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Archive For: N. Gulf4 – Hathaway Bridge to Pensacol

  • Depth Restrictions in Northern Gulf ICW between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (Statute Mile 263)

    Dike at Mile 263

    Although very few cruising vessels will exceed these depth restrictions, caution in the shifting waters is mandated. For an earlier report on this same area, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=135979

    FL – GIWW – MILE 254.0 – MILE 273.0, EHL – Obstructions Mudslide
    Due to severe weather, several mudslides have occurred on the GIWW between Mile 254.0 and Mile 273.0, EHL. These events have restricted and/or partially blocking the GIWW in these areas. At this time, the COTP Mobile has closed this area of the GIWW to all commercial traffic and has set a seven foot draft restriction for all other vessel traffic. The U.S. Coast Guard marked significant shoaling areas at Mile 257.0 and Mile 264.0 with a single green foam buoy with a quick flashing green light. All non-commercial vessels with a seven foot draft or less transiting the area are advised to utilize extreme caution, as shoaling conditions are subject to change. The Army Corps of Engineers is mobilizing a dredge to this waterway. Dredging operations will commence on or about Monday, May 5, 2014, and we anticipate the project to take approximately 2 weeks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard at (251) 441-5976. Chart 11385 LNM 18/14

    I passed this way yesterday. The dredges have left room to pass but I would say that anyone over 50′ might find it tight. Then again, the dredges move constantly.
    Randy Blake
    Black Tickle
    Endeavour TC36.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dike Collapse.

  • More on Channel at Dike Break in Northern Gulf ICW between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (Statute Mile 263)

    Dike at Mile 263

    Back in July, we reported that the a narrow, canal-like section of the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway) had been closed, due to the collapse of a dike, following torrential rains, and tons of mud and sand had been washed into the channel. Then, on 8/24/13, we published an article that dredging had partially reopened the channel, but budgetary restrictions had kept the ACOE from widening the channel to its original breadth (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119741). Skipper Sandberg’s comments are in response to this earlier posting: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=127419

    Passed by red and green markets 2/19/14 heading west to Fort Walton. Sufficient room to pass by both markets IF I do not encounter other traffic headed in opposite heading to yours. Stay alert since marker appear when you may Not be expecting ‘aids to navigation.’!! This was our first time in Grand Canyon.
    Sandy Sandberg

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Repaired Dike

  • Possible GPS Disruption near Ft. Walton, FL, February 3 -28, 2014

    This Local Notice of possible GPS outages comes to us from our good friend Chuck Baier and the Great Loop Forum.

    This location is near the Ft. Walton Beach area…
    The GPS Navigation signal may be unreliable from February 3-7, 2014; February 10-14, 2014; February 18-21, 2014 and February 24-28, 2014, (each day), from 1500Z until 1800Z, due to testing on GPS frequencies used by shipboard navigation and handheld systems. GPS systems that rely on GPS, such as E-911, AIS and DSC, may be affected within a 15 NM radius of position 30-33-19.02N 086-46-26.04W. During this period GPS users are encouraged to report any GPS service outages that they may experience during this testing, via the navigation information service (NIS) by calling (703) 313-5900 or by using the NAVCEN’s web site GPS report a problem worksheet at http://WWW.NAVCEN.USCG.GOV.
    Chuck, Trawler Beach House
    The Great Book Of Anchorages <http://www.tgboa.com/>
    Navigation Notices <http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm>
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House <http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/>
    Voyages of Sea Trek <http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

  • Update on Channel at Dike Break in Northern Gulf ICW between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (Statute Mile 263)

    Dike at Mile 263

    Spoke with the Mobile USACE office this AM and the channel at mile 263 has been cleared. The Corp is still working on the dike, but the waterway is navigable. A LNM summary is below.
    See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121823

    Back in July, we reported that the a narrow, canal-like section of the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway) had been closed, due to the collapse of a dike, following torrential rains, and tons of mud and sand had been washed into the channel. Then, on 8/24/13, we published an article that dredging had partially reopened the channel, but budgetary restrictions had kept the ACOE from widening the channel to its original breadth (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119741).

