Monday, March 25, 2013

St. Johns River, Palatka to Hontoon Island

We had noticed during our bike ride in Palatka that about 20 wooden boats were docked at the Quality Inn, heading south toward Sanford the next day for a boat show.  Here's a sample of the quality and craftmanship they demonstrate, definitely a bygone era.

Looking for a nice shot of a bald eagle?  Here you are.

We docked at Georgetown Marina just on the north end of Lake George.  There's no town here, just a marina and RV campground.  

A fellow looper, "Five O'Clock" from League City, TX was docked next to us and was photographing 2 ospreys, so we did too. 

Nice heron shot from the bank.

Rhonda thought this heron looked like it may have had an encounter with an electric circuit somewhere.  I agree!  Pretty funny.

And my favorite again, a couple of pelican shots.  The second one looks a little "stuffed."

So, Georgetown Marina was a good stop for bird activity for sure.  The marina setting and sunset were not bad either.

We left Georgetown early the next morning and had a nice easy run across Lake George which is about 10 miles across north to south and 4 to 5 miles wide.  The river really narrows after leaving the lake heading upstream.

Saw our first gator of the trip with many more to follow. This one was at least 8 feet long.

Lots of moss and dense vegetation became the norm.

Also some color to the shoreline.

We arrived at Hontoon Island State Park and had a little trouble getting docked with marginal water for our deep draft.  We ran aground several times but finally got her docked.

There is not much to do on the island but enjoy nature, a small museum, and the walking trails.  We took about a 3-mile walk beginning with the "boardwalk."

Not sure what species this couple of birds might be but it made for a good picture.

This sculpture is a replica of an actual one found when some of the area was unearthed in construction of  the marina across the river years ago.

  Another relic from the Indians that originally inhabited the island was a shell mound at the end of the walking trail.  And as we have noted many times on this trip, the Florida landscape is simply beautiful.

We're going to have to be careful with our walking tours though - alligators in the area.  You don't have to worry about us swimming, that's for sure.

And to close our visit to Hontoon Island, we had scullers practicing in the river beside our dock, I assume from a college in the area.

Next stop, Blue Springs and Sanford.

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