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Archive For: EASTERN FLORIDA – All Cruising News

  • Loggerhead Club & Marina – Daytona Beach (Statute Mile 830)

    The Daytona Beach version of Loggerhead Club and Marinas used to be Caribbean Jacks. We have not stayed here since the changeover.

    8 May 2010.
    The charge for electricity was not optional. I tried to waive the service, exorbitant, for us at $7.50 to no avail. Our metered electricity usage is $.30/day. We have an icebox and no air conditioning or other heavy power draws. The excuse marinas are using these days for charging for a service you choose not to use is that it is not just for electricity but is a general “service” charge for water, swimming pool, cruiser’s lounge, wi-fi access (only available in the lounge here), showers, etc. – what you thought was included in dockage, especially at marinas with high-end rates – and generally not used by us when in transit.
    It would be useful to note in the general description section whether the electricity charge is mandatory. We chose Loggerhead because it worked out to be cheaper for us than the nearby municipal marina, now run by Skipper Bud’s, which has a 30-foot minimum. It used to be simple knowing what it will cost to stay at a marina – multiply the length of your boat by the per foot rate. Now, marina rates seem to be drawn up by corporation lawyers focused on maximizing profits. No wonder folks want to anchor out whenever possible.
    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 Loggerhead Club and Marina – Daytona Beach

  • Bal Marra Anchorage (Statute Mile 1042)

    I’m a bit perplexed by the posting below from Captain John and Susan. We have never had a problem setting the hook here, but granted, it’s been good four to more likely five years since we anchored on these waters. So, I check the “Comment” on this anchorage (follow link below), and discovered no-one else has had such a problem here either, or at least they have not reported it to us. If any of you out there have dropped the hook on Bal Marra, please share your experiences by clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below.

    We tried to anchor there today (May 9, 2010) and had NO holding at all. 45 Lb CQR dragged through the black mud like there was no anchor on the chain! It did not jump, grab or anything, just ran along the bottom smooth as can be. We tried three times and gave up. At one point we had 90 feet of chain out. We continued north.
    John and Susan

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Bal Marra Anchorage

  • Dinner Key Marina (south Miami, near St. M. 1094.5)

    Dinner Key Marina is now the principal city of Miami Marina pleasure craft facility. It sits in the heart of the Coconut Grove community, and there are lots of restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Security might be a concern in Coconut Grove, however, after dark.
    I notice Captains John and Susan do not say anything below about the shower/bathroom facilities here. We have always found these unit sub-par!

    We enjoyed Dinner Key Marina. Had no problems finding the slip. The Piers were well marked on the ends and each slip has the number on its dock box. We didn’t have any help on the way in, but we didn’t ask. Saw several dock hands helping others who asked, though. On the way out, a line handler showed from the Marina and several volunteers were there as well. We had great dinners and thoroughly enjoyed the walking and Coconut Grove area.
    John and Susan

    Hi,
    We live in Miami and have kept our boat at Dinner Key Marina for about a year now and have had no problem with security at any hour and we have had some very late nights, we walk to and from the bars, shops and restaurants at all hours of the day or night and never had a problem.
    The bathrooms are in very good condition. The showers are in just good condition. Most important is that they are cleaned daily.
    We are very happy with this marina and the overall location is excellent. Everything you need / want is within walking distance.
    Jules Robinson

    On Sunday, July 11th we did not want to run all day since we wanted to celebrate my birthday. South of downtown Miami and south of the Rickenbacher Causeway, we found the long, privately marked, channel into Dinner Key Marina. 6-feet was the least depth I noticed in the channel. We have stayed here numerous times. It is a huge facility with a diverse and fun liveaboard community. Restaurants on the water are just north of the marina. The funky-artsy village of Coconut Grove is a short walk to the southwest of the marina. After dinner on the boat, we went to a dueling piano bar to continue my birthday celebration. We paid $2.50 a foot per night plus electricity. They hold a $25 deposit for each gate/restroom key you want. This is a city marina (its sister marina is Bayside in downtown Miami). The restrooms here are always questionable. They seemed better maintained this visit, but they are old and could use a refurbishment.
    Jeff and Michele Prahm aboard MV Java Girl

