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Archive For: EASTERN FLORIDA – All Cruising News

  • Hollywood Municipal Marina (Statute Mile 1071.5)

    Hollywood Municipal Marina flanks the AICW’s western shores a short hop south of the Dania Cutoff Canal. The only remotely negative issue I’ve ever had with this facility is that you have to be careful entering the rear slips. A shoal sits just off the docks to the north.

    We spent a few weeks at the City of Hollywood Marina and really enjoyed the area. It is 10 miles north of Miami and 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale. We rented a car and explored the area. Hollywood has one of the best beaches and boardwalks on the east coast. Hollywood is a throwback to Florida before the 30 story condos took over the entire shoreline. Great bakery just across the ICW.
    Bob Mimlitch

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Hollywood Municipal Marina

  • Much More on the Bridge Of Lions Vertical Clearance Issue (St. Augustine, FL, Statute Mile 778)

    If you have been following the Cruisers’ Net, or most any of the other nautical web sites or mailing list, you almost certainly know there is an issue about whether the newly rebuilt Bridge of Lions that crosses the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, Florida, has less than its charted, mean high water, closed vertical clearance of 25 feet. One week ago today, we issued an alert in response to a message we received from Ms. Laurie Sanderson, Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lion Rehabilitation Project, in which we put forward our belief that this span now has only 22 feet of closed vertical clearance.
    All this discussion was initiated by a report from Captain Bob Mimlitch, who noticed that his craft’s antennae seemed MUCH closer to the bottom of the bridge than they should have been, when he passed under this span. Over the past several days, Captain Mimlitch has copied the Cruisers’ Net on a LIVELY series of messages which have passed between himself, Ms. Sanderson, and two members of the USCG! Read on!

    I told some of you that I would report on the Bridge of Lions when we passed it northbound. Here are my findings:

    Approaching the Bridge of Lions from the south

    The following two photos were taken on 15 June 2010 at 9:49am, as we passed under the bridge.

    The south clearance gauge (tide board)

    After photo analysis, the clearance gauge reads 19.5′, plus or minus an inch, which is clearance at “low steel”. The sign also states 4′ additional clearance at center. Thus clearance at center is 19.5′ plus 4′, or 23.5′. All drawbridges are governed by 33 CFR, which states:

    § 117.47 Clearance gauges.
    (a) Clearance gauges are required for drawbridges across navigable waters of the United States discharging into the Atlantic Ocean south of Delaware Bay (including the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, DE) or into the Gulf of Mexico (including coastal waterways contiguous thereto and tributaries to such waterways and the Lower Atchafalaya River, LA), except the Mississippi River and its tributaries and outlets,
    (b) Except for provisions in this part which specify otherwise for particular drawbridges, clearance gauges shall be designed, installed, and maintained according to the provisions of §118.160 of this chapter.

    § 118.160 Vertical clearance gauges.
    (a) When necessary for reasons of safety of navigation, the District Commander may require or authorize the installation of clearance gauges. Except as specified in §117.47(b) of this chapter for certain drawbridges, clearance gauges must meet the requirements of this section.
    (b) Clearance gauges must indicate the vertical distance between ‘‘low steel’’ of the bridge channel span and the level of the water, measured to the bottom of the foot marks, read from top to bottom. Each gauge must be installed on the end of the right channel pier or pier protection structure facing approaching vessels and extend to a reasonable height above high water so as to be meaningful to the viewer. Other or additional locations may be prescribed by the District Commander if particular conditions or circumstances warrant.

