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Southwest Florida Yachts Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350Boca Grande Marina, Gasparilla Island, FloridaTwin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.com239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our  beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida.Gulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
239-437-0881
gulfharbourmarina@comcast.netPink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaLocated at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City of
Punta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLThe 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, FlSt. Andrew's MarinaRegatta Pointe MarinaRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersThe Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier.

Archive For: West FL – 6 – ICW, Miserable Mile to Gasparilla

  • Another Disturbing Report of Cruisers “Hasseled” in Boca Grande Basin Anchorage

    This is the second report, albeit a second hand one, about cruisers possibly being hassled when trying to anchor on the basin in Boca Grande Bayou, just behind the Pink Elephant restaurant. Follow the link below to check out an earlier article.
    In mid-January, I had the good fortune to address the Boca Grande Yacht Club at Gasparilla Inn. A good time was had by all, particularly yours truly. I raised the topic of anchorage restrictions in Boca Grand Bayou, and no-one there seemed to know anything about it. One must wonder who is really causing trouble for boaters in Boca Grande??????

    Boaters have reported being hassled when anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou. Anyone know which authority has jurisdiction in these waters?
    Jo Mogle

    Click Here To View An Earlier SSECN Posting About Cruisers’ Anchoring on Boca Grande Bayou

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

  • Trouble May Be Brewing in the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage (Western Florida ICW, Statute Mile 28.5)

    OK, the little note below heralds some real, POTENTIAL trouble!
    Let’s first acknowledge that a collection of semi-permanently anchored vessels in Boca Grande Bayou are a REAL problem, not only for island residents, but also for legitimate cruisers who find much of the space in this wonderfully sheltered anchorage occupied by these, as I call them, “live aboard hulks.” For several years, I’ve been encouraging the local authorities in Boca Grande to solve this problem by enforcing existing MSD regulations and marina salvage laws.
    Now, it sounds from the short note below as if something Draconian MAY be in the works, which will prohibit anchorage by all vessels in the basin anchorage. And, if I may be allowed an editorial comment here, the local lawyers can say they are “finished with the paperword,” but I can tell you unquestionably from my own involvement with the Florida anchoring rights struggle, if Boca Grande attempts to prohibit all anchorage in Boca Grande Bayou, or even put a time limit on such anchorage, they will be in clear violation of Florida state law!
    Stay tuned, we are trying to get more clarification in this situation.

    Subject: Boca Grande Bayou
    Cruising News:
    I just received this from a friend of mine.
    Frank and Chuck,

    We just spent several nice days at the Boca Bayou. But Saturday afternoon we were in the dinghy when the sheriff’s deputy came motoring in. He called to us and asked if we were from the sailboats. When we said yes, he responded that they were coming to give trespassing tickets “soon”. We had to ask for more info. He said that the lawyers had finally finished with all the paperwork and were now ready to issue tickets as all the land belongs to the Gasparilla Inn. He said the marine patrol and the FWC would be out to give the tickets. We asked what he meant by “soon” and he said, “not today”.

    And, we have received the following comment from Captain Chuck Baier, editor of the “Waterway Guide.” Chuck is quite right in what he says, IF AND ONLY IF Gasparilla Inn actually owns or leases the bottom land in the “basin anchorage.”

    Claiborne, You comments about Gasparilla being in violation of Florida law, may or may not be correct. As a former marina manager in south Florida, I know that there are certain situations where an individual or commercial entity holds title to a part of the waterway including the bay bottom. This is identical to holding a deed for a piece of land. If Gasparilla Inn does indeed hold title to the bay bottom, they can restrict use of the area and someone anchoring can be charged with trespassing. There is a formal procedure in Florida for issuing a trespass citation. Perhaps the authorities are trying to sort out the actual title to the bay bottom, and perhaps it is a bluff to keep folks moving. I suppose time will tell.
    Chuck

    Captain Nicole’s remarks below mirror my own view almost exactly on the basin/Boca Grande Bayou anchorage. It would be a crime if cruising vessels were barred from anchoring on these waters, AND there is indeed a problem in this basin with derelicts and “live aboard hulks.” Once again, local authorities should use MSD regulations and marine salvage laws to solve this latter problem!

