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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
 Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350Twin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.comBoca Grande Marina, Gasparilla Island, Florida239 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.Located 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 ofGulfport Marina includes dry boat storage, ship store, bathroom, public boat ramp, parking, fueling stations, lighted range markers and guest docking facility.Pink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaGulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
St. Andrew's MarinaThe 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. Punta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersRegatta Pointe MarinaThe 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, FlFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FL

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

  • Boca Grande Marina (Statute Mile 28.5)

    Boca Grande is a good marina, though there is a shoaling problem at the mouth of the bayou that leads to this facility, First timers should follow the link below to Boca Grande Marina’s listing in our “Western Florida Marina Directory” and call the dockmaster for entry instructions.
    What really makes Boca Grande Marina so great, is that it’s within walking distance of the village of Boca Grande, one of the great cruising gems of the Southeastern USA coastline. Don’t miss dinner at the Gasparilla Inn, and you can reprovision at Hudsons Grocery. There is sooo much more to see and do in this charming community! Don’t miss it!!!!!

    This was the third night on our trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Gulf Coast and this was BY FAR our favorite. The marina is a wonderful little place and the staff are the best I’ve ever encountered. They went out of they’re way to help and had wonderful attitudes. There are two restraunts on site, we dined up stairs and had a wonderful meal. The town is a neat place, we rented a golf cart to explore a little and found several neat looking restraunts and a well stocked local grocery store. We didn’t have much time so we didn’t get to see a whole lot but this place is one I certainly want to return to.

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

  • Redfish Pass (between Captiva and North Captiva Islands (near St. M. 13.5)

    Redfish Pass is an inlet that cuts out towards the briny blue between Captiva and North Captiva Islands. I’ve been sounding this pass for 18 years. Sometimes it’s been shallower, sometime deeper, sometimes the marks have been more numerous, other times less. Looks like this channel is now passable, at least according to Captain Power, but always watch out for future shoaling. Note that Captain Power’s message below contains superb, very useful navigational info!

    Subject: Redfish Pass
    Cruising News: This Pass is easily navigable. If coming off the ICW, enter the South Seas Plantation channel off of ICW #38 and pick up their # 24, but NOTE that these marks are for the Pass, so keep red to port. This channel was a minimum of 6 feet or more. Proceed past the resort and follow the markers. Depths range from 7 to about 30 feet right at the Pass. The outer marks in the Gulf, going out are floating marks. Number 1, the outermost mark was at 26 degrees 33.187′ N, 82 degrees 12.699′ W.
    David S Power

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

  • Good Words for Gasparilla Marina (Statute Mile 34)

    The entrance to Gasparilla Marina cuts east off the Western Florida ICW, immediately south of the Gasparilla Island bridge and causeway. This facility features a well sheltered harbor, and, judging from Captain Spagna’s message below, offers superior services.
    Also, besides their own on-site dining spot (described below) the Fisheries Restaurant is within easy walking distance. I can tell you from personal experience that the food here is superb!

    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

  • Okeechobee Waterway and Western Florida Cruising

    Wow, there’s all sorts of great cruising info in Captain RB’s message below, concerning both the Okeechobee Waterway, and cruising the Western Florida coastline from Fort Myers south to Boca Grande!

