Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
This call for a fleet formation of Gulf crossing vessels is from our good friends at AGLCA.
We are moving to Panama City today To sort of get in position for our crossing. Since it has been awhile since the weather window opened many of us have taken Eddy’s advice and been slow floating Since getting off of the rivers. Loopers are strung out from Carrabelle back to Mobile. It looks like that when a opportunity finally arrives there will be a whole armada of us moving. It would be nice to know how many, who we are and planned crossing speed.
Probably not too early to get a roll call of vessels who are staged intending to cross at the next window since we are at many different ports right now. Our plans a capability:
Panama City until the window is a day or so away. Then Apalachacola or Carrabelle (if there will even be room). If no room we are capable of going direct from Panama City.
Boat speed 7 MPH to 25 MPH. Prefer 10 – 20.
Charlie and Kay Woodard
Our thanks to Rich Gano for sending this note-worthy news item. We are grateful that the FWC officer survived the shootout, which occurred on the waters of St. Andrews Bay and not in a marina. Panama City is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina.
You can read the basics here http://tinyurl.com/pwed56z and http://www.mypanhandle.com/news/more-information-released-about-fwc-officer-shooting
It appears that the FWC officer was responding to a disturbance of some sort on the boat the two criminals were aboard, and when he pulled up, one of them disappeared into the boat’s cabin and then reappeared with a gun. Seems he may have had a drug-related warrant out on him in a northern tier state and knew that an identity check would land him in jail. So, of course, murder was the right choice for him, duh. Seems to me that if you want to remain below the radar, you don’t create disturbances on the water. A Panama City Beach police officer was killed (first ever) by a criminal on the run from a northern tier state 11 years ago during what the cop thought was a routine traffic stop.
In the current case, a gun battle ensued during which the officer ended up in the water, and even reloaded while in the soup firing at the criminals as they hijacked his patrol boat and tried to run him down before running the boat ashore and briefly escaping into a residential area where at least one resident confronted them with a gun.
Don’t be surprised if FWC guys are a bit cautious when they pull you over these days.
This report is from News5 WKRG.com, Panama City, home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina, where you will absolutely never be bothered by great whites or any other sharks! Click on the banners above to be connected to their respective websites.
Panama City Beach –
A rare Great White Shark sighting on the Gulf Coast, this one actually caught in the surf near Panama City Beach.
According to the Dark Side Sharkers fishing club, Derrick Keeny caught this 9′ 8 1/2″ Great White Sunday, March 1st.
They snapped a few pictures, tagged and released the shark.
We found these images on Facebook.
It’s pretty unusual to see this species in the northern Gulf of Mexico, especially so close to shore.
You can follow the Dark Side Sharkers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DSSharkers.
As of today diesel (valvetec fresh because of fishing fleet) is $3.00 taxes included. If staying overnight you get 10 cents off = $2.90 a gal. and gas is $3.65. Nice floating concrete docks, protected and convenient to GICW. Dockage is discounted ($1.50 normally)with Boat US 25% also have a weekly rate of $6.50 a foot all inclusive. If stuck waiting for a crossing weather window it is a good spot with access to good shopping and restaurants. This applies to both St Andrews and the Panama City Marinas. By the way, weather and boat permitting you can cross via the St Andrews Inlet (aka Panama City). It is well marked and maintained for ships and is a class A inlet. We’ve crossed several times both directions to/from St Petersburg via this inlet in our slow 8mph trawler but the days are a tad short
currently so using East Dog pass this time.
Carolyn Ann GH N-37
Here is an interesting article on red tide which had a recent bloom in the Big Bend region of the Gulf, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=144423.
FWC, partners unlock some mysteries behind red tide in 5-year study
Last month, researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) published new findings on Florida’s red tide organism, Karenia brevis, in a special issue of the scientific journal Harmful Algae. This publication is the culmination of an unprecedented collaboration on red tide research in the Gulf of Mexico led by the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
For more on this study, go to:
Now here’s a good deal, just for being a SSECN reader! This $.10 per gallon discount, offered with no minimum purchase when staying overnight, is typically reserved for fuel purchases over a 1000 gallons.
The Panama City Municipal Marina is lies immediately adjacent to the Northern Gulf ICW, one block from Downtown Panama City. And, of course, they are A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
We offer $.10 off per gallon for any transient [overnight dockage required] that mentions seeing this on Cruisersnet.
