Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Best Lighted Boat Parade

cruiser activities
Based on “A Christmas Story”
(click here if, like me, you have no clue what that’s about).
While Jacksonville envies (my hometown) Portland’s popularity, sometimes their copy exceeds the original. Portland’s Christmas Ship Boat Parade got me hooked, but this year’s Jacksonville post Thanksgiving boat parade kicked butt!

Don’t get me wrong – Wayne and I were especially spoiled our last few years in Portland, where we could watch the boats circle under the railroad bridge from the warm comfort of his folks floating home.  And, like a kiss, you never forget your first.

cruising life cruising destinations
My favorite.  The paddles on this Viking ship stroked in unison.
Though lacking Portland’s long, contiguous broad parkways, Jacksonville’s riverfront Fourth of July fireworks and boat parade offer exceptional waterfront viewing for a sizable, yet congenial crowd.  Car-centric JAX may be less pedestrian and mass-transit friendly, but parking was easy, and post-event traffic, minimal.

Overall, the boats were larger and more elaborately decorated.  More boats (40+), more lights, more color, more movement, better sound. 

My favorite was the Viking ship, with lighted paddles stroking in unison. 

Wayne and our friend Ann’s favorite was inspired by the spoofy “A Christmas Story” with a “Major Award” leg-lamp and Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. While Wayne’s exposed me to “Bad Santa,” I never saw “A Christmas Story,” so didn’t get the reference.

jacksonville florida lighted boat parade
Santa on his boat-sleigh…. One of the few float photos
not blurred by speed and bright lights.
The boats whizzed by in St. John river’s brisk current.  Some heeled pretty dramatically as they rounded the bridge stanchions.

And after?  The best danged fireworks I’ve seen!  (Click here for the prior post on Jacksonville’s fireworks).

Sadly, my photos to not do it justice, as the time to learn how to take brightly lit night photos is not using a new camera in the dark.  A few days later, to my chagrin, is when I discovered the night light and firework settings for my camera.

Guess that means you’ll just have to take my word for their splendor – or go to Jacksonville see for yourself!

If you've seen a lighted boat parade, where?  Is it better than Jacksonville's?  Please share!

Location Location

Prescheduled this post as hopefully this time we’ll be underway when you see it, on our way from Sister’s Creek (N30.23.877 W81.27.524), Jacksonville to Stuart / Manatee Pocket, a two-night, three day continuous sail.  Still playing catch-up as getting ready for cruising took so much time there wasn't time enough left for blogging.


  1. Ah, well, if Wayne has introduced you to Bad Santa, then there's no going back, ha ha. But, you must see A Christmas Story, it's such a classic and I would bet there are others who would gladly endure it again. Yea, there's parts where you shake you head, cover it with your hands, and say, no, really? Those are great photos of the boat parade. My first was in St.Pete Fla, which I thought was really great, but it looks like Jax took it up a level.
    I hope your sail down the coast is a nice one, be sure to stay well off shore to avoid the silent jetties in the dark. Yea, one almost bit a friend of mine and myself when we where be-bopping down on a gorgeous night. I know we didn't get a chance to mention this when you were up in jax, but I think it would be cool to meet the two of in KeyWest this coming Oct. for FantasyFest. I think the 4 of us would have a blast. Talk with ya soon, Kb

    1. Heya Keith
      We'd love to go to Key West with you to check out Fantasy Fest though if all goes well we'll be somewhere in the South Pacific then... approaching New Zealand. You never know though....

      We weren't too far offshore -- around 12 miles in 45-75' of water but we sure got rocked n rolled a lot -- and that was after waiting it out for a day and coming out of St Augustine rather than JAX to give it more time to settle. Calmed down the last day; we're anchored in Manatee Pocket now, awaiting the one piece of rigging we didn't replace ... to get replaced. It showed us!

      Looking forward to Renasci's adventures now that you've got her all ready to go!

      So what's with all that snow stuff???

  2. Ours was Clear Creek, Kemah, Texas. Was not much of a much. But the fireworks were great. Paid for by the company that owns Landry's Seafood Restaurants.

  3. Boat Parades and fireworks are probably a lot like pizza.... even if it's bad, it's still good.

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