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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • Dog River Marina No Longer Offering Free Overnight Dockage with Fill-up (off Mobile Bay)

    As of May 6, 2012, Dog River Marina, Mobile, Ala. is no longer offering a free nights dockage for a fill up. Ricky says they have lowered fuel instead.

    This is so disappointing. For years with our sailboat, we have stopped at Dog River Marina for fuel and transient dockage before heading up the rivers. In all fairness, we could never accept free dockage after only taking on 10 gallons of fuel for the sailboat but always remembered the Loopers offer of free dockage with a BIG fillup. Now, with our trawler, we were looking forward to the Loopers deal that is no more. We feel disappointed at being a day late and a dollar short. I hope Sonny has LOTS of diesel this week.
    Tom & Patsy

    Apparently, the free dockage with fill-up is still available for members of the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA) and the Marine Trawlers Owners Association (MTOA) only!

    Apparently it’s reported MTOA mebers are still getting the free dockage with fill up.
    Capt. Sterling

    I just talked to Ricky at Dog River Marina and he said that there was a miscommunication between the office and the fuel dock: It’s free dockage for Loopers with a fillup.
    Verify with Ricky or Mike at Dog River Marina fuel dock at 251-471-4517 or the office at 251-471-5449.
    Hope this helps clarify.

  • “Homeland Security” Performing Searches Near Mobile Bay

    Yikes! Watch out on the waters from Mobil Bay, moving east to Perdido Key

    Cruising News:
    Mariners be advised that multijurisdictional boardings and vessel searches are being conducted AT DOCKS IN PRIVATE MARINAS in the area extending from Ingram Bayou/Orange Beach to marinas on Mobile Bay. Cruisers report first contact by Homeland Security vessels with alongside questioning at the entrance/exit of Bon Secour Bay. US Coast Guard, local police, drug dog, Alabama Marine Police, and Border Patrol/customs officers are seeking documentation info and ID of captains and crews but do not appear interested in safety or sanitation inspections. We would advise our fellow boaters to be on guard and be prepared. Even if permission is not given, boaters are being informed that the officers are going to “search your boat anyway.” Have all information in order related to liquor carried aboard as well as a ship’s log and other proof of where you have been and where you are going. It was repeatedly asserted to us that we had been in the Bahamas when in fact we had not, and the origin of a bottle of liqueur was closely questioned because it was named “Nassau Royale” even though in fact this product is widely available in the US and is manufactured in Puerto Rico.
    Remember that the officers are authorized to LIE in order to gain information and in severe cases of unreasonable search & seizure without permission, be prepared to request an attorney before answering ANY questions.
    Scott & Cyndi Perkins

    In a country that always trumpets its self designated superiority because it ‘˜follows the rule of law’ your government doesn’t seem to recognize any Constitutional limits. Rule of law for the proles but for the rich and their badged minions not so much.

    WE just came through this area and wasn’t boarded, however, we did see a USCG RIB stopping fishing boats and spending a lot of time with them.
    James Angel

  • Cruisers’ Christmas Pot Luck Dinner Offered by Bay Point Marina (Panama City, FL)

    What a great service by our friends at Bay Point Marina. This facility is accessed off Panama City Inlet, and lies on the shores of Grand Lagoon.

    If your travels bring you close to Panama City during the week of Christmas, please join us for a Cajun Christmas Potluck lunch at Bay Point Marina on Wednesday, December 21st. We’ll supply the delicious Cajun fried turkey, dirty rice, soft drinks and tea, and encourage you to bring your favorite holiday dish. Come celebrate a Gulf Coast Christmas with us, complete with Zydeco Christmas music!
    Located just a day’s travel from Apalachicola and Carrabelle, Bay Point is an excellent spot to wait for a good weather window, stock up on essentials, or simply relax and enjoy the warm southern hospitality of the Florida Panhandle. Visit us at for more info on Bay Point Marina.
    Steve Arndt
    Bay Point Marina