    The hand painted north clearance gauge (tide board)

    After photo analysis, the clearance gauge reads 22.5′ plus or minus an inch, which it states is clearance at center, not “low steel” as required by 33 CFR. This nonstandard clearance gauge does not conform with 33 CFR.
    The south side indicates 23.5′ at center and the north side states 22.5′. There is a one foot discrepancy.
    The listed clearance on the charts and according to the contractor rebuilding the bridge is 25′ at center. Charted heights are based on clearance at Mean High Water (MHW). MHW for the tide station next to the Bridge of lions at the St. Augustine City Dock is listed as 6.41′. MHW reference: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/data_menu.shtml?stn=8720576%20St.%20%20Augustine,%20FL&type=Datums
    This means that if you pass under the bridge at a low tide of zero, the clearance at center would be 25′ plus 6.41′, or 31.41′. We passed under the bridge with a tide of 4.0′ so we should have had a clearance of 31.41 minus 4.0′, or 27.41′. Said another way, we were 2.41′ less than MHW, so 25′ plus 2.41′ or 27.41′.
    When we passed under the bridge at 7:45AM on 28 April 2010, with a 4.5′ tide the north clearance gauge read 22′ at center, which was our boat’s height with VHF antennas up. Because we were almost 2′ below MHW, we expected 25′ plus 2′ or 27′ at center. When we saw the north clearance gauge reading 22′ at center, Sue ran to the upper helm and watched the antennas miss the bridge by less than a foot. If the listed 25′ clearance was correct, we would have had 5.5′ above our antennas.
    Sue did not miss estimate our clearance as less than a foot instead of 5.5′. The north gauge appears to be correct, which means the listed clearance of 25′ cannot be correct. The listed clearance may be off by as much as 4 or 5′.
    According to Laurie Sanderson, the Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions, the Contractor still maintains that the listed clearance of 25′ is correct.
    I don’t have all the answers, but I know the following calculations for clearance at center, based on a 4′ tide, don’t match:

    South clearance gauge = 23.5′
    North clearance gauge = 22.5′
    Listed clearance = 27.4′

    Something is still very wrong. Was the old bridge really 25′ and the new bridge 20′ or 21′?
    Captain Bob Mimlitch
    USCG 100 ton Master Captains License #1002684

    And, below, based on the above described observations, is a copy of an e-mail sent from Captain Mimlitch to Ms. Laurie Sanderson:

    Laurie,
    I realized that as Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions, you may not realize the importance to mariners of the Vertical Clearance listed on the charts and in the cruising guides. As a Captain, I don’t know in advance what the clearance gauge is going to read until I am very close to the bridge. Any Captain knows that in normal conditions and at tide levels less than Mean High Water (MHW), he should have more than the listed Vertical Clearance. It is against the law for me to request a bridge opening when my boat height does not required – thus I must plan ahead. As I approached the bridge on 28 April, I had planned on the listed Vertical Clearance of 25′ plus two additional feet because the tide was 2′ below MHW. This should give me a Vertical Clearance of 27′. My boat required 22′ of Vertical Clearance, so I did not request an opening.
    I approached the bridge with the current behind me. The current here can reach 2 knots in this area. To maintain rudder steerage of my vessel I need a speed through the water of 4 knots. Heavy currents passing under the bridge and between the fenders can cause eddy currents and challenging steering. Thus I am approaching the bridge at about 6 knots and expecting 5′ of clearance above my antennas.
    What I found was a 5′ disparity between my planned clearance and the tide board reading. What do I do? I can slam both engines into reverse and try to stop in time, back out of the bridge entrance and try to resolve the real height. If I had thought that I only had a couple of feet clearance, with the current behind me, I would have requested an opening just to be safe. Because the listed Vertical Clearance is wrong, my planning was in error.
    We, as boaters, should not have to wait for an accident and the accompanying law suits to resolve the true Vertical Clearance of the bridge. Organizations such as the Waterway Guide, ActiveCaptain, and[Salty]  Southeast Cruiser’s Net stand ready to get the correct bridge height out as soon as the contractor can determine it. Please, as the Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions, insure that the contractor knows that this Vertical Clearance must be based on MHW.
    Thanks for your help in this matter.
    Bob Mimlitch

    And, Ms. Sanderson’s reply:

    Bob,
    I appreciate the e-mails you have sent this morning. I also appreciate your position, and the very real concern you present. The information I have provided to you is that which was provided to me by the project engineers and the contractor’s personnel. I have forwarded the e-mails you sent this morning to the Senior Project Engineer and to the contractor, so they may hear directly from you the concerns which you have detailed for me. Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.
    One tiny edit, if you please:
    “According to Laurie Sanderson, the Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions, the Contractor still maintains that the listed clearance of 25′ is correct.”
    The contractor actually maintains that their tide gauge is correct, not that the listed clearance of 25’ is correct. If the listed clearance of 25’ is incorrect, the Department of Transportation believes it is not within their jurisdiction, but within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard, to make that correction. The Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing the contractor and ensuring that the tide gauge is correct. I have forwarded your e-mails to the Senior Project Engineer and to the contractor.
    Sincerely,
    Laurie Sanderson
    Public Information Officer
    Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project

    From Captain Mimlitch:

    I don’t know whether it is DOT’s responsibility or the USCG’s responsibility, I would assume that Laurie is correct; so who do we contact in the USCG. I hope that one of you have contacts.
    Thanks,
    Bob

    Below, Captain Mimlitch brings this matter to the attention of Mr Dragon, the USCG Chief of the Bridge Branch

    Dear Mr. Dragon;
    I would like to bring a situation with the Bridge of Lions to your attention. I have been discussing this with Laurie Sanderson, the Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions, and others for about two months and in todays email Laurie states that the responsibility for insuring the accuracy of the 25′ Vertical Clearance listed on nautical charts and published on government website is the responsibility of the USCG. Below Laurie’s reply, you will find my email detailing my findings and photographs of the conflicting bridge height data.
    Thank you for your help.
    Bob Mimlitch

    And that, sport fans, is where things stand as of late Friday afternoon, June 18. We’ll keep you apprised as more develops!
    In any case, for the moment, we strongly suggest that all skippers count on a MAXIMUM closed vertical clearance of 22 feet when passing under the Bridge of Lions, possibly 21 feet!

  • More Info on the former Burger King Dock in Palatka, FL (St. Johns River)

    Thanks to John Adams, the mystery of the “lost Burger King dock” is solved. Not only is the dock still there as Corky Bell’s, but Burger King is just across the street. Thanks John!

    Submitted on 2010/06/14 at 6:15pm
    The Burger King dock you are referring to is still there only it is now Corky Bell’s dock (they took the Burger King sign down). The Burger King is directly accross the street from Corky Bell’s and if you don’t want to eat at Corky Bell’s you can just cross the street. I tied up there in March on my way back from the Bahamas and stayed the night. In the morning I walked over to the Burger King for breakfast and when I came back I looked up at the very high pilings and found a small obscure sign at the top that said “No over nite docking”. I don’t know why the sign is not on all the pilings if they don’t want you to stay over nite. I tied up at the end of the dock so smaller boats could tie up if needed and didn’t see any sign saying no over-niter’s and I was looking for such a sign. Of course there is no water or electric but it’s free. I did have dinner at Corky Bell’s and it was great as it always is.
    Captain John Adams

    Click Here To View a Previous Posting on the Burger King Dock

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Devil’s Elbow Section of the St. Johns River, Where the Corky Bells Dock is Located

  • Boat Show Marina is now St. Johns Marina in Deland, FL

    Bob and Judy are correct, Boat Show Marina has changed its name to St. Johns Marina, not to be confused with St. Johns Marina in downtown Jacksonville. We have now updated our Eastern Florida/St. Johns River Marina Directory to reflect tis name change.
    By the way, St. Johns Marina overlooks the St. John’s eastern banks, a short hop north of the Whitehair/Deland Bridge.