    As someone who anchored here twice north and south bound, this would be a sad anchorage to lose as it is so protected and in a really lovely town. I can tell you from experience there that I know of at least one boat where the owner moved back to California and pretty much abandoned his vessel anchored there. We know that just from the 3 days we spent there and based on the state of disrepair of some of the other vessels, I would guess that their owners are not returning anytime soon.
    Nicole

    And, more from Captain Chuck at Waterway Guide:

    Just more hijinks in Florida. I know that some homeowners in Boot Key Harbor found out their deeds included the bay bottom in front of their homes and began calling the Sheriff whenever someone anchored there. The Sheriff made the boater move but could not write a citation or do anything official unless they refused to move. The area must be posted with a no trespassing sign for the Sheriff to act or write a citation. A little hard to do on the water although not impossible. It may be that new owners of the Inn or someone searched the title and found they own the bay bottom. Or as I said, it may be a ruse to keep any other boats out long term. I managed Bonefish Marina in Marathon, and we owned the entire basin including the bay bottom. The slips are condo and when you buy one you get a deeded piece of property, even though it is under water. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Florida is always a fun place.
    Chuck Baier,
    General Manager
    www.waterwayguide.com
    www.skipperbob.net

    I’m not a lawyer. But, my admittedly limited understanding is that there are two types of submerged lands in Florida – Privately Owned, and State Owned. Originally, all was State Owned – but provisions were made to grant title to private entities at some point. However, my understanding is that any conveyance of submerged lands that are under navigable water to a private party includes provisions for public access and use for navigation and commerce. Anchoring is part of “navigation”. In other words, there should be language in the privately held title that states use of the overlying waters by the public can not be forbidden. Therefore, it would seem a private owner of submerged lands would not be able to preclude navigation – and navigation necessarily includes anchoring. Regardless, Florida sure is an interesting place to live! I hope someone gets lawyered-up and challenges this.
    Tom Scott, Punta Gorda FL.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

  • Bottom Paint Yard Recommendations in the Fort Myers Region (Western Florida)

    The messages below were copied from the ACLCA (American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association) Mail List. They were all in response to a request for recommendations as to bottom painting yards in the Fort Myers region of Western Florida.

    Ft Myers Beach —Olsen’s Marine or Gulf Marine Ways.
    We’ve used Gulf Marine Ways twice– we were happy with the work. We’re hauling out after first of the year and will probably go with Olsens (they are under new management) because we want to do our own work and they will do the work or DIY.
    Steve and Gina Smith
    M/v Island Time
    Cape Coral, Fl

    I’ve used Olsen Marine in Fort Myers Beach. They are a bit pricey, but I thought they did a good job. I’ve heard good things about Owl Creek Marine, about 15 miles up the Calosahachee River, and that their rates are much better.
    Carl Schultz, Fort Myers, FL

    We use Black Hawk and love it. We get three years from it when applied by a good boat yard. Had it done in Brandeton’s Sneed Island Boat Yard. Paint is manufactured locally and costs more than $200 a gallon but you can save by purchasing it over the internet. Make sure the boat yard will apply paint they didn’t sell.
    Jack on Honga
    Krogen-42

    We would also recommend Gulf Marine. There is also Olson Marine, a smaller yard nearby, for smaller boats. For a harder bottom Paint on a Faster sport cruiser, try Petit Trinidad SR. We once tried an ablative paint on our sportfish and felt it affected our performance.

    There are two areas in Ft Myers Beach that do bottom painting that I am aware of.
    1. Snook Bight Marina – 239-765-4371; Enter from the north under the Manatanzas Pass Bridge. Contact gen mgr Larry Sincoskie. They did a terrific job on our 38′ a few years ago and I last saw them doing a SeaRay 42. They use a 50,000 lb fork lift for haul out, and rack store up to 45′ vessels inside.
    We have used Trinidad SR for years in salt water and it has been excellent.
    2. Gulf Marine @ 239-463-1666. w/ 150 ton travel lift. They do work on large and small cruisers, both power and sail; but I have no personal experience with them.
    Regards,
    Tom
    m/v Marbles

    Bob & Annies Boatyard in St James City – at the south end of Pine Island – does a very good job, and can haul by crane or (gasp!) marine railway
    Captain Mike Smith

  • New Matlacha Bridge Schedule (Western Florida, near Pine Island Sound)

    Matlache Channel runs between the western Florida mainland and Pine Island, just north of the “Miserable Mile,” the Caloosahatchee River and Fort Myers. The southern half of this passage is winding and shallow, but quite a few cruisers do enter the far deeper northern and cruise as far south as the Matlacha Bridge, with a few anchoring just south of this span.
    While the note below is a bit cryptic in regards to the politics of what is going on here, it looks like the county is now managing this span, and has come to some sort of compromise opening schedule, balancing landside and waterborne interests.
    ALL cruisers who plan to navigate even a portion of the Matlacha channel need to carefully record the opening times outlined below.