  • New Orleans Marinas

    Orleans Marina is the closest marina to the city (read as French Quarter). The South Shore Harbor is down by the airport, a little noisier. Both are on the south side of Lake Pontchartrain.
    Orleans Marina has a grocery store about six blocks away along with a few restaurants in the area. The City Marina is next door to the Orleans Marina and has not been repaired since Hurricane Katrina. Look the Orleans Marina up on Google Map or Earth satellite view as it is a bit tricky getting in the first time. Not hazardous, just huh? What the? Which away?
    Orleans Marina only has about 6 transient berths. They are fixed piers in poor condition.
    Seabrook Marina is on the industrial canal and has a long floating dock on the canal itself about 2.5 miles from Orleans Marina through the gate. However the gate is closed and won’t be reopened until maybe sometime next year.
    So this means if you’re going to Orleans Marina or South Shore Harbour you will head 8 miles up the Rigolets and then 20 miles across the eastern part of Pontchartrain to either marina.
    The Rigolets RR Swing Bridge at the entrance from the ICW and the Highway 11 Bascule Bridge on Pontchartrain will need to be opened.
    If you’re going to Seabrook, then continue on the ICW about 28 miles turn up (north) the industrial canal, get the L&N RR bridge to open and look for the marina on the left about a half mile up. Call on cell when you’re close, they don’t have VHF radio.
    Bob & Kemba DeGroot

  • Orleans Marina Recommended (in New Orleans and West End Harbor, off Lake Pontchartrain)

    We recommend Orleans Marina on the “West End” just off Lake Pontchartrain. It is in a well protected basin and is relatively close to restaurants, grocery and drug stores and public transportation so you can get to downtown and the sites. There are other places such as Seabrook Marine on the Industrial Canal and South Shore Harbor both in Eastern New Orleans and Oak Harbor in Slidell. However, you will need a rent car from all three of these locations.
    Pam Jenkins
    Godspeed (now home in Slidell, LA)

  • 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

  • Lighthouse Marina and Boatyard (Panama City Beach, Florida)

    Clearly, the text below is an “advertisement” which originally appeared on the Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Rendezvous. However, as this announcement contains lots of useful info concerning this facility, we have posted it here.
    Lighthouse Marina and Boayard lies on the northern shores of Grand Lagoon, which is accessed via a narrow channel running off the western flank of Panama City Inlet. Observer all markes at the Lagoon’s entrance very carefully!

    Very exciting news from Panama City Beach, FL. Lighthouse Marina and Boatyard . . . in the Panhandle of Florida. Rates are $1.00 per foot per night includes power, water, cable, wifi ; $4.00 per foot per week includes power, water, cable and wifi; $350 per month includes power, water, cable, wifi. Each day includes free courtesy car, free washer and dryer, and discounted fuel for AGLCA members. Newspapers delivered daily to each looper, complimentary coffee and pastries available in Marina store. The Boatyard Restaurant, on Marina property, overlooks the Grand Lagoon and is rated the best restaurant on the beach. Lighthouse Marina is minutes away from grocery stores, marine supply stores, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. The Marina Boatyard
    facility includes 50 ton travel lift and self help is welcome. Call for more information and to make reservations @ 850-234-3939 or 850-234-5609.

  • Another Recommendation For Port St. Joe Marina

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlThis wonderful facility is accessed by the Gulf County Canal, which departs the Northern Gulf ICW between Apalachicola and Panama City, and runs south to St. Joseph Bay. Port St. Joe Marina lies hard by the town of, what else, Port St. Joe. And, these good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    I would recommend the Port St. Joe Marina, in Port St. Joe, FL it is a great marina, well protected and well managed marina. A grocery store near by and just a couple of blocks away from restaurants,shops, etc.
    Tim & Sandi Howard

  • Mobile Bay/Dog River Recommendations

    The message below was copied from the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association forum. Captains Patty and Robert give excellent advice about Dog River repair yards and navigation.

    There are many good yards in Mobile. We have used and also heard good things about Dog River Marina which is up the Dog River. We usually stay
    at the Grand Mariner across the river as they have a wonderful seafood restaurant up the stairs.
    Go to Dog River but do it in the daytime–fist time we did it was by moonlight and searchlight trying to find the twisting route by markers.
    Patty and Robert Mitchell with Maggi wonder dog

  • 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

  • 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

  • Great Pizza at Port St. Joe Marina (St. Joseph Bay, Florida)

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlThe “Gulf County Canal,” which intersects the Northern Gulf ICW, lies between Apalachicola and Panama City, leads fortunate cruisers to the waters of St. Joseph Bay, where they will discover SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Port St. Joe Marina. Sounds like GOOD pizza is available nearby!