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Dinner Key Marina

  • City of Fort Lauderdale New River Docks

    For many years, in fact since this writer was a kid here in Fort Lauderdale during the 1950’s, the city has maintained a series of docks along New River, hard by the Las Olas Boulevard business district. These facilities are not as new as the city marinas at Cooleys Landing or at the Las Olas Bridge, but it is an easy step to good dining and shopping.

    The New River Docks (also owned by Ft. Lauderdale) are slightly less expensive, but you have the opportunity to give back to the community by making friends with the people who sleep/live in the park (and there are some interesting people there – and I’m not saying that in a bad way).
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For City of Fort Lauderdale New River Docks

  • Cooleys Landing Marina (on New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale)

    Cooleys Landing is the most upstream city of Fort Lauderdale owned and managed marina facility on New River. We have always found it to be a very superior stop for all pleasure craft.

    Cooley’s Landing up the New River (a Ft. Lauderdale city owned marina) is a good place to go. We stayed there for a couple of weeks before heading to Key Biscayne and then the Bahamas. While there, we were able to spend lots of money on the local economy (provisioning, boat repairs, museums, mass transit, restaurants, etc.). The people at Cooley’s were great and the facilities were good. As long as you time your docking to be at slack tide (the current rips through this area so other times are tricky), it’s a nice place to be. You can certainly see some pretty crazy megayachts being tandem towed by bow and stern coming through the narrow river.
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

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

  • Lake Sylvia Anchorage (near Statute Mile 1064.5)

    Anchorage in Lake Sylvia is a new possibility for cruisers, now that the city of Fort Lauderdale is adhering to the new Florida state law that prohibits local and county regulation of anchorage, except on bottom lands leased from the state by a city or county.
    Lake Sylvia lies to the south, southeast of marker #13, itself just south of huge Bahia Mar Marina.

    Sylvia Lake is a fine anchorage (now that you can use it) and it’s nice to have the option of the mooring field. With regards to the “expanding mooring fields in Florida” – yes, that is something to be watched closely, but the Ft. Lauderdale “field” (if you want to call it such) has been there for quite some time. During the last several years with municipalities fighting cruisers and liveaboards over anchoring rights, boats were rapidly kicked out of Sylvia Lake. With the latest regulations, it’s back to being a viable anchorage.
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

  • Ponce Inlet (near Statute Mile 839.5)

    Do note that Captain Chris’ info below is almost a year old at the time of this posting!
    Ponce De Leon Inlet (which all the locals refer to as “Ponce Inlet) cuts the eastern banks of the AICW between Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. Personally, I always choose to continue south of Canaveral Barge Canal Inlet before putting out into the briny blue, or reversing the process, but, hey, everyone has their own opinion!

    In June of ‘09 we ducked into Ponce de Leon Inlet during a pretty major storm (45kts+ and lots of electrical activity) and had no issue. We came through the inlet and then anchored between 7A and the beach in 12 feet of water (we draw 6′). The depth between 7A and the beach is not marked on the chart, but we were in communications with the local SeaTow outfit and they gave us the local knowledge. Anyway, Ponce de Leon inlet is known as being a tough inlet, but we had no issues. A call to SeaTow before entering can give you all the info you need. By the way – after the storm passed we continued on to the New Smyrna Beach Marina where we received a wonderful welcome and nice facilities. If you go there and are coming from the Ponce de Leon Inlet, I would highly recommend taking Sheephead Cut as opposed to following the magenta line of the ICW. From what I understand, there is (was, I should say since we came through in mid-2009) significant shoaling on the line, but we always saw big depth on the cut. Have fun!
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

  • Sunset Bay Marina (Stuart, on the South Fork St. Lucie River)

    Here’s a different point of view on Stuart’s Sunset Bay Marina. Heretofore, the messages received here on the Net concerning this facility have been overwhelmingly positive!