    Cruising News:
    Here is what we plan to do for the bridge opening hours. We will start this Dec. 1, 2010. Basically we will man the bridge during USCG hours and then on demand, on the hour only, in between (11 AM, noon, 1 PM and 2 PM), except we will cover the extended hours on the weekend and the day before and after, as follows:
    Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
    8 AM to 10 AM – bridge will open on demand
    10 AM to 3 PM – bridge will open, only on the hour, on demand
    3 PM to 7 PM – bridge will open on demand
    ————————————
    Friday, Saturday & Monday
    8 AM to 7 PM – bridge will open on demand (as it was pre-construction)
    ———————————–
    Sunday
    7 AM to 7 PM – bridge will open on demand (as it was pre-construction)
    ———————————-
    Also, if there is some special event, with multiple vessels, and the bridge needs to open at some time other than on the hour (this is for Tuesday thru Thursday, 10 AM to 3 PM only) we just need to be provided 24 hour notice, which can be done by calling 239-533-8573. This number will be forwarded to one of us at all times, and we will cover whatever the special arrangements need to be.
    Hopefully this will pacify everyone’s needs. I realize that everyone may not be totally satisfied, but I hope we are close. Just as an FYI, providing this service will cost the County approximately $50,000 over the original bid price. So everybody has had to comprise somewhat.
    Frank Cushing

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Matlacha Bridge

  • A Good Experience at York Island Anchorage (Statute Mile 5)

    The is the second posting we’ve had in as many weeks about anchoring on the waters south of York Island. This has never been one of my personal favorites in the way of an overnight anchorage, but, hey, looks like I’m in the minority.

    We spent three nights anchored off York Island, close to St. James City 11/23/10. Winds from NE and NW but didn’t seem too rolly to me. Tried Chino first but quite rough, open, and didn’t care for the ugly view of the power lines. Liked York Island anchorage. Many manatee and porpoise around. Easy trip to restaurants–and Waterfront Restaurant close and allowed dogs outside. Everyone friendly. Anchorage has space for many boats and whole area is deep if you don’t get too close to shore. We took dinghy across to Tarpon Bay and fish were everywhere.
    Rannie

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The York Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The York Island Anchorage

  • York Island Anchorage (Statute Mile 5)

    The York Island Anchorage lies north, northwest of Western Florida ICW marker #14. These waters are wide open to southern, southeastern and southwestern winds.

    Anchored there on 11/12/10. Wind 10-15 out of NE. A bit rolly. Need N winds for it to be a calm spot. You can dinghy into St. James City which has a couple of restaurants on the canals. Not much to see, though.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The York Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the York Island Anchorage

  • Chino Island Anchorage (Statute Mile 188)

    Western Florida’s Pine Island Sound region, through with the Western Florida ICW runs south to north (of the other way around), is replete with many WONDERFUL places to drop the hook. One of the best is found on the waters adjacent to Chino Island, if and only if the winds are blowing from the north, east or northeast. Don’t anchor here if fresh western or southwesterly breezes are in the offing.

    Spent the night there on 11/12/10. Only boat there. WOW. Great anchorage. We had wind 10-15 out of NE and it was flat calm. You can go to within 100 yards of shore ans still have 7′. It’s quite a distance from ICW so boat wakes are minimal. Lots of birds feeding along shoreline. I’d say that with winds from N to NE it can’t get better than here.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Chino Island Anchroage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Chino Island Anchorage

  • Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage (Statute Mile 21.5)

    The anchorage described by Captain Rogner below lies just off the western shores of Useppa Island, and sits opposite the entrance to Cabbage Key, across the Western Florida ICW. If the weather chooses to cooperate, it’s a great place to spend an evening, and you can always dinghy into Cabbage Key for dinner!

    Great anchorage as long as wind is out of the north and/or east. In fact, much nicer to anchor here than to sit in a rolly slip at Cabbage Key if any decent wind is coming from north and/or east. With west winds call for a slip.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage

  • Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage (Statute Mile 28.5)

    The small basin just behind Gasparilla Island’s DELIGHTFUL village of Boca Grande, is one of the most secure overnight havens along this section of the Western Florida coastline. However room is much reduced by some semi-permanent vessels “anchored” here, that seldom, if ever, move.

