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Archive For: N. Gulf1 – Carrabelle and Apalachicola

  • Vessel Fire in Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf Coast

    Carrabelle, FL – Click for Chartview

    This story of a vessel fire in Carrabelle, FL was posted by Captain Janice Marois on her blog,, where she was anchored. Initially very frightening, once the fire location was determined and contained, Captain Marois was able to calmly relate and photograph the episode. For photos and the complete story, go to:

  • Good Words for MS Dockside Marina, Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf

    MS Dockside Marina - Click for Chartview

    We continue to hear only good things about this marina. See /?p=46813 MS Dockside Marina is located at 292 Graham Drive in Carrabelle which is at the eastern end of the Northern Gulf Waterway. The phone is 850-697-3337. Email is

    PS: The MS stands for Marine Systems.

    Although we are not currently cruising (we are home in Carrabelle FL) we really wanted to applaud the staff of the MS Dockside Marina here at home. We chose this town in a great part because of this marina, and we continue to be amazed at their expertise and kindness. If anyone needs any kind of mechanical help just before or after the crossing between the northern gulf and the west coast of FL, these are the guys to see. They are skilled, professional, and will do what it takes to correct your problem. We are so grateful to have them right here in our own town.
    Hope you are doing okay. We think of you often.
    Tim and Lisa Keith-Lucas
    MV Santa Catalina de Guale

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of MS Dockside Marina

  • Praise for C-Quarters Marina, Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf

    C-Quarters Marina - Click for Chartview

    C-Quarters Marina is located on the Carrabelle River in Carrabelle, Florida. This full service marina features 67 boat slips. The marina has a complete ship store for your cruising and fishing needs.

    Carrabelle is a must stop for preparing to cross the Gulf and two marinas are always highlighted. We have always stayed at the Moorings which is a wonderful, up scale marina and very popular. This trip we tried C-Quarters and found that they too are a wonderful stop. They continued the Carrabelle tradition of caring about their customers and insisted that we give them a safe arrival call when we arrived at our destination. We couldn’t ask for anyone more helpful. Stay safe,

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of C-Quarters Marina

  • A Vote for C-Quarters Marina (Carrabelle, Florida – Florida Panhandle)

    Carrabelle is the perfect jumping off place for cruisers headed south across Florida’s waterwayless Big Bend Region, or the first port of call for vessels northbound across these waters. In addition to C-Quarters, the Moorings at Carrabelle is another good marina choice here.

    Cruising News:
    Very cruiser friendly, fairly priced marina. Diesel fuel price on 11/30 $3.65 incl tax. Suggest you add to fuel price listing to benifit Loopers and other cruisers. Jump off point to cross to Clearwater/Tarpon Springs/Big Bend routes.
    Ed Grygent

  • Use East Pass Inlet (near Dog Island and Carrabelle, FL), Not Government Cut Inlet (near Apalachicola, FL) When Cruising to or From the FL Panhandle

    Here’s an important message for all cruisers plying the waters of the eastern Florida Panhandle, and especially for those looking to the cross Florida’s “Big Bend” section. I agree wholeheartedly with Captain Tom that East Pass is far more reliable than Government Cut, and his recommendations about the WONDERFUL anchorages along the northern shores of Dog Island, are right on the money!!!

    Each year I give the recommendation of using the East Pass to enter the Gulf, not Government Cut closer to Apalachicola. Government Cut is a man made access to the Gulf and Mother Nature keeps laughing as she pushes the sand back the way she wants it. After a dredging, the Cut is deep enough but sometimes it doesn’t stay that way for very long. The second major reason for recommending East Pass is that anchorages are nearby, on the north side of Dog Island. A good strategy is to come across Apalachicola Bay, stick your bow out to the sea buoy at East Pass to create a GPS track line, then anchor for the night. By following the track line in the dark, you can feel assured you have a clear line to get into the deeper waters of the Gulf. Lastly, the distance across the Gulf is the shortest from East Pass and your vessel will be closer to land for some wave protection. Even for those boats going around the Big Ben, enter the Gulf at East Pass,
    Stay safe,

