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    • Leon County and Tallahassee Hurricane Service News and FEMA Updates

      Leon County in the Big Bend region of the Gulf coast, is home to Tallahassee, Florida’s State Capitol. The county was spared the brunt of Michael but is still suffering from loss of power and services. Cruisers Net will continue to post county updates in this posting. Please excuse any duplication of information. 

      850.606.5300 | cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov | www.LeonCountyFL.gov
      301 S. Monroe St., Suite 502, Tallahassee, FL 32301

      10/23Hurricane Michael Survivors May Now Visit State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Leon County

      A disaster recovery center is now open at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Main Library, 200 W. Park Ave every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to assist those that experienced damage and loss, resulting from Hurricane Michael.

      Representatives from the State of Florida, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and other organizations are at the County’s downtown library to explain available assistance programs and help connect survivors with resources that best match their recovery needs.

      Homeowners, renters and businesses should register for disaster assistance before visiting a recovery center. To register, go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 (voice/711/VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.

      Florida Division of Emergency Management and FEMA will open additional centers in affected counties in the coming days. The centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in counties designated in the Florida federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Michael. Survivors can view locations by using the FEMA mobile app or by visiting FEMA.gov/DRC.

      All recovery centers are accessible to people with disabilities. Centers have assistive technology equipment, such as amplified phones and listening devices for people with hearing loss and magnifiers for people with vision loss. Video Remote Interpreting is available. In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by request. (If possible, please allow 24 hours to schedule an interpreter).

      Survivors may follow these links to access informational videos in American Sign Language:

      Disaster Recovery Centers (ASL): fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/127259
      Just ask (ASL): fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111508
      FEMA assistance does not impact government benefits (ASL): fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111582
      Requesting an interpreter (ASL): fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/172199

      About FEMA
      FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.

      For a list of locations where survivors can obtain commodities (water, food, etc.), visit www.floridadisaster.org/info.

      For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.

      Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at www.Facebook.com/FEMA and www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

      .

      10/17 Leon County and City of Tallahassee Residents Eligible for Individual Assistance Following Hurricane Michael

      Leon County has been designated for Individual Assistance for damages caused by Hurricane Michael, meaning county and city residents are now eligible to apply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for funds to help recover.

      Individual Assistance provides a broad range of disaster assistance resources to eligible residents, such as the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged homes. Families impacted by Hurricane Michael can also apply for additional financial support for child care, medical, dental, vehicle damage and damages to essential household items.

      Residents who have suffered damage directly related to Hurricane Michael are encouraged to file a claim with their insurance right away.

      To apply for Individual Disaster Assistance, visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call 1-800-621-3362. Residents without internet access can visit any Leon County library or City of Tallahassee community center.

      The deadline to apply is December 10, 2018.

      For more information, visit https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.
      Follow Leon County Government on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

      850.606.5300 | cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov | www.LeonCountyFL.gov
      301 S. Monroe St., Suite 502, Tallahassee, FL 32301

       

      10/16 Leon County and Goodwill Industries to Distribute Free Tarps at Stores in Community

      Leon County Government and Goodwill Industries — Big Bend, Inc. will distribute free tarps to households at five different Goodwill store locations across the community beginning Tuesday, October 16. The tarps provide temporary covering of plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.

      Tarps will be made available at the following locations and will be limited to two tarps per family:

      North Monroe – 2578 North Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32303
      Apalachee Parkway – 2309 Apalachee Pkwy, Tallahassee, FL 32301
      Capital Circle – 2734 Capital Circle, Tallahassee, FL 32308
      Pensacola St. – 2551 W. Pensacola St., Tallahassee, FL 32304
      Bradfordville – 6810 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee, FL 32312
      All Goodwill Industries stores will open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Distribution will occur near the donations drop-off center at each site.

      For some tips on how to use a temporary roof tarp, see this Lowe’s how-to guide.

      Please note, emergency repair is only a temporary fix. Final repair is best left to someone who has the equipment and skill to do it safely and permanently.

      As a reminder, Leon County Government has waived permit fees to rebuild and repair after Hurricane Michael. To learn more, call Leon County Development Support and Environmental Management at (850) 606-1300 / www.LeonPermits.org .

      10/14 Feeding and Distribution Operations Continue in Leon County

      As Leon County continues to return to normal following Hurricane Michael, distribution sites will continue today, Sunday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to meet the community’s most critical needs.

      Distribution operations will cease at 5 p.m. and resources will demobilize and re-stage to head out west to the hardest hit areas of the Florida Panhandle if requested by the State of Florida.