    Subject: Fl trip
    Cruising News: I just got back from a spring break cruise with the family and thought I would share my observations. We left Stuart at 10AM and arrived at Ft Myers at 8PM. We stayed at the Ft Myers Yacht Basin which was an easy and pleasant walk to the happening Downtown seen. Had a very good meal at Delicious things. Left the next morning for Boca Grande and had a beautiful ride and found the Miserable Mile not so miserable. Stayed at Boca Grande Marina and while it was expensive it was nice and clean. I draw 5 feet and am very concerned with running aground and I did not have any issues with the channel. I went 50 feet past Green 7 and made my turn to Boca Grande Marina. You can see the shoal which helps. We then enjoyed Boca Grande for 2 days. Rode bikes and dinghied to the north end of the island where Uncle Henry’s Marina is. The water is beautiful there but it is a ways from the village and might be a challenge for the first timer bringing in a deep draft boat. We left Boca for Tween Waters on Captiva and stopped at Cabbage Key for lunch. Plenty of water for a 5 foot draft. They do not allow dogs on the island which is an issue for us. We ate lunch and walked the trails (without the dogs) and it is a really beautiful/natural island. Then we went to Tween Waters. There was a shallow spot by Red 4 but you can see the shoal on each side of the channel and at least can have the boat at idle speed. I believe we carried 6 feet through that spot. Tween waters is a long walk from the shops and restaurants but if you have a dinghy you can dinghy towards Sanibel on this mangrove lined creek and end up at a beautiful pass/inlet. Also I called Bailey\’s Grocery and Hardware(on Sanibel) to see if they would pick us up at Tween Waters and let us shop and bring us back and to my surprise they were happy to do so with no charge for the ride although I tipped the driver. Very good fresh seafood and bakery. On the way back to Stuart we stopped in Clewiston at Roland Martin’s marina and ate at the Clewiston Inn (they picked us up and the food was delicious and surprisingly reasonable.) Martins Marina was very friendly maybe a tad run down. Overall the Okeechobee had plenty of water. The worst section is between the Stuart bascule bridge and Riverwatch Marina. We fueled up at Harborage Marina and pumped out and the staff is very friendly and didn’t mind if we hung out to wait for the tide to come up for my white knuckle journey up the Manatee Pocket to A&J Boatworks for some work. I recommend A&J they did a fair amount of work on my boat and did it on time and on budget. Hope this info helps others as others info on this website has helped me.

  • Gasparilla Island/Boca Grande Bayou Anchorage (near St. M. 28.5)

    We just love dropping the hook in the Gasparilla Island/Boca Grande Basin anchorage. It’s a easy dinghy trip ashore to the county docks, and all the DELIGHTS (and there are MANY) of Boca Grand are only a two block walk away.
    There are caveats to consider, however, First, there is a growing tongue of shoals on the outer entrance channel to be concerned with (though that is more a problem for those cruisers visiting otherwise wonderful Boca Grande Marina), and a number of resident craft take up quite a bit of the available space in the basin anchorage.
    However, if you can get through the entrance cut, and can find space to drop the hook, it doesn’t get much better than this!

    One of the nicest anchroages in SW Florida, or maybe anywhere, is Boca Grande. You enter from the bayside off of Charlotte Harbor. Then turn right into a sort of bayou. The water is thin at the turn but opens out to a nice anchorage. Drop your anchor in the middle and then back down and tie your stern to the mangroves.
    There is a public dinghy dock opposite the mangroves. An easy 1/2 mile walk takes you to the cutsy town of Boca Grande with a few restaurants, a tiny grocery and a decent HW store.

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

  • Visiting Cayo Costa (near St. M. 25)

    Cayo Costa is one of the most delightful barrier islands on the Western Florida coastline. And, not the least of reasons for that is this isle is a Florida State Park, and completely protected from development. What a delight is is to anchor in Pelican Bay, dinghy in to the park dock, and them walk across the isle to the beach. It doesn’t get any better than this folks!

    BTW, there is a fee for daytrippers to Cayo Costa, San Pedro and probably others that I have not been to yet (finally got a small boat here. and the winter has been too cold for the crew, so have not been
    around much). An honor box asks for $2 per person, which is double what it was last year.
    What gems. At Cayo Costa there may only be a few dozen folks in 2500 acres with miles of unbuilt beach. San Pedro similar, only room for 10 boats and the slips are always full, but that still means only a
    few dozen visitors.

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

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

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

  • Ding Darling Anchorage (Statute Mile 5.5)

    The “Ding Darling Anchorage” lies on the waters of a large cove which cuts into the shores of Sanibel Island. Protection from foul weather is fair here, but don’t drop the hook if fresh windes from the northern, northeast or northwest are in the forecast.

    This is a popular anchorage. We have stayed here three times, most recently 3/21/2010. It gave us good protection from SE to SW winds but when the wind shifted to NW it got a little bumpy. On a good day, it is fun to take the dink through the opening in the mangroves into Tarpon Bay to see the birds. An abandoned sailboat is lying on its side near the shore on the eastern side of the anchorage.
    Jean Thomason (DOVEKIE)

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

  • Anchored off Boca Grande/Gasparilla Island (near Statute Mile 28.5)

    It’s no secret among any who have taken even a cursory glance at my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” that Boca Grand, on Gasparilla Island, is one of our favorite ports of call, anywhere, anytime! We were just there a few weeks ago, and I plan to gin up a report myself soon.
    We’ve never tried anchoring in the sound, off the golf course before. I guess if the weather is calm enough, it might work, but I wouldn’t want to be caught in the waters RL and Karen describe below if the wind were to get its dander up in any way, shape or form.