    We came southeast from Apalachicola to John’s Pass (just N of Sarasota) on 11/8-9/2011. We were following a deeper-draft sailboat out Government Cut (had not read this posting, and they do this every year’¦), when they slewed strongly to starboard and came to a stop. They were able to power off and continue. We are a catamaran, loaded for cruising, with a draft about 2’11’³ and WE also bumped in that spot. It was well within the channel, not in the riprap-protected part of the cut, but farther in toward the bay, where it’s sandy. Position was 29 37.25’N: 084 57.768’W and depth registered at under 3 feet.
    So stay much closer to the greens than the red markers when transiting the sandy `inner’ extent of this cut, and when we go back, we will probably give East Pass a try! Thanks, all.
    Heather and Derek
    S/V Parallax

    I was fishing in Government Cut this past Sunday, Nov. 13, and can attest to the fact that the channel there has shoaled just inside (bay side) of the cut, as it often does. A large recreational boat ran aground briefly at close to low tide, but was able to get underway again promptly. As an aside, it was very rough in the cut due to a rapidly falling tide and southerly winds. Using East Pass provided a much more sheltered passage and, I imagine, an easier time exiting the bay into the gulf.\
    John Watson

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of East Pass Inlet

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Government Cut Inlet

  • Good Report on Dockside Marina (Carrabelle, Florida)

    Dockside Marina just reopened a few months ago, and it’s a good thing this facility came back to life. It’s the only readily available repair yard in Carrabelle, staging ground for crossing Florida’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region!

    I did a pull out and some bottom work out of Dockside Marina this past month and am happy to say that Eric and his crew are competent on the travel-lift and easy to work with. It is great to have a good boat yard back in Carrabelle!

  • Dockside Marina in Carrabelle, FL Now Open

    Cruising News:
    Dockside Marina in Carrabelle is now fully functioning. They got their travelift in late last week and Marine Systems has moved their shop onto the Dockside Marina grounds.
    Doug Cole

    They are a do-it-yourself yard. Nice people. Just put my boat back end the water after twos ashore. 6-2-12.
    Kenn Bass

  • Good Times at C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle, Florida

    C-Quarters is one of two marinas in Carrabelle, which cruisers can patronize with confidence, The other is the Moorings at Carrabelle, which is found upstream of C-Quarters.
    Carrabelle is, of course, the perfect port of call to wait for good weather before making the jump across the waterwayless Big Bend region of Florida, shooting for Anclote Key or Clearwater.

    We also had one of our best stays at C-Quarters about a month ago. The slips were a little shallow, but they made sure we were in one that was deep enough. And the seafood store was wonderful! And there was always a gathering every night at the marina.

    For those of you who are nearing your Gulf crossing, be sure to look at C-Quarters. While The Moorings has more amenities perhaps (cable and wifi), you can’t beat the prices for both dockage and fuel, especially if you need to spend longer than a couple days. Capt’n Kim is there to help and is a delight to visit with. They have showers and laundry, but no pumpout. You can walk a block to the library for their open WIFI. Diesel price was $2.80 a week ago at C-Quarters. Both the Moorings and C-Quarters are equal distance to the cross the street IGA and hardware store.
    Be sure to make the trip to Millenders Seafood. Great local seafood prices.We bought a half bag (~5gallon bucket) of fresh raw oysters and had a grilling party at the dock. What we didn’t use, we kept in the burlap bag and put back into the salt water for a couple days till the next feeding a couple days later.
    Dorothy and Larry Rand

    I absolutely agree with everything said here about C-Quarters, Kim and everyone else that helped us during our 4 day stay. The crew and the local towns folk made us feel like we’d been a part of their sweet little town for years! Be sure to bow into any slip there but know that you are safe and among friends.

