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Archive For: EASTERN FLORIDA – All Cruising News

  • 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

  • Rivers Edge Marina (San Sebastian River, St. Augustine, near St. M. 779)

    Rivers Edge Marina is newly renamed Oyster Creek Marina. This facility is accessed by way of the San Sebastian River,  which leaves the AICW south of  the St. Augustine City Marina and anchorage/mooring field.

    10 May 2010.
    I heartily agree with the previous comments. Paul is a gem and where else can you go where you will find a Winn Dixie and a West Marine in the same shopping plaza, a short walk away? The next door to the marina restaurant and pub, Hurricane Patty’s, is excellent value for money, and for marina patrons, it is at all-day happy hour prices. Ask Paul about it.
    The marina has changed its name to River’s Edge for some reason, risking confusion with one further north on the ICW. Signs for both names remain on the property.
    When Paul learned about our ice box and $.30/day electricity usage, he charged us only a couple of dollars for our 5-day stay, saying it was ridiculous to ask for more. At last, a sane marina operator! Paul told me some of his story, a sailboater coming from New England – Nantucket – finding it increasingly difficult to find an available, affordable mooring, receiving a pink slip at work and deciding to sail away for other climes.
    Paul was informative about what is driving marina pricing these days which is useful for understanding their side of the story, at least up to a point. Paul said municipalities are increasing charges to marinas for city services – water, sewage, electricity – in order to stay within their cash-strapped budgets, despite marinas telling them they will pass the costs on to their customers.
    Marinas, however, are not equipped to meter usage so they apportion costs by dividing their bill amongst their clients, with little regard to the difference between say, a 30-foot sailboat using ice for refrigeration and a 30-foot power boat, more common from our experience – or sailboat, less common – with air conditioning and a refrigerator.
    The result is, some people make out like a thief while others are required to pay for the thievery and marinas are let off the hook for installing metering. Am I surprised marina customers are mostly powerboats in Florida these days?
    What is not being acknowledged, however, is another factor – the corporatisation of marinas. River’s Edge – nee Oyster Cove – is a family-run operation. The industry – attempting to establish “industry standards” – is increasingly being taken over by corporations – buying or managing. From my experience, marinas have traditionally been owned by people who love the business. It has never been a huge money-maker but a labor of love – obvious if you look at the reality of overhead and effort involved in running marinas.
    When corporations move in, the corporate bottom line dominates to maximise profit. They offer access to “resort facilities” – swimming pools, etc – at a price. It’s nice to dip into but deadly if that is all that’s available.
    For the sake of those who cherish the old cruising values and want the option to continue, it is useful to support the existing family-run marinas. May they always continue.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten, S/Y Discovery II

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

  • Bridge of Lions Vertical Clearance in Question (Statute Mile 778)

    For those of you who have not been following the Cruisers’ Net, or have not cruised through St. Augustine over the past two years, the historic Bridge of Lions has undergone a radical rebuilding. For a time, a temporary bridge was in place to serve automobile traffic, while the older span was being rebuilt. Now, the Bridge of Lions has reopened, and the temporary bridge is being removed.
    Below, Captain Bob presents some IMPORTANT information (copied from the MTOA List-Serve) which could easily be interpreted to mean that the new Bridge of Lions incarnation ACTUALLY HAS LESS VERTICAL CLEARANCE THAN WHAT IS LISTED ON THE NOAA CHARTS and in the Federal Registry.
    BE SURE TO READ MY SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POSTING. VERTICAL CLEARANCE ON THE NEW BRIDGE OF LIONS HAS SUDDENLY BECOME A VERY HOT TOPIC INDEED!

    Here was the situation; we were approaching the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine at 7:45AM on 28 April 2010, with a tide level of +4.5′ and a listed bridge clearance at “low iron” of 25’ above Mean High Water (MHW). According to NOAA, the MHW level for the St Augustine City Dock, which is next to the Bridge of Lions is 6.41′ (see NOAA link below). The tops of our VHF antennas were measured at 22’ above the water level. My calculations were:
    Charted Bridge Clearance +25′
    Plus Mean High Water +6.4′
    Minus the Height of Tide -4.5′
    Calculated Clearance 26.9′
    Simply said, the listed bridge clearance 25′ is measured above MHW, and if the tide was at zero, the actual clearance would be 31.4′ (25′ + 6.4′); but we had a 4.5′ tide so the clearance should be 4.5′ less, or 26.9′ (25′ +6.4′ -4.5′).
    Here is what we found as we approached the opening between the old temporary bridge, which is being demolished, and work barges from the north. Sue spotted a temporary tide board below the new bridge with red spray painted numbers indicating the current clearance was 22′ at low iron. We passed under the bridge with less than a foot above our antennas at the center of the bridge. I think the temporary tide board was correct, which would mean the actual clearance is closer to 20’ above MHW, and not 25’.
    What am I missing? I contacted the Bridge of Lions and their contractor told
    them that when I passed under the bridge the tide was extremely high and thus I
    had less than the listed 25’ clearance.