    8 March 2010. It looked like it would have been a great marina but available only to folks who book six months in advance. When we asked for a one-night transient dock, we were told to come back in June! There were empty slips and a big inside protected fuel dock that no one was on. Something wrong here.
    Obviously no transient slips were reserved, despite the Waterway Guide claim of there being 60. This was the first marina we encountered that had nothing available for transients, keeping in mind our size usually guarantees a spot can always be found for us.
    The facilities for the mooring field were excellent but as noted by others, it is completely open to high speed waterway traffic, subject to gunnel-to-gunnel rolling and wet dinghy rides. And why is there no bum boat available for such a large mooring field?
    Two of the three other marinas in the area also claimed to be filled, with only the Harborage Yacht Club and Marina having transient places available. One said they don’t take sailboats despite the visible masts. For short term stayers like ourselves, Stuart wasn’t that attractive of a place. We anchored up the North Fork after the first rolly day on a mooring, moved to Harborage for a day for provisioning, walking over the bridge, cabbing back.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten
    S/Y “Discovery II”, Vancouver 27

    Below is a response from the management at Sunset Bay Marina:

    Austin,
    As Assistant Harbormaster at Sunset Bay Marina I can tell you that our marina is always available to transients and since we opened last year we have not had to turn down, due to lack of availability, any transients who have wished to come in on a daily basis. We offer side to ties on our fixed docks for transients of all size vessels from 25′ to 125′. We have, however, had to put those who own vessels under 40′ and who wish to have a long term dockage on a waiting list as all of our slips that accommodate those size vessels filled up almost as soon as we opened last year. We are trying to accommodate these vessels on our waiting list as soon as slips become available.
    The Okeechoobee Waterway traffic problem that we have had in the past has been addressed as the entire area surrounding the mooring field and the marina has just recently been designated as a no-wake zone by the State of Florida and slow no-wake signage has been installed.
    As far as the “bum boat” goes, unfortunately we do not have one but we have always personally patrolled our mooring field several times each day with our carolina skiff and constantly offer assistance to our mooring field guests in any way we possibly can, helping them with provisions, etc.
    We apologize for any misunderstandings that may have occurred.
    Ruth Conrad

    <a href=”http://www.CruisersNet.net/43a-sunset-bay-marina”><span style=”font-size: normal;”><strong>Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Sunset Bay Marina</strong></span></a>

  • Fort Lauderdale Mooring Field and Florida Mooring Field Analysis (St. M. 1064)

    Well, two for the price of one. Not only do we get news about the Fort Lauderdale mooring field, and how it works, but Captain Austin gives his views on the current situation with the expanding use of mooring fields in the Sunshine State.
    I will say that Fort Lauderdale is one of the only municipalities in the state that can legally restrict anchorage, but ONLY on the cove south of the Las Olas Bridge. That’s because the city has leased this bottom land from the state of Florida, and can do with it whatever they like. Notice though, in the message below, the city is no longer restricting anchorage on Lake Sylvia. That’s because they are NOT leasing this bottom land, and to enforce anchorage regulations here would violate the new Florida statewide anchoring law!

