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The Salty Southeast
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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • Smack Bayou Anchorage (near Panama City, FL)

    Smack Bayou is located on the opposite side of the Northern Gulf ICW from the Panama City Waterfront, just slightly west of Massalina Bayou.
    The two mooring balls Captain Root refers to below have been in place, as I recall, for years, but there is still room to drop the hook. Many cruisers anchor in Smack Bayou year after year.

    We anchored in Smack Bayou Monday night. Be advised that the charted 8 foot pool that is around the point to starboard has two permanant mooring balls in the middle and partially submerged wreck on the east side. We anchored west and slightly behind the mooring balls in about 8 feet at mid tide. Protection is excellent. However, there is some shoaling coming from the shore line, so I would suggest anchoring ahead of the mooring balls in deeper water to avoid swinging over a shoal.
    An option is to anchor in the first pool after the entrance. A trawler was anchored on the west side of that pool and seemed to do fine. Be aware there is a partially submerged wreck at the far end of that pool.
    Bill Root
    MV Tucandu, currently docked Panama City

  • “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

  • Ingram Bayou Anchorage (Statute Mile 164)

    Ingram Bayou lies off the northern flank of the ICW, west of the Waterway’s with St. Johns Bayou and Perdido Pass. This is one of my favorite anchorages of all time. It just doesn’t get better than this gang – plenty of depth, good shelter, wonderfully natural shores and ample swing room! See you there!

    Ingrams Bayou anchorage MM164.0 is wonderful. Go all the way in to the charted six foot pool at the back. We found minimum seven feet in the entire pool, except for one short six foot section at the very opening of this pool. Protection is great from all sides, and plenty of swinging room. Several places on shore to land a dog. I suggest getting there early. We arrived about 1500 to find one boat in the back pool. By 1600 we had been joined by five more sailboats.
    Bill Root

  • Watch Our For Arnica Bay – Mill Point Shoal (Statute Mile 165 to 167)

    The charted shoal referred to below by Captain Root lies just east of Bear Point Marina, and south of the ICW channel. A quiick look at chart 11378 will show these shallows quickly, and apprently they are building to the north. Sounds like good advice to favor the northern or red side of the Waterway passage.

    For those behind us, be aware that the marked shoal on the green side of the channel, just past the marina east of MM 165, extends farther out than charted. I suggest favoring the reds MM 165 to MM 167.
    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

  • Turner Marina (Dog River – Mobile Bay)

    Turner Marine is the first facility which will be spotted to starboard as you cruise under the high-rise Dog River brdige. They have been occupying this spot for many a year.

    In 2008 we spent 9 weeks at Turner Marine with a blown transmission and enjoyed our stay there. We just completed a 3 day stay and found
    things at Turner changing for the better. The restrooms are improved and a loaner car is now available for shopping trips. Their dockage rates are extremly reasonable as are their labor rates. They have a broad range of repair capeabilities and we have found their work top notch. As they were hosting a Thanksgiving lunch for all their live aboards and transients yesterday, we watched a new 50 ton Travel Lift being unloaded from the truck. It will be in service early in 2010. This third generation, family owned and operated business is staffed by friendly, helpful people who always make us feel most welcome. It is a pleasure to stay there and one of the best stops on the Loop.
    Hank & Ann
    Queen Ann’s Revenge

    We agree with Hank & Ann. We’ve been at Turner Marine for a week. It’s a very nice stop with fine folks, great service and dockage rates that won’t empty your wallet.
    Bill & Kathleen Root
    MV Tucandu

  • Downtown Mobile, Alabama City Dockage

    The article below is interesting news to me. I didn’t think the city of Mobile provided any sort of pleasure craft dockage along their downtown waterfront. I learn something new every day here on the Net.

    The convention center dock is conveniently located right down town. Just walk through the first level parking garage and you’re within blocks of restaurants, bakeries and other entertainment. The dock is free and there are no services (water, electric, etc.). Just call and the security guard will come down and check your paperwork.
    Be aware though, that the debris you pass on your way to Mobile is the debris that you will encounter on your bow at night if you’re the boat in front on the north set of cleats or the lead boat on the south set of cleats. Low tide occurs in the wee hours and so the debris can float free on both sides of your boat.
    Watch your rub rail and the green fenders on the concrete pier. Great protection but put out fenders to soften the blows from the passing tows and inconsiderate boaters.

  • St. Andrews Marina (Panama City, St. M. 388)

    St. Andrews Marina is the westernmost of the two excellent facilities owned and manged by the city of Panama City, Florida. I cannot recommend both of these marinas too highly, and not just because they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Subject: Panama City St. Andrews Marina
    Cruising News: Nice to see that St. Andrews coffee shop and Uncle Ernies’s restaurant have survived the economic recession and still serving excellent food. We docked at St. Andrews Marina in Panama City while on a delivery 10.27.09 – 11.3.09 from Bradenton FL to New Orleans LA. We love the St. Andrews neighborhood. A scarecrow competition decorated all the storefronts for Halloween. Musicians played in outdoor pavilion near marina. Marina is clean, floating docks for transients, and walking distance to lovely neighborhood park. Fresh seafood available off the boats docked there.
    We cruised offshore until Pensacola, so cannot comment on ICW water depths.
    Capt. Wendy Young
    Punta Gorda FL