    MHW for the St Augustine City Dock:
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/data_menu.shtml?stn=8720576%20St.%20%20Augustine,%20FL&type=Datums

    Bob and Sue Mimlitch
    M/V Our Independence

    I asked Captain Bob to send me additional info when possible, and received the heartwarming reply below:

    Claiborne,
    I should have said more about the difference between the listed bridge height on the charts and cruising guides, which is clearance at the center; versus the tide board which is clearance at low iron. A few bridges in Florida have signs that specify the number of feet of additional clearance at center.
    I love Salty Southeast Cruiser’s Net. Thanks for all your efforts.
    Bob Mimlitch

    As of Monday, 5/17/10, the new Bridge of Lion’s vertical clearance has become a HOT topic! The Cruisers’ Net, Waterway Guide and ActiveCaptain are all in the hunt for information. We thank Waterway Guide editor, Chuck, for the info below. Since we received Chuck’s e-mail (actually a posting on the MTOA list-serve), I have personally spoken with both Captain Jay Bliss, member of the St. Augustine Port Commission, and Ms. Laurie Sanderson with the Bridge of Lion’s rehabilitation project. As Chuck notes below, this question will arise at a meeting tomorrow, and we have everyone’s promise to shoot us the results ASAP!!!! I will post this data the second it’s received, and probably send out a special “Alert” as well!
    In the meantime, NOTE THE CONTRACTOR’S ASSERTION IN CHUCK’S NOTE BELOW THAT CRUISERS SHOULD ONLY COUNT ON 22 FEET OF CLOSED VERTICAL CLEARANCE AT HIGH WATER WHEN PASSING UNDER THE NEW BRIDGE OF LIONS!!!!

    I have just spoken with Laurie Sanderson from the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project and the bridge clearance is up for discussion at their meeting tomorrow. According to the contractor on site, the MHW clearance for the new bridge is indeed 22′ regardless of what the charts say. We will post more tomorrow after the meeting and more details are known.
    Chuck

  • Beach Marine (Jacksonville Beach, Statute Mile 748)

    Beach Marine guards the AICW’s eastern banks, immediately north of the new B. B. McCormick high-rise bridge.

    15 May 2010.
    We stopped only for the night, a Saturday, and found it to be a pleasant stay. We didn’t eat at the restaurant in the marina although there is a 10% discount for marina stayers. It had live entertainment that was not intrusive from our boat, located near the fuel dock. We came in at low water during a big spring tide – 6.2 feet! – and dragged through a soft mud bottom coming into the slip. They were aware of our 4’6” draft when assigning the slip so may have other deeper ones available further out.
    There were plenty of lights on and no evidence of rough trade in the marina. The floating docks looked new. The washrooms were clean and spacious but worn. There were at least three sets of them available at various locations.
    Overall, it was a first-class operation although I declined paying $8.00 for 30-amp service, offering to make a deal for our expected $.30 electrical usage but it wasn’t taken up. There was no manager available to talk to. Instead, we purchased our usual 30 lbs of ice for our icebox. The illogic of paying $8 for others’ refrigeration and air conditioning on top of our own refrigeration costs is not being acknowledged by marinas, unfortunately.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten, s/y Discovery II

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

  • One Unhappy Review And Many Postive Comments Concerning the Dinner Key Mooring Field (near St. M. 1094.5)

    Even though the inspiration for Captain Sherman’s message below was in response to an earlier posting here on the Net concerning Dinner Key Marina, I’ve posted this note separately, as it pertains more to the adjacent mooring field than to the marina.
    Clearly, the mooring field is a facility that some cruisers love, and some cruisers loathe. We have had comments both ways here on the Cruisers’ Net. Read what Captain Sherman has to say, follow the links below, and make up your own mind!