    Well, it has indeed changed. We were there on 29 Apr 2010. The only two unoccupied moorings were near the channel, subject to traffic wakes and the significant current so we went in back to anchor. Our 27-footer with all chain rode is ideal for pocket anchorages. In the late afternoon a boat labelled “harbormaster’ came around from the marina and told us the municipality has made Las Olas a no anchoring zone. I questioned this as the three cruising guides we have aboard all say anchoring is allowed for 24 hours, asking when the rules changed. He did not know, saying Lake Sylvie was the nearest designated anchorage where anchored boats can stay for up to 72 hours.
    He said I should either pick up one of the front moorings or move to Lake Sylvie. I told him we were passage-making and would be off first thing in the morning and asked if he was ordering us to leave. He said he was only advising what the marine police would tell us to do if they came around. Feeling that was unlikely considering the advanced hour, we stayed.
    The next morning we left early. While waiting for the Las Olas bridge to open, the harbormaster boat came around again with a different person aboard who said he knew we wanted to save money but that anchoring was not allowed. I said we were willing to pay for a mooring if an acceptable mooring had been available but to leave a comfortable anchorage for an uncomfortable mooring didn’t make much sense
    The expanding mooring fields in Florida have advantages for cruisers but are motivated by what municipalities want, not designed for cruisers’ needs. The Las Olas field is first come first serve, with no reservation system. What happens if you arrive late and there are no moorings? Only the rare mooring field has a bum boat or welcomes checking in by cell phone, requiring launching your dinghy and many times enduring a wet ride. Las Olas sends around a boat, but that is also a rarity.
    Cruisers are not free of blame. They buy boats bigger than they can afford to cruise in without nickel and diming municipalities, earning the “grotty yachtie” label. Visitors to Florida are the local cash crop and locals need to harvest us to some extent. Arriving with lockers full of provisions, we spend relatively little locally.
    On the other hand, Floridians gouge transients whilst wooing long term stayers with deep discounts, clogging facilities designed for cruising, seemingly competing with those offering land based accommodations. It may make sense to charge more for a hotel short stay, with linen and room cleaning requirements, but not for dockage where the laundry and dirt leave with the boat! Boats are designed for moving, not for living aboard in one place for extended periods. We should not be encouraged to become “boat potatoes”, either by pricing policies or by free anchorages with unlimited staying periods.
    On the south coast of England when we cruised there, it was common to charge a daily anchoring fee. This, and an imposed time limit may be ways to deal with the detritus that inevitably fills up anchorages in warm climes, those without a ‘killing frost’. We are all being forced to pay for it in some way or other.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Austin Whitten
    S/Y “Discovery II”, Vancouver 27

    67.84.70.30
    Submitted on 2010/05/10 at 12:35am
    While I have respect for Discovery II crew’s opinions (sharing your opinion is a great thing!), I would just like to say that our trip through Ft. Lauderdale was a bit different. I’m not an expert by any means on Ft. Lauderdale, so please correct me if I make an incorrect statement.
    Sylvia Lake is a fine anchorage (now that you can use it) and it’s nice to have the option of the mooring field. With regards to the “expanding mooring fields in Florida” – yes, that is something to be watched closely, but the Ft. Lauderdale “field” (if you want to call it such) has been there for quite some time. During the last several years with municipalities fighting cruisers and liveaboards over anchoring rights, boats were rapidly kicked out of Sylvia Lake. With the latest regulations, it’s back to being a viable anchorage.
    If you are looking to stay a bit longer, Cooley’s Landing up the New River (a Ft. Lauderdale city owned marina) is a good place to go. We stayed there for a couple of weeks before heading to Key Biscayne and then the Bahamas. While there, we were able to spend lots of money on the local economy (provisioning, boat repairs, museums, mass transit, restaurants, etc.). The people at Cooley’s were great and the facilities were good. As long as you time your docking to be at slack tide (the current rips through this area so other times are tricky), it’s a nice place to be. You can certainly see some pretty crazy megayachts being tandem towed by bow and stern coming through the narrow river.
    Alternatively, the New River Docks (also owned by Ft. Lauderdale) are slightly less expensive, but you have the opportunity to give back to the community by making friends with the people who sleep/live in the park (and there are some interesting people there – and I’m not saying that in a bad way).
    Yes, both options are a bit more than the moorings, but they are reasonably priced alternatives that can be reserved in advance. And you always have Lake Sylvia.
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

  • Uninvited Passenger

    Here’s a little story from Ted Jones, former editor and co-owner of the late, great and much lamented “Coastal Cruising” magazine. This tale signifies to me why we all cruise. Who else could have such an experience but cruisers, and Ted has written it so very well!