      Distribution sites will offer water, ice, and MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat). Please note, MRE supplies are somewhat limited and may not be available at all sites. The locations are as follows:

      Ft. Braden Community Center – 16387 Blountstown Hwy
      J. Lewis Hall Sr., Woodville Park – 1492 J. Lewis Hall Sr. Lane
      Apalachee Regional Park – 7550 Apalachee Parkway
      Fire Station #4 – 2899 West Pensacola Street
      Fire Station #1 – 327 North Adams Street
      Fire Station #2 – 2805 Sharer Road
      Fred George Park – 4830 Fred George Road
      Miccosukee (Concord School) – 15011 Cromartie Road
      Fire Station #3 – 3005 South Monroe Street
      Fire Station #15 – 1445 Bannerman Road
      Also, Salvation Army will serve lunch at noon and dinner at 5 p.m. at the following locations:

      Lawrence-Gregory Community Center – 1115 Dade St.
      Friendship Primitive Baptist – 700 Putnam Dr.
      Woodville Branch Library – 8000 Old Woodville Rd.
      Braden Community Park – 15100 Blountstown Hwy
      Bond Westside – 14833 Main St.
      For citizens will continuing needs following Hurricane Michael, 2-1-1 Big Bend can provided much needs referral services to local human services agencies. Calls are free, confidential and anonymous. Trained hotline counselors are available to listen and provide emotional support, crisis counseling, suicide prevention and information.

      Dial 2-1-1 or (850) 617-6333 for 24/7 human service information and assistance. Bilingual and translation services are available. TDD/TTY or 711Florida Relay is available for hearing impaired individuals. For more information, visit www.211bigbend.org .

      10/13 Evening Update on Leon County’s Recovery Activities Following Hurricane Michael for October 13

      Shelter Status:

      As of this afternoon, 24 citizens are sheltered at Sail High School and 70 citizens remain in the special needs shelter at Florida High. We are demobilizing Sail High School as a risk shelter and transition remaining shelterees to a host shelter at Tallahassee Community College Lifetime Sports Complex this afternoon. Our partners continue to provide meals and water to shelterees at Sail in the meantime. The state has established a regional special needs shelter at Florida State University to provide care for special needs citizens from the most impacted counties; the state will make a determination regarding when to transition the Florida High special needs shelter to this regional shelter. Florida High will reopen for classes on Monday while the special needs shelter occupies the gymnasium.

      Public Safety:

      We have had no loss of life directly related to the storm. Leon County EMS has returned to normal staffing as call volumes have returned to normal. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) has been fully activated throughout preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for Hurricane Michael and continues to provide security for points of distribution tonight and tomorrow. LCSO is beginning to scale down disaster operations overnight tonight, with a return to normal staffing by Sunday evening.

      Road Clearing:

      Public Works remains fully activated with 130 personnel working in Alpha and Bravo shifts alongside utility crews to reopen remaining blocked roads as quickly as possible. Leon County Public Works has 15 crews in the field, supplemented by 7 additional contracted crews. Leon County Public Works has made significant progress by clearing 778 blocked roads since the winds died down late Wednesday evening. All major and arterial County roads are passable by car at this time. Public Works crews are working to clear school entrances and exits and bus routes in the unincorporated area in anticipation of schools reopening on Monday. We will continue working tomorrow to clear all remaining road blockages that have been reported in coordination with our local utility providers.

      Debris Removal:

      Debris collection efforts began today and will continue until all storm-related debris is picked up. Over the weekend, debris removal efforts will focus on the County’s main corridors, schools, and school bus stops in the unincorporated areas. Starting Monday, October 15, a map of debris collection activities and an update on operations will be available daily at: www.LeonCountyFL.gov/EI/Debris. We have also posted on the EIP some helpful tips for citizens on how to organize and safely place debris at the curb.

      Solid Waste:

      As Leon County residents continue to clean up their properties following Hurricane Michael, Leon County has extended the free of charge period for both the Solid Waste Management Facility and the Rural Waste Service Centers. The facilities will be open during their normal hours and will remain free of charge until Sunday, October 21. Hours of operation will be as follows:

      The Solid Waste Management Facility (7550 Apalachee Parkway) will be open Monday, October 15 through Friday, October 19 from 7 AM to 7 PM.
      The Rural Waste Service Centers will be open Fridays from 9 AM to 6 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM to 5 PM at the following locations:
      O Woodville, 549 Henry Jones Road

      O Fort Braden, 2485 East Joe Thomas Road

      O Miccosukee, 13051 Miccosukee Road

      Also, Leon County and the City of Tallahassee are resuming residential and commercial garbage collection services today. Following is the updated schedule for solid waste collection:

      Wednesday customers were collected on Friday, October 12
      Thursday customers will be collected on Saturday, October 13
      Friday customers will be collected on Sunday, October 14
      Starting Monday, October 15, all customers will receive service during their regularly scheduled service
      Power Restoration as of 5 pm:

      Immediately following the storm, City of Tallahassee Utilities and Talquin Electric both reported outages to more than 90% of their customers in Leon County. Following are the latest reports of outages at this time:

      City of Tallahassee: 37,858 outages (69% restored)
      Talquin Electric: 13,101 outages (47% restored)
      Duke Energy: 0 outages (100% restored)
      Both utilities incurred significant damage to all components of their electric grid (transmission lines, substations, and distribution circuits) from the storm and are working to repair all systems as quickly as possible with extensive support from mutual aid agencies. The City has announced a goal to restore 90% of its customers by the end of this weekend.

      98% of all traffic signals are in normal operation at this time including all critical intersections.

