|Bridges 1 & 2: The raised Strauss Trunnion Bascule railroad bridge was built in 1925
by the Florida East Coast Railroad, The concrete bridge beyond it is the Acosta Bridge.
We left a little after 8 a.m. in a chill, rainy morn with the assistance of Carlos at Jacksonville’s NAS JAX Mulberry Cove Marina, leaving at high tide to ride the currents to Sisters Creek, 24 nautical miles downriver. We tentatively planned to leave a day earlier, but my “morning” car sale didn’t complete until around 4 pm.
|Wayne, trying to stay warm.
Our breath escaped in frosty clouds.
|Approaching Main Street Bridge on Jacksonville’s St. John’s River.
Our third bridge, Main Street, required a few pirouettes while the bridge lifted for us to pass underneath it. Here’s what it looks like to pass under a bridge via sailboat . . .
We had plenty of clearance. However, we remember well the first time we passed under a bridge when we returned to Miami after sailing up from St. Lucia. We had 12 feet of clearance, but we about s*ht in our pants, because it looked like the top of our mast wouldn’t make it under the bridge. We’ve since learned to get more relaxed about what it looks like from that perspective versus what it is.
|Crossing under bridge #4 on the St. Johns River, Jacksonville Florida
|Bridge #5 on the St. John’s River is a similar style to the green one before it.
|Bridge #6: The I-295 Bridge lofted high above our mast on the St. John’s River. Jacksonville, FL.
|I was bundled up, too.
While Wayne drove, I made coffee, tea, grits with cheese, and bacon bits, all in an attempt to keep us warm. When our friend Wayne from Sunnier Palms texted, asking when it would get warm, I texted back, “We’re sailing to that.”
|Bridge #7: Sisters Creek Bridge, Jacksonville Florida on the St. John’s River.
Twenty-four miles, seven bridges, four and a quarter hours. Cold, wet, and gray, but no major mishaps. We’ll call that a successful maiden voyage.
We tied off at the docks at Jim King Park, Sister’s Creek at half-past noon. We warmed up a bit on chicken soup. I did a teleconference for a prospective Vancouver, WA-based writing project.
|Little Marsh Island Sisters Creek, Jacksonville Florida.
Then we wandered the park. The last time we stopped there was in 2014, with our friend Ann Gates, who then solo-sailed s/v Crazy Lady. We were on another dock, which faced out to this sawgrass, between the dock and Little Marsh Island. Ann is currently boatless, but we hope she will take a winter break and join us on Gallivant.
|Spotted trout caught by a fishing derby competitor.
The parking lot was jam-full of fishermen, coming in from a derby competition of reds and trout. They were all catch-and-release, which seemed a crime for such tasty-looking fish.
|This pelican’s blue eyes surprised us. All the other pelican’s eyes were dark.
Several pelicans eagerly awaited the fish’s release but reluctantly decided they were too big to make it down their gullets. We chatted with our dock mate this time at Sisters Creek, Neal of Chico Loco. He and his partner Ragna are also headed to the Bahamas.
|S/V Gallivant at the Sisters Creek dock at Jim King Park.
We finally got to see our name and hailing port on our transom since putting on the decals a week ago.
We timed our walk well; the rain sluiced down, and a hearty thunderstorm surrounded us. Normally lightning terrifies me, but this time I felt there were enough high points on a plain near but not too near us to provide far more attractive lightning rods than our boat’s masts. We felt warm, dry, and cozy inside.
Sisters Creek, Jacksonville Florida, Jim King Park docks, N30 23.731 W81 27.522. Tomorrow we’ll ride the ebb tide again, then out into the ocean before we tuck back into St. Augustine.