    As dusk settled over the ocean on April 29th a land bird suddenly flew into the companionway and landed on Malla’s head as she was working in the galley. Reflexively, she brushed it away, and it flew out over the ocean again only to return, determined to find a suitable perch before nightfall. Malla identified it as a swallow. It had most likely been blown out to sea by the strong westerly winds of the previous several days. Swallows, she said require a perch before dark where they can safely spend the night. Ted was not surprised, having been visited by land birds on several occasions. They rarely survive the experience, and there seems to be no way one can help. We have tried, but the end always seems to be the same despite good intentions. Our little swallow eventually found a roosting place on the extension cord used to connect Ted’s computer equipment when we are dockside.
    Both of us were mindful of our passenger throughout the tumultuous events of the wee hours of Friday morning and were concerned for its safety. Amazingly, it put up with the contents of the ice box counter crashing to the cabin sole at one point and the noise and vibrations of the engine sometime later. It clung to it’s tenuous perch despite the constant motion.
    An hour or so after sunrise, with a “thank you” chirp, our little bird suddenly took flight, out of the companionway, and with a quick orientation circle disappeared toward land, several miles away. We hope it made it to shore. We will never know, although we told it to say hello to Dorcas when it gets to Vermont.
    Cheers,
    Ted

    Ted’s story about the bird that took refuge reminded me of a similar incident around 1982. While wrapping up a dive trip on the wreck of the City of Richmond some 30 miles or so off the Georgetown entrance a sandpiper landed on the instrument panel…and refused to budge. We knew right away the poor critter must have lost it’s bearings and flew out to sea. About the time we approached the Pee Dee entrance it got reoriented and flew away to the beach. Sigh.
    Bill Norris
    (Nobody You Know) Hatteras 40DCMY

  • Lake Park City Marina, A Low Cost Alternative to West Palm Beach (St. M. 1017)- Captain Jane Reports

    View of one of the turning basins and docks. There is additional dockage behind the marina building (a starboard turn) that is even more sheltered.

    Lake Park Marina guards the mainland shores, north of Peanut Island and Lake Worth Inlet. This facility has not been listed on our “Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory” as it was under reconstruction when our directory was formulated. That omission will soon be remedied!

    For cruisers in the West Palm Beach area, waiting for a weather window to pop out to the Bahamas or just looking for a night without anchor watches and with electricity or some other land luxury, you don’t have to break the cruising piggy bank.
    Lake Park City Marina, in Lake Park Florida which is adjacent to West Palm Beach, is a low-cost alternative to the high-priced marinas just a wee bit further south down the ICW. There’s less to tour on land by foot, but if all you need is an attractive, clean, well-run marina for the night within walking distance of a Winn Dixie supermarket and a choice of an upscale restaurant and more modest but honest family-run buffet — then Lake Park is a great low-cost choice. When we compared prices, they came in at about half the price of the city marina in West Palm Beach. Depending upon the length of your boat, that can be worth several good dinners out.
    The marina itself is attractive, as you can see in the photos here, and it is well sheltered behind a breakwater. The entrance is a little counter-intuitive, but it becomes more clear as you get closer to the breakwater in the entrance channel. Don’t be tempted by the port turn — that takes you somewhere else. If you keep going straight, you’ll see the fuel dock ahead and slightly to starboard.
    Showers and rest rooms are excellent and there is free wifi — two key ingredients of a modern marina. Fuel dock is easy access and on all our visits here, we’ve found the marina staff helpful and experienced.
    Jane Tigar
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Key Biscayne Anchorages

    There is an ongoing discussion on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mailing list about anchorages in or near Key Biscayne.
    Note that the anchorage Captain George refers to below as “Nixon Cove,” we have listed in the Florida Keys Anchorage Directory as “Key Biscayne Anchorage.” Also, as you will see, there is discussion about anchoring on Key Biscayne’s “Hurricane Harbor,” which is just south of the “Key Biscayne Anchorage.” I’ve never tried this anchor down spot, due to concerning about shallow water at its entrance. We would WELCOME MORE INPUT on anchoring in Hurricane Harbor. What depths did you find at the entrance? Would you recommend this anchorage to fellow cruisers? Please register your input on Hurricane Harbor by clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below.

