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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • Tuner Marine Recommended (Dog River – Mobile Bay)

    As you enter Dog River from Mobile Bay, Tuner Marine is the first of the river facilities that will come abeam on the northern shores.

    I arrived at Turner Marine a little less than 2 years ago, coming down from Manitowoc, WI. Our boat needed repairs and a slip before `moving along.’ We found the Turners (owners) and the staff to be professional, honest, hard-working and `affordable’ (relative to marine costs and valuations). Work on any of a boat’s many systems can be done. I recommend Turner’s Marina without question. If I have a criticism, they are busy enough with their maritime & marina workload, that sometimes work orders take a while to get completed.
    Mark Middleton

  • Praise for Orange Beach Marina

    To find your way to Orange Beach Marina, you must depart the Northern Gulf ICW by way of St. Johns Bayou, then traverse the channel from Perdido Pass to Terry Cove. Then, turn to the west and hug the southern banks. A marked channel will lead to the marina.

    I spent the last two winter seasons at Orange Beach Marina and really enjoyed it. There are 2 restaurants on the property and Tacky Jacks across the street. They have two SUV’s for loaner cars and are very nice people. There is a boatyard and haul out facility on property with very clean restrooms and showers. All slips are covered and you are only ten minutes from Perdido Cut. Everything you need is very close.
    Slow Flight

  • Great Review of Wharf at Orange Beach Marina and Bay Point Marina

    The message below was copied from the AGLCA mail list, and is in response to a request for marina recommendation along the Northern Gulf coastline.
    The Wharf at Orange Beach Marina is located directly on the canal-like portion of the Northern Gulf ICW that runs between Mobile Bay and Pensacola, near Statute Mile 159.

    You will certainly get plenty of recommendations but I would offer the Wharf at Orange Beach. It has the village environment you mentioned and is relatively safe from storms. Bay Point Marina in Panama City is the second choice only because it is a little further away from things and its village is more limited. Both marinas are offering the same fantastic rates to AGLCA members. Neither marina will do your yard work, Saunders in Orange Beach is good and the nearest place to the Wharf unless you want to go back to Mobile Bay where you have several good choices.
    Stay safe,

  • Great Review of Port St. Joe Marina (near St. M. 332)

    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 message below is copied off the AGLCA list, and is in response to a request for good marinas along the Northern Gulf Coast.
    To reach Port St. Joe Marina, you must depart the Norther Gulf ICW, and then cut southwest down the Gulf County Canal to the waters of St. Joseph Bay. It’s then only a a short southerly hop to the well sheltered Port St. Joe Marina harbor.
    Believe me, this side trip is well worth your time. Port St. Joe Marina is one of the best facilities in the Florida Panhandle, and they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    I know its a little out of your preferred area (about an hour) but I would also consider Port St. Joe Marina in Port St. Joe, Fl. It is a great, well protected, and well managed marina. A nice grocery store
    (Piggly Wiggly I think) and huge fishing/boating store is right at your back door. The city is just a couple of blocks away with good restaurants, shops, ace hardware, barber shops, etc. The city is very bike friendly and you can easily bike any place in the city. We spent eight days there this past Nov. and plan on going back this fall for a longer stay. Good luck on your marina hunt.
    Carlton & Becky Moore

  • 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!

  • Sailboat Fire at Dog River Marina (Dog River, off Mobile Bay)

    Must be the time for boat fires. I never remember hearing of so many is such a short period of time. And, we are all sorry to hear of Captain Sonny Middleton’s hip problems. Sonny is a true friend of the cruising community, and deserves our prayers and good wishes.

    It is sad to report that a sailboat caught fire on the Dog River Marina transit dock last night. The good news is the fire was isolated to a single boat. The exact cause is not known but reports are the newly purchased boat was in transit from Florida to Kentucky by a Mississippi owner who moved the boat from Florida to Mobile and returned back to Mississippi leaving the boat unattended and tied to the dock. The weather has been unseasonably cold – below freezing – and several electrical heaters may have been in use which overheated and caused an electrical fire which ultimately caused the boat to burn to the waterline and sink at the dock. Thanks to skilled first responders, the harbor patrol and fire department the fire did not spread.
    Please make sure your electrical heater(s) are plugged into a properly sized outlet for the heater wattage with proper size circuit protection.
    One final comment – several of the liveaboard owners sleep through this multi-alarm fire – every marina should post a fire response plan and a marina “status” board (i.e. watchman cell number, freezing weather water turn off date/times etc.) – responsibilities need to be assigned, i.e. as simple as the dock staff going boat to boat and make sure no one at risk sleeps through a fire. Preparation is critical to mitigating the unthinkable consequences. If there was a marina fire – how quickly could your boat be underway to get away from the dock? Seconds count.
    FYI – Sonny Middleton, owner of Dog River Marina fell yesterday and broke his hip – he will be in surgery today. Our prayers and wishes are with him.
    Douglas Pohl

  • Do-It-Yourself Boatyard Recommended on the Northern Gulf ICW, Between Panama City and Apalachocola

    This yard must has sprung up during the last several years. I have no memory of anything but a public launching ramp at the White City Bridge. Then again, it’s been at least six years since I researched this portion of the NG coastline.

