Shipspotting in Jacksonville

Hello from Jacksonville airport. I wanted to share with you a neat, off-the-beaten-path spot I found. Around an hour south of Jacksonville is the town of St Johns. Across the St Johns River is the smaller town of Green Cove Springs. 

It’s here that there are around 12 really long finger piers with an assortment of vessels laid up here. You can park along the street or at the very end at the Yacht Center and walk along the sidewalk. It’s a nice stroll and relatively quiet.

It was these piers that the US Maritime Administration laid up the old Delta Queen coastal Jones Act ships in 2001 following their arrest. For the most part they’ve remained here ever since. It was in 2015 that the now defunct Haimark Line purchased the SeaVoyager (ex-Cape May Light), renamed her Saint Laurent and reflagged her to foreign. Her sister remained here and only really started sailing again last year when Victory Cruise Line purchased her and named her Victory II. Here we see her getting ready for her winter season out of Miami cruising to Cuba and the Yucatan.

These ships have a fascinating history and it’s maybe worth exploring in a separate analysis. 

Another gem laid up here is the US flagged Americana. This is the old Yorktown Clipper. She sailed for Clipper Cruise Lines from 1988 until 2006 when she went to CruiseWest. That line folded in 2010 and she was sold to Travel Dynamics until, again, that line went bankrupt and it was seized by German creditors KfW IPEX-Bank (The same bank that fund newbuilds at Meyer Werft, especially Royal Caribbean’s). As far as I can tell, KfW still owns the vessel and have her in cold lay-up. In the photo below, you can see the windows down her hull have steel hatch covers welded to them.

American Cruise Line has also laid up some ships here in the past. Currently moored opposite the Americana is the Victory II. This is a neat looking catamaran that was intended as a second ship for Victory Casino lines (unrelated to the above Victory Cruise Line). Their only other ship is the one you see sailing out of Port Canaveral.

I’m glad I made the trek but perhaps you really, really, need to geek out over seeing these rare ships, especially since you can’t board them.

As an added bonus, for the time being, there’s actually an external liquid fuel tank from the STS shuttle program that’s randomly alongside the side of the road here. I parked my car right up to it and it’s quite impressive how large this is. Not everyday you get to touch a piece of the space program.