"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

April 21, 2014

April 20 - Hontoon Island State Park

Park Dock

We woke to a grey windy day...it definitely didn't feel like the middle of April in Florida or Easter. I had planned to drink my coffee in our little gazebo on the pier, but decided inside was better today. We moved twenty miles further up the St. John's to Hontoon Island State Park. We saw a lot more activity on the river today, despite the cloudy weather; a lot of people were out celebrating the day as a family. We also saw a lot more birds and one large alligator. The park dock was busy when we arrived and there was just enough space for us to tie up on the outside dock next to another couple that has been here most of the week. We enjoyed the afternoon and evening visiting with people on the dock and getting more wonderful advise on things to see and do along the river. The park has over 5 miles of hiking and biking trails which we plan to explore in the next few days. Hontoon Island is accessible only by private boat or free passenger ferry that run across the river. I'm sure we'll have the park practically to ourselves tomorrow and we look forward to exploring.

The first inhabitants of the Hontoon Island were the Timucuan Indians. Later the 1,650-acre island was a pioneer homestead, a boat yard, a center for commercial fishing and a cattle ranch. It was purchased 1967 by the state and turned into a state park. The island's scenery varies with the elevation. Pine Flatwoods occur on the higher areas, while palm/oak hammocks, cypress swamps and marshes border the St. Johns River and its tributaries.

A couple enjoying the day fly fishing on the river. 
An immature Little Blue Heron
A Little Blue Heron
This is the biggest alligator we've seen so far.
Red-shoulder Hawk sitting on the dock in the park
Hontoon Island State Park dock 

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