    No Name [Harbor Anchorage] can fill up or cause swing anxiety for the newbie. As mentioned, the anchorage at “Nixon Cove” (nickname, not on the chart) off of the Yacht Club, northwest of Hurricane Harbor on your chart, is good, and popular, or we have anchored several times just outside and slightly south of No Name, just stay to one side of the rather broadly defined channel. The sport fisher will wake you now and then if too close. Then you can take the dinghy into No Name and have a meal at the excellent Cuban/Carribean restaurant that over looks the harbor and take a nice walk in the park.
    Lots of nice spots to anchor from there on south to Marathon, take your time! How big is your boat and how much do you draw?
    George

    I think you would find Hurricane Harbor preferable to No Name Harbor on the southern tip of Key Biscayne.
    It is much larger, uncrowded, has better holding ground, and you can use a longer scope and swing at anchor without ending up near another vessel. It is also a whole lot quieter. Also, there are no fees for anchoring in Hurricane Harbor as opposed to No Name.
    Just be careful to watch the water depth and avoid the shoal that extends out to the north and west as you make your approach to the harbor. When actually entering the harbor, stay close to the north wall where the channel is deepest.
    Martin I. Veiner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For The Key Biscayne Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For The No-Name Harbor Anchorage

  • Acosta Creek Marina (St. Johns River)

    This facility sits in a rather isolated location south of Palatka, but, hey, on the St. Johns River, that’s probably what most cruisers are looking for.

    Great small town marina. Inexpensive dockage, excellent happy hour under the oak a 5 pm(listen for the bell). It’s also a you can work on it boat yard. Owner may lend you his car to get supplies. Make sure and visit the wooden boat museum in town.
    Captain Sterling

    <a href=”http://www.CruisersNet.net/18-acosta-creek-harbor”><span style=”font-size: normal;”><strong>Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Acosta Creek Marina </strong></span></a>

  • Lantana Anchorage (Statute Mile 1031)

    The waters comprising the Lantana Anchorage lie just south of  the Lantana Bridge (itself just south of West Palm Beach), and off the AICW’s western flank. Protection is only fair here, and, as Captain Sterling notes below, you are subject to the wake of passing vessels.

    Good holding, but you may get some wakes. However, the tiki bar on shore is worthwhile, with wifi, and good happy hours. Walk to town (one block) for library, drug store, restaurants.
    Captain Sterling

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Lantana Anchorage

  • Pine Island Loop Anchorage (Statute Mile 765)

    The Pine Island Loop Anchorage is about the only spot to reliably drop the hook between southern Jacksonville Beach and the Tolomato River. Even so, be SURE to check out this haven’s entry in our “Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory” BEFORE attempting first time entry. There are some navigational concerns on these waters!

    Good anchorage, but anchor farther in if your concerned about the occasional wake. Quiet, no traffic after sunset.
    Captain Sterling

    <a href=”http://www.CruisersNet.net/pine-island-loop-anchorage”><span style=”font-size: normal;”><strong>Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage  Directory Listing For the Pine Island Loop Anchorage</strong></span></a>

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

    Captain Sterling isn’t kidding when he notes that this marina is swept by strong currents. Be ready for these swiftly moving waters as you approach the docks. Even with this drawback, we like to tie up here and take the water taxi cross the St. Johns to the huge Jacksonville Landing shopping/dining complex. Everyone should do this at least once!

