We chugged by Marineland aboard our Columbia 8.7 Freelance in 1980 vowing we would come back and see what the place had to offer. We didn’t. On our 2008/9 cruise the marina was still out of business from the effects of Hurricane Floyd. Even though we stayed in St. Augustine going south and north, we didn’t make the 16 mile drive.

Based on rave reviews, we left River’s Edge with assistance from Nancy and Tom  (on the Mason next to us) just before 1400 and made our way south on a fair tide to arrive here just two and a half hours later. At high tide (range 2 feet), we saw 6.2 feet in the channel. So we are here until another high tide. (At the 2300 low tide we were aground and heeling 5° in soft silt. A few low tides later we could tell we were aground but sitting in a hole we’d gently excavated. The shelter here is sufficient; this is not a bother.)

Chris Kelley, the Dockmaster, is very good at what he does. A former cruiser, he understands what’s important to cruisers. That he is a nice guy is a plus. And with 20-24 slips/side ties he is able to offer a personal touch that larger marinas can’t.

The entire facility is shiny and new this season and what a pleasure. Laundry and pumpout are free. The transient rates are very, very good. The beach is across the street — literally. We walked there within a half hour of arriving and will again. We can hear the surf through the night. It is remote but not isolated. It is quiet.

We plan to go kayaking before we leave and to visit Marineland, even if we are 31 years delayed.

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