    What is most recent update? Planning to use this route on December 9.
    Robert Sisum

    A summary of Local Notices to Mariners posted earlier this year:
    Notice 13-24 stated the channel had been dredged and re-opened. 13-28 announced that there had been some partial shoaling from a second rain event, but since the waterway wasn’t closed we didn’t send a follow-on. There is still some minor shoaling in the area but traffic is moving.
    E. Patrick Robbins
    Chief, Legislative and Public Affairs
    Mobile District, USACE

    We are indebted to Captain Gano, who brought us one of the first reports of the break earlier this summer, for this excellent report from the collapsed dike area:

    Ok, when you last asked me what I knew of the cave-in status at this mile marker, I really didn’t have a lot of information. Today we took a 50-mile round trip over there to blow the cobwebs off the boat and to see what is
    going on. We live east of the area, but since most cruisers come through our area west-to-east, I’ll give the order of what I found heading east. At mile 263 there is still a massive dip in the dike on the south side of the channel. As the accompanying mile 263 photo shows, there is ongoing repair, and it appears that a massive sausage device, probably filled with sand, which may be the base of the repair. Contrary to the last profile of this area I saw on the USCOE website, there appears to be no serious shoaling there. I ran the boat slowly within about a boat length of the south bank and never saw less than about 14 feet of water (tide level was plus .4 foot). I see no problem here for cruisers. There were construction vehicles on site, and there may be waterborne construction craft in the area in the future; so be watching as you come around the turn just before this area.

    Dike at Mile 263

    At mile 265, as shown in the mile 265 photo, there is a break in the seawall on the south bank, but we saw no depth issues as we passed in both directions.

    Wall Collapse

    As shown in the mile 266.6 photo, there has been an unreported partial collapse on the north bank. Needless to say, the north side of the channel should probably be avoided, but we saw no depth issues as we cruised either direction in the center of the channel.

    Partial Cave-in at Mile 266.6

    A little farther on at about mile 266.8 and mile 267.1, I came upon two unlighted temporary buoys. They are new to me and may not be the only buoys in this 15-mile cut between Choctawhatchee Bay and West Bay because we did not go all the way to the westward end of the cut. The westward buoy at mile 266.8 was green and guarded a brown-looking shoal area on the south side of the channel that we could clearly see in the relatively clear water.
    The red buoy at mile 267.1 (on your chart, right at the outflow of West Bay Creek on the north side of the channel) did not guard any particular thing we could see. There were no depth issues running this area.
    All in all, barring serious rainfall (I am talking about in excess of 4-6 inches in a day like that which caused the cave-ins in the first place), the Grand Canyon seems to be in good enough shape for relatively carefree passage for mile 263 eastward. I have heard of no problems to the west of mile 263.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso (1972 Grand Banks 42)
    Panama City, FL

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Repaired Dike

  • Continuing Problems on Northern Gulf ICW Between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (near Statute Mile 265)

    Back in July, we reported that the a narrow, canal-like section of the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway) had been closed, due to the collapse of a dike, following torrential rains, and tons of mud and sand had been washed into the channel. Then, on 8/24/13, we published an article that dredging had partially reopened the channel, but budgetary restrictions had kept the ACOE from widening the channel to its original breadth (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119741).
    Now, below we hear from Captain Rich Gano, in Panama City, (who sent us the original report of the Waterway closing) that more rains have worsened the situation, and moneys are still not available for a full fix. Sounds like there may be hope though!

    Last month I reported on the dike break which closed the ICW between Panama City and Destin for a week or two. We have continued to have inordinate amounts of rain, and the US COE now reports this same area has shoaled up to on the southern half of the channel at this mile marker. The northern part of the channel is OK.
    For the uninitiated, that is NOT enough room for easy passage of two trawlers. There is no estimate of when the money will be available to fix this, but because it hinders barge delivery of fuel to Panama City (our normal method), I assume it will not be long.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso

    Click Here, Or on Chartlet Above, To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The “Partially Reopened” Section of the Northern Gulf ICW

  • Northern Gulf ICW Partially Reopens Between Panama City/West Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay (near Statute Mile 265)