    Just wanted to update we have pumpout working for a few weeks now and cable at the slips at the office. Thanx knot home for a super review! Happy holidays all!
    Captain Kim and Rover and the gang

    Just to comment on the updated diesel price is currently 2.95. We also have non-ethanol mid grade gas at 3.10
    Happy holidays all!
    The gang at C-Quarters

  • Good News! Dockside Marina in Carrabelle, Florida has Re-opened

    Boaters in the Florida Panhandle will certainly be glad to hear this news from Paul! An earlier posting here on the Cruisers’ Net told us that Dockside Marina had closed, and lamented that now there was no pleasure craft haul-out facility in this section of the Florida Panhandle, east of Panama City. That problem HAS NOW BEEN REMEDIED!!!

    Good News, Dockside Marina in Carrabelle, FL has re-opened. The official name is `M.S. Dockside Marina’. I was told that `M.S.’ stands for Marine Systems which has long operated a mostly engine repair facility across the river. Even better news, they are getting a boat lift and expect to have the full boat works up and running by late Fall. Yahoo!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Florida All News Listing For Dockside Marina

  • Exploring St. Marks (St. Marks River, near the easterly genesis of the Florida Panhandle, and east of Carrabelle)

    Enjoy exploring St Marks on foot and by dink as we wait for he gulf to settle down before moving on to Steinhatchee.
    A lot like s Louisiana with palmettos. Kid told me they filmed the Tarzan movies on the St marks River above where we’re tied up. No condos, no frills. Just raw beauty.
    You don’t need to know the name to find the BBQ joint and my friend, Lisle, swears it’s the best he’s eaten outside his native Texas. Make a mean crab cake sandwich as well. Passable if not exquisite key lime pie at the Riverside Cafi. Bo Lynn’s grocery and hardware is limited but a one for one book exchange replenished the ship’s library.
    Diesel and corn-free gas, maintenance, 70 cents/foot transient available at Shields Marina, a first class operation and the only evidence of the 21st century in the town that time barely remembers. You don’t accidentally get here by land or sea on the way somewhere else; you have to choose it as a destination.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Shields Marina

  • Crossing Florida’s Big Bend Experience

    The posting below is longer than what we usually put up on the Cruisers’ Net. However, it is such an excellent account of the often memorable (for good AND bad reasons) experience of crossing Western Florida’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region, I’ve posted the text below in its entirety. Note that this posting is copied from the AGLCA mail list with Captain Quince’s permission

