05 March, 2009


Welcome home Jean. Early this morning March 5, 2009, the magnificent mid sized ferry "Jean Ribault", returned to regular service across the deep shipping channel at the mouth of the Saint Johns River, at Mayport, Jacksonville.

  • She was sorely missed by those many thousand commuters, fishermen, beach bums, and vacationers that venture along The Buccaneer Trail, Florida highway A-1-A. For those in far away places think of the famous Pacific Coast Highway, 101, in California with a definite Margaretaville influence. Without the Mayport Ferry, it simply had a great big hole in the middle of the journey.

    New fares and schedule for the St. Johns River Ferry, effective Nov. 1:
  • Motorcycle......................................$3
  • 2-axle vehicle.................................$5
  • Each additional axle......................$1
  • Passenger bus...............................$10
  • Coupon book (20 crossings).......$60


Mayport Village to Ft. George Island:
6 a.m., 6:20 a.m., 7 a.m. and continuing on the hour and half hour, with final departure at 7 p.m.
7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and continuing on the hour and half hour, with final departure at 8:30

Interesting that this was simply a regular "medical" check-up required by law. The Jacksonville Port Authority which has graciously operated the vital service since Governor Crist flushed the funding from the State of Florida. The grand little ship should have returned on Feb. 23, but once in dry dock at Atlantic Marine the inspectors noted greater problems then anticipated in regular maintenance, so she was laid up for the extra days to make her whole again.

While the details of the added work are not known all is ship shape and she is once again crossing paths with giant container, freighter, tanker and passenger cruise ships, offering some of the greatest maritime views of a busy shipping channel to be found anywhere.

The first European Settlement in North America was founded when Frenchman Jean Ribault and the Huguenots that were with him established a village at the Mouth of a mighty river. It was called Mayport, and it's comforting to know that after 450 years, his name is still sailing on these waters.

Bus and Tour operators should pay attention to this ship and it's highway, from Fernandina's Centre Street, Fort Clinch, and snow white beaches, within the next 100 miles you'll find:

Southbound American Beach (America's first African - American Beach), Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island State Park, Big Talbot Island, Little Talbot Island, Huguenot Beach, Fort George Island The Timucuain National Preserve, Kingsley Plantation, Huguenot Beach, Seafood, THE FERRY, Mayport, more Seafood and fishing fleet, Naval Basin 4Th Fleet Mayport, US Coast Guard Station Mayport, Hanna Park, Atlantic Beach - Neptune Beach Downtown , Jacksonville Beach Sea walk, Jacksonville Beach Pier, Amphitheater, Historical Museum, Ponte Vedra Beach, Sawgrass PGA home course and HQ, Guano State Park, Tolomato River Park, Vilano Beach, St. Augustine, Castillo De San Marco's National Park, French Quarter, Spanish Quarter, Lighthouse, Lighthouse Park Pier, St. Augustine Beach, Franklin B Butler Park, Crescent Beach, Fort Matanzas National Park, Marineland, Washington Oaks Gardens and rocky beach, Flagler Beach, Flagler Beach Municipal Pier, Gamble Rodgers State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. Whoever said "There is nothing to do in Jacksonville," had obviously missed

Great job Jax Port and just in time for the March madness, Spring Break and Summer fun in Jacksonville.

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The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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