    On July 7, 2013, the SSECN published an extensive posting, inspired by information received from Captain Rich Gano, to the effect that the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the GIWW) had been closed between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay/Fort Walton Beach, due to the almost 20 inches of rain dumped along the Gulf Coast, [which] collapsed a levee alongside the cut. We are pleased to report that two dredges are now on-site, working 24/7 to return the channel to normal width and depth, and as of 7/24/13, the Waterway has been “partially” reopened.
    How can a Waterway be “partially reopened,” you may ask, as did we. Well, seems that some sort of narrow channel has already been restored by dredging operations, BUT, we strongly advise one and all (see below) to follow the USCG’s advice, and contact the dredge operators via VHF, for advice on how best to bypass their operations, while still maintaining the best depths. Hopefully, within another week or so, the dredges will have finished their work, and this “closure” will be only a bad, short-lived memory!

    The 11 July 2013 Mobile COE Nav note states the dredge Integrity will be on site and expected a week to clear the blockage.
    Now I have word from Stan Reynolds, who intends to move his trawler from Panama City to Destin, that the USCG says via a phone call that the “ditch” is partially opened to pleasure vessels. Just contact the dredge for passing instructions.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso (GB42 Hull # 295)
    Panama City area, FL

    Stan Reynolds got Morning Star through the ongoing dredging operation yesterday. He had previously called the USCG and had been told that the area was partially open for pleasure vessels. He was instructed to call the dredge for passing instructions. However, when he got there at about 11 AM, he found two dredges with both operators at lunch and no communications. He successfully eased on through and also found a significant shoal area on the south side of the canal at mile 270.
    The last update of the COE Mobile District’s Navigation Notes page is the 11 July comment that there is a dredge working the area.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso (GB42 Hull # 295)
    Panama City area, FL

    And, here’s some less welcome news just received from Captain Gano on 7/24/13:

    Local news reporting tonight reports the Corps of Engineers has cleared the mile marker 265 bank collapse enough to allow a barge to pass, but there is not enough money in the remaining fiscal year budget to completely clear all debris. They may be having to wait until November to complete repairs.
    Begging to be answered is the question of how the canal will fare through the rest of hurricane season. Significant rainfall in a short period of time could easily exacerbate the current problem.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso (GB42 Hull # 295)
    Panama City area, FL

    Click Here, Or on Chartlet Above, To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The “Partially Reopened” Section of the Northern Gulf ICW

  • Free Dock in Ft. Walton Now Re-Opened, Gulf ICW, Mile 223, Fort Walton Beach, FL

    Fort Walton Free Dock - Click for Chartview

    The free dock in Ft Walton Beach, located between R6 and R8 on the north side of the ICW, just west of the Brook Bridge, has been closed for repairs and, as Capt. Riggs relates, the dock is now open. The 3 deepest spots are on the SW corner of the dock, 1 being a lay along and the other 2 being the first two slips. Avoid blocking the pump out station as boaters do come to use it and then leave immediately.

    Cruising News:
    The free dock provided by the City of Ft. Walton, Fl is located just west of the fixed span Brooks Bridge at GICW mile 223. This facility has been closed for repairs for several months. The repairs have been effected, and the dock is now welcoming transient vessels effective May 29, 2013.
    Bob Riggs

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Free Dock

  • Lack of Transient Dockage in Destin, Florida Reported

    The message below is copied from the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association forum. Shalimar Yacht Basin (see below) is located just west of Destin in Fort Walton Beach.

    Mint Julep is traveling east on the ICW together with Moonstruck. Yesterday, we attempted to make transient slip reservations in Destin Harbor and learned that there are none easily available. We checked with Harborwalk Marina and Marina Cafe….neither are providing slips for transients at this point in time. We even checked with the Destin
    Fisherman’s Co-Op and they do not take transients either.
    We stopped at Shalimar Yacht Basin, just off the ICW at 225EHL, and they have provided great service and good wind protection. Other good marinas (like Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin) are available on Choctawhatchee Bay, but we wanted the migrating group of Loopers coming from the Rendezvous to know that marinas in the Destin Harbor are not an option. If you still want to enjoy the Destin Harbor area, it is a very good deep water anchorage.
    Also, we learned yesterday that this weekend is the Apalachicola Seafood Festival, and no docks are available until Sunday night, for folks preparing to cross when/if a window opens next week.
    Bob and Pam Shircliff
    Gold Loopers
    M/V Mint Julep