    We are a 45’ s/v, draft 5 1/2′ so we decided to stay outside the bayou and anchored just west of the ICW between r2 & g3, off the coast of the golf course. Stayed 2 nights, visited the town and tied our dinghy at the public docks off the bayou. At least 8 boats anchored inside with their sterns tied to the mangroves. Only 2 boats had people aboard. Fun day in town sightseeing by bicycles. Hudson’s store is a gem…be sure to stop by. Lunch at South Beach, snacks at Loose Caboose.
    Capt. RL& Karen

  • Boca Grande Marina (Gasparilla Island, near Statute Mile 28.5)

    My first-rate, first-mate and yours truly just had the good fortune to spend a week at Boca Grande during the first of January, 2010. It was WONDERFUL. We stopped by Boca Grande Marina, and were suitably impressed. The only real problem with this facility remains the entrance channel, which is being squeezed by a building shoal. A talk with the Boca Grande Marina dockmaster on 1/19/10 revealed that the dredging of their entrance passage is still being held up by the permitting process, but they hope to dredge by later summer of 2010.

    A great Marina. The staff was very friendly. We wanted to stay an extra few day, but they had a boat club arriving & moved us to the owners private dock. The restruant & bar is good. we stayed 5 days and enjoyed the town.
    Larry Hemmerich

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

  • Gasparilla Island – Basin Anchorage (near Statute Mile 28.5)

    The string below is copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list. Once again, this list is a WONDERFUL adjunct to the Cruisers’ Net. If you have a trawler type vessel, we suggest joining this happy throng without delay.
    Anyway, the subject of the messages below is the so-called, “Basin Anchorage” adjacent to Gasparilla Island, and the village of Boca Grand (where, incidentally, my first-rate, first-mate and I spent all of the last week). This is a very popular haven, with superb shelter and reasonably easy dinghy dockage. Swinging room is at a bit of a premium, and many tie their stern of to the mangroves. This is, strictly speaking, illegal, but many do it anyway.
    There are also some “derelict” vessels in the anchorage, but you will also find any number of fellow cruisers as well.
    If you do anchor here, don’t fail to go ashore and check out the village of Boca Grande. It’s one of the last, little pices of real, old Florida left! If you are feeling affluent, have dinner at the Gasparilla Inn. The cuisine is some of the best anywhere, anytime, but it’s NOT inexpensive. Another good choice is Temptations Restaurant.
    However you get there, Boca Grande is well worth a visit. Tell them we sent you!

    I noticed this anchorage on Active Captain where they talked about tieing stern to the mangroves…a number of sailboats in the satellite view were obvious so it seems the draft at anchorage is not an issue.
    Well, today I was in the area by rubber tires and noted that there is obvious room there and apparently good draft to get in based on nearby marinas and the boats in the same area. Looks like half the boats have been there too long!
    Does anybody have experience with this bayou and what depths are expected in the anchorage (near the mangroves)?

    I anchored there about a year ago. The only problem with draft is getting in. Once you make the turn to starboard from the entrance channel there is a place where it can be as low as 5′ at low tide. Once past this spot it opens up and the draft is about 8′. Drop your bow anchor in the middle and then back towards the mangroves and tie your stern.
    Yes there are a few derilicts and long term live aboards. Boca Grande is a cute little high end town, but access is free to cruisers. There is a public dinghy dock at the north end and the walk to town is about a half mile.