    Lots of current here! ask for help if you need it! Take the water taxi or dink across river to the Landings for restaurants.
    Captain Sterling

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

  • Palatka Quality Inn Docks (St. Johns River, just north of Palatka High-Rise Bridge)

    The Palatka St. Johns River community actually has three places where visiting cruisers might coil their lines. The subject of Captain Sterling’s quick note below lies north of the high-rise span, while you might also choose the city dock or Boat House Marina, south of the span. The city docks are usually free, but power and water hook-ups are minimal at best. Boat House Marina usually has only a limited number of transient slips.

    A bit exposed, but relatively inexpensive. Fixed docks. Showers, and laundry. walkable to town. No food [or] shopping close by.
    Captain Sterling

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Palatka Quality Inn Docks

  • New Smyrna Beach, A Charming, Understated Spot – Captain Jane Reports (near St. M. 846)

    New Smyrna Beach Marina, 201 N. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168, 386-409-2042Captain Jane’s usual sterling job of reporting on ports of call, as only she can do!
    Do note that the New Smyrna City Marina is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and highly recommended by all of us here at the Cruisers’ Net!

    Timing bridges under repair and tides for poorly maintained shallow parts of the waterway, this 2009/2010 snowbird season, has caused us to go long some days and short on others, choosing our tides carefully or timing a weird bridge repair schedule.
    In addition to allowing us to get deeply in touch with our relationship to patience, our “new timing” has brought us to some good new ports of call. One of these good new finds is New Smyrna Beach and its City Marina. I confess, once again, my bias in favor of city marinas — I think it’s a wonderful civic service to offer public dockage for boaters. I don’t understand the concept of privately owned slips — I thought the point of having a cruising boat was to cruise, not to grow barnacles in a privately owned slip, but that’s a longer discussion and distracts me from giving praise where praise is due.

    New Smyrna Beach Historic district, a short walk from Smyrna Beach City Marina

    New Smyrna Beach City Marina occupies a small and charming cove, tucked away yet directly off the ICW where it makes an elbow turn. Two large rocks mark the harbor entrance and during our stay hosted an impressive number of pelicans and cormorants who made frequent forays into the fairways for lunch. It made it a sweet place to visit — I’m partial to birds and I enjoyed the pelicans and cormorants by day and the green heron fishing off a neighboring boat at first light.
    Facilities at New Smyrna Beach City Marina are spotless — clean modern heads and showers, good laundry facilities. While we were there, we found the dockmaster on duty friendly, professional and eager to tell us what was within walking distance and which establishments are his favorites. If you need some re-provisioning, there is a Winn Dixie supermarket about a mile’s walk from the marina.
    ICW ports of call, how

    A real bakery... Joyce Miller, manager of Love Muffins Bakery home of what is billed as the 'world famous Mini Cinni's'

    ever, are not just about cruiser necessities, but about the town and the people beyond the dock. New Smyrna Beach is an actual town with a charming historic district, just a short walk from the marina. There are several places to eat — we spotted a new Mexican restaurant, Lil’ Neal’s a very casual barbecue place (the kind so casual that it could be a real find); Mahoney’s Oyster Bar, featuring with hearty soups and sandwiches, and a more generalist type of restaurant, Jason’s Corner.
    If you want fresh baked bread — 10 grain and sour dough the morning we stopped in — or muffins, mini cinnamon rolls, or other baked goods — Love Muffins is a real bakery where you will find the real thing. It’s a right turn almost as soon as you enter the historic district. My first mate’s mouth was full of a mini cinnamon roll, so I can’t quote him, but he gave a big thumb’s up with his free hand.
    If you want a seafood lunch or dinner, we hear the place to go is adjacent to the marina and it is located in one of your visual clues for sighting the harbor entrance — a blue building that houses Dolphin View, a fish restaurant. Locals told us they serve an honest fresh fish sandwich or platter and they advertise on their door a $4.95 all you can eat breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays.
    Jane Tigar
    S/V Lady Jane

  • “Potty Patrol” Once Again Underway on AICW/Indian River

    Notice that the inspections Captains Bob and Judy describe below are taking place at MARINAS. I would bet there are also cruising craft being stopped while underway as well.

