A Three-Hour Cruise

Summer is in her full seasonal adornment here in Florida. The skies are a rich cornflower blue, the clouds are thick and puffy, rain falls almost every day now – even if for only a brief sun shower – and the heat is on full blast.

Yesterday was the perfect summer day for a trip down the St. Johns River in Central Florida.

My beau and I left early in the morning for the scenic drive to Sanford, Florida. We drove on picturesque meandering roads where we saw horses, cattle pastures, and a few “bear crossing” and “deer crossing” signs. No, we didn’t see any bears, nor deer. Nary an alligator, neither.

After arriving on Marina Island on Lake Monroe, we picked up our reserved tickets at the boat company’s office. We boarded an authentic paddlewheel boat. It ran on diesel fuel, not steam that we usually think of, but it was charming with an old-fashioned feel nonetheless. Among the passengers were other couples, one family with little children, and a large group of church ministers and their wives from South Carolina.

Our table-for-two was in the center of our enclosed deck, along with several other tables-for-two. The larger tables-for-six were situated along the windows. Though we were in the center of the room, we still had an unobstructed view of the outside. Below our deck was the same dining room configuration.

This was a three-hour river cruise, with live musical entertainment, and some recorded Dixieland Jazz music and traditional songs from the 1940s-50s era. A four-course lunch was served, with entrée choices. This was a very leisurely lunch.

In between courses, my beau and I went out on deck to enjoy the natural Florida environment along the St. Johns River. We watched a hawk glide along the river’s shore. A green dragonfly teased us near the railing, and a slender blue dragonfly seemed to fly inches above the water, keeping pace with the paddlewheel boat for several yards. Look closely and you’ll see the playful green dragonfly in mid-flight, including its shadow on deck:

We gazed at the lush green shoreline, water lilies, and Spanish moss hanging from everything imaginable.

A palm tree or two added to the delightful scene of forests of bald cypress trees.

We came to a river bend that brought a few more surprises and natural delights.

What impressed me was the serenity and the lack of twenty-first century din. Out on deck, all we heard was the rhythmic “slosh-slosh-slosh-slosh” sound of the paddlewheel, and the gentle quietness of the shore. The air was hot and the humidity thick, but the movement of the paddlewheel boat kept us comfortable as we rolled down the river.

Tomorrow: Passenger Hijinks and a Few More River Scenes

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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5 Comments on “A Three-Hour Cruise

  1. I had no idea FL had a paddle-wheeler. You scared me at first saying 3-hour cruise, I thought you ended up on Gilligan’s Island!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, GP! We didn’t know there still were these paddleboats, either, until we saw the ad in the paper. I think if I had prizes to give away, you’d get it, because you’re the first to get the Gillian-3-hour-cruise joke. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I did some more research on the boat, and it’s fairly new; built in ’86. Who knew?

      Liked by 1 person

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