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

  • Southwest Florida Yachts Announces 30’th Anniversary Specials

    Southwest Florida YachtsWe are proud to have such as long-lived nautical enterprise as Southwest Florida Yachts as a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! Of course, we are not at all prejudiced you understand, but the entire Cruisers’ Net bunch would wager more than a few scheckles that you will not find a better charter agency anywhere in Florida, for sail or powercraft.
    Congratulations to owners Barb and Vic Hansen!!!! Here’s to the next 30 years!!!!

    The firm announces free cruising days from 2012 to 2014.
    NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘“ A 30-year anniversary is a very big deal in the recreational boating industry. Anticipating its big Three-Oh, Southwest Florida Yachts announced a three-year “Berth Day” party culminating in 2014.
    Barb Hansen, co-owner and manager, said the premier chartering firm will give charter customers free cruising days in 2012, 2013 and 2014 on all power and sailing vessels.
    Hansen said it works like this: if you set up a three-days or longer cruise between December 15 and April 30 you’ll get one free cruising day. That’s the winter season. And if you cruise in the summer season you’ll get two free cruising days.
    “It feels very good to be cruising toward another milestone,” said Hansen. She started Southwest Florida Yachts with her husband Vic in 1984 and once described the big decision this way:
    “The year was 1984. Nuclear arms controls with the Soviet Union were unraveling. The prime loan rate was 13 percent. Vic and I started Southwest Florida Yachts. I guess we were in an ‘Oh, what the heck’ state of mind. Hey, if you’re going to get hit by a nuclear bomb, why not move to Florida, get married, start a yacht chartering business and a yacht school and, as they say, live happily ever after.”
    So far, so very good, Hansen reports.
    Today, the company maintains 11 power yachts from 32 to 50 feet at its headquarters at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers just off the Caloosahatchee River. This provides convenient access to the scenic and protected Gulf cruising channels around Pine Island and along Sanibel-Captiva and other Gulf of Mexico barrier islands. The five-vessel sailing fleet charter base is Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Casting off from either location gives charterers access to what many consider the number one cruising area in the United States.
    Southwest Florida is ranked as one of the best cruising and sailing areas in the world. Visitors have scored the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva as the best islands to visit for their ambiance, beaches, friendliness, restaurants and scenery.
    For more information visit, email or phone 800-262-7939 or 239-656-1339.

  • No-Wake Zones on the Western Florida ICW, Between Sarasota and Fort Myers

    Below, I’ve copied a question and answer, taken from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, in regards to no-wake zones that will slow an inside passage between Sarasota and Fort Myers. All who cruise the western shores of the Sunshine State will thank Captain Pickelmann for such a ready and useful answer!

    On the Gulf ICW between Sarasota and Fort Myers, what percent of the roughly 75 NM is speed restricted? I am charting a transit and it seems that I recall a significant portion of the stretch particularly from Sarasota to Punta Gorda is a slow zone.
    Dan Stephens

    I’ve never actually measured it but there is a stretch of five miles or so between Sarasota and Venice that is a Minimum Wake Zone. Further on, there is another stretch of about five miles between the bottom of Lemon Bay and the Gasparilla Island bridge that is No Wake. There are other minor No Wake areas but they are pretty small. Really not a big deal.
    Randy Pickelmann

    A little less than 1/2 of the distance is wake restricted. A better choice would be to go outside until Boca Grand then go inside. The winds are easterly most of the time so the Gulf is flat.
    Ron Hoffman

    Be aware of the signs, many of them state a minimum wake outside of the ICW channel and 25 mph in the channel. Since very few trawlers go 25 you are able to continue at your normal cruising speed because you also will not be outside of the channel as this area is very shallow, only fishing boats and wave runners can navigate there. Also some of the bridges have changed names so if you have older charts they may not be correct. Enjoy your trip!
    Capt. Dana

    Caution required if deciding to go outside at Big Sarasota Pass, can be tricky if windy..
    Dennis McMurtry

