We first heard about the Green Cove Springs Marina months ago in Belize. It's rather famous for it's basic amenities/haul out delivered at an extremely affordable price. Plus, it's just up the river from Jacksonville, where you can fly practically anywhere.
We've also heard that it is extremely "backwater." That since it's so close to the Georgia border, it's really the Deep. Say-outh (with two syllables). Well, since I've never been to the deep south, and I've got an adventurous spirit, we thought: Count us in!
Our plan would be to stay at the dock for a week or two preparing Espiritu
for storage, then haul her out and fly home to SoCal.
We left downtown Jacksonville at first light and began motoring inland along the St. John's River.
The famous "big blue bridge" in Jacksonville is too low for sailboats like us to pass beneath her. Here's the BEFORE photo. Then, the hydraulic lifts went to work, and within 10 minutes:
Voila! We passed through her sheltering arms. Next stop, Green Cove Springs!
The Green Cove Springs facility was built during WW II, for the purpose of
storing Destroyer Escort Ships. The docks are the originals from the 1940's.
This is our dock at the marina. At 7 bucks a night, how can we complain? Using this rickety
ladder, we kinda feel like we're climbing into our secret fort when we enter and exit Espiritu.
If you look closely, you can see that the bottoms of the two pilings in the background have completely disappeared over the years. Fortunately, we are attached to several other pilings on either side, which still hold up the concrete dock.
After getting checked in and lashing Espiritu to the dock (for the last time?) we fell into bed for an exhausted sleep. Upon awakening the next morning, I peeked out of the v-berth and saw this:
An armada of dragonflies were lined up in formation along our port lifeline. Yikes.
I quietly lifted the hatch a bit higher for a closer look:
Okee dokee. :-/
And on the starboard side, they were lined up as well, just like a fleet of tiny helicopters.
....and further back, outside one of the starboard hatches...
Needless to say, we've never seen anything like this. We decided the best way to handle it was to quietly shut the hatches and tiptoe into the main salon for a nice quiet breakfast. Sure enough, when we emerged from the cabin an hour later, they were gone. Yowza. Is this normal for the south?
Bug in the marina office. Note, this is a large broom.
After folding and stashing the sails and the dinghy, we had some time to hop on our bikes and explore the teeny-tiny town of Green Cove Springs, about 2 miles away from the marina.
Nice Johnson. (mailbox)
The town dates back to pre-Civil War times. Above, the original
cobblestone street tries to break through the concrete.
We had lunch at the sweet little Cousin's Cafe. The reading material provided there was "Garden and Gun" magazine. Yes, this is a real magazine. Yes, this is the deep. (say it with me) Say-outh. :-)
There's a Walmart just up the highway. Signs like the one above are all too prevalent.
Support your local businesses, people! It's the American way!
At the Winn-Dixie, we found another thing that has changed in the U.S.
since we've been gone: sodas are tinier now. What's up with that?
I was tempted to buy some BUBBA burgers, in the name of full immersion and all,
but I found something even better: I bought some frozen Alligator which I would
fry up later after I found the Paula Deen recipe online (natch).
Me reading yet another sign stating this is manatee territory.
Still haven't seen one. Are they sure they're not extinct?