    I wish I had a dollar for every night I’ve spent there. I don’t know what kind of boat you are driving but I used to take my 5′ draft sailboat in there
    without incident. The bigger concern is the approach. As you enter Boca Grande’s entrance channel, you will have to either follow the marked channel to port and continue to the marinas or take the stbd. branch and go to the basin in question. As you go to the right, following the seawall that borders the golf course, the water shoals. Depending on your draft, you might need to do this at mid-tide or better. Once you get past this shallow area there is good water the rest of the way and you will almost always see a big boat or two in there. Keep your ears open for Mark’s floatplane. He keeps his Maule pulled up on shore in there and it is always a surprise to cross paths with him!
    Just a few words about the dock. These are referred to as the “Guide Docks” since they are used by the fishing guides to pick up and drop off clients. Actually I think that half of them are owned by The Pink Elephant for the use of their lunch or dinner patrons. Don’t obstruct the slips. If you take your dinghy in there just slip around to the end and no one will complain. Watch the oysters on the roots of the mangroves.
    Randy Pickelmann
    lying in Clearwater, FL

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

  • Draft in Pelican Bay? (AICW/Pine Island Sound, Statute Mile 25)

    Pelican Bay is a very popular anchorage on the Western Florida coastline. The bay indents the back (eastern) side of undeveloped Cayo Costa Island. This body of land sits just south of Boca Grande Pass, and can be accessed directly from the Western Florida ICW’s passage through Pine Island Sound.
    Usually, the only trick to successfully anchoring in Pelican Bay is the MLW entrance depths you will encounter. I have personally sounded as little as 4 1/2 feet here at low tide, while some others have claimed to find no more than 4 feet. In fact, you must know where to enter in order to maintain these soundings. Some of the answers to Captain Jim’s questions below deal with this very subject.
    In spite of these difficulties, a fair weather weekend will find many fellow cruisers swinging happily on the hook in Pelican Bay! See you there!

    Can a 4.5 foot draft get into Pelican Bay? (Cayo Costa near Useppa/Cabbage Key)
    I tried yesterday but didn’t find depth to be comfortable.  was stirring when we backed out….and I’m still learning to deal with the skinny Florida waters!

    I used to take my 5′ draft sailboat in there all the time. Put your right foot on the beach. The deep water is that close. Before you get to the end of the beach, about 3/4 of the way in, turn left and head toward the rangers’dock. If you have a chart plotter, it will show you the shallow spots to avoid. There is a 9′ deep hole past the ranger’s dock.
    Randy Pickelmann
    MTOA #3694

    I have been in there several times with my 4.5 foot draft. When you head in from the ICW marker which is now 74 (I think) stay to the extreme right when you approach the entrance. If it seems that you are too far right you probably are in the right place…almost on the bank. Once in look at your chart for the deepest water. In the season you can expect to see several dozen boats of all sizes and drafts anchored. It is a very popular spot. The only tricky part is the entrance.
    NT 42
    Punta Gorda

    As RC said, head east from the ICW around R74. There is a Florida-type speed zone sign at the north shore of the entrance, which is easily visible from the ICW. Use that sign as a guide. Head for it, and run to about 50 ft of it. Then turn slightly to port to parallel the north shoreline of the opening between Cayo Costa and Punta Blanco Island. Stay about 50 ft off the beach there. You will undoubtedly think you’re too close to the shore, but that line carries 8 ft or more into Pelican Bay. As you pass by the beach, visually locate (about 11:30 to your course) and aim toward the government docks at Cayo Costa. Note that the water depth will shallow to around 6 1/2 ft along that rhumb line, but you won’t have any trouble. When you get to the area of the docks, MAKE SURE TO USE the newest charts of the bay to navigate. There are older paper charts around that do not show the area correctly. The newer charts show a 9 ft pool in the area to the south and east of the docks in the ceter of Pelican Bay. If you have that chart, you cal also navigate a bit further south, and then turn northeast past a spit of land that comes off Punta Blanco Island to the east. On the east shore, the water is deep all the way up to the mangroves. Watch your depth sounder, and Tuck yourself up there in 10 ft of water for an excellent storm anchorage. If you need help in the area, contact the rangers at Cayo Costa. They can and do arrange for everything up to, and including, air evac.
    Peg and Jim Healy
    aboard Sanctuary
    Currently north for the Holidays

