Saturday, July 18, 2009

Port of Call: Jacksonville, Florida

Several days ago I wrote the article The best day trips outside of Jacksonville, Florida. It brought back memories of the year (2003) we spent at the Ortega River Boat Yard in Jacksonville.

The marina was a hurricane hole and a favorite for many cruisers. Some had sailed around the world while others came from faraway places like the UK and Israel. There was a big liveaboard community. The boatyard, located on the edge of charming Avondale, is in a great location - near other boatyards including the prestigious boat builder Huckins, and thus very easy to get marine parts or get work done on the boat. It is also an easy walk to Roosevelt Square which has almost all your needs (our favorite supermarket Publix, Panera Bread, Belk department store, to name several).

After the tech bubble burst in 2000 and the Sept 11 terrorist attack in 2001, the only thing that kept going up was real estate prices. Nowhere was this more evident than the waterfront properties, and developers took notice. When they bought the Ortega River Boat Yard and marina, we boaters found ourselves on the verge of being kicked out. We and our land neighbors against new developments rallied and participated in town hall meetings to get our voices heard. We left Jacksonville in April 2004. The last we heard was that the developers won. They drove all the boaters away and built upscale highrise condominiums with private docks. Another marina bit the dust.

Below is the video of our good old times at Ortega River Boat Yard (Potluck on the docks and the Jacksonville Sea and Sky Spectacular in 2003)
Blue Angels at the Jacksonville Sea and Sky Spectacular

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3 comments:

  1. Wow, you have brought back some memories for me too. I lived in Jax for 13 years (in Riverside). And, my ex-husband restores wood boats. Lots of familiar names and places.

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  2. What a small world...We need to talk.

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  3. YA I M FULLY AGREE WITH YOU REALLY WHAT A PLACE!!!!!
    EVERYONE SHOULD MAKE PLAN TO FLORIDA!!!!!!!
    TYHANKS FOR SUCH A BLOG!!

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