    Opinions appear to vary widely on the Dinner Key Marina. We stayed three nights on a mooring in the new mooring field. We will NEVER do that again and suggest others pass this mooring field by!!! In moderate winds from the east or south (10 knots) it was a wet and close to dangerous dinghy ride to the totally inadequate dinghy dock!! There is a shuttle boat that they want you to use but two friends who are in the mooring field warned us that their boats had been hit and damaged by the shuttle boat so there was no way we were going to expose Enchantress to that!!!
    We were assigned a mooring ball by the shuttle boat and then they wanted to change it when we went in to check in. They sent us to a slip on a fixed dock in our dinghy to fill some Jerry jugs with water but didn’t tell us to bring a hose, so no water! The dinghy dock which doesn’t have anyway near enough space anyway had a sign saying half of it was closed as apparently the are going to tow it out of the semi-secure marina and put it at the public boat ramp in the adjacent park where there is no security at all!!
    The shower/restroom facilities are tolerable (barely), although the big roach did have me checking my shower bag carefully before taking it back to the boat! They close the restrooms for an hour during peak morning and afternoon times for cleaning although what is done during that time was not readily apparent.
    This is a marina that may understand the needs of boaters who stay in slips but they have no concept of what cruising boats or boats that use moorings or who anchor need. We need easy access to water to fill Jerry jugs in the dinghy and adequate dinghy access.
    Although we anchor almost exclusively when on the move, we like mooring fields (we spend our winters on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor) but not this one. It is poorly managed and not worth paying for. Protection is horrible, may as well anchor in the middle of Biscayne Bay or out in the Atlantic! Provisioning is not convenient, Publix Supermarket requires a bus and trai ride. The only grocery store is a gormet Fresh Foods with poor selection and high prices.
    We have anchored or moored in more than 100 harbors and would return to most but NOT this one!! Did I mention the murder that occured in the anchorage adjacent yo the moorings just before we arrived?
    Larry Sherman

    And, here are several very different point of view:

    Clearly many folks have many opinions, but I was shocked by Mr. Sherman’s review of the Dinner Key Mooring Field. I just spent a night there and I agree it is an exposed area. But almost 10 years ago I lived in the anchorage where the moorings are now, and let me tell you it felt good to be on a ball.
    I can’t help to feel a bit sorry for Mr. Sherman who obviously had a bad stay. Perhaps his experience should serve as a wakeup call to himself and others; that life at sea is subject to many things (we don’t always get what we want). Perhaps those who find they have experiences like this where they don’t get what they want when they want it should look into life in an R/V or retirement village, because if you are getting everything you want when you want it on a boat your probably some middle eastern sheik with deep pockets or worse on a cruise ship.
    So I am clear, the weather was rough the dingy ride was wet, the dingy dock was small, the supermarket was to much money not enough selection, the supermarket was too far yadadayada.. , Were you really expecting the Ritz? Because if you were, just across the street from Dinner Key is the Ritz, but I wonder if you would just find it failing your expectations. Maybe the city of Miami should have planned the city around the mooring field?
    I had an excellent time at Dinner Key, and hope one day to return soon.
    Sincerely,
    Peter Shemp

    I had a wonderful experience at the new Dinner Key Mooring Field. When I dinked in to get some water I brought my own 2ft hose (because I like to be prepared) and had no problem.
    As far as the dinghy dock goes, yes it’s a first come first serve deal but that’s the wat it is everywhere. Maybe Mr. Sherman didn’t realize that Miami, like all major metropolitan cities, have certain amounts of danger. I felt safe in the managed moring field. I wouldn’t have felt safe if I just dropped the hook.
    I thought the staff and management were professional and the facility up to par. I will stay at the Dinner Key Mooring Field again!
    Charlie Stewart

    Perhaps if Captain Sherman would have spent a few days on a Rickenbacker Marina Mooring he would have appreciated the Dinner Key moorings a bit more.
    I had my boat at Rickenbacker marina for about two years where the dingy dock was a mud bank under mangroves trees. So either you got your dingy full of mud and dirt when you got in it or the tree leaves would fall into the dingy and foul it all up in no time.
    And not only are the moorings there exposed to all but east winds, they right next to a power boat and jet ski freeway. weekdays were bearable if the winds were calm but weekends were like being in a washing machine. And the bathrooms were in terribly shoddy condition. I would take dinner key bathrooms any day after that.
    I only wish that the dinner key mooring field existed at that time, I would have taken on in a heartbeat.
    It seems to me that Captain Sherman has some axe to grind as any sailor with experience can tell from which direction he is going to be exposed prior to taking up an anchorage, and as if the city had any control of how mother nature created the bay and how much wind and from where it was going to blow when he pulled into town.
    As the other post said, we have to take cruising with a grain of salt. and sometimes a geat big one…… but that is what makes it an adventure and what makes it worth doing at all.
    P.S. I forgot the mention, I have very fond memories of my days at Rickenbacker Marina.
    Jules Robinson