    A fellow cruiser has inquired about our Gulf Crossing so I thought I’d chronicle it for him and share it.
    We arrived at Dog Island hoping for anchorage as the trip across St George Sound Bay had been a rough ride. We started east okay in one footers but after starting to fight the tide at the bridge, the next bit of open water continued to build until we met the confused waters between Dog Island and St George Island. Waves coming from both directions really kicked us around. Then the Shipping Cove turned out to be too rough to anchor so we turned and cranked up the engines heading to Carrabelle.
    The next day brought heavy fog and about noon, a flotilla of Loopers left in a short clearing window. We wondered if we should have gone but the rough water the day before made us wonder. We disconnected power and threw off our lines about 3 0-clock to head out to the anchorage again and abruptly stopped as the fog moved back in. Listened to Hank on Queen Anne’s Revenge come across the bay and up the channel in thick fog. The talked to Mint Julep who anchored in the cove but neither boat ever saw the other. The Fog never lifted.
    We contacted Queen Ann and agreed to leave the following day about 1pm to head out to Dog, thinking we’d pick up Mint Julep as well. (never did as they had moved on the night before) Heavy fog stayed with us the whole day so at 1 we headed out anyway, slowly down the channel from the Moorings to Pick up Queen Ann at C-Quarters. They pulled out and led the way as Hank had good
    experience the previous day but more likely his experience with using radar as a pilot! It was interesting going out the channel as we met a 90 foot research vessel coming in and a couple of other boats as well. Not really a problem going slow, watching radar and working your way out. After Dog Island, Twins took the lead on a waypoint at Clearwater Pass. Queen Ann intended to drop off about 4 am and head to Tarpon Springs.
    The advice we’d received from various sources recommended you be 2 to 3 hours offshore at daybreak so you can see and avoid the crab pots. There are also mileage from the coast guidelines and depth guidelines that help guide where you will start finding them. Like 20-30 miles and less than 30-40 foot depth but I’m not particularly sure of those numbers. So we set a course and started out at 8 knots, later cutting back so we didn’t arrive too early.
    The fog stayed thick and with us for quite a while, about half the way. Boats were about a half to a mile apart and we could see their lights most of the time. Sometimes disappearing into the fog and other times more clearly. We turned on Christmas lights on the bridge to help light the way, 5 strings of white LED lights that draw less than 20 watts total. We also turned on the inverter and settled into our salon for most of the trip. About 8 0-clock I turned on the TV and we had satellite reception all across the bend.
    How to stay awake for 22.5 hours crossing. Yes, it’s a long day..normal wake up at 7am, departure at 1pm, arrival to private dock on Treasure Island at 11:30 am and then up until about 8pm..what’s that, about 37+ hours! We had rested fairly well at Carrabelle. Vaughn bought a 12 pack of diet pepsi to help stay awake. I make some coffee. You’re wired at first with the fog. Then darkness descends. You set the autopilot and stare at the radar screen. The best part of the crossing may be the other boat nearby. Waves were rolling us for the first few hours, then it seemed to calm more about midnight and the crossing eased.
    Vaughn and I took turns at the wheel (actually the radar screen). We ran the boat from above at first and then moved below after darkness. You can pretty well see miles ahead of you with the radar so staring at the screen seems useless. One of us would take the helm, the other watched TV and/or snoozed. We each had about 3 cat naps, the longest was probably an hour and a half. We
    snacked on sandwiches. I had a coffee about 10 pm and Vaughn had a few pepsi’s. About 3:30 am Queen Ann slowed down and turned off toward Tarpon Springs, and we redirected for John’s Pass..they would not arrive at their destination until 11:30 due to very heavy fog..Hank’s now the expert!
    Stars were first seen in the wee hours and a welcome sight, then more fog. We were lucky in that the fog lifted at daybreak. We never saw any crab pots until sunrise, then we saw a new line every minute. Daybreak and the sunrise are especially welcome after such a passage. My wife, Vaughn get’s to see so few sunrises anyway! We never saw any other boats on the crossing either. It’s possible that one or two targets on the radar were other boats but they were never closer than about 5 miles.
    It was a fairly comfortable crossing but at some point I’d reset the autopilot to go to Clearwater and thought I’d arrived at John’s Pass. Took us a little time and phone call to our friends to understand our mistake, then we just motored down the ICW, an enjoyable ride. That afternoon we baked in the sun until we jumped in their pool..freezing at 70 degrees it was not..very refreshing and just what we needed!
    So, in hindsight, I could have probably just relocated to Shipping Cove in the fog but you do get a good night’s sleep at the dock. We could have started later and maintained our 8 knots but that would only make about an hour or two’s difference or so. Longer or shorter travels don’t matter that much over such a time and distance when on autopilot (The boat and the crew). Our trip was 195 miles. The waves and winds treated us fairly. Fog sucked but what can you see in the dark anyway? No moon so it would be dark.
    Next time I want clear skies, a full moon and the millpond sea!
    All that to say we did it with caffeine and cat naps.
    Bring on the Keys and Bahamas
    Forget Hell!!

  • C-Quarters Marina (Carrabelle)

    C-Quarters is one of two cruiser friendly marinas in the delightful village of Carrabelle. The other is the Moorings!