Thanks to our friends at AGLCA for this report from Bay Point Marina which is accessed off Panama City Inlet and lies on the shores of Grand Lagoon. Visit Bay Point Marina at http://www.baypointmarina.net for more information.
Consider Bay Point Marina, Panama City (beach) where we have been since May. The marina is well protected from wind and waves, looper friendly, safe (behind gated entrance), delivers newspaper to your “porch” every day, offers coffee and danish Sat/Sun morning, clean restrooms and shower, swimming pool and Daniel and his staff are great. On the downside, it is about 2 miles to Wynn Dixie, Publix, West Marine and restaurants and has no courtesy car, but Enterprise will pick up and hertz is within walking distance at an adjoining resort.
Scott & KC Calkin
Panama City Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is one of two facilities owned and operated by the City of Panama City, Florida. The marina is located directly on the Northern Gulf ICW, a short hop from Panama City Inlet, and only one block from the downtown Panama City business district. Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vessels, from 30 feet to 120 feet with drafts to 10 feet.
Reprinted from the June 9th Panama City New Herald, Ali Helgoth, News Herald Writer.
PANAMA CITY — Panama City’s plans to redevelop the downtown marina include bringing private enterprise to help invigorate the area’s economy. But, before city officials can try to convince businesses to locate there, they have to convince state officials to allow it. Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Director William Whitson said he is hopeful discussions will go well and the issue will be resolved this summer, keeping the project on schedule.
“The state talks about wanting economic development, so here’s a real opportunity to help create jobs and to partner together, and that’s what we’re hoping we can achieve out of this process,” he said.
The marina property was built up more than 50 years ago and leased to the city for public use. Commercial enterprises are not considered public purposes, so before the project can be a revenue generator, which is a goal, the lease must be changed.
In a letter written earlier this week to Whitson, William Harrison, an attorney hired by the city to represent its interests in the process of changing the lease, outlined the recent history of the lease.
In December 1991, the state leased the marina property “only for public purposes,” and in January 2011 renewed the lease through 2018 for operation of the marina and boat ramp with an upland commercial marina, he wrote.
Harrison is waiting for a determination from the state about whether a change in the lease is needed before the first phase of renovations can begin.
Phase one, which is still on schedule, includes rerouting parking for those who use the boat ramp, seawall repair and the lighthouse park, which will include a splash pad and an amphitheater, among other features. It is estimated to cost $3.92 million. The total cost of the project is estimated between $11 million and $28 million. The difference is attributed to questions about the extent of work needed to repair or replace the seawall. Changes to the submerged land lease likely would be needed before construction begins on the second phase. It includes improvements to the city park, the area between City Hall and the civic center, and at City Hall. There are pads identified for potential commercial use, and Mayor Greg Brudnicki has advocated relocating City Hall to allow the area to be used for commercial purposes. He has spoken in support for a major attraction, like an aquarium.
During a CRA meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Harrison will give an update on the process of changing the lease and explain the different avenues for commercial development on the marina. In his June 4 letter, Harrison wrote the city has two paths to reaching its objectives: be the developer or sublease specific locations for private development.
Harrison recommended “the CRA as sub-lessor be given serious consideration.”
Whitson said he’s not sure which way the CRA board, which is comprised of city commissioners, will want to go.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I think it’s kind of early yet to figure out exactly how we’re going to approach this.”
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 http://www.baypointmarina.net for more info on Bay Point Marina.
Bay Point Marina
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.
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.
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’
To access this superb facility, you must leaven the Northern Gulf ICW, and follow the path towards Panama City Inlet. You must then cut off on a narrow channel into wide Grand Lagoon. Bay Point Marina is the first facility encountered on Grand Lagoon.
Having visited here many times myself, I can attest to what a great place this is, and these good folks are a SALT SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!
Steve,the harbormaster, had a great shrimp boil for everyone here at the Marina. In the Carolinas we would call it Frogmore Stew. There was live music, all the shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, desserts and drinks that you could consume.
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’
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.
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.
The cruise discussed below is clearly an offshore passage between Panama City inlet and Port St. Joe (or the other way around). The real message here is to stay hell and gone away from the shoals in and around Cape San Blas. After reading Captain Wayne’s description below, I say “Amen” to that!
Numerous boats have gotten into trouble on the Cape San Blas Shoals that are just a little southwest of Port St. Joe.