    Submitted on 2010/06/14 at 12:30pm
    We just cruised the St. Johns River to Sanford and returned. We never saw a “Boat Show Marina” anywhere near the location on the RDB {NE Bank} north of the Whitehair bridge. There is a marina at that location named the St. Johns River Marina. Perhaps they’ve changed their name.
    Bob McLeran and Judy Young

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For St. Johns Marina

  • Comments on Hontoon Landing Resort and Marina on the St. Johns River near Deland, FL

    Located on the southern tip of Beresford Peninsular in the St. Johns River, Hontoon Landing Resort and Marina is across the river from, and should not be confused with, Hontoon Island State Park which is accessible only by boat. For more information on the State Park see http://www.floridastateparks.org/hontoonisland/

    Submitted on 2010/06/14 at 12:43pm
    On our cruise the past three weeks on the St. Johns River we stayed at Hontoon Island State Park docks on four nights between both passages. After a cruise along the creek that forms the north side of the island we thought we’d fill our gas tank, so dinghed over to Hontoon Landing Resort and Marina (directly across from the park). When we climbed the dock and checked the fuel price, we decided our gasoline supply could wait until we got to Sanford. The price was $4.30 or more (don’t remember exactly). There was also a sign indicating they would be happy to pump out your holding tank for $25.00 – guess that’s their contribution to Florida’s Green Marina initiative! They rent a lot of houseboats, so they’re undoubtedly making a lot of $$ between their high gasoline price for a mandatory fill and required pump out (whether needed or not) after renting their craft!
    Bob McLeran and Judy Young

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida/St. Johns River Marina Directory Listing For Hontoon Landing Resort and Marina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Hontoon Island State Park Docks

  • Goodbye Burger King Dock (Palatka, FL on the St. Johns River)

    It’s really sad to me that the “Burger King Dock” is no more. This pier used to be spied just upstream from downtown Palatka, on the northern shores of the “Devil’s Elbow” section of the St. Johns. The good news is that there is apparently another dock that boater’s can use along this same stretch at “Corky Bells” (see below). If anyone can provide additional details about the “Corky Bells” pier, please click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

    Subject: Burger King docks, Palatka
    Cruising News: Sadly, they have removed Burger King and the free dock there, however, right next door is Corky Bells with free day and dinner dockage very walkable to CVS drugs, Napa, and a grocery store.
    On the way down river, we stopped at the Palatka City Docks for the night, They had free water and 15 amp service. However, on the return down river, their electric was not working.
    Captain Sterling

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Devil’s Elbow Section of the St. Johns River, Where the Corky Bells Dock is Located

  • Palm Cove Marina (Statute Mile 747)

    For real AICW veterans, you may recognize Palm Cove Marina’s location as the old spot where Jacksonville Beach Marina once resided. That goes back a LOT of years though! The channel leading to this facility cuts west, a short hop north of the new B. B. McCormick high-rise span!
    The present day incarnation of Palm Cove Marina is a first class facility in every respect, AND they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Just wanted to comment about this facility [Palm Cove Marina] as this is our second time staying here. Good price with the MTOA discount $1.50 per foot + 7% tax ; $11/50 amp; eatery onsite; heads/lounge/laundry; nice pool.
    Don & Rebecca Roman

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Palm Cove Marina

  • Boathouse Marina in Palatka on the St. Johns River

    Boathouse Marina lies west-southwest of flashing daybeacon #1, a short hop south of the Palatka City Dock.

    We stayed here for two nights. 53 ft. boat with 5′ draft. About 8′ of water on the outside docks. Outside dock can hold 2 large boats with all hookups. Shoreside facilities are not much – but people are very friendly and helpful. Great access to downtown. Would stay there again.
    Captain Bernie Heinemann

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Boathouse Marina

  • A Report On Holly Bluff Marina on the St. Johns River

    Holly Bluff Marina overlooks the St. John’s easterly banks between flashing daybeacons #47 and #49, south of the DeLand Bridge, and north of Lake Monroe.

    50 ft. boat – 5ft. draft. We stayed here one night. They tried to put us in a houseboat slip but it was not wide enough. We ended up on the gas dock. No problem. If you take a slip watch for the cross current. I don’t know how they get those big houseboats in. I guess they don’t have much below the water. It’s a long walk to the free ferry that goes to the state park (you can take bikes on the ferry) as you have to get across a canal and then loop back. Worth the stop. People were very nice.
    Captain Bernie Heinemann

    Click Here To View Another Posting For Holly Bluff Marina

  • A Report on Monroe Harbour Marina in Sanford, Florida

    Monroe Harbour Marina guards the southern banks of Lake Monroe, in the heart of the charted Sanford waterfront.