    Great anchorage with big winds. Can be hot in light winds. Only issue is the derelict boats that litter the anchorage and swallow up a lot of the room. Pink Elephant Restaurant and Pub is a 50 yard dinghy ride away.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande – Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

  • Roosevelt Channel Anchorage (Statute Mile 13)

    This haven lies well off the Western Florida ICW’s run through Pine Island Sound, and near to the eastern shores of Captiva Island. Tween Waters Marina is nearby, but dinghy landing is now allowed.

    Spent 2 nights here when a strong front came through. I drew 4 feet. Very secure, but be careful. When the winds swung around from SE to NE we moved from 5.5 feet of water to 4 feet and ended up on the bottom for a while. Also, for some reason Tween Waters is not too friendly with transients at anchor (they are great if you get a slip). The slips, however, are fully exposed to E winds and it can be rough when they get near 20.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Roosevelt Channel Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Roosevelt Channel Anchorage

  • Pelican Bay – Park Service Docks Anchorage (Statute Mile 25)

    Pelican Bay offers several enticing anchorages, of which the “Park Service Docks Anchorage” is but one. Follow the various links below to check out others. Note Captain Rogner’s quite correct warning about entrance depths at low water. The least we’ve seen here is 4 1/2 feet, but I’m sure 4-foot depths are possible.

    I’ve anchored here several times. Only issue is with strong winds out of the N to NE. It can get quite choppy inside. Otherwise, it’s tranquil and near perfect. When entering you’ll need to almost drive onto the beach to stay off the ground. I’ve hit in a boat drawing 4 feet, but was able to easily back off.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pelican Bay Outer Anchroage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pelican Bay – Park Service Docks Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pelican Bay – Punta Blanca Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pelican Bay

  • Captiva Pass Anchorage (Statute Mile 18.5)

    The anchorage described below lies off the northern, inner flank of Captiva Pass, in the shadow of North Captiva Island. As Captain Rogner notes, this haven lacks good shelter for overnight anchorage.

    Perfect day anchorage when winds calm or out of the west. Strong current at times. Anchor, hit the beach, but be gone for somewhere else before evening.
    Bill Rogner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Captiva Pass Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Captiva Pass Anchorage

  • Ding Darling Anchorage (Statute Mile 5.5)

    The Ding Darling Anchorage lies on a large cove which indents the shores of Sanibel Island, south of Western Florida ICW marker #14.

    My wife and I used this spot a lot, earlier this year. We watched a family of Manatees feeding for most of the day. The [semi-sunken] sailboat [which used to lie in these waters] has now been taken away.
    Pete Waldron

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Ding Darling Anchorage

  • Praise for Southwestern Florida Yacht (North Fort Myers – Caloosahatchee River)

    Southwest Florida YachtsI have known Barbara and Vic Hansen, the owners of Southwestern Florida Yachts, for years and years, and can honestly say I’ve never found a better run charter operation than theirs. And, all the MANY great cruising possibilities on Western Florida’s Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor, including Boca Grande, are within an easy day’s cruise of their base of operations. If you are thinking about chartering in Western Florida, click the sponsorship panel to the left of this message. Your search is ended. And, oh yes, Southwestern Florida Yachts is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!

    We are definitely biased having our boat in charter at Southwest FloridaYachts in N. Ft. Myers..but. we used other charter company in this areabefore we made our choice and they are definitely a 1st class operation.
    Chas & Bev

  • Thoughts on the Changing Seasons in Southwestern Florida

    Barb Hansen, author of the article below, is co-owner of Southwestern Florida Yachts in North Fort Myers, Florida. These good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and, by the way, one of the best charter operations in all of Florida!!!!

    View from the Marina
    Florida’s Four Seasons
    By Barb Hansen
    October 2010