      Points of Distribution and Feeding Operations:

      As we advised previously, we have established 10 points of distribution throughout the community that will be operating again tomorrow from 9 AM to 5 PM, managed and staffed by Leon County and the City of Tallahassee and complemented by the Florida National Guard. Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs) and bottled water will be available at the following locations:

      Ft. Braden Community Center – 16387 Blountstown Highway
      J. Lewis Hall Sr., Woodville Park – 1492 J. Lewis Hall Sr. Lane
      Apalachee Regional Park – 7550 Apalachee Parkway
      Fire Station #4 – 2899 West Pensacola Street
      Fire Station #1 – 327 North Adams Street
      Fire Station #2 – 2805 Sharer Road
      The following locations will be distributing water and a limited amount of MREs.

      Fred George Park – 4830 Fred George Road
      Miccosukee (Concord School) – 15011 Cromartie Road
      Fire Station #3 – 3005 South Monroe Street
      Fire Station #15 – 1445 Bannerman Road
      Comfort Stations:

      The Main Library continues to operate today and tomorrow from 9 AM to 7 PM as a comfort station, providing citizens with air conditioning, water, a place to charge mobile devices, and computer access. Another 550 citizens have visited the comfort station so far today, totaling over 1,500 citizens served since it opened yesterday morning. We have distributed an enormous amount of food and water and people are in generally good spirits and highly appreciative of the County’s efforts. We have also established a Community Recovery Center at the comfort station for local community partners to assist citizens through the recovery process, and a representative from 2-1-1 Big Bend will also be on site to assist citizens in person. We are welcoming all visitors to the comfort station regardless of whether they have a library card or are a Leon County resident.

      The City is operating comfort stations at the following locations from 9 AM to 9 PM on today and 1 PM to 6 PM on Sunday, October 14:

      Lawrence-Gregory Community Center – 1115 Dade Street
      Jack McLean Community Center, including the pool and showers – 700 Paul Russell Road
      Tallahassee Senior Center – 1400 North Monroe Street
      Trousdell Aquatic Center, including the pool and showers – 298 John Knox Blvd.
      Damage Assessments:

      Our County/City damage assessment teams will be in the field again tomorrow conducting assessments to support a request for federal assistance under FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Our local damage assessment teams are collecting information on damage to homes which will support our request for this federal assistance, and we continue to encourage citizens through our public information efforts to report damage through our online damage assessment tool on the Emergency Information Portal (EIP). Damage assessment information from our teams in the field and from citizens’ reports is being automatically uploaded into our GIS system in order to help expedite follow-up inspections that will be conducted by the state in the coming weeks. To self-report, visit: http://tlcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/GeoForm/index.html?appid=6f338e584b9349fb889e77c8fe10b0b3

      Following Hurricane Michael, we expect that the President will issue a “major disaster” declaration for the state of Florida, which provides a wide range of federal assistance programs, including assistance for individuals and households. To initiate this assistance, the Governor must submit a request to the President within 30 days of the incident, which will specify the types of assistance requested for each affected county. Should Individual Assistance be authorized for Leon County, a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center will be opened in the County, with phone numbers and websites for citizens to contact a FEMA representative and file for federal assistance. If Individual Assistance is authorized for Leon County, we will be coordinating a comprehensive public information campaign with FEMA, as we did following Hurricane Hermine.

      Cellular Service:

      OEV continues to coordinate with the State EOC as well as our telecommunications and mobile providers to find any available solutions to help restore mobile/cellular service and determine providers’ anticipated timelines for full service restoration. At this time, the state and mobile providers are prioritizing service restoration in the hardest hit counties, many of which remain entirely without service. However, today Verizon delivered mobile tower connection points to help alleviate coverage issues in Leon County. Verizon customers should turn their phones off and back on in order to establish connection to these connection points. Our mobile providers are advising that mobile coverage should improve in areas affected by outages as primary power is restored to cell tower sites.

      County Facilities:

      Facilities staff conducted checks of all County facilities and reported no damage. County offices will re-open on Monday, October 15. Branch libraries will reopen on Tuesday, October 16 (as they are normally closed on Sundays and Mondays).

      Permit Fee Waiver:

      To help the community rebuild after Hurricane Michael, Leon County will waive building permit fees for storm-related repairs. Citizens and contractors may begin storm related repairs immediately and apply for the necessary permits afterwards and removal of storm-damaged trees. Starting Tuesday, October 16, those interested in the waiver should contact Leon County Development Support and Environmental Management at (850) 606-1300 / www.LeonPermits.org.

      To be eligible for the waiver, the person performing the work must be the homeowner or a licensed contractor.

      EOC Status:

      Our EOC remains fully activated during today’s daytime shift. Starting tonight, we will begin partial activation at the EOC for overnight shifts with representatives from all essential agencies until operations are complete. Our regular conference calls have concluded at this time, although the EOC continues to serve as the central hub of coordination for all organizations and agencies involved in continuing operations.

      Emergency Management Assistance to Other Areas:

      Also, the State EOC has requested assistance specifically for Liberty County Emergency Management and we are deploying our Emergency Management Coordinator to assist with their response and recovery operations. As our EOC operations continue to scale down in the coming days, we will evaluate our capacity to send additional personnel and resources to assist other impacted counties if requested.

      ###

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    • Post Michael Report from Northern Gulf GIWW, Destin FL


      Destin is on the southern shore of Chocktawhatchee Bay east of Fort Walton. Our thanks to AGLCA Forum friends, Scott and KC Calkin, for sharing this report.