    Captains Jule and John have a GOOD idea below, AND Coconut Grove Sailing Club is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    An alternative to the Dinner Key mooring field is the Coconut Grove Sailing Club mooring field. CCSC is just to the south of Dinner Key, and its moorings are completely sheltered by mangrove islands. While CCSC is a private club, they do have several moorings for transient, non-member cruisers. They have shower/restroom facilities and a water taxi that runs 24 hours a day. We spent 5 very windy days there ( winds up to 35 knots) in comfort and felt very welcomed by the staff and members.
    Julie and John Stocksdale
    s/v Jolie

    Hey folks
    Just want to say that the folks at Dinner Key seem to really try to make your experience a good one. We had a wonderful experience with them. When we couldn’t return as planned due to a medical emergency, the guys checked our lines and even went aboard found my husband’s passport and sent it to him so he could travel for some work out of the country.
    Yep, the moorings are exposed and the shuttle may ding your boat on occasion, but I think they’re really trying and doing a great job. Thanks James and Daniel and all the crew!
    Kathy
    on S/V SEEKER

    Click Here To Read An Earlier, Positive Posting About the Dinner Key Mooring Field

    Click Here To Read Another Positive Posting About the Dinner Key Mooring Field

    Click Here To Read An Earlier, Negative Posting About the Dinner Key Mooring Field

  • Pirates Cove Resort and Marina (on Manatee Pocket, off the St. Lucie River/Okeechobee Waterway)

    Pirates Cove is one of the most upstream facilities on Manatee Pocket. This body of water lies near the intersection of the AICW/Okeechobee Waterway/St. Lucie River, known locally as “The Crossroads.” I’ve always been impressed with Pirates Cove, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sailcraft at their docks. Always has been 100% power vessels.

    We stayed here on 4/5/2010 for one night and had a nice stay. Since we were there for one night they put us on the fuel dock which was fine with me since access into and out of the slips looked like it could be a little tight (50′ LOA). We were enroute from Ft. Lauderdale to the northern Gulf Coast and some of our group who were driving a vehcile home stayed in the rooms and reported them as nice. The restraunt was pretty good, the marina staff were helpful. I’d stay here again. The location is very good if your headed to the west coast of Florida and you’re breaking the trip across into two days.
    Cahoots

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

  • New Port Cove Marina (Statute Mile 1017)

    New Port Cove Marina is owned by the same group as Old Port Cove Marina and North Palm Beach Marina. All three of these facilities are first-class operations!

    1 May 2010.
    We elected New Port Cove Marine Center because it was close to the Fort Worth Inlet and with a Boat US discount, bringing the per foot rate down to $1.75, reasonable for the area. Based on a Waterway Guide ad, New Port is part of a “family of marine businesses”, consisting of three marinas in the area, with New Port nearest the inlet, all with the same rates.
    As an overnight stop while inlet hopping up the coast, it was a good place to stay. The busy – we were there on the weekend – stacked dry storage operation near the transient docks would encourage one to go further up Lake Worth for a more pleasant longer stay.
    The minimum charge for electricity hit an all-time high, at $12/day, but the manager saw the logic of this not being a feasible cost for a small boat with an ice box for refrigeration and offered it at half price, saying he doesn’t usually do deals. He was rewarded for his wisdom by making a $5.70 profit on what would cost him $.30 based on our kilowatt usage. I agreed to pay as we were mostly sailing outside and inlet hopping and my batteries were low. The alternative was to motor in the slip to charge batteries, something neither the manager or I wanted.
    As with other marinas, he attempted to justify the gouge by saying the fee was for all marina facilities, not just electricity, despite being labelled a charge for power in their rate sheets. The Loggerhead Daytona manager sympathized with why I objected to the fee but said it was an “industry standard”. I said I could understand why the industry wanted to create such a self-serving standard but I was adhering to my personal standard of paying a fair price for what I required.
    We entered and left Lake Worth Inlet, a class A inlet, at near slack water, headed for Fort Pierce, another class A inlet, avoiding the up to 4-kt current possible at max velocity in both inlets. NOAA provides times for slack and max and current strength at max for Ft Lauderdale, Lake Worth and Fort Pierce on their website: http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/currents10/tab2ac7.html#79
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten
    S/Y “Discovery II”, Vancouver 27

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

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