She Who Will Be Obeyed has required me to ready our cruising vessel for an underway period; Namely for the next two nights.
The Barco Sin Vela shall rendezvous with a number of like boats to anchor somewhere in the Black Creek, off the St Johns River. Black Creek is notable for it's wildlife, both reptilian and mammalian.
Looks like thirty boats will be there so I hope we aren't too uncomfortable with the crowd. I generally prefer our gatherings to a bit more exclusive. Then again, I'm sure some of the others wonder how I got in to the Yacht Club, too.
Arrggghh; There be some old money in some of those other boats. It be a pirate's dream... (Pirate's of the Caribbean pirates, that is)
The Barco Sin Vela comes from the Old "No" Money. Sort of like inviting the yard keeper to the family Annual Barbecue. But we shall go and mooch up some barley pops and snackage.
We departed about an hour late!
(Written five days later)
Got underway in a southwest breeze and headed towards it. It was a two hour journey at 8 knots when we arrived at the Black Creek mouth, west side of the St Johns.
There was much activity on channel 68 VHF; All the boats from the Yacht Club were quite talkative as they headed in our direction.
Being faster boats, they all got underway about an hour after us. But stay in contact with each other, they did. It was amusing at how they needed to stay closely in contact with one another.
As we approached the bridge, we could hear two of the other boats sounding concerned as they could not see the bridge or where they needed to make the turn.
We called out that we were a mile ahead, follow us in.
There was a silence as they digested the info, and they wondered who we were.
They acknowledged our call and slowly came in. They started calling out the depths, they were growing concerned that there was shallows.
I called back and assured them that there was over 7 feet of depth. The reply was to the negative, they could see they were clearly in 4 feet of water.
I called that my lying eyes were looking at my depth meter and that I saw 7 feet. I told them to favor the South side of the channel and they they would be fine.
They chattered amongst themselves as the Spousal Unit and I giggled. The St Johns River is an excellent waterway with plenty of depth and few shallows. Our friends were driving 30+ Foot go-fast boats, so I could understand how depth can be troublesome when it changes on you at 20 knots of speed.
We passed uneventfully under the bridge (30 feet clearance) and proceeded up the creek (Without a paddle!) Soon, we traversed about two miles and came upon the rafting site. It was two small docks which had two boats already tied up. We joined our friend the fishing vessel "Goombay" and tied securely on their starboard side. We quickly were in place with fenders and extra lines firmly securing us.
About 20 minutes later, the bulk of the smaller boat fleet approached and I helped seven boats get secured to the raft.
The Spousal Unit busied herself on the cell phone on a Conference call with her company. She was sure to tell the others that she was on a boat (Think of the viral video "I'm on a boat...!") while her fellow employees were trapped in cubicles.
I enjoyed my first PBR of the day and we settled into 48 hours of celebration.
The Frostbite Rally has been held at the Ira Farm for the past 44 years, and we had several boats who had three generations+ of people who had been coming since 1967. Actually, that rally has a history going further back, it's just that the past rallies were at other locations.
Friday evening there was a free fish fry, Randy (Our Club Fishing Guide) had caught about 130 pounds of Sea Bass at Steinhatchee, over on the Gulf side of Florida. Randy had filleted the fish and was nice enough to cook all the food for all of us hungry revellers. We turned in about 2200 for the evening.
Saturday morning, we had even more boats arrive to the raft. We also had a Clay County Deputy on his official boat and a Trooper from the Fish and Wildlife Commission who patrolled our stretch of the creek to ensure nobody waked our raft with excess speed on the water.
Our friend Bill came over with his 18 foot speed boat and took the Barco crew for a spin up the creek as far as Blanding Blvd.
When we got back, we opened up the Mount Gay Rum and had two Cuba Libre's, each. Bill departed to get his family while the Barco got her stuff together for the evening steak cookout.
What a time. There must have been 60 people there, we all had too good a time with some wonderful dining.
After dinner, the hosts gathered all the leftover steaks which would be the the basis of the morning "Steak and Egg" brekkies.
The next morning we turned for the recuperative milk punch and mimosas served with gallons of coffee. Breakfast was served at 0930. There were the final speeches and a closing prayer and we all headed back to our homes.
Here are some pictures. I have videos, but they are a pain to upload.
|Coolest 13 y/o kid on the water.|
|Coolest kid is quizzed by the sheriff if he has proper papers. He does!|
|Saturday night steak sacrifice|
|Bill drives up the creek|
|Black Creek Saturday|
|Bloanding Blvd Bridge|
|Some of the Chirren having fun Saturday night|
|Alle ist klaar, Herr Kommissar!|
|some of the Honey's|
|SWWBO is a capable Skipper!|
|Black Creek Hwy 17 bridge 30 Ft Clearance|
|Our Hosts of the Raft up|
|A beautiful antique Lyman woody motorboat|
|Hot pursuit of a speeder|
|Not getting away...|
|Pulled over for a "talk"|
|This is Leigh, she is a professor at a local University.|
|Our unused bbq.|
|Fish and Wildlife Trooper on patrol|
|Some of our fellow members (I mean Betters) I love their Hatteras Yacht!|
|Night Time ain't no-time to be in this here neighborhood!|
|The Raft. Looks cool, right?|
|This dinghy started sinking. Hilarious!|
|Some of the local wildlife.|
|One of these people is a retired NASCAR official. I am not saying which.|
|Tributary off of Black Creek. Will explore, later.|