    50 ft. boat 5 ft. draft. We stayed for two days. They had plenty of room in June. Good facility & ship’s store. They can get diesel by truck, but it needs to be over 500 gal. Sanford is a good town to visit. Lot’s of history and nearby stores. It’s a long trip if they don’t have room, so call ahead. Also be sure to call for instructions as to how to get in – it’s a little confusing for first timers.
    Captain Bernie Heinemann

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Monroe Harbour Marina

  • A Report on Welaka Public Dock and Museum (St. Johns River, south of Palatka)

    Be sure to see Claiborne’s comments and photos on the post linked below!

    Submitted on 2010/06/07 at 9:44am
    50 ft. boat – 5 ft draft. The city dock is in good shape. We tied to the dolphins on the outside in about 10 ft. of water. A large tie along (floating) dock on the upstream side looked as if we could have used that spot as well, but we didn’t try. No power or water, but no charge either. The museum was worth the stop. They have a convenience store downtown and a beauty shop on the way to the museum. There is also a fish hatchery, but it started to rain and we headed back to the boat.
    Captain Bernie Heinemann

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Welaka Public Dock

  • Doctors Lake/Swimming Pin Creek Anchorage (off the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville, FL)

    As you already know or have heard, the St Johns River is a beautiful stretch of water departing the AICW near Mayport and extending to Sanford, FL. I learned to water ski on the St. Johns and will never forget the smooth-as-glass dark waters. However, I have never visited Doctors Lake and I look forward to anchoring there and to hearing more of your comments and observations.
    Doctors Inlet, leading to Doctors Lake, departs the St. Johns some ten miles upstream (south) of Jacksonville. Be advised that the “inlet” is spanned by a fixed bridge with 37 feet of vertical clearance. If your vessel can’t clear this height, you must forgo the many superb anchorage opportunities on Doctors Lake

    We anchored a 50ft. boat just outside the [Swimming Pin] creek entrance and went in to Whitey’s Fish Camp for lunch. A storm came through and the anchor dragged (a lot). Got back to the boat just before it hit a boat dock. Bottom is soft muck which doesn’t hold well.
    The dockmaster at Whiteys said the water up to the bridge is 6-8 feet deep and he has had 60 ft. boats at his dock. Call him and he’ll make space for you if you want to use the restaurant. It sounds as if you can spend the night there – no hookups.
    Captain Bernie Heinemann

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Doctors Lake, Swimming Pin Creek Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Doctors Lake Mill Cove Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Doctors Lake, Sugarhouse Cove Anchorage

  • Hontoon Island State Park (St. Johns River, 15 miles north of Lake Monroe, and Sanford, FL)

    Hontoon Island State Park is a GREAT place to visit on the upper St. Johns. I have always thought the docks here were more appropriate for smaller craft, so I’m glad Captains Bob and Judy were able to successfully berth thier 41 foot trawler.
    Once the lines are coiled, don’t dare miss a dinghy trip up the nearby Hontoon Dead River. It looks pretty much the same as what must have greeted the eyes of Native Americans as they paddled their canoes up this stream several hundred years ago!

    Subject: Hontoon Island State Park, St. Johns River
    Cruising News: Just tied up at the Hontoon Island State Park on the upper St. Johns River in Florida. About 15 miles north of Sanford; located on the St. Johns River itself (not the smaller creek on the north side of the island). Multiple slips and two face docks with depth around 4 feet and mud bottom large enough to accommodate our DeFever 41 against a mid-ship piling and still have room for a smaller boat behind.
    Bob McLeran/Judy Young

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Hontoon Island State Park

  • Waterline Marina (Melbourne, FL, near Statute Mile 915)

    A lot of cruisers miss Waterline Marina. You must cruise upstream on charted Eau Gallie River. This passage leaves the AICW south of the Melbourne Bridge, and north of marker #2.

