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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beached, or our great boating adventure

                                         We leave the marina in high spirits, not knowing
                                         what our day would bring.

 Easter weekend  my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren came for a visit.  We decided to enjoy spring by renting a pontoon boat in St. Augustine for a cruise down the Intracoastal.  After packing a picnic, gearing up the fishing rods, and receiving a few brief instructions from the boat rental assistant, we set off in great spirits jouncing  over the waves. The wind was strong, the water rough, but we didn't care.  We were together, it was sunny and we were on the water.   
     After forty-five minutes, we were hungry and looked for a place to drop anchor and bring out the picnic.  We spotted an oyster shell beach that looked just right.   We  eased up parallel to the bank, sat back in the sun with food and drink to enjoy ourselves.  The grandsons set up the fishing gear. We lathered ourselves in sunscreen and decided though slow, a pontoon is the way to go.  

On board headed for fun

My husband enjoys the drive, or is it called steering.

      After some time, my son-in-law observed that the tide was going out and perhaps we should leave or it might be hard to get out.  We laughed at the idea of getting stuck.  My husband cranked up the engine.  We didn't move, but we did stir up a bit of mud. 
     Then, someone had the idea of everyone pushing the boat further into the water.  We stepped knee deep into mud and my grandson cut his toe on an oyster shell.  This wasn't working.  We pushed from every direction.  Nothing happened.  That heavy pontoon was beached like a whale. An elderly man, definitely an old salt type, walked down the beach to see what was going on.  I think we amused him.  He watched for a long time, had no suggestion except to wait for the tide to change--about six hours away.   He did say we were not the first to get beached on that bit of sand. 

We try to push the boat into the water

We try a board, much like we had a flat tire.
Note the mud

A local comes down to observe, but then it 
was his property.

     Long story short, we called the rental marina with our  story.  They agreed to come pick us up in a speed boat and return the next day to get the pontoon boat. They had the last word though, an extra charge of $150 for us for their trouble. Before we got back to the marina, my granddaughter already had our great adventure on Facebook.  

We leave the boat high and dry on the beach.

We are rescued by speed boat

      There is one very great irony I have yet to mention and the cause of a lot of embarrassed laughter during the whole incident. This was not our first experience being rescued from a pontoon boat. 
    Our group rented a pontoon boat from the very same marina five years ago.   We were out less than 30 minutes before a fierce summer storm blew up.  The boat was rocking wildly, rain and wind were assaulting us, but the lightning was the scary part.  We managed to get to a private dock and the owners kindly let us retreat to a little cabin on the property, which must have been previously owned by Swamp People.  Snake and alligator skins decorated the walls and floors.  We waited two hours before being rescued that time.  The kids want to try again, but I don't know.  I fear the word is out up and down the Intracoastal--"Don't rent to those people!!"

Our very wet cabin after being caught in a rainstorm on 
our first pontoon adventure five years ago.
 This time the rescue was by car.  What 
would we do without cell phones!

My beautiful, wonderful family. After our boating fiasco, we
enjoy St. George Street in St. Augustine and a dinner.

JoAnne and Dan, St. George Street



  1. An adventure on the high seas...or low seas I suppose!! Looks like you made the best of it in the end!

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