As the ferry boat captain sounded the horn that called out across the St. Johns River, I found myself startled, and my boyfriend smiled and laughed. The sound of the ferry boat horn has always startled me. Even though I know it is coming, I forget and become lost in the waves on the river, the birds passing ahead and children excited to be on such a vessel.
The St. Johns River Ferry has always been known to my family and the locals as the Mayport Ferry. Mayport is the location of a Naval Station, lots of fishing boats, a few old fishing shacks and the families that have kept the industry up and running for generations. The ferry connects Mayport and Fort George Island which leads to Big Talbot and Kayak Amelia. The five minute ride is worth the five or so dollars to cross.
This particular ferry is the last public one of its kind in the State of Florida and is not without conflict. Debate arises in the form of questions, such as who will pay for the upkeep, the city, or private ownership? As a historical piece of Mayport, personally, I hope it will continue to run for years to come. My parents went on dates on this ferry, elementary school trips took us back and forth and I even lost my grandmother’s ring off the side of this ferry. Shh…keep that one a secret.
Munching on boiled peanuts purchased at a local vendor for just the purpose of riding the ferry, and snapping a few pictures, I soaked up all of the sights and I hope that maybe one day, you will too and create your own memories.