      Spoke to Mel and Ann last night. They are at Dog Is. and leave for Steinhatche in am. He reports ICW totally cleared open from Destin east. All nav aids in place. NO debris. Ashore–devastation. Marinas? Pan. City, Port St. Joe and Appalach grim. Fuel–Destin, Sandestin, Carrabelle.

      Scott & KC Calkin
      Jet Stream
      466 Carver MY
      Gold looper going for Platinum
      U.S. Navy (Ret.), American Airlines (Ret

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    • Post Michael Assistance, Dial 211, Big Bend Region, FL

      211 Big Bend is a United Way Agency in the eight-county region of the big bend.


      For Assistance After The Storm 2-1-1 Big Bend

      Following Hurricane Michael, individuals and families in need can contact 2-1-1 by simply dialing 211 from a cell phone or landline. 2-1-1 is a free, 24/7, hotline available in multiple languages, that provides information to individuals seeking community resources like shelter, food and water, recovery support, short-term counseling and other basic needs before, during and after disasters.

      Calls are free, confidential and anonymous. Trained hotline counselors are available to listen and provide emotional support, crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and information.

      Dial 2-1-1 or (850) 617-6333 for 24/7 human service information and assistance.

      Bilingual and translation services are available. TDD/TTY or 711Florida Relay is available for hearing impaired individuals.

      For more information, visit www.211bigbend.org

      About 2-1-1 Big Bend

      2-1-1 Big Bend, A United Way Agency, is your gateway to human services in the eight-county region of the big bend. 2-1-1 Big Bend is a non-profit 501c3 organization accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and the American Association of Suicidality. The agency’s mission is to provide assessment, emotional support, crisis assistance, education, training and referrals with accurate, up-to-date resource info.

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    • On-Site Report: Panama City Marina Destroyed, St. Andrews Marina Heavily Damaged, GIWW Statute Mile 290


      The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of ves
      St. Andrew's Marina

      Panama City, on the eastern shore of St. Andres Bay northeast of Mexico Beach where Hurricane Michael made landfall, suffered devastating damage from Michael. Panama City Marina and St. Andrews Marina are both CRUISERS NET SPONSORS and our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to all in the area who sustained losses. Diana Pieper, who sent this report, lost her house.

      Panama City Marina GONE….destroyed.
      St. Andrews Marina had a lot of damage.

      We can’t even get in to our home with a u-haul to remove what furniture is salvageable because of the trees down. Our neighborhood was hit harder because of the old oak trees and pine trees that we are famous for.
      My family and I are staying in hotels until we can find temporary housing of some kind. I wish we had the RV I sold after my husband died.
      Again, thanks for your concern. The entire city is destroyed or damaged (actually the whole county). Both large hospitals have been closed indefinitely due to extreme damage. Our entire infrastructure is broken.
      Recovery is in years and not months.
      Diana Pieper

      Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Panama City Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Panama City Marina

      Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Lisa -  October 19, 2018 - 2:48 pm

        Sending strength and prayers from Franklin County. We love those two marinas and their loss is heartbreaking.

        Reply to Lisa
    • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, St. Joesph to Mobile, Northern Gulf

      Except as noted, most of these displays begin at midnight and last about 10 minutes. As usual with night time navigation, great care must taken in the vicinity of anchored spectator boats, especially following the displays.

      St. Joseph Bay            10PM
      Panama City Beach    Midnight
      Mexico Beach              Midnight
      Cinco Bayou                8PM and Midnight
      Fort Walton                 Midnight
      Santa Rosa Sound      Midnight
      Destin Harbor             8PM
      Mobile                          Midnight

      Enjoy!

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    • Stolen Sailing Vessel, Panama City, FL

      If you sight this vessel, please contact Tony at 850-851-8619, local authorities or SSECN via email contact@cruisersnet.net.

      About two weeks ago, a crewmate stole my 43′ Gulfstar sailing ketch from Panama City Florida. The name of the boat is “The Solution”. She has white hill with red sail covers and red canvas over the cockpit.
      The guy who stole it is 18 yrs old named Bear McGinty. He has his girlfriend on board with her 6 month old baby boy. Believe they are headed to Galveston Texas.
      If anyone sees the boat please call me at 850.851.8619.
      Much thanks,
      Robert A. (Tony) Hicks

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    • Help Requested on Western Gulf Marinas, Clearwater to Port St. Joe

      Skipper Spinucci is asking for recommendations of marinas between Clearwater and Port St. Joe. Let us hear from you.

      Some help please.
      I’m planning a trip from Venice, Fl to Orange Beach, Al in June 2016. I have a 315 BW, Conquest with a fuel range of a couple hundred miles depending on the sea’s. I am planning over nighters in Tampa and Clearwater. I need a stop halfway from Clearwater and Port St Joe. The marina must include transient dockage, Restaurants and nearby motels. Needless to say gas also. Any ideas?
      I’m trying to keep day trips under 125 miles.

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    • Gulf Crossing Roll Call

      This call for a fleet formation of Gulf crossing vessels is from our good friends at AGLCA.