  • Thoughts on Summertime Western Florida Cruising by Captain Barb Hansen

    Southwest Florida YachtsCaptain Barbara Hansen is a long time friend of yours truly, and the co-owner of Southwestern Florida Yachts, the premiere chartering agency in southwestern Florida, and a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    View from the Marina
    It’s Summertime and the Cruising is Easy
    By Barb Hansen
    July 2011
    I was browsing you-know-what and read something a parent posted online. I Googled manatees. It was about Florida manatees, of course, but this entry reminded me about the wonderful age of 10.
    And, may I suggest, it also was about why cruising in Florida ought to be on the summer vacation to-do list for every young family.
    It was posted on an online form and the parent wrote, “We just got home from our wonderful trip to Sanibel for the first time. We saw a mother manatee nursing two babies near the lighthouse close to the shore on Friday Aug. 7’¦ She also had about five other babies waiting their turn just poking their little noses out of the water. What an awesome sight for my 10 yr old daughter and me.”
    This was an awesome sight and awesome times 100, I think, because it was shared by a parent and 10-year-old. Ten-year-olds ‘“ I’m sure you know this ‘“ are the perfect age for an experience like this but, hey, I’m sure this would be a wonderful thing to see for all children above the age of reason up to and including their parents.
    The thing is, seeing manatees and frolicking dolphins in the wild is not at all unusual in Florida in the summer, especially when you’re on a boat. They call this the “low season” but manatees and dolphins don’t know that. For Florida’s wildlife, summer is the high season.
    By the way Sanibel, mentioned by the parent of the 10-year-old, is one of our famous Gulf barrier islands and it helps shape the popular, protected cruising corridors on either side of Pine Island.
    Here at Southwest Florida Yachts the summer pace is a tad more relaxed after a busy “high” season of chartering vessels to snowbirds escaping the cold up north. In the summer the calls often come from moms and dads asking what summer cruising is like because this is summer vacation and their kids are out of school. They’ve done Disney, and they are so over Disney.
    Oh it’s very good, I say. Then I’m off on a summertime is the best time riff. Cruising is the just right thing for a family with children to do on summer vacation.
    I tell them about seeing manatees and dolphins in the wild. I tell them about seeing a thousand wading birds feeding on a shallow flat and a thousand stars twinkling from the dark sky at night. It’s summertime. Living is easy. Fish are jumping.
    I like showing off our lovely part of Florida to visitors during the low season and I’ve always thought it way too sad that so many fail to come here at a time of the year when Florida really shines.
    This is “Real Florida,” as the tourism people call it. It really is. And the cruising is easy.
    Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts

  • Quick Look at Boca Grande Marina (Statute Mile 28.5)

    I guess I shouldn’t comment too much on Boca Grande marina, as it resides in our very favorite spot on earth. Both Karen and I get a bit dreamlike when undertaking any discussion of Boca Grande. Suffice it to say, this is a WONDERFUL place.
    Do note that the entrance to Boca Grange Bayou, which also provides access to the marina, is being pinched by an ever growing shoal. The marina owner has been seeking the necessary permits to dredge at his own expense, but so far no soap!

    Stayed at Boca Grand Marina and as always it was great. Recommend you get a reservation in advance as there are not that many slips. The staff is great and the town is one of my favorites.

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

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

  • Happy Time at South Seas Resort Marina (Western Florida ICW, Statute Mile 13.5)

    South Seas Island Resort Marina resides near the northern tip of Captiva Island, just south of Redfish Pass. This facility has a newly marked entry channel running west of the ICW. First timers may want to call the marina in advance of their arrival to check on the latest channel conditions and markings.
    Some years ago, South Seas was trashed by a hurricane. Glad to hear below that the storm damage is now only a bad, distant memory!

    Cruising News*: Just got back from a 1 week spring break cruise. Stayed at South Seas Resort. It is expensive but worth it. I draw 5 feet and entrance channel is not a problem at mid-tide. The channel was not on my chartplotter apparently was somewhat recently moved.