    Stayed here mid Dec 2009 to mid Jan 2010. Very reasonable prices, close to bus stop, and walking distance (long walk) to downtown Eau Gallie. Two heads for transients, not climate controlled. I found water depth to be around 6.5′, but am told that the water depth can change (no tidal current; other factors). The owner/manager is very nice and I felt, easy to deal with. If economics drives your decision, this was a great spot.
    HB Koerner
    Take Five

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Waterline Marina

  • The Good and Bad of Anchoring (or Mooring) in No Name Harbor (Key Biscayne, St. M. 1096)

    No Name Harbor is located on the southern portion of Key Biscayne. Shelter from foul weather is superb, but you must now pay a fee here to anchor (or moor) overnight. Below, Captain Ron gives you some of the other good news and bad news for this overnight haven.
    By the way, if anyone knows whether moorings have indeed been installed in No-Name (or not), PLEASE click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

    Claiborne,
    The Hurricane Hole you mention can be one of two places both of which are located in the Cape Florida channel. The one most frequently used is No Name Harbor further to the East. In the past you could anchor there, but recently I have heard they have installed moorings. In any case, it is a small, hot, muggy, airless harbor that most would not want to spend too long. The boats meander with the changing currents and the only positive is that there was an excellent Cuban restaurant at the harbor wall. Many first time cruisers who feel insecure about anchoring in a semi-open anchorage find this harbor appealing. When you want to depart, especially at night, you have to weave through the tightly packed boats to enter the Cape Florida Channel.
    Ron

    And, thanks to Captain Jules, here is the answer to the question of whether moorings have been installed in No-Name Harbor:

    Hello,
    I just called the park and no moorings have been installed. It’s a very nice park to visit with an award winning beach, two great restaurants, bike, kayak and catamaran rentals, hiking trails and a restored historic light house open to the public with amazing views from the top. For the overnight boaters, showers, laundry and free pumpout so it’s well worth the very nominal anchoring fee.
    Yes of course in summer it will be hot and buggy in a small landside anchorage and like all anchorages there is a capacity limit, this one being very very small fills up fast. I have stayed in fall and winter and found it to be very enjoyable and all chain rode keeps the meandering to a minimum and I never have had problems with neighbors swinging to close. Also a good deal of the boats that anchor during the day are locals don’t spend the night. Outside of summer if there is space I will go in. When it is full I anchor in the channel and dingy in to take advantage of all the park has to offer. There is little or no traffic in the channel at night so you can still get a good night sleep there, just be sure your anchor is well set as a strong current runs but I have never dragged.
    I know that anchoring in a channel seems like the wrong thing to do but the channel is wide and it is common for boats heading to the Bahamas to anchor in the channel to one side when the harbor is full.
    Cap. Jules

    As of July 29, 2010 there is a fee to anchor in No Name Harbor. Two dollars for a day use and $20.00 per night. This is on the honor system.
    Captain Cheryl Martin aboard Fair Winds

    <a href=”http://www.CruisersNet.net/3-no-name-harbor-anchorage-2″><span style=”font-size: normal;”><strong>Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For No-Name Harbor</strong></span></a>