    It has been YEARS since I tried Pelican Bay. This was basck when my late husband and I were SAILORS witha 4′ draft. We were the last ones ‘in’ for a yacht club weekend and I guess that was a ‘good thing’ albeit embarassing! We ran aground even though we thought we were carefully following directions! At least the boats already anchored well inside were able to then tell us what to do.
    Following the right shore closely as described is good but rying to figure when to make that sharp turn to port and for how long…well, that’s another thing! Also, the whole cruise was a near disaster, we lost our dinghy, watched as she slowly drifted astern…luckily we roused our friends who ‘caught it’ for us. Then, when we started off to the coctail party, realized we were dragging anchor…then the whole RAFT of boats where the party was, made the same discovery! That entire bay is very shallow AND has a GRASS BOTTOM! Choose your anchor accordingly! We later spend an miserable stormy night anchor-watching.
    Other than that, it’s a neat place from which to explore. At the south end of Cayacosta is ‘Lover’s Lane’ a dinghy-sized passageway through the mangroves to the south end of the beach. It is fun and if you’re interested, it IS an unproclaimed ‘nude beach’. Enjoy! Very unpopulated!
    There are some options however. Try going to starboard as you enter Boca Grand’s southern access and go into the bayou there. You drop a for’d anchor then back into the mangroves and tie off the stern to the mangroves. Dinghy is a MUST for this and help is needed! With luck you can dinghy across to the dock and go ashore to a fabulous restaurant, Pink Elephant. Unfortunately the fishermen seem to have dibbs on that dock…
    To your stern, beyond the row of mangroves, is the golf course which is popular with the Bush family and the Duponts who occupy a large compound on the island.
    Another favorite option is anchoring out in the halfmoon bay just west of the private island just south of Pelican Bay and directly across from Cabbage Key. Brain freeze there, sorry, but you can’ t go on the island anyhow unless you have an ‘IN’. From that ancorage you can still explore all the places mentioned above. I don’t care for the restaurant at Cabbage KEy but
    most do. When I used to go there the harbor master was one nasty sob. Don’t know about now…I’ve been in THAT ancorage too in a storm, not nice so watch you weather! HAvea a great time, I sometimes miss being there! PS the marinas on Gasparilla IS aka Boca Grande are very expensive.
    Marge Griffith

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

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

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

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

    Pelican Bay is one of the most popular anchorages between the “Miserable Mile” and Venice. It lies just south of Boca Grande Pass, and cuts in behind Cayo Costa State Park. Entrance depths can be a bit thin at low water. I’ve often found 4 1/2 foot soundings at this tide level.

    I was directed to this anchorage while moving my Watkins 27, Namaste, from the northern end of Charlotte Harbor to Ft. Myers beach. on June 5th. 2009. We had just came through an afternoon squall while cross the harbor. Had a wonderful experience and will return. Getting into the harbor is a bit tricky from the north end due to shoaling.
    Donn Brown

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

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

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

  • Dining at Cabbage Key (Statute Mile 21.5)

    Cabbage Key Inn and restaurant is accessed directly off the Western Florida ICW, via a marked channel, south of Boca Grande Pass and Cayo Costa. One attraction here is that the dining room is wallpapered with genuine one dollar bills. This is a neat, eccentric little place, which features its own marina.
    The message below was copied from the AGLCA list, and was in response to a question about good dock and dine locations along this portion of the Western Florida coastline.

    In addition to Portobello’s at Burnt Store, there is Cabbage Key, just off the G-ICW south of Boca Grand Pass, across from the anchorage at Useppa Island. Cabbage Key is a true dock ‘n dine location. It isn’t fine dining, but it’s a true American Classic experience. Adequate water for your draft. We’ve been there several times in the winter months when water levels are lower. Short finger piers.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    I agree with Captain Smith’s comments below. We have always found the evening meal at Cabbage Key to be the better choice.

    I’d like to add that while lunch can be jammed with tourists, dinner is generally excellent. They shine up the wait staff, there’s not a burger to be seen on the menu, and the food is good to excellent. Dinner is, without question, my favorite time. And you could say I’m jaded – I’ve been there for lunch, anyway, over 700 times (as a commercial skipper).
    Capt. Mike Smith

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

  • Marina Recommendation Between Fort Myers and Sarasota

    The following discussion is copied from the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association mailing list.