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of South Seas Resort Marina

  • Good Experience at South Seas Island Resort Marina (Statute Mile 13.5)

    Back during the terrible hurricane season of 2005, South Seas Resort suffered extensive damage, and, if memory serves, which sometimes it does not, it took over a year for the necessary work to e accomplished before a reopening of this facility. It’s good to hear Captain Bill’s report below that things are once again working well here.

    We recently spent a few days at South Seas Resort Marina in our Catalina 34, Mother Ocean. A few years ago we had a `choppy’ experience there because of some abrupt staffing changes (probably as a result of the economy) and some problems with their entrance channel.
    We are happy to report that this year our experience there was excellent. The channel is now well marked. They have staffed up the marina with a very competent group. Finally, the resort, which had a few bugs in it during the years after its post-hurrican reopening, is running at full strength and very smoothly.
    While it does cost more to dock there, one should keep in mind that the full resort is available to marina guests. At present it is, in our view, one of the nicest places to tie off on the west coast of Florida.

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Seas Island Resort Marina

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

    This anchorage lies on the opposite side of the Western Florida ICW channel from the marked passage leading to Cabbage Key.

    This anchorage has a beautiful view. It has plenty of room and depth (10 feet) for several larger vessels. We had good holding over night with moderately strong easterly winds. I would highly recommend this anchorage.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The 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 Marina (Gasparilla Island, near Statute Mile 28.5)

    As you will see, Captain Sage’s review of Boca Grande Marina below is mostly positive, but the shoaling at the entrance to Boca Grande Bayou is for real, and a real concern for visiting and resident cruisers alike. If your vessel draws 3 1/2 feet or more, you should probably plan your entry and egress into and from Boca Grande Bayou for a time near high water. Oh yes, no-one can blame this facility for the below described lightning strike. That could have happened anywhere.

    BG Marina is indeed a neat little marina. I was welcomed there in my modest 33 foot sloop. There was a seaplane executing touch and go’s in the mouth of the marina basin so there is plenty of room in there, but the shoaling at the very entrance is critical at MLW; hug the wall close to the houses on shore and all should go well. There are clean showers and other facilities. BTW, we suffered a terrible lightning strike while docked at this marina’¦very expensive stay indeed!
    Oscar Sage

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

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

  • Anchorage Regulations for Boca Grand Bayou May Still Be Brewing (Gasparilla Island, near St. M. 28.5)

    We posted an earlier article here on the Cruisers’ Net, linked below, which seemed to indicate that anchorage regulations might be in the offing for the popular “Basin Anchorage” near the charming village of Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island. At the time, I editorialized that any such regulations would be contrary to Florida State Law UNLESS it could be shown the bottom land in the “basin” was privately owned. Based on the note below from Lieutenant Jim Brown, it looks as if someone may be trying to establish private ownership claims.

    Cruising News:
    This has been circulated by the Punta Gorda boater’s Alliance.

    The waters of Boca Grande are far clearer than is the issue of Jurisdiction and Anchoring in the Boca Grand Bayou. The issue of Boca Grand Bayou pivots on whether or not they are `Waters of the State’. Waters of the State are all navigable waters which existed at the time of statehood. They include the area from the mean high mark seaward. The problem with the Boca Grand Bayou, are the maps of this era, which are at best poor and show very little detail. Further compounding this problem is the fact that dredging took place in 1926 and possibly earlier, at least in the area of the 5th Street docks. Waters of the state do not include any private lands made navigable by artificial means such as dredging. The Florida DEP has some submerged land leases in the northern end of the Bayou and claim ownership there, but cannot confirm ownership as state land for areas of the southern end. The ownership of the water in the southern end is unclear (fifth street dock excluded) and may very well be owned by private interests. If it is privately owned then that party could regulate who used it. If it is owned by the state then state/county boating laws would apply.
    There are no county ordinances regulating anchoring at this location, but F.S.S. 327.44 relates to anchoring when it interferes with navigation. With this being said, the jurisdiction for enforcement would fall upon the Lee County Sheriff’s Officer, Law Enforcement Officers of the FWC and the United States Coast Guard. I have found a web site that gives a good look at the whole picture of anchoring. I hope this helps you out. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at 239-850-9076. Should you uncover any further information on this matter please let me know.
    Lieutenant Jim Brown
    Lee County Sheriff’s Office
    Marine Unit

