Blue Turtle Cruising

Charming Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island

Once we left Marineland, we headed north, passing St. Augustine and going through the Bridge of Lions once again. We’d planned to stop at an anchorage in North St. Augustine, but decided to push on through most of Jacksonville to Sisters Creek. There’s a great little anchorage there adjacent to the Sister’s Creek Park free dock. We were the only ones in the anchorage at first, then a couple boats joined us. The new Rocna anchor was a champ and held us perfectly in our spot.

We left Sister’s Creek the next morning and headed against the current doing only 4 knots at first. Eventually, it got behind us and we gained some speed. As we neared Fernandina, it became increasingly shallow. Randy navigated the waters as carefully as possible following the gps and markers but we managed to run aground. Lucky for us, the tide was coming in and we were only stuck for 20 or 30 minutes. As we neared the marina and anchorage, we passed by a large factory that was a paper mill. The smell was bad as we passed it and we had heard that you could smell it in the anchorage depending on the wind. We dropped the anchor near Tiger Island just outside the mooring field area. Randy lowered the dinghy into the water and we headed to shore with Sophie. The marina charges $4 per day to use their dinghy dock and since we planned to be there a few days we went ahead and paid for 3 days.

We loved walking around the quaint and charming historic district full of shops, restaurants and bars. The little downtown area with its old brick buildings was refreshing to see coming from Florida where everything is newer. Many of the shops and bars were pet friendly with dogs bowls full of water outside their doors. Eventually around happy hour, we stopped at PJD’s Craft Beer Bar for a pint or two before heading back to the boat.

The next day, it rained off and on most of the day and we never made it to shore. The rain made the smell from the nearby factory even worse. It was an ugly, dreary day and I worked on the blog mostly while Randy worked and charted our next course.

Finally, on Saturday, the weather cleared and it was a gorgeous day. Randy and I went to shore and decided to run to the other side of the island to see the beach. It was about 2 miles running on the sidewalks (some shaded) with perfectly manicured lawns and buildings. What a beautiful little city! We passed the farmer’s market on the way and planned to hit it on the way back from the beach. On the run over to the beach, we passed a park and caught a glimpse of the lighthouse. Once we checked out the beach, we walked and ran our way back to the downtown area. Randy ran ahead to the dinghy to get our backpack and money so we could shop the farmer’s market. By this time, the little downtown area was alive – there was a trio of musicians playing on the sidewalk, people were shopping and getting coffee. At the market, we bought some fresh produce and fresh-made guacamole before heading back to the boat.

Later that day, our friends Ron and Phebe came to visit us. They were in a nearby St. Marys boat yard prepping their boat for storage for the summer after winter in the Bahamas. They planned to leave in a few days in their RV to head out west to Montana so we were so glad we had a chance to meet up. Randy picked them up via dinghy and we caught up over some beers and fresh guac from the farmers market. They have been to the Bahamas several times and we interrogated them about best places to go and other tips. Later that evening, we were treated to an amazing sunset. More soon!

Marineland (St. Augustine) to Sisters Creek (Jacksonville) = 50 nm
Sisters Creek (Jacksonville) to Fernandina Beach = 20 nm
TOTAL miles: = 622 nm

Bridges = 2
Total Bridges = 19

6 thoughts on “Charming Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island”

  1. Awesome stop! Oldest bar in Florida? Paper mills do stink. Eureka California had a paper mill for decades and it stank. It’s amazing that all they produce are squares of white paper used to make anything from gum wrappers to tissues.

    Looking forward to “be continued.”

  2. Reading the story you are posting about your trip is the next best thing to really being there.
    I live in Nassau county Florida and am so glad you enjoyed your walk down Eighth Street and jog down Atlantic Avenue to the beach. Fernandina is really a nice people place where you can meet a stranger that will treat you like they are your neighbor.

    • Wanda,

      We loved Fernandina. The whole town seems so well kept and everyone was so nice. I can see why residents are proud to call it home.


  3. Fernandina is my home town. I’m so glad you experienced it and over all sounds like you loved it! PJDs is one of my favorites to hang and meet up with friends. I wonder if you met the owner’s Zan and Pajama Dave. I’ll figure out how to share this with them. Safe travels and fair winds to you both.

    • Hi Sharon,

      I believe we did meet one of the owners, maybe Dave. He was a very nice fellow and PJD’s is a great little spot!



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