    Marbella Yacht Club also offers transient slips in Destin Harbor. East Pass Realty (850) 837 4191 offer slips in Destin Harbor at East Pass Towers Marina and Watergate Towers Marina. Both of these marinas are private but will accept transients.
    Blake Dupuis
    M/V Marlee Ann

  • Free Dock (Fort Walton Beach)

    The question was asked, where is the free dock in Ft Walton Beach. It is located between R6 and R8 on the north side of the ICW, just west of the Brook Bridge. The 3 deepest spots are on the SW corner of the dock, 1 being a lay along and the other 2 being the first two slips. Avoid blocking the pump out station as boaters do come to use it and then leave immediately.
    Stay safe,
    Tom

    For all those [cruisers] who have used the free dock at Ft Walton Beach, consider writing a personal note to the city c/o Carol Jones at cjones@fwb.org. If you went ashore during your visit and spent money, especially let her know. Feedback like this is what will keep that dock available in the future.
    For those considering the use of this dock, remember it is without electricity and only for a single night. Other private marinas in the area want a chance at your longer term business.
    Stay safe,
    Tom

  • Baytowne Marina at San Destin (Choctawhatchee Bay)

    Baytowne Marina is easily accessible off the Northern Gulf ICW’s run across the lengthy of Choctawhatchee Bay. I have always thought this facility to be a bit exposed, but a partial breakwater helps.

    I have to agree with Dick. We enjoyed spending time with Captain Ron in Baytowne. The Marina is a vibrant community unto itself, complete with a friendly Golden Retriever. Great facilities, Laundry, showers, BAR!, and all the Clubs, Restaurants, and Golf you could possibly want. Like Arnold said, “I’ll be back”.
    Paul Kelly
    On the Dot.Calm

  • Sabine Marina (Little Sabine Bay, Pensacola Beach)

    The marked channel leading to Sabine Marina cuts to the south, immediately west of the Pensacola Beach Bridge. Observe all markers carefully and heavily favor the eastern shores after entering the Bay.

    Was just at the Sabine Marina this past December in 09. While I was there that had a dredge working in the pass coming into the Marina so its plenty deep now. Great little bar and nice shower and laundry facilities.
    Rob

  • Free City Dock at Fort Walton Beach, FL

    I think, if memory serves, and sometimes it does not, we have had an earlier posting here on the Net concerning the free city dock in Fort Walton Beach, described below. Sounds like a wonderful municipal resource for the cruising community!

    Subject: Ft Walton FL free dock
    Cruising News: We stayed at the Ft Walton city Dock January 18, the water on the way in was 8 to 10 feet deep, the slip about 6 feet deep. The slips are fine and the park is nice there is a Publix supermarket a short walk away. About 10PM I heard a clatter outside. I pulled back the curtain to see a man standing on the finger pier of the next slip to my boat, when he saw me open the curtain and the light he ran up the dock to the parking area jumped into a car which was parked and the car took off. There was an aluminum skiff tied to the pier he was standing on, I think he was getting ready to steal it or the outboard motor. The next morning I saw the skiff tied to an anchored boat near the dock. The owner must have arrived later on and used it to go out to his boat. I went by and warned him of what I had seen.
    I would warn anyone stopping there to be very careful of their boat or if walking around the area after dark.
    Steve Willett
    Monk 36, Gumbo
    Thibodaux, Louisiana

  • “Specter Island” Anchorage (Statute Mile

    I have never heard the anchorage referred to below in Captain Root’s note named as “Specter Island, but, then again, the late Skipper Bob apparently knew something I did not about this small land mass. Anyway, it lies south of the ICW, on the section referred to as “the Narrows,” west of Choctawhatchee Bay and Fort Walton Beach.

