Back To The Beach


The sign kind of says it all. Resume normal safe operations. So that’s what I did. Saturday, I got Party Quirks off the rack for the first time since July. Yeah … I said July. Running for office was a pretty all-consuming endeavor, and the boat was moved to the back burner. So with perfect weather on Saturday, I got out the SPF50 sunscreen  and headed to the marina. As an aside, the guys at the marina were great about letting me put a campaign sign up where it could be seen from the ferry parking lot … but I digress.

I went first out to the ocean, which is always therapeutic for me. I don’t know what it is about the ocean, but when I need it, I need it. The ocean was very calm Saturday. There was about a 2-3 foot swell running, but it was a very long swell … not choppy at all. So it was just about perfect for a quick nip offshore. Next order of business is to buy a new fishing license and go see if I can find something besides a few whiting or little sharks. I’d  like to be able to bring home to eat.Trout River

From the ocean, it was back up the St Johns to the Trout river, where I’d actually never been before. The old GPS I had did not give me good accurate depth information, and in fact didn’t even show most of the ICW. The new Garmin I bought last year has much more accurate charts installed, along with depths at mean low tide. I’d been as far up the Trout river as the zoo dock (BTW … if you go to the zoo by boat, I hear you get in for free), but never beyond the little fixed road bridge and railroad swing bridge that are the entrance to the main part of the tributary. Beyond those bridges are structures ranging from ramshackle old river sheds to new McMansions and riverfront condos. Some of those are in the shadow of the bridge which carries I-95 over the Trout river … the famed “Trout river bridge” that is so often a traffic bottleneck. Or, at least it was when I was commuting to town every day and listening to the radio. With a 10 or 15 step commute to the coffee pot and then to the screen porch to work in the morning, the radio has become a far less important part of my day. That’s actually a little sad, as it was such a big part of my life for so long, but lives change.

Trout Boat House

I love to shoot old boathouses. Like old barns, old boathouses have a character to them, a personality.  Weather-worn, they are in some ways like a wise, old man. They have seen sun and storms, boats of all varieties, who knows how many owners. Perhaps only one … having been in a family for generations. Or maybe dozens. All I know is that if I’m shooting an old boat house, I’m on my boat, and that’s pretty much a good thing no matter what.

The good news is on the river or the ICW, there are plenty of old boat houses to shoot. And I hope to be shooting a lot more in the coming months.

Heck, I hope to be on the boat a lot more in the coming months. She’s sat for months, just waiting for me to come around and pay some attention again. Thank goodness she’s patient.


Party Quirks was covered in a non-too-fine layer of dust, and grime when she came out of the barn. The washing she got at the end of the day made her look pretty again.

Of course, the St Johns is a working river. The Port of Jacksonville will be an economic engine for Northeast Florida for years to come. These container cranes always remind me of something out of Star Wars. They look like the skeletons of the Imperial Walkers. But they represent jobs and commerce and taxes, and I hope there will be more like them in the years to come.

I’m sure my writing is a bit rusty. But it is time to resume normal safe operation. Bring the boat back up on plane and see where we want to go. I’m hopeful that there will be more flying in my future as well. I would not have not run for City Council for anything in the world. It was a fabulous experience. For some, the roller coaster is starting to clack-clack-clack back up to the top of the hill. I’d have been honored to be sitting in that front car. But for now, standing on the sidelines, it’s time to return to life at the continent’s edge. I know that I’m stronger for the experience, and that in its self makes it worthwhile.

It’s good to be home




1 Comment

Filed under Beach Living

One response to “Back To The Beach

  1. Brian Wilson

    Welcome back, Tom! Missed your writings. Look forward to reading more. Good luck and take care

    Brian Wilson

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