      Hey all,
      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

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Gaz -  June 7, 2016 - 10:41 am

        Charlie & Kay,

        Keep in mind that scallop season starts the 25th of June which will be an issue gaining dockage the closer you get to this date. That said there are many nice marinas reminiscent of old time Florida along the Big Bend area. Don’t expect anything fancy but you will receive great friendship and clean accommodations. All the marinas I’ll mention can handle a 3 foot draft and then some. Be cautious of the depth in this area.
        1) Swanne River ahs two: Swannee River marina 352 542 9159 & Gateway Marina 352 542 7349 Call the local BoatUS Tow for current channel depths and USE THE NORTH channel NOT the river.
        2) Yankee Town; YT marina 352 447 2529; B’s talk with Helen 352-447-5888; Riverside 352-447-2890 This is one of my vavorite stops.
        3) Crystal River: Petes’s 352 795 3302 & Twin River 352 795 3552 This area thinks highly of there dock space but if you’ve never been to Crystal River the stop might be nice.
        4) Now to my favorite river the Steinhatchee: For a nice motel with dockage call Shelter Cove. They have recently been bought out by Ideal Marine so you can be the first to review them. 352 498 5707/352-210-1781. There are also Good Times Motel never been there 352 498-8088; SeaHag 352 498-3008 lots wakes; River Haven my favorite 352 498-0709/352-356=2904;

        This is outland Florida so best to phone in advance to qualify all your requirements.

        Reply to Gaz
    • A Hero’s Story – Rescue at Sea

      This story of Seamanship at its best was posted by Kim Russo on AGLCA’s Forum.

      A Hero in our Midst
      I’d like to give some recognition to a Looper who went above and beyond and rescued a diver that was lost at sea yesterday.

      Tom Duggan of “Island Time” was navigating the Crooked Island Pass near Mexico Beach, Florida, heading home from a yacht club raft-up, when a Coast Guard Mayday Call came over the radio advising of a lost diver at sea approx. 5-miles outside the St. Andrews Bay Pass. Tom immediately decided to take the long way home and steered further offshore in hopes of helping in the search for the diver. Upon reaching the search site,Tom slowed down and he, his wife Karen, and their guests starting watching the water. Right after a Coast Guard boat made a sweep a ½ mile in front of them, Tom spotted the drifting diver off the starboard side. He sounded his horn to let the diver know he was spotted, got on the radio to advise the Coast Guard vessel and slowed down to bring the diver aboard. The Coast Guard boat roared over and took the diver aboard as Island Time idled alongside. Thanks to Tom’s hunch and a lot of good luck, the diver’s life was very possibly saved to spend the rest of Fathers’ Day with his family.

      Well done, Tom & the crew of Island Time!

      Kim Russo
      Director
      America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

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    • Shoaling Reported in Cedar Keys Channel, Big Bend Region, June 11, 2015


      Cedar Keys is one of a limited number of ports of call along Western Florida’s waterwayless Big Bend region, the Western Florida coastline between Anclote Key and Dog Island. The reported shoaling is in the main entrance channel to the east of Seahorse Key.

      FLORIDA – CRYSTAL RIVER TO HORSESHOE POINT – CEDAR KEYS MAIN CHANNEL: Hazard to Navigation
      The U.S. Coast Guard received a report of shoaling between Cedar Keys Main Channel Daybeacon 19 (LLNR 29805 [29°6.7123N / 083°2.7068W, 29.111871 / -83.045114]) 29-06-42.737N/083-02-42.411W (29°6.7123N / 083°2.7068W, 29.111871 / -83.045114) and Cedar Keys Main Channel Light 21 (LLNR 2981) 29-06-50.837N/083-02-25.131W (29°6.8473N / 083°2.4188W, 29.114121 / -83.040314) with depths as low as 3 ft at low tide. Mariners are advised to exercise caution while transiting the area.
      Chart 11408 LNM: 23/15

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Cedar Keys

      Click Here To View An Article on the Waters of Cedar Keys

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    • Advice Requested for a Big Bend Region Crossing, Northern Gulf, West Florida

      Claiborne’s Comments: For those who have never cruised these waters, the Western Florida’s ICW’s northern terminus is at Anclote Key, while the Northern Gulf ICW does not begin its east to west trek until one reaches Dog Island and the charming village of Carrabelle.
      In between is better than a hundred miles of coastline, with a LARGE shelf of shallow water jutting for miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. These shallows are pierced at fairly regular intervals by man-made channels, leading to the Big Bend rivers such as the Crystal, the Withlacoochee, the Suwanee and the Steinhatchee. Some of these entrance passages are fairly reliable, while others are not.
      So, rather than follow the Big Bend coastline, staying several miles offshore, some mariners choose to cut the corner, and head (northbound) directly for Dog Island or Panama City.

      I will be traveling this route in a modified trihull pontoon in june. ( modified hull frame with welded steel frame to keep it solid ) what would be a good route with this boat. hopscotch ? pattern any map refrences would be great. also : hey there Rich Gano I had some emails with you. I was planning a steam boat trip on the great loop. But opted for this instead’¦..at least for now.
      Bruce Noble

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Rich Gano -  May 22, 2015 - 9:22 pm

        Bruce, you can contact me at richgano2gmail.com to discuss your route. What is cruising speed and draft? What navigation electronics?

