I managed to get the boat off the rack for a couple of hours today … and fought my way out of the St. Johns River out to the ocean. The swell wasn’t too bad, only about 1-2 feet from the southeast. But the river current and tide were running so hard out to sea that the water was just piled up at the mouth of the river … and the color contrast between the water coming from the river and the ocean water was stark. The river carries so much silt and such out from inland that the water coming out of the river is almost brown compared to the bright turquoise of the ocean water. And it doesn’t mix very well. It’s really a sharp line in the water.
So, I fought the waves to get out of the river and turned north for a bit, just running up the coastline. I’d gone 4 or 5 miles to the north when I just cut the engine, let the boat drift, tied my throwable PFD to a dockline, and dove off the swim platform. I love swimming in the ocean. I know, maybe not the smartest thing to do when I’m out by myself. but it was hot and that was absolutely the best way to cool off. We’ve not been to the beach often enough this summer, and it was really nice to just hop in the ocean and cool off a bit.
When I got back to the marina, as I was letting the engine flush with fresh water and salt-away, I pulled out my camera and started looking for some interesting things. as you can imagine, I found some.
This is about what’s left of the once-venerable Mayport shrimping fleet. About a dozen boats still trying to eke out a living catching the tiny tasty cholesterol bombs from the ocean. I don’t say that to be disparaging … but just honest. I’ll grant you that many of those few remaining boats are better kept than this one, but where just a year ago there were a couple dozen boats tied up at the shrimpers’ docks in Mayport, now, there are only a handful. It’s a very difficult way to make a living, and the cost of fuel and inexpensive imported Asian shrimp aren’t making it any easier. But for those trying to block a cruise terminal because it will “ruin the flavor of the fishing village”, well maybe that’s already happened.
There’s always a committee on the docks at Jacksonville Marina where I keep Party Quirks, and though they’re big, and ungainly, and really kinda gross in their eating habits … they’re fascinating to watch and photograph. Today was no exception, with one king of the pelicans ruling the roost, and several others down on the floating dock pretty much just making a mess. I know sometimes it seems like I take the same picture over and over … but I can’t get enough of these guys.
The gulls, too, were hanging out at the marina. They usually wait for people cleaning fish to pass along a handout or two, but with a new state moratorium on feeding the brown pelicans, the gulls will probably find a freebie harder to come by. Still, these scavengers are unlikely to stop hanging out at the docks.
I thought this shot was interesting just because the angle of their heads was so similar. There are a few like this, and they’re all linked up on Flickr.
So, it was a nice afternoon to be out on the water. Party Quirks got a nice run, and a good bath. She’s running a little rough at idle again, so I need to either pay for a tune up or look up what I need to do online. And, for the second time in a row, my GPS failed to power up when I plugged it in and pushed the button … so I’ll need to replace it. I’ve been intending to all season, but now I think I might as well wait until next spring. I’ll need to fish new wires for a different transducer for the unit I’ve been investigating. Hopefully there will be enough money to replace it, and get that tune up, at the top of the season next year.
I’ve not had enough time for the boat this year. I love being able to go and just play on the ocean, even for just a couple of hours. And as you’ve read here before … time spent on the water is not deducted from man’s allotted span. I bought myself a couple of extra hours today.