When going to/from South Florida from/to Port St. Joe or Panama City, FL, be sure to go within a couple of hundred yards – or less – of the sea buoy off Cape San Blas. Currents in this area can be treacherous. I have seen confused and/or standing 4-6′ waves over the shoals when the Gulf, in deeper water is virtually calm. Because of the currents, the shoals move constantly. One should not attempt any short cuts, using any charts, as the bottom simply is not like that on the charts. The charts indicate that there are several places one can take short cuts, or greatly cut the corner near the buoy. The last time I went via Cape San Blas, I was headed north, I ran to within about 500-600 yards or so of the buoy, all was well until the bottom came up, and up and up. The last solid depth reading was about 10′ (boat had a 6.5′ draft). Shortly, my fathometer read 0′ (because of sand in the water column close to the bottom), but the keel never hit anything solid that I could tell. The shallow area was only about 100 yards wide, but it sure got my attention!
The first time I went via Cape San Blas, I was also headed north. The Gulf’s seas were about 1.5-2.5′, with few breaking waves. The shoals looked to be no different. I foolishly cut the corner by over a mile (chart showed plenty of water) and seriously endangered the boat for what seemed forever (4-6′ confused seas, very strong currents – seemingly from all directions – so progress over the bottom was tortuously slow — all the while the fathometer indicated 0′ due to “blowing” sand. Fortunately, I was in my old sailboat, which had a rudder the size of a barn door, so I was able to keep from broaching and kept it heading in the right direction. It was really strange – looking UP at a wave front, as stern of the boat was in the bottom of a trough, and seeing king mackerel by the hundreds, swimming down the wave face. It looked like they would just swim into the boat. The next few times, I went all the way to the sea buoy, where there is lots of water. The last time, I got over-confident and was under pressure due to heavy weather closing in.
Both times I cut the corner, it was close to high tide, so I ‘knew’ that there would be plenty of water. After I moved back to Panama City, I became acquainted with several Gulf shrimpers, who advised me to never ever go over the shoals at Cape San Blas under any circumstances – primarily because of the currents.
Also, when approaching the shoals from the south, the water often looks calm, if the Gulf is calm. But what you can’t see are the breaking waves caused by the southeast-flowing current over the shoals, creating standing waves.
Port St. Joe is readily accessible from the GIWW via the Gulf Canal – a straight dredged ditch from the GIWW to Port St. Joe. When the seas
on the Gulf are reasonable, we often go via the Gulf Canal. I even did that with the sailboat because it could not go under the bridge
at Tyndall AFB, on the GIWW. The only ‘iffy’ place was Lake Wimico, where depths sometimes approached 6.5′ in spots. The keel never
actually hit bottom that I know of. That was about 10 years or so ago, so I do not know its depths now.
Take care and be safe.
Albin 43 Sundeck
Wayne wrote ” The only ‘iffy’ place was Lake Wimico, where depths sometimes approached 6.5′ in spots. The keel never actually hit bottom that I know of. That was about 10 years or so ago, so I do not know its depths now.”
We helped friends deliver their Krogen 42 from Port St. Joe to Clearwater just last week. We took the ICW down to Apalachicola and left from Government Cut the following morning. Our trip through Lake Wimico was uneventful. The chart shows the controlled depth to be 12′. Certainly, the SE portion of the lake is very shallow and any departure out of the marked channel would likely be a bit of an adventure.
I’m getting ready to cross for St. Pete to Panama City in a few weeks so I read this post with great interest as that route requires a turn around the shoals. Studying the charts I see two greens, numbers 1 and 3 that seem to mark the east and west sides of the shoal. My currently planned route keeps me south of these but very close to #3. The only other mark I see is one south of the saftey area. Is staying south of greens 1 & 3 sufficent or should I set my waypoint elsewhere?
I am preparing to depart Bradenton on Saturday, April 3, 2010 heading for New Orleans. Any idea on Your departure date planned?
I like spending time in Panama City myself, and, you can’t do better than coil your lines at the Panama City Municipal Marina, a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!
The cost for living here is outrageous- the money that has to be spent on sun tan lotion and sandals takes a big bite out of the budget. Then when you have to buy socks to wear with the sandals, you know, for when the temperature plummets to below 60. Thank god for global warming, not only will we be able to eliminate the cost for socks, but there will be many more places to cruise!
Rudy and Jill
Briney Bug, 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.
MV Tucandu, currently docked Panama City
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