    We are having family Christmas holidays (with the twins!) near Rotonda between Ft Myers and Sarasota. Any recommendations for marinas to keep our boat for a couple of weeks or a month in this general areawould be appreciated.
    There seem to be a lot of choices and prices about $2+ daily and $12-16 monthly.
    Other advice appreciated……
    I have not done a mooring but this seems a possibility too.
    Thanks, Jim
    Have a great thanksgiving week……

    Palm Island Marina Engelwood / Cape Haze –Dockmaster Tim Lynch . Great People
    Flay Crosswell

    We have stayed at both Salty Sam’s in Ft. Myers Beach and Centennial in Ft. Myers for a month and liked them both. People also seem to like the Ft. Myers City Marina. There’s also a mooring field near
    Salty Sam’s but we haven’t stayed there.
    Bill & Jane Stone
    Loose Stones

    Jim We stayed at Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda last year great spot. left the boat and went to the east coast for the holidays Also some have stayed at Burnt Store Marina
    hope this helps
    Enjoy Thanksgiving
    Larry & Margie

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Salty Sams Marina

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fort Myers Yacht Basin

  • Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor Discussion

    This discussion below is copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) Mail List. There is some good advice contained therein about cruising the water of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor.
    By all accounts, don’t miss Boca Grande. It is our very favorite port of call in all of Florida!

    Subject: Boca Grande
    Cruising News: We will be cruising the West Coast and would like to have recomendation on a marina to call home for a month …mid December thru Mid January In the Boca Grande area
    I would like to hear from fellow cruises what they think

    I live in Punta Gorda overlooking the harbor and keep my boat at Burnt Store Marina and was a live aboard there before we purchased our condo. I agree with the comments above, and a key item is will you have a vehicle and will you have the need for an airport. If you have to travel by air you should look at some of the marina’s in Ft Myers. If you are on the hook a lot I see many boats anchored in my front yard by Fisherman Village and dinky up during the day. If you can get a slip in Punta Gorda you can ride a bike to all the stores, including West Marine. If you have a vehicle Burnt Store has nice features, but it is +8 miles the the nearest store. The staff there is very friendly. South Seas Resort is nice (and very expensive), but they have removed the the channel markers as noted on charts. You can come in from the gulf or call them on the radio and they can tell you how to come in from the ICW. A place not as expensive, but a place my wife and I go to is Tween Waters on Captiva Island south of South Seas. From the dock to the beach it is about 300 yards. They do have monthly rates but the docks are not protected like the the other marinas in the area, but a good place to spend a few days. It is a 45 minute drive to the airport and has service to get you to the airport as Captiva is a resort location. You may find some one in Punta Gorda who will rent you a place in their back yard, as Punta Gorda is a boating community. If you do that, make sure they have sail boat access as the houses on the inside have to clear a bridge that are approximately 13 feet of clearance. Good luck and enjoy our part of the world.

    I’m surprised that there has been very little mention of Laishly Marina. It is right downtown [in Punta Gorda], brand new and within walking distance of everything except Publix (approx. 2 mi.). Fisherman’s Village is great for it’s concentration of shops and restaurants and about a 15 minute walk to downtown. The quality restaurants, however,are downtown. Either way, you can’t lose.
    Eric Norlin

    Other choices might be Palm Island Marina (Cape Haze), Burnst Store Marina, Fishersman’s Village. We can give you a number of recommendations as we live in the area. One question is since you are leaving the boat, are you flying out of the area of driving?
    Steve and Gina Smith
    Island Time

    Boca Grande is a cute little town. There are two marinas worth considering. The high end place is Boca Grande Marina. Nice docks, the only place for diesel, expensive, arrogant staff. The low end is Whiddens Marina. Laid back, no amenities and cheap.
    The town is a delight and either marina is within walking distance of everything.