  • Palm Coast Marina (Statute Mile 802) – Captain Jane Reports

    Statute Mile 803 Palm Coast Marina
    “They get our mail and we get their mail,” said Debbie, Dockmaster of Palm Coast Marina about Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Sponsor Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville. This time, Palm Coast got us — we had the location right but confused the names in our head having read through Claiborne’s recent list of sponsors.
    Oh well, we meant to patronize and thank a Salty Southeast sponsor, but oops, Palm Coast is not a sponsor — yet.
    This is a small and clean marina in a handy spot to wait for a favorable tide at the infamously shoal-plagued Matanzas Inlet, which is why we stopped early one wintry day heading north. Palm Coast
    Marina is, as its name implies, in Palm Coast, Florida, some 25 miles south of St. Augustine and 25 miles north of Daytona. Northbound, it positions you 12 statute miles south of the Matanzas inlet, so it is
    good for catching a morning or late morning high tide. Southbound, it’s a useful stop if you are catching an afternoon high tide.
    Palm Coast is a pleasant place run by the very friendly and affable Debbie Hogan. Debbie is already my new best friend as she is a fellow parrot and bird person — hard core enough to keep three pet birds in the lounge area in addition to those she has at home.
    Working the docks is Frank, a true professional with great attitude and attention to detail. He was very patient as we fussed with lines, getting them just right.
    There is a fuel dock, in-slip pump-outs, a large cruiser’s outdoor gathering area, and a small fitness center with two bicycles, two
    treadmills and a weight machine. There is a 25% Boat US discount for transient dockage, bringing the price to $1.32 a foot. For boats 35 feet and under with 12 foot beam or less, there is a “no frills”
    special advertised on the website of $20 a night, no electric, no water.
    Mondays and Thursdays at 4 PM, there is a happy hour — bring your own beverage — for liveaboards and transients. There is a book swap with two hefty rows of books in the inside lounge which is part of the dockmaster’s office and ships store with basic supplies. Mango, a charming lovebird (actual not a metaphor) and Beep and ReBeep the parakeets add both color and song to the setting.
    While it bills itself as part of a resort, we did not see any resort like amenities other than kayaks and bicycles for rent. There are walking paths along the busy road that borders condos and other
    housing developments, including some that are unfinished. Perhaps this has more charm in good weather and spring, summer or fall than was apparent to us on a cold wintry day.
    Heads are clean and climate-controlled. The laundry machines are in a door-free covered alcove-like passage and the machines have that ‘weathered’ look. While not inspiring, they appear to be adequate for the job.
    Fearless and roving though we may be, we did not personally verify the Palm Coast Marina’s website statement that Publix, Walgreens and CVS are within walking distance of the marina.
    We did, however, take a ten-minute walk from the marina to European Village, a complex of shops and what appear to be condos arranged around a large courtyard. Many establishments, including the hotel, appear to be, as Kinky Friedman might say, relegated to the past tense — victims of the recession. However, we did find several that are alive and eager to serve you.
    Mezzaluna and Barbara Jeans are two restaurants Dockmaster Debbie highlighted in the map showing European Village she gave us with our information packet. Mezzaluna offers Italian food; specials on the
    board when we walked by included roasted lamb shank. Barbara Jeans describes its fare as southern cooking. One column in their reasonably priced menu is called “Better than you think” with items such as
    meatloaf and other comfort food.
    Between these two restaurants, we found a well-stocked natural food store and grocery named Diane’s. Diane’s has pretty much everything you’d expect from a good health food store, but no Diane. The store manager is a friendly woman named Patsy. She had a small but good selection of perishables — fresh vegetables, greens and some fruit as well as organic deli meats and vegan cheeses. My first mate admired the ample selection of high quality frozen foods.
    There is also an English Tearoom and shop that was open. We could not tell whether the Japanese restaurant is still open. While the wine shop is now a place that buys gold, there is a decent selection of Australian and California wines at the General Store there where you can buy beer, soft drinks and some groceries in a sports bar setting.
    If you stop at Palm Coast Marina, watch out for the visually subtle tidal current. It runs up and down the fairway and parallel to the face and fuel dock. The current there is not as strong as, say, in
    parts of Georgia, but it still deserves your careful attention.
    Jane Tigar
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Praise For Ortega Landing Marina (Jacksonville, – Ortega River, off the St. Johns River)

    Ortega Landing Marina is the first facility that will come abeam on the northwestern shores as you enter Ortega River from the St. Johns River, a short hop upstream from downtown Jacksonville. This facility has been consistently praised on the Cruisers’ Net as being one of the finest in this region!