  • South Shore Harbor Marina (Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans)

    South Shore Harbor Marina is one of the only New Orleans pleasurecraft facilities that is not located in West End Harbor on Lake Pontchartrain. Glad to hear this facility has recovered from the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    Subject: New Orleans South Shore Marina
    Cruising News: South Shore Marina, east of Lakefront airport, is open for business and has lots of dockage available. We delivered a boat here this week. Permanent slips are fixed concrete docks with adequate outpilings. Continuing construction is completing installation of electric and water to some piers. April 2009 we delivered the second boat to dock at this marina. Seven months later, there are around 150 boats docked here with room for another 100 or so. Nice to see this municipal marina up and running. Bathroom and showers clean. For those of you coming south on your loop cruise, consider cruising an extra 2-3 days west from Mobile to dock in New Orleans and see this town coming back to life again.
    Capt. Wendy Young
    Punta Gorda FL

  • Lulu’s at Homeport Marina (St. M. 155)

    Homeport Marina, home of Lulu’s Restaurant, is located along the northerly shores of the Northern Gulf ICW’s run through a man-made canal, east of Mobile Bay. It lies just a stone’s throw east of the high-rise Gulf Shores – Highway 59 bridge.

    Subject: Lulu’s at Homeport Marina Gulf Shores AL
    Cruising News: Lulu’s was a great stop on Halloween. The local high school created a haunted house in the pavilion with $5 entrance donation going back to the school group. A costume contest topped off the evening. This restaurant and “play area” at Homeport Marina, Gulf Shores AL, is one of our favorite stops when delivering a boat to Mobile or west. The “beach”, pavilion and large outdoor restaurant host music and kid/family-friendly activities every day. Don’t pass up the gift shop for your Lucy Buffett souvenir.
    Capt. Wendy Young
    Punta Gorda FL

  • 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,

  • Praise for Dog River Marina (Mobile Bay)

    Dog River Marina receives my vote for one of the finest marinas on the Northern Gulf Coast! They also offer full repair services!

    We left Dog River Marina (Mobile) this morning on our way Pensacola. This is a first class repair facility. The staff is very professional and helpful. There is a West Marine store on the premises and the Mobile Yacht Club (semi-private) is right across the street. With diesel fuel at $2.43/gal including ValveTech, why would anyone skip this stop on their way to Florida?

  • Fuel Prices and Leased Slip Promo at 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, FlWow, sounds like a goo deal to me! And, this superb facility is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Subject: Fuel Prices & Leased Slip Promo
    Cruising News: Our gas is $3.73 and diesel is $3.18 includes tax. We have a Special on Annual Lease Customer Wet/Dry till October 1st, 2009. Call 850-227-9393 and ask for Clara
    Clara Landry

  • Great Diesel Fuel Prices in Houma, Louisiana

    Wow, wish we could fill our tanks here!

    I bought 150 gallons of diesel @ $2.25 gal. at Retif Fuel in Houma, Louisiana today, about mile 59 ICW West of Harvey Locks next to the old railroad bridge, North bank of the ICW.
    Steve Willett
    Monk 36, GUMBO
    Thibodaux, Louisiana

  • 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

  • Important – Mobile Bay Navigational Hazzard

    Wow, here’s a piece of news and no mistake! It could really ruin your whole day on the water to hit the “pole or iron post” described below by Captains Tood and Brenda. May I be so bold as to suggest that EVERYONE who will be cruising the waters of Mobile Bay, get out their charts and plot the position of this obstruction!
    If anyone else has more info about this navigationa hazzard, PLEASE either click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail to me at

    Morning All,
    Life’s2Short just crossed Mobile Bay and is headed north on the  Tenn-Tom.  Yesterday as we were headed across the bay at low tide we saw  what appeared to be a large barnacle encrusted stump or pole or iron  post.  We were in 11′ of water and this baby was not moving and was 30+  inches in circumference, it was definitely attached to the bottom.  We did  contact the Coast Guard and reported it’s position but I also wanted to let the  list know of  it’s coordinates;  30.22.161 N  87.54.686 W    When Life’s2Short cross’s Mobile Bay, headed west, we always leave  the GIWW shortly after entering Mobile Bay and head N.W. on a direct line  to Dog River.  The obstruction is on that line about an hour north of  the GIWW.  The scary part was that we were following our old track on the  Cap’n software and we came within 10 yards of it before we saw it sticking out  about 6″ above the water!!
    Todd  & Brenda Lanning

    We recently completed a cruise from Punta Gorda, FL to Tennessee aboard our Viking 43 DCMY. We saw something like a stump just outside the west side of the channel and just south of Dog River in Mobile Bay. Anyone interested in fresh info the the cruise up the Gulf Coast, Tenn-Tom and Tennessee River can check out our blog at
    Tom Murphy

  • 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

  • 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

  • Bay Point Marina (Panama City, Grand Lagoon)

    Bay Point Marina is located in Grand Lagoon, just off the Panama City Inlet. This is a FINE facility!

    This Marina located in Panama City,Fl. is worth the stop.  Great service, excellent layalong docks with a great swiming pool and Deli.  Steve the Manager runs an excellent operation, you couldn/t ask for more. Highly recommend.
    Ray & Patsy
    on the Patsyray

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