    If you’re traveling the GICW near White City, you should consider the free dockage at the White City boat ramp. This facility was recently rebuilt with approx. 150 ft of side tie dockage with 5′ plus depth. There is 15 amp service available and fresh water. They have a covered picnic area with tables and BBQs for off boat relaxing. This facility is beneath the White City/St. Joe bridge.
    Bob Dorman s/v TC too

  • 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

  • Palofox Marina (Downtown Pensacola) and Bahia Mar Marina (Bayou Chico, Pensacola)

    Palofox Marina is located in the heart of downtown Pensacola! There are many restaurants, and even one small grocery store within walking distance.
    Bayou Chico kind of sits on the western outskirts of the city, but, as noted below, there are many facilities lining this stream, including the Pensacola Yacht Club, where I have been privileged to speak on several occasions!

    We have docked our Monk 36 13′ beam 4′ draft at Palafox Marina downtown and Bahia Mar Marina on Bayou Chico just west of town both are managed by Marina management both are fine, there are several marinas on bayou Chico but we have only stayed at the Bahia Mar there sorry I don’t recall the prices.
    Steve Willett
    Monk 36 Gumbo

  • 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,

    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 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,

  • Turner Marine (Dog River – Mobile Bay)

    Turner Marine will be the first facility to come abeam to starboard as you enter Dog River from Mobile Bay!

    This marina seemed to keep coming up when I was looking for a place to get some work done on my Pearson while I was in the area. With the economy being the way it is, though, I still called around checking rates for haulouts, blocking, etc. and theirs were actually the cheapest by a good bit. I think to haul her out was $7 a boat foot, and that included putting her back in the water whenever they’d finished the work.
    They did an incredible job as well, really, really good work. I was very pleased. The Turners are all very nice and accommodating, and Roger (who runs the yard) was always willing to answer any questions or concerns I had.
    I also stayed as a transient docker a couple of nights on another trip, and again, their prices were the cheapest, which I really liked. I didn’t qualify for the Boat US discount, but even still it was less than a dollar a boat foot, like seventy-five cents or something. Not to mention anything I needed they pretty much had: laundry mat, Wi-fi, clean bathrooms and showers, they even had a courtesy car and small movie book library up in the office which was really nice of them.
    Anyway, just wanted to throw out my recommendation since I didn’t see it on the list. They’re really good and I always make a point to stop in whenever I’m down that way. They’re right there at the mouth of Dog River and Mobile Bay, so it’s really easy to get in and out of.

    I would echo the above comments. I stopped there on my Way to Pensacola, to have my mast put back up after taversing the TennTom from Ky Lake. After a week on the hard and talking to other people I just stopped there and decided to stay. Roger is Great, I never had any problems and was treated very well. I had a lot of bottom work done and left under $3500. That inclued haul out pressure wash, bottome job some minor repairs to the keel and rudder, stepping the mast tunning rig and fixing a problem with the spreaders that they found that no one ever notices untill the boat was under the watchful eye of the Turners, so its a great place. Only down side is the water is a bit thin, they were haveing some unusualy low tides, but outside of that its great and I staying to join the gang.
    Captain Bear

    I arrived at Turner Marine a little less than 2 years ago, coming down from Manitowoc, WI. Our boat needed repairs and a slip before `moving along.’ We found the Turners (owners) and the staff to be professional, honest, hard-working and `affordable’ (relative to marine costs and valuations). Work on any of a boat’s many systems can be done. I recommend Turner’s Marina without question. If I have a criticism, they are busy enough with their maritime & marina workload, that sometimes work orders take a while to get completed.
    Mark Middleton

  • Good Times at Orange Beach Marina (Orange Beach, Alabama)

    Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, AL is continuing their winter special this year…$525 a month for under cover in a fully protected marina with two restaurants, two transient cars, an on-site boatyard (Saunders) and tons of amenities off-site, including great shopping, condos, bike and walking trails, public workout facilities (not for free, though) and super weather. Call Jimmy or Donna at 251 981 4207 for the particulars and to make reservations.
    Cyndi and I are going when we finalize our “new” boat purchase, so we’ll see y’all down there. We had a wonderful winter last year. No…we don’t work for Orange Beach Marina…just spreading the joy.
    Jim and Cyndi McKay

  • Important – Inner Harbor Navigation Canal CLOSED in New Orleans

    The heavily industralized “Inner Harbor Navigational Canal” (also known as just the “Industrial Canal” in New Orleans, provides access from Lake Pontchartrain to the lock which leads to the Mississippi River, and points west on the Gulf ICW. Cruisers have to contend with a steeple chase of bridges to make this passage, but it’s still far more direct than the alternative.
    And, with the canal closed (see below), cruisers heading west from New Orleans, or even those east bound, and wanting to reach the marinas on the southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain, will have to traverse the ICW to the Rigolets, cruise through this impressive inlet to Lake Pontchartrain, and then back west across a significant portion of often rough Lake Pontchartrain to reach West End, site of most of New Orlean’s marina facilities.

    Cruising News:
    This is from the USCG’s local notice to mariners:
    Berwick Duval

    Effective immediately, the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal at the Seabrook Bridge will be closed to navigation due to construction of a cofferdam for the Seabrook floodgate structure. The channel will remain closed until approximately the Fall 2011. To ensure public safety during construction, all mariner traffic should avoid the area beginning at the north end Slip No. 6 to the Ted Hickey Bridge. For up-to-date information, mariners are urged to call the construction impact hotline at (877) 427-0345. Attached is the Marine Safety Information Bulletin

    I spoke with the Coast Guard N.O. district, it is the Seabrook Bridge which is closed down for repairs and will be for a long time, according to the USCG about 6 months. This blocks the Industrial canal but the lock and the ICW remain open. So if you are heading east and don’t need to get into the lake you can continue as usual along the GICWW.
    Steve W.

    Beginning September 22, 2010 and continuing through the fall of 2011, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers will be constructing a floodgate structure across the Inner Harbor – Navigation Canal (IH-NC) approximately 540 feet south of the Ted Hickey Bridge, and there will be no marine vessel access to or from Lake Pontchartrain via the IH-NC. Vessels should exercise caution and maintain a safe distance in the vicinity of the construction site, which is identified by light towers and advance warning signs. Additional information can be obtained by calling the Corps of Engineers’ Construction Impacts Hotline at 877-427-0345, U. S. Coast Guard Waterways Management at 504-365-2282 or 504-365-2284, or the Vessel Traffic Center (24 hours) at 504-589-2780.”
    Therefore, to get into Lake Pontchartrain from the Mississippi River or from west of New Orleans, you will have to go around and come in through the Rigolets.
    Coleen Barger

    We keep our boat on the N shore of L Pontchartrain at Mandeville. Actually, going W, the distance is shorter and much faster because of no Industrial Canal bridges going W from the MS Sound and L Borne through the Rigolets and then SW across the lake to W End in NO, as opposed to going through the ICW and Industrial Canal. Going E, the distance is much longer because you have to go E through the ICW into L Borne and then W all the way through the Rigolets then SW across the lake to W End.
    John C. Blackman

    Although the closing may be in-convenient–we never stop in New Orleans. Stop on the Gulf coast the day before and then cross the Mississippi and enjoy one of the anchorages or marinas just on the other side.
    Bob Austin

    Just have a comment to make. From Mobile, Al going west to Padre Island, Texas, bridge and lock tenders were so helpful, unlike those along the east coast. We ran into alot of snotty ones who were just so unhelpful coming down from Baltimore, MD headed to FL. However along Mobile, AL and south every tender was just so nice and most would even open the bridge if you were early. The same can be said about the lock masters, as they were so helpful and seemed genuine in their desire to make your passage safe.
    aboard “Dragonfly”

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To An “Alert” Position at the intersection of Lake Pontchartrain and the northern mouth of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Intersection of the Gulf ICW and the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Intersection of Lake Pontchartrain and the Rigolets

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Do It Yourself Boatyards – White City to Panama City, FL

    Thanks Captain Paul for some very useful information which all Northern Gulf cruisers can use!

    I have done some digging around and found some information. Panama City and Port St Joe (actually White City, FL) have DIY boatyards. These are: Bay County Boatyard on the Watson Bayou and Port St Joe’s Boat Works located just off of the GICW near White City, FL.

  • 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.

    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

  • 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

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