    I recently moved Melissa Lee from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, SC. We had been at the Marina at Ortega Landing since January and I will certainly return. The facility is first class with spotless heads and showers, a pool with a view over Ortega River. The slips are in floating piers. The staff is friendly and helpful. There is a discount for Loopers, 20% off daily rate of $1.75 and 10% off monthly rate of $559 for a 55 foot slip.
    They are located just inside the Ortega River Bridge off the St. John River. The address is 4234 Lakeside Drive. Their phones are 800-800-0895 and 904-387-5538.
    There is a great shopping center within walking distance. The Marina has been denoted a hurricane hole. Check with Chris at the Marina about the significance of this.
    The best feature of the Marina are Josie and Ralph Crapps of Marine Solutions and Assoc. Their number is 904-885-2522. I thought I would take care of a number of projects while the boat was at the Marina but, as usual, I ran out of time. Ralph turned what I thought would be big projects into little projects. His work is exceptional and very reasonably priced. Nothing was done without a consultation but everything was done while I was away. It was very comforting to know the projects were being taken care of in a professional fashion but without the fear of sticker shock when I got the bill.
    I recommend the Marina and Josey and Ralph very highly and I intend to return next winter. russ@russdeane.com
    Russ

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Ortega Landing Marina

  • River City Marina (Downtown Jacksonville, FL, on the St. Johns River)

    River City Marina resides on the St. Johns River in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, almost opposite the huge Jacksonville Landing shopping/dining complex. Currents at the docks here can be viscous, so go to school on what Captains Rex and Jimmy have to say below about asking for help from the dockmaster.

    Saturday lunch is a favorite here for us when we have out-of-town company.
    Also dinners are good and reasonable, in a beautiful setting on the St. Johns. (lunch/dinner docking is free)
    For a real treat during regular hours, call marina and ask Lee (dockmaster) to help you with docking. He does a great job if you are not familiar with the currents. If you listen to what he says, he will put you right where you need to be! He is good!
    Rex & Jimmie
    MV “My HarleyY”

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For River City Marina

  • Fleming Island Marina (St. Johns River, near Doctors Inlet)

    This facility used to be Whitneys Marine, and I have not had the chance to visit here since the name and owners were changed.  That makes me doubly glad to have Captain Austine’s detailed report below here on the Net.

    16 May 2010.
    For the St John’s River south of Jacksonville, this may be the best appointed marina in the laid back river environment until Sanford, the end of the navigable portion of the river 150 miles south, with floating docks, a swimming pool and friendly staff. The ice, mentioned in the previous post, is free and plentiful, allowing us to top up our icebox. With the savings, we paid for a night’s electricity. They do not have a laundry facility, however, despite what one of their brochures claims.
    There’s nothing unusual about the men’s and women’s washrooms without locks as they contain a shower and toilet in private cubicles that can be used by more than one person at a time although the small size makes them appear to be designed for single use. There is a third unisex shower-toilet washroom, designated as “family”, that does have a lock and is typical of wheelchair-friendly facilities.
    The floating breakwall dampens but doesn’t exclude the wind and river traffic-generated chop. The river is a mile and a half wide at this location but river traffic outside of weekends is considerably less than in the ICW.
    We arrived at half tide with no problems, taking the first of two channels into the marina, marked by separate sets of two green day marks each – both one and three – leading to the outside floating dock. The other channel, closest to the bridge, takes you to the inside fixed dock.
    According to NOAA, the tidal range along the entire St John’s River south of Jacksonville is a foot or less although brisk winds from the north and south can add or subtract an equal amount of water or more respectively from this figure.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten
    S/Y Discovery II, Vancouver 27, 4’6” draft

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fleming Island Marina

  • Pine Island Loop Anchorage (Statute Mile

    The Pine Island Loop Anchorage lies off the eastern flank of the AICW’s run through Tolomato River. Be SURE to enter ONLY by way of this loop’s southern entrance. In spite of depths shown on the NOAA charts, the northern mouth is shoal.

    When we arrived on 4/20/10, we found 3 sailboats and a trawler already there and all the prime spots taken. We took the last spot, out near the channel. Two other trawlers came later, looked for a spot, but finally gave up and proceeded back down river looking for an anchorage.
    Some shoaling at entrance. Buggy if winds are calm and especially if you turn lights on inside. Good holding.
    Dick Litchfield

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pine Island Loop Anchorage

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