    I might add that at Boca Grande the lil grocery is rather expensive and if you wish to go off-Island you will need a car and to pay the expensive toll upon returning each time. All of the other marinas mentioned will require transportation for shopping or doing much exploring. You might consider Ft. Myers Beach which has a transportation system you can use.
    Boca is delightful although has lost a lot of its charm as the local fisherman struggle to maintain property on the island due to taxation created by the demand of the weathy who are pushing out the more local populace. Not to say it isn’t nice it is, just not like it use to be. There are also smaller not well known local marinas in the Englewood area you might get into. The backcountry of Charlotte Harbor around Boca and Pine Island and Sanibel is delightful for inshore fishing as is the Boca Grande pass. You might consider checking out the Marinas on Sanibel and Captiva south of the Boca Grande pass.
    The marinas in Boca usually have space, the others mentioned, in the past, have been full with a waiting list, don’t know about the effect of current
    economic conditions.
    Wayne & Lynn

    Recommending a marina is a lot like recommending a wife. A lot depends on the intended use.
    If you need to be near an airport, Tampa, Sarasota and Ft. Myers can accomodate you although Tampa will probably win hands down on number of
    available flights and number of cities served. If you want some “city life” Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, and Ft. Myers will all
    accomodate you.
    Boca Grande is one of our favorite places to be. Gasparilla Marina is on the mainland, just across the bridge. Good storage facility but not much for
    liveaboards. On the island, Uncle Henry’s on the N end and Boca Grande Marina (formerly Miller’s) near the village are nice but pricey. Welcome to Boca Grande. As a fellow Krogen owner once told me, “All the damn rich folks are running us millionaires off the island”!
    Burnt Store marina is nice but remote. Fisherman’s Village is located in the small town of Punta Gorda.

    A buddy of mine strayed for a month at Cape Haze Marina in Englewood. Said it was cheapest around. I believe him since he is truly cheap. I visited once and it was not bad at all.

    Hello Larry!
    I lived in Punta Gorda for over 17 years and always enjoyed going to Boca Grande by car or by boat. The marinas there are very expensive…and the other reply didn’t mention uncle Henry’s at the north end. While the island is full of charm I would NEVER recommend trying to stay there for more than a night or two.
    Directly opposite Boca Grande Pass by 10 miles is Burnt Store Marina which is also very nice, but it is another 10 miles to the grocery store! OK if you rent a car. Another 10 miles up Charlotte Harbor is Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda…a delightful town. I would put this marina as #1 for your needs.
    If you want the best beach around, Boca Grand is it, but there is just so much to do on the little, very exclusive town. If you are at Fisherman’s Village, rent a car and still enjoy that beach!
    Or go on down to Ft. Myers.

    If you don’t mind being near the city, look at Legacy Harbour Marina on the Caloosahatchee River at Ft. Myers. It’s the cleanest, nicest marina in the area, great facilities and has a large, very friendly live aboard group. Grocery stores, shopping and night life are within walking distance. Just no beach.

    I would recommend you consider Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda, just up from Boca if you’ll be staying on board. Right in a charming little town with shopping nearby. Boca is wonderful but you need a car to get to any shopping for groceries, etc.

    Gasparilla Marina is another alternative. Also, Laishley Marina in Punta Gorda.
    Lynne & Rich

    I was at Boca Grande Marina in mid October. I found the staff to be very nice. You can rent a golf cart from the marina to get around town. The overnight dock fees are a bit costly for what you get. The showers/ land head are shared with the entire dock and not locked. The girls thought that to be a real draw back…One big note about Boca Grande….We were there on a Sunday and most all the shops in town were closed.
    We’ve stayed at Palm Island Marina twice on our recent trip. Great place, great staff and reasonable dock fees. The “local” store for supplies is about 2 miles away. Talk to the staff, they may be able to help you with transportation.
    Also have been to Burnt Store… really nice marina and again very reasonable. Nice staff.
    If you’re going to be in the Pine Island Sound area, you have to stay at least one night at South Seas Resort/Marina. The dock fees are high but it’s a top notch marina. Treat yourself to this place. If you’ve got females on board, they’ll love it!! Everything about the place is first class..
    Have a great cruise!

  • Deeper Water Found While Entering Pelican Bay Anchorage (Statute Mile 25)

    The popular Pelican Bay anchorage lies just south of Boca Grande Pass, and indents the eastern side of Cayo Costa island. This undeveloped barrier isle is a Florida State Park, and we have always found it to be absolutely delightful!
    On the other hand, I’ve seldom been able to find more than 4 1/2 feet at the entrance at MLW. My good friends at the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda have recorded detailed navigational records as to the best way to enter Pelican Bay.

