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MY JET-SKIING/CAMPING TRIP

Me and my buddy from high school had been jet-skiing together for about a year when we decided to make our first jet-skiing/camping trip.   With a lot of thought and consideration we planned our trip from our usual jet-skiing haunt in the St. John's River (Julington Creek) to the Atlantic Ocean.   This trip would be approximately 42 nautical miles one way.  Because I had never done anything like this before on my jet-ski I was terribly concerned about how we were going to carry all of our equipment, food, and emergency supplies.  Luckily there were gas stops along the entire route so we weren't burdened with carrying fuel.   However, we needed a tent, sleeping bags, ice, food for a day and a half, water, utensils, a stove, extra clothing, tools, beer, and most importantly...that quart of Crown Royal :-)   Needless to say, we did manage to pack, strap and store all of our required items on to our skis...Thank God for Rich's three-seater and the rack he had that I fastened to my ski!  Believe it or not we even had room for a miniature gas grill.   We embarked on our trip at about 9:00 on a Saturday morning.

 

Loaded up and ready to go.

Me at Julington Creek departure

 

Our skis can travel at a pretty good clip...right around 55 Mph.  But, when loaded down like I was it was not nearly as fast as that...especially when we encountered rough water.

 

Downtown arrival!.... Woo Hoo !!! Half way there !!!

Downtown Jacksonville Mainstreet Bridge

 

My buddy Rich passing through Downtown Jacksonville.

Rich with Mainstreet Bridge in background

 

At about 12:30 we had finally arrived at our destination (Huguenot Park).  I have to tell you, I love riding my ski, but at that point I was more than ready to get OFF and park it!

WOW!  What a ride that was...whew.

 

Well, we went through the normal routine of setting up camp and had lunch (egg salad sandwiches).  Then it was off to explore the salt-marshes of North Florida.  Wow!  What an experience...away from all the hustle and bustle and one with nature.

Now where did I put that Bottle of Crown?

 

Later that evening we enjoyed Delmonico steaks on the grill, boiled potatoes and baked beans for dinner.   Mmm-mmm-good! After cleaning up we kicked back and had our after dinner cigars (Las Cabrillas - Balboa) and some good stiff drinks of Crown while we sat around shootin' the shit and swatting the no-see-ums.

I still can't believe we brought all this shit!

 

After a decent night's rest we were up at daybreak...never could sleep past sunrise when I was camping.   We had a pretty good breakfast (scrambled eggs and sausage links) and the usual coffee and Marlboros for me.  Then it was time to break camp and begin our long trip home.  We figured it wouldn't be half as bad going as it was coming because we had lightened our load considerably (no ice, beer, or food).  It was pretty smooth sailing until we ventured back into the Atlantic Ocean and headed for the mouth of the St. John's River.  The wind was whipping fairly strong and the seas were about 4-5 feet.  As I plowed through the waves at a snail's pace, because of the additional weight and bulkiness of the load, all I could think about was...man, I wish I could go full out and start getting some serious air!  But it was not to be unless I wanted to take the chance of sinking my ski.  Because the St. John's River is so wide (3 miles across in some places) we had to contend with very choppy water almost the entire ride home (talk about a sore ass...whew!).  We intended to get an earlier start than we did, which would have given us calmer waters, but with breakfast and breaking camp I think we got on the water at about 11:00.  We stopped and finished the egg salad for lunch about a third of the way home.  At approximately 2:30-2:45 we beached our skis back at our old haunt.   Man was it good to stand up and walk all the kinks out!  All in all though I'd have to say it was a great trip and I'll definitely do it again when I get the chance.   Thanks for doing all the cooking Rich :-)

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