    At C-Quarters marina in Carribelle Diesel is $2,40 per gal. includingtaxes. Not a fancy marina, but very friendly people and a good overnight before crossing the Gulf. Stores close by.
    Cheers from Queen Ann’s Revenge crossing tomorrow to Tarpon Springs
    CDR Hank & Queen Ann

  • Sea Hag Marina (Steihatchee River) and Crossing Florida’s Big Bend, North to South

    First, Michael and Jana’s advice about departing south over the Big Bend region, from Tysons Harbor on Dog Island, is a really good idea. Tysons makes for an excellent anchorage, and you are right at the jumping off point whenever you choose to turn your bow south.
    Sea Hag Marina is the only facility really fitted out for cruising size craft on the Steinhatchee River. As long as you remain the in marked entrance channel, depths should not be a problem on the Steinhatchee. This is one of the deepest of the Big Bend streams.

    Second Star and Emotion III crossed from Dog Island two days ago. As predicted the first six hours were pretty lumpy then it smoothed out. Trip took 10 hours (6 knots) so we left in dark. First we shot the pass and left a bread crumb trail the day prior so the dark passage was at least well plotted. Next time I would leave from Tyson’s Harbor on the far east side of Dog Island which would eliminate the pre dawn departure. The charts don’t show it but that exit is very well marked. We stayed at Sea Hag Marina and experienced no problems getting in. We arrived two hours before high tide.
    Michael & Jana La Porte

    We stayed for a few days at SeaHag Marina in May 2010. Three sailboats plus one trawler. No problems with depth in or out. The Marina was very accomodating, arranging a pick up to give us a ride to a local restaurant. They also provided a ride to the local IGA. Rustic but a great stopover.
    Bob Dorman

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Sea Hag Marina

  • Low Water Levels in the Florida Panhandle as of 10/18/09

    I, too, have experienced the low water – wind tide conditions described by Captain Tom below. As he notes, these depths usually persist only a few days, but while they are underway, soundings can be spooky!

    If you are near or in the Florida Panhandle this morning, you will find the water levels are 1-2 feet below the charted depths. The north winds have been blowing hard for a few days and pushed the water off the coastline. It will come back in a few days; but for now, be careful.
    Stay Safe,

  • Buddy and the Moorings at Carrabelle Marina

    I’ve heard for years about Buddy’s prognosticians concerning the state of the Gulf waters, while cruising south across the “Big Bend.” Reading below, sounds like Buddy still knows his stuff!

    In Carrabelle, we can’t say enough about Buddy [at the Moorings at Carrabelle Marina]. He is truly a `weather wizard’. We were laid up for about a week waiting for good crossing weather to Tarpon Springs and points south, and Buddy was absolutely right on with his predictions. He warned two 60+ foot boats that they should wait one more day, but they went anyway. They called us the next day and said they should have listened to Buddy.
    Mark Giraldi and Barb Lechman
    36′ Sabreline Trawler
    Blue Swan
    now home-ported in Punta Gorda

  • Apalachicola, Florida Cruising Notes

    Apalachola is one of the most enjoyable ports of call in the Southeastern USA. I highly recommend a stop here. Looks like vern though Captain Reggie had a few marina problems, the local dining was pretty good!

    Subject: Apalachicola
    Cruising News: Arrived Apalachicola 5/24 in late afternoon.  Miller Marine would not answer phone or VHF.  Scipio Marina would not answer phone or VHF.  We wanted to buy fuel and do some shopping and go to a reataurant for much hailed oysters.  We ended up at the Raw Oyster Bar which has free docks for those who eat there.  We ate there.  Oysters were adequate, some being more cheeese than oyster.  Conch fritters were interesting.  Prices seemed a little high for the fritters and the deep fried zuccini.  We had a nice night at anchor just east of R"20" just downstreem of the railroad bridge.  quiet, good holding and if you did drag, you would drag to deeper water.  We did not drag.
    We're transiting in a Cal Cruising 36 sailboat with 48.5 ft mast and antenna clearance and 5.5 draft.  When headed from East Pass to Apalachicola, stay left as you approach the bridge.  Right side shoals into the channel to 4 ft.
    Reggie Good

  • Shields Marina (St. Marks River – east of Dog Island and Carrabelle)

    Shields Marina sits in the tiny, but interesting community of St. Marks. By land, it is almost due South of Talahassee, but by water, you must run a long, but extremely well marked channel from the Gulf of Mexico, to the waterfront. This is an excellent facility that more cruisers should use!

