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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 Herl for this report.
Georgetown Marina, Lake George, Florida
Georgetown Marina, located at the very north end of Lake George. We originally thought about getting fuel there but they were having trouble with their pumps and they were running really slow. George Town is a nice quiet little fish camp type of marina. The people are very friendly and helpful. Since it is at the very north end of the lake, it can be a bit lumpy if the wind is out of the south.
There are not a lot of stores or restaurants within walking distance, so it is probably only for one night stops.
We wanted to stop in Lake George and take the dingy into Silver Glen Springs, but the weather did not cooperate. If your ever in the area Silver Glen Springs is one place you should put on the to do list. On weekends it can get really crowded, especially holidays.
The fixed Shands Bridge, lying southeast of Green Cove Springs and marker #20, sets the vertical clearance limit for the upper St. Johns River with its height of 45 feet. Sailcraft that cannot clear this span must forego exploration of what is to our collective minds, the most beautiful section of this lovely stream. Many a sailor has shaken a fist and employed colorful language while coming about at the Shands Bridge! Perhaps even Skipper Bosque? Our thanks to Skipper McDonald for the official response.
Any updates on the construction of a new Shands Bridge? Are they building one with a 65′ clearance?
Approved, but not funded. Where have we heard this before?!?
May 11, 2015
This is a recent reply I received about the FDOT plans to replace the Shands Bridge on the St Johns river in Green Cove Springs. Unfortunately, for those of us with a mast height in excess of 45′ we will remain restricted from traversing the river.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) current plan is to replace the existing Shands Bridge with a new bridge that will have 65 feet of vertical clearance. However, the project is not funded in FDOT’s Five Year Work Program and will likely not be replaced for ten or more years. Replacing the bridge is a high priority to FDOT and the replacement could be advanced if funding were to become available.
Thank you for your interest in the First Coast Expressway project. If you have any questions or comments, please call or email.
James M. Knight, P.E.
Urban Planning and Modal Administrator
Florida Department of Transportation District 2
2198 Edison Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Replacement of these Florida Power and Light transmission lines should not affect our tall masted friends, but if in doubt, give them a call at 561-722-0889. This power line is just north of Porter Cove Anchorage and normally has a vertical clearance of 90ft.
FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER: FPL Aerial Crossing Work
FPL will be replacing some overhead electrical transmission line structures within the St. John’s River, in Putnam County, south of Palatka. Barges will arrive the week of 23 March 23 and work will take place until approximately 20 May, 2015. The structures are along the east and west bank and will not be in the central portion of the river. Coordinates for the two poles that are being replaced are: 29-37-21.49N/81-35-42.60W and 29-37-18.40N/81-35-58.55W in the vicinity of Rivercrest Light 11 (LLNR 8250). The vessel operators will be monitoring VHF-FM Channel 16. The point of contact is Mr. Mark Denman of FPL (561) 722-0889. Chart 11487 LNM: 12/15
Skipper Reeves continues his exploration of the St. Johns River with a visit to Hontoon Island State Park Marina/Dock, south of Lake George and north of Lake Monroe near Deland, FL. located east-southeast of flashing daybeacon #53 and the northeasterly mouth of Hontoon Dead River.
Very quiet and laid back. Lots to explore here with many creeks to visit in the dink.We are planning on moving our residence to Florida next week and we can visit here for half price $10 a day all inclusive. I wanted to stay here for ever. There is a marina across the river that does not have good reviews and is very high on fuel prices. Right around the corner is Holly Bluff Marina that has better prices and service. Rick in the shop found me a hose to fix a problem and was very helpful. Rick carries a lot of parts and can get anything you need. Several boaters in little trailer tugs came by and said they stop here all the time. This is not nowhere but you can see nowhere from here.
Hontoon Island State Park has a lot of slips but only the T dock has enough water for our trawler and we plowed a little soft mud at 5 ft on the T dock to the West. We picked up WiFi from across the way and the dock has 50 amp service, water and is almost new. Very nice park with hot showers and clean restrooms. The rangers are super nice. No groceries or laundry. All this for $20. a night. Only $10 if you are a Florida resident. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Hontoon-Island
At Blue Spring you can beach and tie up to the South of the swim area. Do not dock on the dock. Self serve on park fee of $1.00 per person. We want to come back when they allow swimming in the spring . The water is 72 F year round.
Looks green to me but they call it Blue Spring. The board walk goes all the way down to the “Boil” of over a 100,000 gals per hour.
Additional Information from Skipper Reeves on 6/15/2015
A most excellent place to be on the river. The rangers are hard working and very helpful. The deep water (we saw 5 ft) is at the T dock as you approach from the North it is first one on your starboard. Do not get too close to the shore when you come in. The nice floating docks are self serve. Rangers are not allowed to help you dock. The T dock has 50 amp power and water. $10 a nite if Fl resident, $20 if not. The inside docks are for small craft only. We stopped for a few days going to Sanford and a few more on our return trip. From here you can visit Blue Springs and take a trip in your dink or kayak all the way around on Snake Creek. The Rangers rent canoes. Just like the Amazon with all the wildlife. We visited in winter. Watch your pet around the shore. Alligators everywhere. The park trails, the fishing, all is Good! We had some wifi from across the river on our booster. The park has limited supplies, more across the river. It is a no wake zone but idiots will blast through sometimes. Very quiet and laid back at night and week days. You can anchor in the creek to the North if you wish. The showers are hot and clean. Day use is allowed for a small fee. See more and pictures http://ontheofficewautoteacher.blogspot.com/2015/03/hontoon-island-state-park-has-lot-of.html
Skipper Reeves continues his exploration of the St. Johns River, stopping at spots a bit off the beaten track – good for you Sonny! (See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147232.) Bryant’s Wharf is on the east shore of the river where “Ramp” is charted.
Locals very friendly. Nothing here. Other than a nice metal concrete floating dock that is well lighted at night. Small 20 x 24 ft slips. Good depths, Most boats on River slow down but wakes are minimal. The town appears closed up there is a convenience store a few blocks East. Restaurant onsite is closed. A grill and cafe is a hike. We did not go there. Restrooms reported at top of hill in a recreation park. Old Florida small town pop 586. Dock is free with no electric, water or trash pick up.