        Rich

        Reply to Rich
    • Report on Steinhatchee River, Western Florida Big Bend Region


      This report by good friends, Captains Baier and Landry, comes to us from the AGLCA Forum. As is usual with Big Bend Rivers, the Steinhatchee entrance channel is a long, drawn-out affair, from the deeper Gulf waters. It is well marked and perhaps the deepest of the Big Bend river channels. A third choice of marinas, but with only 4ft depth, is Gulfstream Marina located on the Steinhatchee’s southerly banks just upstream from Sea Hag Marina.

      We’ve been in and out of the Steinhatchee and you should not have any problem as long as you pay attention and stay inside the channel markers. There are two marinas, Sea Hag which is before the bridge and River Haven which will require being able to clear the 25 foot bridge to access. We’re heading there as soon as the weather opens up. We’re currently in Carrabelle.
      Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Sea Hag Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sea Hag Marina

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For River Haven Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River Haven Marina

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Gulfstream Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Gulfstream Marina

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Eric Reuss -  May 1, 2015 - 5:27 am

        What did you find the depths in the Steinhatchee River to be (up to Sea Hag Marina?

        Reply to Eric
    • Advice on Doing the Big Bend Crossing, West Florida Northern Gulf Region


      Here is very good advice about the Gulf crossing called Big Bend from our friends on the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association’s Forum. For more on the Big Bend region from Claiborne himself, see /?p=105951

      I hope for you all at Joe Wheeler right now that you are encouraged to NOT do the Big Bend in one overnight as most do. Go to Crystal River, Steinhatchie, etc places, especially if you draw 4′ or less even though we know of 5′ drafts that do it all the time. You will be glad you did. Of course it is dicey getting in and out somewhat, but you’ve already been tougher places to navigate on the loop for most at this juncture. Swim with the manatees at Crystal River at least.
      John and Sue Winter

      And from our friends, Chuck Baier and Susan Landry:

      A good suggestion. We have been in and out of the rivers mentioned and enjoyed every one visited. Although the approach channels were indeed long, we never found getting into the rivers “dicey”. As a matter of fact, it was
      much easier than many other places we have visited. The only caution is to watch depths after strong north and east winds have been blowing for a few days. We plan to return to the St. Marks, Steinhatchee, Withlacoochee and
      Crystal River on our return trip south, which we plan to begin at the end of October.
      Chuck and Susan

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To Crystal River’s Entrance Channel

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Alan Lloyd -  October 17, 2014 - 9:01 am

        We have crossed the gulf several times. We are unable to do the ‘straight across thing’ because we do not have sufficient range. We usually make an intermediate stop in Steinhatchee.
        Once we added another stop at Crystal River, otherwise we went directly from Steinhatchee to Tarpon Springs (our boat can go fast if it wants to).
        Here are some facts to help you with your decision.
        Carrabelle to Steinhatchee is 85 miles. We leave Carrabelle before dawn. (This is not a problem as the buoys are lighted. We make a note of the route on the way in.)
        Steinhatchee to Crystal River is 94 miles, again leave as soon as you can make out daymark 45 from your slip.
        Crystal River to Tarpon Springs is 75 miles.
        Depending on the tide, Crystal River may be too shallow for 4.5 foot draft. So an anchorage on Cross Florida Greenway is a deep water alternative.
        Steinhatchee to Anchorage is 90 miles.
        Anchorage to Tarpon Springs is 75 miles.
        Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes

        Reply to Alan
      2. Rich Gano -  October 16, 2014 - 2:09 pm

        I have crossed the area a number of times, but the weather windows we were dealing with were never long enough to allow a short visit (say two nights) into any of the mentioned ports. If you don’t mind being trapped in these places for a number of days, even up to a week or more, ducking into them is a great idea. However, after waiting for periods up to a week or more for a weather window, we didn’t find ourselves interested in getting stuck waiting out another frontal passage.

        Reply to Rich
      3. Paul Eugenio -  October 16, 2014 - 12:28 pm

        I sail out of the Carrabelle area, and I have sailed across the Big Bend many times in the last few years. Contrary to advice of hopping the shallow coastline, I find it more enjoyable to do a direct overnight crossing. I mostly prefer the Carrabelle to Clearwater route for the simplicity and safe easy access to anchorages or facilities. In Clearwater, I prefer the public beach marina or the anchorage just east of it. Carrabelle, while lesser know, has many nice marinas, but the area offers many wonderful anchorages: one in the Carrabelle River harbor with easy town access or several out on Dog Island in pristine locations(Shipping Cove or Tyson’s Harbor). It is best to approach Carrabelle via the East Pass inlet. It is a naturally deep inlet (+20′) that is well marked.

        Reply to Paul
      4. Roy I. King -  October 16, 2014 - 10:44 am

        I draw a bit less than five feet and would not consider going into these ports. The approach channels are LONG at 5 kts. and the flats are shallow. Do not even consider Shell Point unless you have local knowledge plus there are zero services there. St. Marks is a safe port with services but again, a very long channel. If you have the time and the draft, go for it.