    We followed the directions here and managed to ease into the anchorage. We have a 5′ 8″ draft and entered on a tide that was 0.9′ above MLW. Our lowest depth reading was 6′. We anchored in 7′ to 8′ of water and enjoyed the park and the anchorage. (10/31/2009)
    s/v John Galt
    Tayana 37

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

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For The Pelican Bay Park Service Dock Anchorage

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

  • York Island Anchorage (Southern Pine Island Sound, Statute Mile 5)

    Anchoring off the southern shores of York Island, which lies just north of the “Miserable Mile” section of the Western Florida ICW, has always been a fair weather event for this guy. If the weather co-operates though, this is a beautiful spot to spend an evening on the water!

    We anchored here and found the holding fine, plenty of room and not much traffic to rock the boat. It was a nice place. We expected a front to come through but we ended up with just a slight breeze.
    s/v John Galt
    Tayana 37

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

  • South Seas Resort Plantation Has New Entrance Channel (St. M. 13.5)

    If memory serves, and sometimes it does not, this is the second time that the South Seas channel has been altered within the past two years. All skippers bound for this popular port of call need to take note!!!

    Subject: South Seas Resort New Channel
    Cruising News: South Seas Resort on Captiva Island has a new channel configuration. The new channel is a “dog leg” arrangement that starts at Red Fish Pass and goes to the ICW’s marker #38. At the ICW end you will see red #24 that starts the channel heading West to South Seas. So be sure to take the red markers on your port side heading to the resort. I was in there on Oct.19, 2009 and did not see less than 6.5 feet through the entire channel. Also local knowledge states that Red Fish Pass has at least 6′ of water and is passable again.

  • Boca Grande – A Wonderful Port of Call (Pine Island Sound, Statute Mile 28.5)

    I could not possibly agree more with the crew of sailing vessel “Endeavor” in their positive comments below regarding the village of Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island. Some of our very happiest times have been spent here, and the Boca Grande experience is highly recommended by this writer.
    I have also noticed the increasingly thin water in the entrance channel before (see below). For some time now, the owner of Boca Grande Marina has been willing to fork over the necessary cash to have this passage dredged. So far, the permits have not been forthcoming.
    Pay close attention to the entrance channel’s nav. directions below. They synchorize exactly with my own findings as to how to keep to the best depths possible.

    Subject: Boca Grand entrance
    Cruising News: Boca Grand is always a very nice place to visit, even during the very hot and humid summer season. Unfortunately many places are shut down for the summer, but there is still enough happening to make it it a good visit. Loose Caboose is always open and so is South Beach and the Pink Elephant. All excellent places with very nice folks (especially Loose Caboose with the owner/cook who advised us on open bars).
    Regarding the cruising news: the entrance is a bit tight. We had a + 0.7″ tide upon entrance (no wind) and had the depth gauge beeping at us for a while when encountering depths of <5′. It never went below 4.7′, but still very scary. The worst part is beyond channel marker “7″. I later found out that you have to stay very close to the concrete seawall. I ran the stretch a few times with a handheld depth gauge and found the deepest stretch about 9′ from the seawall and pretty much straight down from channel marker “7″. If you follow that course, you should not encounter less than 5.5′ at MLLW. The anchorage is around 7′ or better, but it is very crowded with derelict boats. You can still find a spot to anchor, but 2 lines to the mangroves and a stern anchor is required.
    Even though it is a bit of a challenge, it is still highly recommended!
    S/V Endeavor

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Boca Grande Marina

  • South Seas Plantation Marina (Pine Island Sound, Statute Mile 13.5)

    South Seas Resort is certainly a first class facility, but, you do pay for what you get. Note Capt. Mark’s reference to an earlier posting here on the Cruisers’ Net which describes this marina’s current entrance channel

    Visited South Seas August 12th for a very relaxing day and Overnight stay, Rates were $2.75ft Min 30ft Includes Water, Electric, Cable TV, Wifi Internet, and full use of the resort (Landlubber guest pay an additional $13.88 per person per day Resort Fee!) Take note of the channel configuration that Capt Gene discribes [in an earlier posting on the Cruisers' Net], Just remember keep Red markers to port when transiting from the ICW to South Seas Resort.
    Capt Mark

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For South Seas Resort Marina

    Click Here To View The Earlier Posting on South Seas Resort Marina’s Entrance Channel

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