Local Weather Conditions
MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
The Cutting of the Union Cypress Rail

The erosion caused by rain, wind, flood and people has made many changes to the old levy over the years. We've seen timbers from the old railway exposed, and we've seen the water over top of the levy (see Changes over Time) high enough to float my boat (I mean the Gheenoe - don't get silly!).

One day Judy and I pulled into Mosquito Island, but instead of sliding smoothly onto the bank there was a THUNK as the front of the boat came to a sudden stop. Imagine our surprise when we pulled back the grass to find a length of rail!

I notified Ed Vosatka, historian and expert on the Union Cypress Railway, of our find and he didn't waste much time riding out with me to inspect the rail.

The area where the rail was found is accessible only by airboat and small motor boats like mine. The trail that connects it to Little Lake Sawgrass isn't long, but it is very, very mucky, so I had been intrigued by Ed's initial ideas for the removal of the rail. They involved airboats and inner tubes, and I really wanted to see that.

As it turned out, Ed had a Plan B, and we met "The Alligator Princess of the American Nile".

One day I received two emails - one from Ed saying he wanted to go out again and get a piece of the rail. He had explored ideas of portable welders to cut a section off, but decided that he would do it with a hacksaw.

Ok. I'm just the driver.

The second email was from a woman named Michelle who was planning on making a solo kayak trip the entire length of the St. Johns river. In searching the internet for information on my part of the river she kept coming up with the MarshBunny Notes. She contacted me to see if I could advise her on the trail and landmarks, and we agreed to meet on the same day that Ed and I went out.

Alligator PrincessWhat a great day we had! I met Michelle and took her for a ride in my boat to show her the landmarks to navigate her way, then Ed and I headed out in my boat while she paddled her kayak, and we all met at Mosquito Island.

Michelle and Ed both had some funny and interesting stories to share. Michelle is making a documentary of her trip, and took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the river and local history from an expert.

Ed later got men with airboats to help him recover the rest of the rail, which was dated 1884.

I still would have liked to see them remove that thing. The 3-foot section we removed was almost more than we could move - 13 foot must have been quite a job!

See Ed's article in "Speedway - The Official Newsletter of the Florida East Coast Railway Society".

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