    The full moon in late September this year was as big and as beautiful as it can be and it was accompanied by the most delicious breeze from the north, a harbinger of well-deserved, cooler weather for those of us who live in Southwest Florida.
    Now for at least nine months more the climate will be exceptionally good, proving again the area deserves its “paradise” title.
    This is the time of the year when I have to remind myself not to phone friends up north and brag about our weather, especially not when they’re getting cold fronts and, with autumn’s shorter days, must turn on their car lights at 4:30 p.m.
    People say Florida doesn’t have seasons. That’s incorrect.
    The temperature differential may not be as dramatic in Fort Myers as it is in Fort Wayne, but signs of seasonal change are just as unmistakable if you are tuned in to the sights and sounds of the subtropics.
    Winter is wonderful, of course. I think of it as the season of roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets and wood storks feeding on mud flat at low tide. Natives get chilly sometimes but those who know how cold it gets in other climes are comfortable and so grateful they are not shoveling snow. Personally, I like a wind chill of 75 degrees and break out the winter jacket when the temperature drops into the 60’s.
    By late March, the cold fronts seem to lose their punch and the flora and fauna of spring emerge. April and May are a special time of the year when tired, tiny tanagers and warblers hitch rides and a rest on your boat railing before flitting off in search of a berry tree on Sanibel Island. Our eyes and noses delight in the flowering trees — fragrant yellow frangipani, fire-red poinciana, lavender-blue jacaranda.
    Summer arrives with the first thunderstorm and the “full moon in June” as the saying goes. Shy cereus cactus flowers make their one-night-only appearances in June. Summer mornings are clear and clouds build throughout the day. On the water, the tarpon are rolling and a fishing frenzy ensues in the waters of Southwest Florida.
    Summer is relaxing on the flybridge, in the shade of a Bimini, with a cool drink in hand, watching a pod of dolphins circle in on their fresh fish entrée. This is the “low” season. Okay. Whatever.
    I love it here in Southwest Florida, as you can tell. Still, I’ve come to the point of view that no one place is perfect unless you make it so. I like to read and when I’m wrapped up in a great novel I don’t care where I am so long as the chair is comfortable. In fact, if it were snowing outside and I was close to a crackling fire, that would be just dandy.
    But dyed in the wool boaters logically migrate toward Florida (and they will leave their woolens behind). Snow skiers probably want to be close to the Rockies, High Sierras, or the Cascades. Surfers prefer the Pacific. We have traveled to all of those places and beyond, but as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
    So maybe no one place is perfect but, like those snowbirds on the yacht pulpit, we can fly to some other place and suit our changing weather whims.
    As a Floridian who spent her first 20 years in the Midwest, I can tell you that I feel the change of seasons in the Sunshine State just as much as I did back in Indiana. Whatever the season, Florida suits me just fine.

    Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at info@swfyachts.com, phone 1-800-262-7939 or visit http://www.swfyachts.com/

  • Two Visits to Cabbage Key Inn and Marina, Pine Island Sound, FL

    South of Charlotte Harbor, lying east of Pine Island Wildlife Refuge and west of the ICW in Pine Island Sound, Cabbage Key has much to offer the cruiser, especially if you are interested in the unusual history of the island and its Inn.

    We’ve stayed at Cabbage Key twice in the last six months. The first time was in January at the height of this winter’s cold snap. During that visit, we were transiting up to our new home port of St. Petersburg in our newly acquired Jefferson 46. When we pulled in about 1700, we were the only boat there. The dockmaster was very helpful, and the staff was wonderful. We ended up extending our overnight stay for three days to soak in the relaxing atmosphere. Each night, we were the only ones on the island, and had the entire staff catering to us. During the day, we put our kayak in the water and trekked over to Cayo Costa Island, and had the entire 6 mile stretch of sand to ourselves. This allowed us to escape the lunch crowd we had heard about, and enjoy the solitude.
    Recently, we visited Cabbage Key again, this time over the 4th of July weekend. On this trip, we were on our Catalina 36 sail boat that we were taking up to All American Storage in Port Charlotte to be put on the hard for hurricane season. Once again, we had a wonderful time, although during the day, the place was a madhouse with anywhere from 20 – 30 small boats in for lunch and drinks. Because of the number of overnight guests in larger boats, we were put on the middle dock closest to the dockmaster’s office/store. I was a little concerned with depth as we draw 6 ft, but had absolutely no problem pulling all the way in. The dockmaster had me leave my stern beyond the end of the dock by about 6 ft, but I was still showing 6 ft on the depth sounder (about 7.5 ft of depth). After about 1800 each night, the small boats left, and we had the restaurant almost to ourselves. As usual the food and service were great. The only issue we had on this visit was that we were hit hard on three occasions by small boats as their (probably inebriated) captains attempted to get underway. In the future, I would not want to be on the middle dock for just this reason.
    Overall, this is one of my favorite places on the western FL coast. It is easy to get in and out with approach and dockside depths of 7 – 10 ft, and it is easily transited even after dark. The kayaking is fantastic, the food is great, the staff friendly, and it is an easy shot out through Boca Grande Pass, into Charlotte Harbor, or down through Pine Island Sound.
    Captain Glenn Zeider

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Cabbage Key Inn and Marina

  • South Seas Island Resort Marina (Statute Mile 13.5)

    I have not visited with South Seas since it went through a long rebuilding process after the 2005 hurricane season. Captain Jim seems to have found this facility pretty much as I remember it before the storms.
    Do check out others cruisers’ comments by following the link below to this South Seas listing in our Western Florida Marina Directory. As you will see, the entrance channel here has changed.

