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All Alone at Six-Mile Creek – Last Stop on the St. Johns River

After a two-night layover, due to high winds, in Palatka, our last stop on the St. Johns River was also where we began it. However that day, a couple of weeks ago, Bella Luna was with us heading south on the river.One of the nicest things about traveling on this river during the off season is that, other than the small fishing or pleasure boats we only saw one or two boats our size the whole trip DOWN & BACK. Look…

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Welaka Free Dock

It's cold and rainy today so we sought refuge at the free dock in Welaka. We made note of this dock as we were heading south on the river. As boaters are always looking for an inexpensive (or even better) free dockage. We think it's important to make sure we go into town to re-provision, eat at a restaurant and make use of the town's services when visiting a town dock, especially one that is provided free of charge to the boating…

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Three Nights in “Paradise” – Silver Glen Springs

After another leasurely morning and with no exact destination in mind other than turning our boat around and heading north towards Jacksonville, we decided to make a big day of it by traveling 34 miles to Silver Glen Springs, just off Lake George.Silver Glen Springs We weren't sure we could make it into this reportedly shallow area but we were determined to give it a good try. Wow, are we ever glad we did. Silver Glen Springs goes about three-quarter's of…

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Hontoon Island State Park

Because we were only traveling eight miles today we had a leisurely morning at anchor enjoying the beauty of nature before heading to Hontoon Island State Park. In the course of these eight miles we saw three bald eagles, five or six mannatee, several alligators and a big stork.The only way onto Hontoon Island is by private boat or a pontoon ferry that runs from across the river. This is a State Park that has slips for dockage with a…

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Wekiva River

After our farewell with Louis and Diane we had a nice walk through Sanford before we embarked for a leasurely eight mile cruise north, to an oxbow across from Wekiva River. We had heard taking a dinghy ride up this river was something we should not miss and we were not disappointed. The river meanders back off of the St Johns River for about five miles and the further you navigate back the wilder it becomes. Wild in that this…

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End of the Line – Bella Luna Departs while Kismet Lingers

For the last six weeks we have had the pleasure of sharing our boating travels with Louis and Diane Wade, Bella Luna. We have had dinners on-board one or the other boat or we've all gone out to have a taste of the local cuisine. We've played games, made repairs to our boats, visited with each other's friends and family, took shore excursions and just plain had fun.So it was bittersweet today when we gave each other hugs and said goodbye…

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Umm-Pa-Pa – Sanford, Florida

Sanford, Florida, the most southern point on the St. Johns River concludes the first half of our trip before we head north and stop at some places we missed on the way south. So we decided to stay two days so that we could take our time exploring.Between rain showers though we walked into the quaint downtown where we (Louis, Diane, Lisa and I) had a very authentic Germany dinner at Hollenbach’s Willowtree Café. The food was exceptional and to…

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Anchorage Across from Blue Spring State Park

A beautiful, tropical spot to anchor for the night. Shortly after the anchors are set the dinghies are dropped for a trip over to visit Blue Spring State Park, just around the bend from our boats.Blue Spring State Park One of the wildlife highlights of our St Johns trip so far happened today at Blue Springs. We anchored just around the bend from the springs and dinghied over to see what all the fuss was about.First of all Blue Springs is…

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On Our Way to Blue Spring

From mile 115 to mile 143 is where we saw the most wildlife. It was this stretch where we had a friendly wager with Bella Luna on who would see the first alligator, bald eagle and manatee for the day and it was also this area where we saw so many alligators we finally just stopped counting. We saw small little guys of about two feet long to some huge maybe eleven foot long ones.We thought this was a unique…

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Welaka Maritime Museum – Welaka, Florida

Butch and Teresa (the owners of Georgetown Landing Marina) were kind enough to let us borrow their truck so we could drive seven miles to the neighboring town of Welaka and visit the...Welaka Maritime MuseumThis museum has a collection of one-of-a-kind wooden boats that were all built by Richard Speas and is now maintained by his son Rand (below-center). Of all the museums we’ve been to this was one of the best, not just because it was all about boats, but…

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Georgetown Landing Marina – Georgetown, Florida

As potential bad weather was forecasted for the next couple of days we left Murphy's Creek and made our way for Georgetown Landing Marina, just south of Welaka on the St. Johns River. We wanted to be tied up snuggly while the inclimate weather made its way past us. It rained and the wind was brisk for the better part of our stay so we took advantage of the time by catching up on boat chores including changing the generator…

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Murphy Creek Anchorage

Our first anchorage after Palatka was in an oxbow (a u-shaped bend in the course of a river) in Murphy's Creek, just off of Dunn Creek. Once settled Lisa and I lowered the dinghy to go explore for gators, eagles and turtles three to four miles up Dunn Creek.It didn’t take long before we started to spot the gators sunning themselves on logs (below-gator is in the left side of the photo on the log and the turtles are hopping…

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Next Stop… Palatka, Florida

Once the winter home of the Mellon banking family and the end of the line for railroads, Palatka was once the largest shipper of cypress wood in the world. This town is also considered the spot where the St. Johns River starts to become wild with natural habitat... gators, manatee, birds, eagles, snakes and more.Jack Carpenter stopped by our boat tonight to chat about the wonders of the St. Johns River. We learned a lot from him about the area and look…

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St. Johns River Here We Come!

After lots of discussion and planning we’re finally heading into the St Johns River to explore Florida’s hidden gems including the wildlife we’ve long heard and read so much about.First stop was a free dock at Six-mile Creek and a visit to the Outback Crab Shack, the restaurant which provides the free-dock, if you buy a meal at the restaurant. We were also surprised to run into a few slip holders from Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville, we just left…

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Back from the Funeral to Friends and a Big Thanksgiving Feast

We flew back from Ohio today. Larry and Louis met us at the airport and brought us back to the boat and a huge Thanksgiving day meal. They had been working on this meal all day and it truly was a feast. We were of course exhausted from the funeral and the long travel day. Our friends knew this and took good care of us and our tired souls. Thank you Larry & Margie, Wanderin' L & M  and Louis…

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