For the first time since November, Party Quirks came out of the barn and was lowered gently into the waters of the St. Johns River. After a winter that has been unusually cold and drear, finally a weekend day that gave the an opportunity to go play on the river again. The good news is, it never gets old. The bad news is … well, there’s not any bad news, and that’s the truth.
I was concerned after a long rest that the engine might be reluctant to turn over, but the Yamaha is very reliable. It did require a little cranking, which I rather expected, but once I got it running, well, as they say now in the Bud Light commercials … “Here we go.”
I ran upriver to the Dames Point bridge, and then a little beyond. The new cranes for the coming post-Panamax ships look like something out of Star Wars standing on the banks of the river, and you can see (if you click on the photo to see it larger on Flickr) in the distance the floating hotel that is the Carnival cruise ship Fascination. I continued upriver to where the Trout River empties into the St. Johns, about a half hour at my boat’s cruising speed. In places the river was just glassy, but in others, where the currents and tides run at cross purposes, the water became choppy and confused. Very much a normal day on the river.
I didn’t know what I’d gone in search of, but when I got to the Trout River, I found it. I can’t resist a derelict boat, and this one begged to be photographed. Riding at a moo ring like someone might come back to claim her any time. And for all I know, someone will. But with only half a mast and no discernible shelter she’ll be a project boat at the very best, but is most likely destined to end her days against the shore in the mud, eventually to be pulled disintegrating out of the water.
From the Trout River, I cruised back to the east to the mouth of the river and out into the Atlantic ocean. Mother, Mother ocean, I have heard you call … and I heard her call today. As I neared the mouth of the river, I began to ride the ocean swells that make my boat climb uphill, if you can imagine that. But the swell wasn’t more than a foot today, a nice ride to the ocean. I just popped offshore long enough to say I’d been to sea today, and grab a quick photo to send off to Facebook. There were dozens of pelicans, gulls, and cormorants on the rocks of the jetties that protect the mouth of the river from the rolling surf, making the passage of ships and boats like mine possible. But as you can see, there hasn’t been a good storm recently to wash the guano off the rocks. Birds, particularly sea birds, are messy.
No, it never gets old. The river is constantly changing, always something new to see, and yet there are things that are constant. The dolphin were working the water from the Dames Point Bridge to the mouth of the river, the fishermen were anchored along the entrance of the Intercoastal waterway, under the bridges, pretty much anywhere there’s structure under water for fish to congregate. Even in these personally very difficult times, or maybe especially, the river and the ocean are grounding for me. I was very thankful today for the opportunity to reconnect.