    Very nice professional, high-end marina. Lots of amenities – easy access to Gulf side beach, 3 pools – one with slides, multiple restaurants, trolleys, golf coarse, etc. It was crowded but definitely resort like. A little tight for my full keel “she don’t like to back up’ sailboat – but well worth the adventure.
    Jim

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For South Seas Island Resort Marina

  • Sanibel Island Marina

    Sounds like Captain Dale had a good experience at Sanibel Island Marina. This facility is found just a short hop south of the Sanibel Island Bridge.

    Spent three nights here in June. Coming from Stuart on the East Coast we wanted to stay close to one of the beaches. It is not easy to hoof it anywhere. Our slip mates broke out their dinghy and explored a great deal including the beach. All beach accesses require a 2 dollar per hour fee. They are dog friendly however.
    Gramma Dots restaurant at the marina was great but busy. We were part of the attraction as many patrons stopped to talk to us and snap photos.
    Each morning we were given a newspaper and warm blueberry muffins. The staff and esp dock master were some of the best. If you are looking for a quiet layover this is the place.
    Dale

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

  • Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage (Statute Mile 21.5)

    The neat little anchorage described below by Captain Ron lies almost directly opposite the marked channel leading to Cabbage Key. Here you will discover a truly funky inn and restaurant, that is like no other!

    Anchor outside the channel in 8-10 feet over sand and gravel. We anchored here one night in 30 knots steady and 50 knot gusts and held tightly on a 12/1 scope. After the blow, things settled down and the next afternoon we went to Cabbage Key by dingy for a “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” A real old time Keys bar if you need some socialization.
    Ron

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Cabbage Key Inn Marina

  • Gasparilla Marina (Statute Mile 34)

    In spite of its name, Gasparilla Marina is not located on Gasparilla Island, but rather it is to be found along the northeastern banks of the AICW, just south of the Gasparilla Island Causeway/Bridge. This is a large facility which offers a wealth of services, and there is now an on-site restaurant, plus the Fishery Restaurant is withing walking distance. We have not yet sample the bill of fare at the on-site eaterly, but Fisheries is WONDERFUL!!!

    We spent several days at Gasparilla Marina in May 2010. Jeff, Carol and Jennifer were wonderful hosts. They were very helpful. Jeff offered the use of his car if we needed to grocery shop. A Publix is about 2 miles away. Evening dinghy rides to the nearby islands is a sheltered trip. My wife struck it rich in her search for shells on the north end of Gasparilla Island. Now I have a boat full of sand dollars, etc, etc. Restrooms are large and clean. Wi-Fi, excellent. Lounge with TV. Nice sheltered area with tables for evening socializing if other transients are around. Huge service business associated with the marina if you need repairs. Good food (bar food) and music at the on site Watersides Restaurant. The Fishery Restaurant is a short walk. It is also excellent.
    Rick Parish

    Let me reiterate our recommendation of Gasparilla and the on site restaurant.
    Admiral Deb and I give Gasparilla Marina our highest recommendation! We called via cell phone 2 days prior to arriving and talked to the Manager, Jeff. Jeff is ‘a prince among men’! We talked with him for several minutes about details of the marina and the surrounding points of interest. Jeff offered us the use of his car (a brand new Crown Vic) to go shopping when we got there. We’d never met him before! On arrival the staff was always very helpful, interested in our welfare and the welfare of our vessel. Their restaurant The Waterside Grill had indoor and outdoor seating, lots of large wide screen TVs and the staff was friendly and efficient. We stayed 7 days, 2/20/10 – 2/26/10, and ate 2 meals each day. The food there was far superior to the food at the local well known restaurant half a mile away. The showers were private room sized and clean. Wi-fi was fast with no connectivity problems while we were there. Easy in and out, wide fairways right on the gulf ICW.
    Lou Spagna,
    s/v Wu-Hsin

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

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