The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Friday, March 30, 2012

CJ and Evan on the St. Johns River

By mid-morning on Wednesday daughter Carla (CJ) and her fiancé Evan (Evan) were delivered from Orlando Airport to Once Around at Hontoon Landing.  They were in pretty good shape for having taken the red-eye from San Diego overnight to Atlanta, transferring to Orlando, then a 1-1/2 hour car ride.  After a quick nap, they were ready to start exploring the St. Johns River, starting with a huge alligator we could see on the bank opposite Once Around’s slip. 

Fred from Boreas joined the two kids and I to take the dinghy for a closer look.  Interestingly both Admirals, Carrie and Jullaine, opted to remain on the big boats…hmm.  Anyway, we did get pretty close before the gator started moving toward us…or at least that’s what it seemed, and we (I) did a quick U turn and got the heck out of there!
The brave alligator hunters leave Once Around...

...and sneak up on Mr. Gator... OK, you thought I was exaggerating!
Later that day we took both dinghies on about a two hour trip back to Blue Springs.  We took the “Dead River” route down to “Snake Creek” before returning to the St. Johns and the spring.  This route was longer, but picturesque and very, very backwoods.  We saw a little bit of everything; turtles, gators and of course, a zillion or so birds of all types.
Carla keeps a close eye out for gators...

...and turtles...

...and herons...

...and Loopers...oops...that's the Boreas crew

Two great kids

the only photo we took at Blue Springs
Thursday morning we left Hontoon and headed back north to the anchorage at Morrison Island where we stayed on the way down.  We dropped anchor at about one o’clock and took the dinghies up to a little restaurant called “Buck and Kat’s Café” a few hundred yards from where we were anchored.   We had some of the best burgers ever…did you ever notice when you’re really really hungry that kind of thing happens???   Anyway, the dessert menu looked so good we all took a doggy bag back to the boats with German chocolate cake and pecan pie for after dinner!
Evan and CJ did a little fishing (and alligator hunting?) from the dinghy around dusk, although the promised “fish fry for breakfast” had to be postponed until the day they actually catch something.  When they returned for dinner, we were still stuffed from lunch so we opted for a salad instead of the planned steaks, followed of course by the aforementioned desserts.   Evan and I suffered through some dumb “chick flick” movie, but the ladies were happy.
Friday we (along with Boreas) again retraced our steps to the town of Palatka and the Boathouse Marina.  It was a gorgeous day and the kids enjoyed the sun on the front deck as we cruised up the calm, smooth waters of the river.  We pulled into the dock around one o’clock and the ladies immediately departed towards town on what proved to be a fruitless search for a nail salon.  Never fear, they have already called ahead to our next port to make arrangements…
Crusing down the St. Johns

a morning nap

Carla got to pick the house of the day...

...and just like her mother, couldn't pick just one!
We are headed into Palatka in a few minutes for dinner at “Angels Diner”…I’ll let you know how that goes…

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