    We are back home for a week or so. Stopped at Shield Marine in St. Marks Fla today. Chuck and his son Brent Shields own the Marina. They have built a new Marine store..Opening in a couple weeks. Bob & I have never seen a such a Magnificate Facility for selling boats and a Marine store combined. The detail especially ..I have no words for this..I gave Chuck Shields you web site and name. You do have them on your site. Cruisers that are doing the Loop..This is the place to stop. We remember Chuck Shields in a small store that has been flooded many times. We kept our 30′ Allures Classic in St. Marks.Claiborne their store blew us away. Chuck took us on a tour..I could not take pictures. As we were leaving the county inspectors came up the elevator for COO. We will get back there for pictures before we leave
    Claiborne You know how to Publish the news. I said to Mr. Shield that you Penned all of the cruising Guides

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For

  • Apalachicola & Carrabelle, Florida Marina Recommendations

    I copied the question and answer below from the AGLCA list. Captain Jame’s advice sounds spot on to me!

    The MV lady lee 34′ trawler will be in Apalachicola about Dec 09 & 10, looks like bad weather window for big bend route. What are the best Marina’s to stay at in Apalachicola & Carrabell3.We will need crossing information. We travel at about 7 MPH.
    Joe & Jamie Schwartzott
    34′ trawler Lady Lee

    In Carrabelle you have two marina’s I would suggest…either ‘The Moorings’ (850-697-2800) or ‘C-Quarters’ (850-697-8400).? The latter is less expensive, but The Moorings offers more amenities (pool, boaters lounge, etc.), so depends on what you are looking for.
    Re: crossing information, “Buddy” at The Moorings can give you good information, and you can call the National Marine Weather service out of Tallahassee (850-942-8833). They welcome calls from mariners making “the crossing” anytime of the day or night, and will give you updated marine WX info based on current & forecasted conditions in addition to what they are broadcasting on the local WX VHF channel.
    Tom Jones

    We left Carrabelle on Thursday afternoon and arrived in Clearwater on Friday morning. We stayed at the Moorings and one added advantage is they are close to a company called Marine Systems who can help you with any mechanical/electrical problem you have. It is run by Eric Pfeufer and he is on top of most jobs that they take on. Tom Conrad’s weather forcasts are very helpful. Have a safe crossing.
    Neil Shaw
    Adagio Due GB52
    m/v Marbles

    Apalachicola: the best marina is Scipio Creek Marina.
    Carrabelle:  I say the best is The Moorings, (new name Moorings Marina  Sea Change).
    Many loopers stay at C Quarters then walk to The Moorings for Buddy’s  advice on crossing the Gulf.
    Alan  Lloyd

    In Appalachicola, we stayed at the Water Street Hotel Marina.  It was
    just fine for a one-night stay.  Appalachicola Bay is very exposed.
    If you plan/need to be there multiple days, perhaps a conventional
    marina would be better depending on what you want.

    In Carrabelle, we stayed at C-Quarters.  It was fine.  Cheap.  The guys were very welcoming and helpful.  Never did met “Buddy,” but met several fishermen who seemed to know those waters pretty well.    We left our transit plan with C-Quarters, and they were glad for us to do so.  We called when we got to Tarpon Springs to let them know were had arrived safely.  Great service for $25 and change.
    Peg and Jim Healy, aboard Sanctuary
    currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL

    We were at Scipio Creek marina in Sept. as we had made a short trip over from Panama City.  Although the people are nice, I don’t suggest this marina as they are over run with ants.  We had to leave our boat for a week and when we came back we were totally infested with them. Were told by the lady who owns the marina that they fight them constantly.  No fun. C-quarters in Carrabelle is a better bet.
    Many blessings,

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