We left Fernandina, in company with Chuck and Maryanne on Symphony, at half tide rising in a blustery, cold breeze with brilliant skies and blinding sun. Even at half tide, we saw 6.5 feet in the Amelia River dogleg at Marker #1. So if we come this way again, I guess it will be at 2/3 tide rising.
The trek from there to Jacksonville Beach was straightforward and included the usual excellent service at Sisters Creek Bridge and the usual push and shove from the St John’s River where it intersects the ICW. We have never had slack water here when the tables indicated we would — too many things besides tidal harmonics affect the flow, we assume. Even so, we got off lightly.
Beach Marine lived up to the standard we expected from our last stay. The dockside assistance is #1; the laundry has been upgraded. The showers and heads remain a downside. The on site restaurants were closed the last time we came through.
We decided to grab a late lunch at “Nippers” this time.
- They had an excellent MacMurray 2010 Pinot Grigio [We took a bottle back to the boat.]
- Their conch fritters were up to Fat Hog Bay, BVI standards [Our ongoing 22 year benchmark] and the remoulade should be offered in take home bottles.
- Janet’s Shrimp Basket came in a galvanized pan three inches deep and fifteen inches across, and she declared it all round A+. A third of it went back to the boat.
- My Rock Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo Con Queso and a side of collard greens were a mixed bag.
- The shrimp didn’t look like rock shrimp to me, but they were sweet and tender.
- The chorizo had been over-cooked to dark, dry and crunchy.
- The queso sauce was delicious and provided a nice counterpoise to the flavor of the grits which were not over “creamed.” Why people add cream to grits beats me.
- The seven whole cloves of garlic in the sauce were not mentioned on the menu, but they offered a way to tune the garlic level of the dish since none of the elements were garlicked.
- The collard greens seemed a tad sweet until the back flash of (chipotle?) peppers appeared. They got better as the meal progressed.
- But the (rock?) shrimp didn’t. Three fourth’s through the meal I hit a shrimp that hadn’t been deveined. Finito. There is no excuse for this.
- What was headed for an “A” experience ended up a solid “B-” on my side of the table.
- Would I go back? Yes, but I wouldn’t order shrimp. [Actually an order of fritters and greens would have been more responsible anyway.]
Onward tomorrow. St Augustine and a change in tempo beckons.