    According to today’s issue of Florida Today newspaper [4/26/10], over the weekend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) launched onboard inspections of sanitation systems of live-aboard boats in marinas and boats on the ICW. Over the weekend they inspected boats in marinas on Merritt Island, Melbourne and Vero Beach. The operation is going to continue until Friday (April 30th).
    Bob McLeran and Judy Young

    I had the experience personally yesterday. Went to Sanderling to do a little work after posting the article to this list. The young FWC officer had no idea that only a few places in Florida are no discharge
    zones (he’d spent most of his short career in the Keys, which IS a NDZ) and he’d never heard of a Lectrasan/Electrascan. I proceeded to provide a modest amount of education, he called his supervisor and confirmed that his new teacher was correct. Very receptive, courteous, not an issue. Got a receipt from him that Sanderling was in compliance.
    A friend in another marina where sanitation inspections were taking place yesterday told me that the FWC officers were taking “samples” from the Lectrasan boats for testing. How they did that I’m not sure, but I’d never take either of my Lectrasans apart to allow a sample to be taken, nor would I break the overboard line for that purpose (there are couplings to do so. If the FWC officer wanted to get into the engine room to do it, with the assurance that they’d be responsible for any damage, I’d CONSIDER letting them do so!
    We’ve been boarded several times by water cops (local sheriffs or FWC officers) for sanitation inspections and when we’d tell them we had 2 heads and 2 Lectrasans they all said “thanks” and departed!
    Bob McLeran and Judy Young

    We were boarded in Vero Beach mooring field shortly after arriving on Saturday and the dye test was done. Then again on Sunday when we were on the ICW heading to Cocoa, the same two officers came up to our boat but recognized us and laughed and said didn’t we check you yesterday? Just doing their job.
    Capt. RL & Karen
    s/v Last Call

    How are they treating boats with Porta potties and pump out systems that are legal? Also how are they dealing with wag Bag owners/
    Thanks
    geneWj

  • St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach – Captain Ted Jones Reports

    The author of the note below, Ted Jones, is the former editor and co-owner of the late, much lamented “Coastal Cruising” magazine. We are pleased that Ted is now sharing regular reports with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net about his cruises.
    There’s a whole passel of useful cruising news in Ted’s note below. Let’s all “go to school” on what he has to share!
    Note Ted’s less than happy experiences while cruising NE Florida with water levels much thinner than usual, almost certainly the result of “wind tides.”

    We arrived here from St. Augustine late yesterday afternoon after a difficult slog through waters which were as much as two feet below normal levels. We met a tug pushing a barge at the narrowest part of that section of the ICW with two “S” turns. I called him on 13 and suggested a port to port pass and said we would stay out of his way. On the starboard edge of the channel we had a depth sounder reading of 4.5 feet (actual 6.5) and were crowded cheek by jowl with the barge. We passed within 20 feet of the barge. A few minutes later I looked back, and the wind had pushed the barge further to the south and it had run aground. When last seen, the Island Pilot (tug) was trying to pull his charge back into deeper water.
    It was a stressful day of watching depths in mid channel get down to 3.5 feet at times (we run aground at 2.5 feet), and the NW wind continued to increase to force 7. When we got to Fernandina Beach, we sought shelter in a back creek where the current is strong, but we rode okay with both anchors out.
    This morning we came into the marina, washed our laundry, and plan to leave in the late morning, heading offshore as we did in early January sailing in reverse from St. Mary’s inlet and on up to Beaufort, SC,
    which should take us 24 hours give or take. The forecast is for the NW winds to diminish tomorrow, remaining up to 10 knots, then on Thursday, the wind should go around to the south and blow us up St. Andrew’s Sound to Beaufort.
    Several of our companion reverse snowbirds have dogs aboard, so do not have the option of avoiding Georgia by sailing offshore.
    Tomorrow, we leave Florida behind with mixed feelings. It might be a great place to visit in the winter time, but we surely wouldn’t want to live here year around.
    Ted Jones

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

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