planning big improvements and repairing facilities that already exist. For those not familiar with the area, Acosta Creek Marina sits approximately an hour and a half south of Jacksonville, two hours north of Orlando, fifty minutes southeast of St Augustine and an hour east of Gainesville all by car. Those of you traveling by water the Acosta Creek Marina is located within close proximity to channel marker 42.
The new owners of Acosta Creek Marina have very big plans for their new purchase including expanding many of the marina’s services, as well adding to the goods carried by the ship’s store and improving the grounds about Acosta Creek Marina. Their ultimate goal is to make Acosta Creek Marina not just a stop over or place to store your vessel but a destination on this scenic part of the St. Johns River. They currently offer very affordable dockage at only $7.00 a foot per month with electric on a metered basis and have removed the previous length requirement in order to bring in new customers. Transient dockage is $1.00 a foot daily plus $6.50 for electric. Although Acosta Creek Marina is located in a rural setting, the new owners can arrange transportation for you into town to purchase supplies or check out many of the excellent restaurants in the area. One of their personal favorite dining establishments is Hawg Wash BBQ, with authentic excellent smoked barbecue. The marina is equipped with a 25 ton travel lift and a boat yard where you can do-it-yourself or have one of the many skilled contractors work on your vessel for you. The marina features fixed wood piers with finger slips, showers, a laundry facility and a ship’s store that Jane is working hard to improve.
Other amenities on site encompass a full gambit of recreational activities, with cabins, RV spots, picnic tables, and the soon to be installed horseshoe pits and grills. Some of the best bass fishing in the world is located within in a couple minutes of Acosta Creek Marina and the beautiful crystal clear freshwater springs are located only a short beautiful cruise away.