Friday, March 25, 2011

Fernandina Beach

Following are a few photos from Jacksonville that I forgot to post. Maxwell House Coffee plant right on the riverfront as we biked down the street. The smell of coffee was overwhelming!
Jacksonville Landing was a popular place for transient boaters docking on a wall. A few shops and restaurants around and a green water fountain!  Maybe left over from St. Patricks Day.

This is only half of the outdoor structure used for concerts. We met a family with children there and talked to them for awhile as the kids ran around.

This is one of three huge car freighters that we saw on our way out of the St. Johns River. You could actually see the cars being unloaded and a van driving picking up the car drivers to bring them back to get more cars.  I can’t imagine how many cars are actually inside there. 

On the drive into the harbor you can see a very large paper mill that ran 24/7.

Our last port in Florida has been a quaint town on Amelia Island.  Fernandina Beach, as the locals call it was a great stop and we enjoyed walking the town, going to the beach and park and biking over 14 miles in one day.    

Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina had mooring balls in the harbor which worked out well. . 
Due to the Super Moon we’ve been experiencing exceptionally high and low tides like they’ve never seen before.

This is the graveyard where old dead fish lay to rest in the muck!

Next to the muck a group of pelicans were waiting for scraps from the seafood store. The kids loved throwing the skins to the hungry friendly birds.

A train came through the downtown area every night moving supplies from one paper mill to the other.

A walk through beautiful downtown late on our first day of arrival…lead us to a candy shop at the new general store.
We have been enjoying antique stores and finding various treasures.  This is Ryanns favorite room!
Believe it or not, this is the best way to get the two 75 pound bikes into shore. It was worth it and we had a fun time!
Fort Clinch State Park was 5 miles from the marina and a pleasant bike ride with a park halfway there where we had a picnic.  Construction began in 1847 with the intended purpose of guarding the mouth of the St. Mary's River, protect shipping and defend the deep water port.  It was never completed, but great to tour through.   

Ryann loved this part of the fort as it looked like a face.
Each part was very unique and included bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom area, a jail, store house, blacksmith shop, lumber shed and much, much more!



The narrow stairways lead us up to the the top of the fort walls.
From there we had a perfect view of a submarine passing through the harbor.  It was so impressive!
This Coast Guard boat was trailing close by with a machine gun on the bow of the boat.
After the fort we went to Amelia Islands beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  An older gentlemen passed by and gave Jaxon a Tigershark tooth he had found.  He had 5 of them (one really big too) that he found over the past ten years of walking the beach everyday.  How were we so lucky to get one? 
After the beach we biked back to the antique store to get Jaxons toy he left. When we arrived the toy was there and the bike tire was flat.  We had to go back to the boat for a fresh interior tube and some dinner, then off for an additional 4 mile hike total to find a grocery store.  Back on the boat at 8:30 with tired kids.  They're troopers and enjoyed the day.

The next day we left in the am to head over to Cumberland Island, Georgia a few miles up. We toured the beautiful clean island almost by ourselves.
A very large horsehoe crab.
This picture is tough to tell, but one half of the stingray seemed to have a clear huge bitten chunk out of his side.  This is one of the largest shark populations in all of Florida.  

Walking the beach holding hands and Jaxon told Ryann stories about the birds and why they love the beach too. 
It was a very hot 90 degree day.
Wild horses roam the island and although we didn't see any up close, when we drove past the shore there were a ton.
After the kids completed the Junior Ranger Program and received their pins, it was apparent that the winds were steadily picking up to over the 20 knots predicted.  By the time we got to our anchorage that we shared with 3 other boats we knew it was time to leave and get back to the anchor ball in Fernandina.  The mooring anchorage was crowded due to the high winds and low water levels in the harbor.
As we approached one of the last mooring balls the wind had picked up and the tail line that you grab to pull your lines through was stuck underneath the ball.  My dock pole fell in the water and minutes later a woman called the dockmaster to complain that five other people had lost their dock poles there and they needed to do something.  Before the harbormaster could react I had two men on separate dinghies helping  me get the line untangled and pulling my line through the loop hole and handing it back for cleating.  Mind you the wind had picked up substantially and it was greatly appreciated what they did for us!  Fellow boaters are the best and most friendly people.
That night it was reported to have been over 40 knot winds and it was like our boats were toys that someone was playing with.  We rocked up and down and swung all around.  The catamarans were all going in circles and sailboats seemed to go back and forth. It was comical to watch and made for a fun night of sleeping. 
By morning it was apparent why this particular mooring ball gave us trouble.  It seemed the part that connects the line to the ball was rusted over and unable to twist as needed....which made for a entangled mess.  Oh well, we were safe and off to Georgia we went!!

I have had intermittent cell and internet tower, but will be posting about our past three days in Georgia very soon!  Thank you all for your continued support. Love to see my new Followers too!

Happy Birthday to my niece Elizabeth, nephew Derek and Craig's parents, Pete and Debbie all celebrating this week! 

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