    We are anchored tonight behind Spectre Island MM 217.4. Enter west of G51 per Skipper Bob, watch your depth carefully as the shoal to the east side is very shallow. We found six feet all the way in, ten feet behind island between it and the barrier island. Barrier island is restricted, but Spectre island is sand, so walking dog should be OK. Alternative is eight foot charted pool east of Spectre Island and along barrier island at 30 24 07N, 86 41 43W
    Travel safe
    Bill Root

  • Sabine Bay Marina (Pensacola Beach. St. M. 189)

    The entrance to Sabine Bay, home of the facility discussed below, runs to the south, immediately east of the high-rise Pensacola Beach Bridge. This passage has been subject to periodic shoaling in the past, but it has been several years since I sounded its depths. Anyone know what the current MLW depths are in this cut????
    Oh yes, as you will guess from the wording of Captains Steve and Liz’s message below, it is copied from the AGLCA mail list.

    [Sabine Bay Marina is] not listed in Skipper Bobs but just wanted to let any loopers still coming know about a great little marina right in Sabine Bay (ICW mile 189.0). Skipper Bobs only lists the Beach Marina at $1.50/foot with no showers or laundry, but right next door is the Sabine Marina with a few transient slips at $1/foot (plus the florida taxes of course) with great shower, laundry and fun looking bar/restaurant. it’s right at the bridge to Pensacola Beach, so all the shops are within walking distance.
    Steve & Liz Kemper

  • 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,
    Tom

  • Free Fort Walton Beach City Dock

    If memory serves, and sometimes it does not, there was an earlier posting here on the Cruisers’ Net about the free city dock at Fort Walton Beach. In any case, what a deal, assuming, of course, you can clear an 17-18 foot fixed bridge (see below)!

    Ft Walton Beach free dock if you can clear 17-18 ft bridge . Low amp electric & H2O available . Length & beam probably not a problem if you can clear the bridge . Airport short hop .
    Jim Tharp

    There are 50′ bridges at Navarre to the west and downtown Fort Walton (to the east Brooks Bridge) to navigate to get to the city dock. It is indeed free but you must call city hall or after hours the police department to request permission to stay. Numbers are posted on the dock.
    Steve Purvis

    We stopped here last spring on the way north. We did NOT spend the night but did use the free pump-out, and while I took care of that Jennifer went to the market for supplies. I don’t recall any low (18′) bridge to get into this dock. The free city dock is just off the ICW and just west of the high bridge.
    Jim & Jennifer

  • Free City Dock – Fort Walton Beach, Florida

    If memory serves (which sometimes it does not), there was a much earlier posting here on the Net’s “Northern Gulf” section about the free city dock at Fort Walton Beach. However, the series of messages below are much more detailed than any previously posted here!

    Fort Walton Beach City Dock, on the panhandle of Florida, is a free dock. Although there is no electricity, it is a very nice dock, with several fingers.  There is room for 8 boats.  There is a 24 hour limit and permission is needed from the City Manager to stay, but that is only a phone call (850-833-9500)
    There is a Publix very close and a West Marine a little further.
    Darrell & Beth Berge
    M/V L’Attitude Changer

    As i recall only 2 maybe 3 of the docks had 4.5′ to 6 ‘ of water. i believe the outward 2 on the west side were safe.
    GEORGE & MIRIAM GRAFER
    TIME OUT

    George, your memory is correct, water is a little skinney on the east finger docks and those closer to shore.  If you find there is still a white water hose coiled at the water faucet, that is mine.  After watering up two of us last December, hose was nicely coiled on the dock, and left there, not realising the hose belonged to us.
    George and Miriam, we look forward to seeing you in a few days in Beaufort, assume you must be getting close.
    Chuck and Claria Gorgen
    ODYSSEE, waiting for spring in Rimouski, Quebec

  • Baytowne Marina (San Destin, FL)

    Baytown Marina at San Destin is found on the southern shores of Choctawhatchee Bay, east of Destin and East Pass., It always interesting to read opinions from other cruisers. In the past, I have only been moderately impressed with this facility, but  message is certainly going to cause me to take another look!

    The biggest life-changing discovery for us on our Loop in '03 was the FL Panhandle. We're now in our 8th winter at Baytowne Marina, Sandestin, FL (on the south shore of Choctawhatchee Bay, just east of the Mid-Bay Bridge at Destin).  Check out the marina (and resort) website:http://www.sandestin.com/golfactivities/marina/tabid/218/Default.aspx. Or call Capn Ron, Dockmaster at 850-428-1016.
    Enjoy the Emerald Coast with us!
    Dick Hanson
    on Souvenir in the FL Panhandle

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