    Frank Cushing

    Click Here To View An Earlier Posting About Possible Anchorage Regulations on Boca Grande Bayou

    Click Here To View A Second, Earlier Posting About Possible Anchorage Regulations on Boca Grande Bayou

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Boca Grand Bayou “Basin Anchorage”

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande Bayou Basin Anchroage

  • Don’t Anchor Overnight in Tarpon Bay (Sanibel Island, near Statute Mile 5.5)

    Tarpon Bay lies off the northeastern shores of Sanibel Island, north of Dixie Beach. I’ve never recommended anchoring here, or even that cruising size craft should attempt to explore these waters, dues to the iffy depths and less than stellar channel markings. Now, below, we hear from Captain John that it’s actually illegal to spend the night here, and you could receive a ticket.
    Fortunately, there are plenty of other places nearby to drop the hook. Follow the link below for full info on the “Ding Darling Anchorage”

    We received a $75 ticket (in Nov 2009) for trespassing when we anchored OVERNIGHT inside Tarpon Bay in the Ding Darling Nat’l Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Tarpon Bay’s waters are closed to all boats from sunset to sunrise we were informed. This is NOT posted, but we paid the ticket. No desire to get in a tussle with the Feds. And [the] Officer couldn’t have been nicer about it. He really didn’t want to write us the ticket.
    Apparently the refuge “owns” (long-term leases from the State of FL) the Refuge which includes the bottom of the Bay within the Refuge which is all the enclosed water inside the sandbar at the inner mouth. The Refuge Boundary extends beyond the Bay mouth and I believe includes “Horseshoe Bay” anchorage area. But Jim was very clear that the Refuge didn’t claim to “own” the bottom of any waters outside of Tarpon Bay itself. NO TICKETS WOULD BE WRITTEN TO ANYONE OUTSIDE TARPON BAY. Jim told us that we could anchor just beyond the sand spit “point” in front of the houses and the Refuge would have no problem. Apparently a rental company of “Party Boats” had been suggesting the Bay as a weekend late night party spot to patrons. Neighbors complained. Tickets were issued and the company was warned but I guess it was a real problem for some time. Well a neighbor saw us enter the Bay (on a Fri. evening) and called the Refuge Director.
    So the word should be spread just to be aware not to enter Tarpon Bay after dark. Apparently one fisherman has a permit to do so. Everyone else is technically trespassing, they maintain…
    We should have passed this info along at the time. Better late than never?
    John McLaughlin

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Ding Darling Anchorage and Tarpon Bay

  • Fort Myers Boat Storage Recommendations

    Below is copied an interesting discussion from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list about good places to store one’s boat in the Fort Myers region of the Western Florida coastline.

    I need to store my 35 ft trawler somewhere near the Ft. Myers area, while I fly up north for knee surgery. Probably 4 to 6 months.
    Anyone have suggestions for a reasonable, no frills, dry storage yard in the area.

    All American Boat Storage and Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage are next door to one another up a freshwater canal off Charlotte Harbor north of Ft. Myers. Both are first class and reasonable.
    Punta Gorda

    I concur with Charlotte Harbor Storage. Last time I was there it was a well run, clean operation. They do allow owners to work on their own boats if necessary.,+Florida+33785&l l=26.87688,-82.234919&spn=0.004172,0.006877&t=h&z=17
    or Tiny URL
    Joel Wilkins
    m/s Miss Magoo

    Glades Boat Storage, Moore Haven, FL
    Patrick and Margie

    You might want to call Owl Creek Boatworks in Alva, FL. It is just north of FT. Myers on the Caloosahatcee. He has covered fresh water storage and said no damage during Charlie.

  • 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.

    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.

    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

    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

    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.
    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)
    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.

    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

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