        Reply to Roy
    • GREAT Video Shows All the Good Qualities of Cruising Crystal River (Western Florida’s Big Bend Region)

      Here’s a really neat and useful video that will be of interest to ALL mariners contemplating a cruise of Western Florida’s Big Bend region. Our thanks to Skippers Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing this very visual aid. Wow, makes me want to visit Crystal River ASAP!
      Please check out:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIAlogIPVhs&feature=youtu.be

      crystalrivervideo

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    • Cruising Western Florida’s Big Bend Region

      I have often said, but it’s worth repeating, that if you get six veteran cruisers together, and ask their opinion about the best way to cruise the waterwayless “Big Bend” region of Western Florida, moving north from Tarpon Springs and Anclote Key to Dog Island and the charming village of Carrabelle (or the other way around), you will get eight different opinions.
      On the one hand, some argue for “cutting the corner” and heading directly from Dog Island straight for Anclote Key or Clearwater. There are a whole set of issues around this strategy such as what time of day (or night) do you depart, and the presence of crabpots and fish traps as one approaches Anclote Key.
      The other strategy is to follow the Big Bend Coastline, keeping WELL offshore, to avoid the large shelf of shallows which jut out from this portion of the Florida coastline. This plan allows visits to the Big Bend rivers, which pierce the coastline at regular intervals, and are joined to the Gulf’s deeper waters by marked, dredged channels. Following some of these passages can be a real navigational challenge, and some of these stream’s entrance cuts carry only 4 to 4 1/2 feet of water. Others are somewhat deeper, but none are a proverbial walk in the park.
      Below, you will find excerpts from a recent string of messages which have appeared on the “GL” (Great Loop) mailing list. As you will see, a full spectrum of opinions is on display here as well.

      Although most “loopers” seem to bypass the Big Bend, we are interested in actually experiencing some of the old Florida areas that are apparently still very much alive and well, if water depth and weather permits.
      Sanderling is currently in Carrabelle at the C-Quarters marina while we’re enjoying a few months at home. We want to resume our cruise homeward to Merritt Island once the winter winds subside and water levels return to near “normal,” temps warm up, and daylight is longer – probably March.
      We have visited St. Marks, Steinhatchee, and Cedar Key by car on our way to and from Sanderling, and would like to visit all three on our way around the Big Bend to Tarpon Springs. Might also consider Crystal River.
      At least one boater has visited both St. Marks and Steinhatchee in a DF 49 with a 5 foot draft (our DF 41 is 4 feet).
      Has anyone cruised into those three areas (St. Marks, Steinhatchee, Cedar Key) or Crystal River in a boat with 4+ foot draft, and what was your experience with the water depths and anchorages/marinas?
      Any thoughts or suggestions welcome!
      Judy Young & Bob McLeran

      When we were in Carrabelle my assessment was that the northerly winds that are favorable to leave will also blow or the water in those ports. I was trying hard to avoid the long overnight run and kept looking at all options very seriously.
      I was warned by the guys at C Quarters that Steinhatchee entrance can get quite shallow even on a good day. They tried to talk me out of going there. Then add to it the effect of the North wind which will make it even lower. I saw it as a crap shoot and decided against putting myself in that potential situation.
      I chose the overnight crossing and went straight to Clearwater instead of Tarpon Springs. It was a small additional time but there are far less crab pots approaching Clearwater.
      Left the bay near Carrabelle at noon and arrived at the Wrights at 3rd next day.
      R.

      We had a DeFever 44+5 with a 4′-7″ draft (5′ w/Admiral’s stuff). Cannot attest to the depths now, but we went into St. Marks in May of 2006 & had no problems. Also, no problems with Steinhatchee & Cedar Key in December of 2007. Best I remember we went into both places on a rising tide. Never did go into Crystal River, but had friends that have been in there with 4′-6″ draft & had no trouble.
      Don’t believe I would make the trip today into any of those places until the wind blows the water back into the bays.
      Eddie Lomenick
      Eagle’s Nest

      Leaving for the Big Bend in March is a good plan, better later in the month once the prevailing winds shift back to the southeast. That will return your channels to their charted depths. Ideally, you can leave one port and arrive in the next at high tide to reduce the margin of risk. Those tides are about 13 hours apart and if you hit the time just right, you can ride your departing high tide all down the coast. I have been through the Big Bend in a 4 foot draft sailboat and this strategy worked well. April would even work better for you.
      Stay safe,
      Tom

      I’ve been in and out of a few but not all of these places. I think that if you can plan your arrival or departures around the tides you will be OK with 4′ draft and a single screw. The problem is that north winds blow all the water out and if you are unlucky enough to combine that with spring lows your draft will most assuredly exceed your depth.
      Crystal River is typical of many Big Bend rivers. It is about eight miles in (and back out) from the Gulf, which makes the day’s travel a couple hours longer than you might think.
      Regards,
      Randy Pickelmann
      Morning Star

      We have cruised the Big Bend several times in Silver Boots drawing five feet with stops at Steinhatchie and Cedar Key.
      We have found we need one foot above winter low tide to enter the Steinhatchie channel. There is one floating green channel marker and this is the low spot. We have stayed at the Sea Hag marina.
      We have entered Cedar Key from both north and south and do not suggest the north west channel because of shoaling. At high tide we have scraped bottom. The south Main Ship channel has plenty of depth but becomes tricky as you approach the intersection with the north west channel. Study the charts carefully and understand the zig zag route you will follow. No marina and very little protection in this anchorage.
      Jim & Pam Shipp
      aboard Silver Boots