    We stayed in Port St. Joe last year by boat and we are here with our motorcoach again this year. IF you love pizza, you must go to “Joe Mama’s” and have their wood=fired pizza… is amazing! AND please save room for the “Joe’s Pot of Chocolate” dessert….!! Being a TRUE chocoholic it is a MUST! There are other good places to eat, but if you are craving great pizza, this is the place!
    Safe travels to you all!
    Dorene/Jeff DeVine
    “30 Below”

  • More Praise for Bay Point Marina (Panama City, FL on Grand Lagoon)

    Bay Point Marina is truly one of marina rich Panama City’s finest facilities. May we also suggest you take a look at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Panama City Municipal Marina, consistently one of the finest city owned facilities I have reviewed in thirty years of being a cruising guide author.
    Bay Point Marina is located on Grand Lagoon, and you must enter this body of water from Panama City Inlet, via a narrow, but marked entrance cut.

    Rode out tropical storm Lee here. Winds and rain 3 days, we stayed 2 weeks.
    Steve and staff are great, the facilities first class and weekly rates tempting. We were made to feel right at home. Had visitors and they we able to stay in the condos right behind our dock. Highly recommended,they don’t come better than Bay Point.
    Dolores Reinecke

  • Clearance of Perdido Key – Gulf Beach Bridge Questioned (Statute Mile 172)

    We received the following inquiry from Captain Steve:

    I question the bridge clearence stated. I have seen a clearence of 65′ published in several other areas. 73 feet is wonderful but I have yet to see any sailboat even close to 40′ in the perdido area. The height needs to be officially confirmed.

    While I agree that this is an unusual amount of vertical clearance for a Northern Gulf ICW fixed span, a check of the latest NOAA chart confirms these specs. Check out:

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Perdido Key ‘“ Gulf Beach Bridge

    Been under that bridge with a 55 ft mast and we weren’t even close. Looked to clear by at least 10 to 15 ft.
    Bill Lloyd

    I went under with 61′ mast and it looked to be quite a bit higher than my stick.

    4 deck towboats transit this area; when did the confusion start?
    Capt. Jerry Robbins

  • Port St. Joe Marina (Northern Gulf ICW, St. M. 328) Offers Annual Wet Slip Dockage Special

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlPort St. Joe Marina is a much valued SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!  This well appointed marina is accessed from the Northern Gulf ICW, between Apalachicola and Panama City, by cutting southwest on the Gulf County Canal, to the waters of St. Joseph Bay. It’s then only a short hop to the south to the marina’s well sheltered dockage basin. Trust us on this one fellow cruisers, seldom, if ever, will you find a more welcoming facility than Port St. Joe Marina. And now, year round slip renters get an even better deal!

    Cruising News:
    Special on Annual Dockage (Wet Slip Only), prepay for a wet slip, receive a 10% discount, 1 year free membership to SeaTow and 3 free months at the end of your contract

    Learn more at:

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

    The entrance to Little Sabine Bay, and Sabine Bay Marina, lies just to the south, immediately west of the high-rise Pensacola Beach Bridge. Follow the marked channel carefully, as you make your entrance, particularly at low water. Once into the Bay, stay away from the water body’s mid-width. There is shoal water there!

    We have stayed at Sabine Marina and it’s a great little place. Very laid back don’t expect to be wine and dined. Right across the street (real close in walking distance) from the tourists’ attractions of Pensacola beach but without the hassle of tying off your vessel at the Boardwalk and risking kids jumping all in and over your boat while you take in the Pensacola beach attractions. I highly recommend dockage at Sabine Marina.

  • Good Times at Bay Point Marina (Panama City, Fl – on Grand Lagoon)

    To access Bay Point Marina, you must depart the Northern Gulf ICW as if you were going to run Panama City Inlet. You must then cut off to the west and traverse a narrow but marked entrance into Grand Lagoon. Bay Point will be the first facility to come up to starboard as you cruise upstream on this body of water.

    Steve,the harbormaster, had a great shrimp boil for everyone here at the Marina. In the Carolinas we would call it Frogimore Stew. There was live music, all the shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, desserts and drinks that you could consume. Loopers Surona, Amalia and Roy El’ enjoyed this super hospitality.
    Also if you need a mechanic in this area, Chuck Davis is the man. His phone number is 850-596-6469.
    Roy & Elvie
    on Roy El’

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