      Steinhatchee, FL. is our hailing port , we sail in and out frequently. We have two sailboats there a 50 ft. Gulf Star Texas, and a Islander 36 that both draw six feet. As long as you keep it in the channel there is no problem navigating in and out here. We’ve also been in and out of Crystal River a few times with these vessels. You need a good peak high tide going in as there is a shallow sand bar to cross, or there was last time we went in?
      Fair Winds,
      R. Bideaux
      La victoria

      To me, the draft of your boat is the biggest consideration. My boat draws 5 feet and I always cut across, usually from Carravelle to Clearwater, or vice versa. If you are not in a hurry, don’t just wait for the weather, wait for a night with a full or nearly full moon, and it will make the night passage a lot more fun. It’s an easy one nighter.
      With less draft, there are several places that would be fun to stop and visit.
      R. Holiman

      For boats planning to arrive Crystal River – We live in Crystal River and home port our 44′ Island Gypsy here. We draft 4.5 feet. With the low tides we are having now, we only move at near high tide and even then there are several areas in the river that we clear with only 2.5 feet under the keel. The river will lull you with stretches of 12-14 feet and suddenly 2 to 3 feet under your keel – go slow. The channel inbound from CR1 to Shell Island also has several areas with the same depths so from CR1 to Kings Bay needs to be done slowly. Things will improve with the arrival of spring tides but for now deeper draft boats should exercise caution and only transit at high tide.
      Doug & Virginia Hall M/V Lotus

      WE have sailed the St. Marks/Shell Point area for years. St. Marks is not problem, the channel is dredged for large fuel barges and has plenty of water. Shields Marina is a very nice facility and anchoring well up the St. Marks river is a wonderful wilderness experience. There is plenty of water up the river to the large powerlines that cross just south of US 98 bridge. The St. Mark’s wildlife refuge borders the east side of the river and the flloodplain on the west has a few docks and houses, but you cannot see most of the houses. When anchor overnight you are usually alone are with light traffic and you really think you are in a jungle. This is truly an undiscovered part of the big bend. Try the Riverside restaurant which has music most weekends and a transient dock.
      Phil Werndli
      MSV Banana Wind

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    • Thoughts on Cruising Across Western Florida’s Big Bend Region

      I’ve said it many times, but it’s worth repeating. If you get six cruisers together and ask their opinions on the best way to cross Western Florida’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region, you’ll get eight different opinions. Some argue vehemently for cutting the corner and heading straight from Dog Island (Carrabelle, FL) or Panama City, straight to Anclote Key or Clearwater, FL. Others are equally convinced the best way to make this passage is to follow the Big Bend shoreline, keeping well offshore to avoid the huge shelf of shallows running west into the Gulf of Mexico from this portion of the Florida coastline. Then, there is the issue of the best time of day (or night) to depart. Throw in a mix of these various alternatives, and you have an endless variety of opinions.
      Here is a string which just appeared on the AGLCA forum.

      Can someone tell me if it is possible to leave from Dog Island in the dark early morning hours to cross over to the west coast of Florida. I have been through there three times and don’t remember if there are crab pots in that area. My boat can do 12-13 mph without burning excessive fuel, but that isn’t quite enough time to cross in daylight at this time of year. We did a daylight crossing from Crystal River in 2012 when we came north, but I would prefer going farther down the Florida West coast.
      Dave Miller
      Sea Ya

      Dave,
      We have crossed from behind Dog Island three times, last time three years ago. I have left at 2 am and at 4am, go thorough East Pass to the lighted buoy and direct to Anclote Key. I have never noticed crab pots at Dog Island, however, at the East end of the journey, they are thick. I run about 12-14 MPH for the first 6 hours and then adjust my speed to match getting into Tarpon Springs before 4pm. We usually anchor at the power plant. We are headed that way this year on our way to the Bahamas and intend to use the same strategy. We operate a 48′ Tolly and it is good to see another Tolly out here.
      Robert and Patty Mitchell with Maggi the wonder dog
      ORINOCO

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    • GREAT Fuel Discount at Panama City Municipal Marina FOR SSECN READERS!!!!, Northern Gulf ICW, Statute Mile 290


      Panama City Municipal Marina - Click for Chartview

      The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vesNow 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.
      Stan Jones
      Marina Director

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Panama City Municipal Marina

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    • Good Words for MS Dockside Marina, Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf

      MS Dockside Marina - Click for Chartview

      We continue to hear only good things about this marina. See /?p=46813 MS Dockside Marina is located at 292 Graham Drive in Carrabelle which is at the eastern end of the Northern Gulf Waterway. The phone is 850-697-3337. Email is msdocksidemarina@gmail.com

      PS: The MS stands for Marine Systems.

      Although we are not currently cruising (we are home in Carrabelle FL) we really wanted to applaud the staff of the MS Dockside Marina here at home. We chose this town in a great part because of this marina, and we continue to be amazed at their expertise and kindness. If anyone needs any kind of mechanical help just before or after the crossing between the northern gulf and the west coast of FL, these are the guys to see. They are skilled, professional, and will do what it takes to correct your problem. We are so grateful to have them right here in our own town.
      Hope you are doing okay. We think of you often.
      Tim and Lisa Keith-Lucas
      MV Santa Catalina de Guale

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of MS Dockside Marina

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