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Archive For: West FL – 3 – Marco Island to Naples

  • On-site Report on Gordon Pass Navigation into Naples, FL


    Gordon Pass is the primary inlet serving the Naples, Florida region and shoaling is a perennial problem as shown in this 2015 Nav Alert. Our thanks to SSECN Team member, Curtis Hoff, for this on-site report.

    At least one cruising site [http://cruisersnet.net/155155] recently noted the Coast Guard planned aids to navigation changes in mid-February for Gordon Pass into Naples. As of yesterday the aids to navigation are unchanged and shoaling is still a concern in the channel. A call to TowBoatUS resulted in the following guidance:

    Enter from the south between R2 and R4 on a course of 060 deg aiming for 1/3 of the distance from R2 to R4. Note this puts R2 to port as you enter.

    I entered yesterday following this guidance saw a minimum of 8 ft at a +1 ft tide.

    See the following graphic for a visual representation of this guidance.

    NaplesGordonPass

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

  • Daybeacon Relocating by USCG, February 13-18, Gordon Pass, Naples, FL


    Gordon Pass is the primary inlet serving the Naples, Florida region and shoaling is a perennial problem as shown in this 2015 Nav Alert. Our thanks to Kevin Barnhill for forwarding this USCG Notice.

    RELAYED FROM USCG:
    FW: COAST GUARD OPERATIONS IN GORDON PASS AND NAPLES BAY

    I’m requesting your assistance in notifying the boating public of an upcoming project the Coast Guard will be doing in Gordon Pass and Naples Bay channels. Normally, we prefer to advertise in the Weekly Local Notice to Mariners but due to the short time frame I’m seeking other ways to inform the boating public. Please feel free to publish this information, post on websites or blogs, pass to marina and boat rental companies or other boating information websites.

    Between Feb 13th and Feb 18th, the Coast Guard Cutter VISE will be relocating the Daybeacon 1 and Light 2 at the entrance to Gordon Pass approximately 100 yards south of the shoal. An additional 8 aids to navigation will be serviced or relocated to mark the best water in these areas. This project will continue to mark the best water and meet the needs of the users of Gordon Pass and Naples Bay Channels. Once the work is completed, a Coast Guard voice broadcast will relay the changes and it will be published in the Local Notice to Mariners. Gordon Pass and Naples Bay Channel have been a major area of concern for its continual shoaling and impact on safe navigation. The need for future relocations may be necessary to mark best water due to the ever changing conditions. The proposed project is expected to be completed by the Coast Guard utilizing Best Management Practices that were developed in order to avoid and minimize environmental impacts. If you have questions, I can be reached at Darren.a.pauly@uscg.mil or (813) 228-2191 ext 8184.
    v/r
    BOSN4 Darren Pauly
    Aids to Navigation Officer
    US Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg
    155 Columbia Drive
    Tampa FL 33606
    darren.a.pauly@uscg.mil
    (813) 228-2191 Ext. 8184 Tampa office
    (727) 502-1522 St. Pete office
    (727) 804-3972 cell

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

  • Shoaling Reported south of Gordan Pass, Naples to Marco Island Channel, 1/17/2016


    Carey Moluchi reports observing shoaling in the inner channel which lies east of Keewaydin Island south of Naples.

    We have a 4 ft draft sailboat and took the inside passage from Marco to Naples Jan 15th 2016. We found a shallow area right in between the markers at #67 which is a few markers before the channel joins the main channel from Gordon Pass to Naples. We were on mid tide and our depth finder showed 4.2. So caution would be required at this location. We found the rest of the channel fine and it was well marked.
    Carey Moluchi

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Marker 67

  • CCCC Visits Marco Island Marina, West Florida, south of Naples


    The Cape Coral Cruise Club is a group of dedicated cruisers who always provide unique reports from the marinas they visit. Marco Island Marina will be found along the Marco – Naples waterway’s southerly banks, immediately west of the high-rise fixed Marco Island bridge.

    Cape Coral Cruise Club returns to Marco Island
    By Terry and Laurie Carlson

    Eleven boats were greeted with sunny skies for the November trip to Marco Island Marina, a destination that had been off the Club schedule for a few years. All boats were neatly snuggled into their slips with the aid of dock master, Elmer Mimas, who located the entire group on one dock for our convenience. Cruise leaders for this cruise were Terry and Laurie Carlson. The boats no sooner got tied up and the fun began as all boaters were introduced to the cruise leader’s Marco Island Poker Run, receiving their score cards and their first playing card. Subsequent cards were issued at different scheduled events throughout the three day cruise.

    Tuesday evening was kicked off with Heavy hors d’oeuvres by the pool, followed by a Cape Coral Cruise Club Member Trivia game prepared by cruise leaders,Terry and Laurie Carlson. Participants enjoyed learning little known facts about Cruise Club members that had been gleaned from Bio’s that are soon to be published on the Club website. Gary Taake was the winner of the competition. Valuable prizes were awarded!

    Breakfast was served Wednesday morning by the cruise leaders. Main dishes included Apple Monkey Bread, Sausage Hash Brown Casserole, a Stuffed Pancake casserole and more. Pretty sure nobody left hungry. Wednesdays daytime activity was a fun trip to the Marco Island Farmers Market that ended with a nice lunch/drinks at the Esplanade marina. The Wednesday evening meal, provided by the cruise leaders,along with contributions from other cruisers, was centered around the Carlson’s “almost famous backyard smoked” pulled pork with all the trimmings. After dinner entertainment was provided by John and Patti Queen and their “When the Hell was that?” competition. Winner was Pat Kryger with runner up Donna Overstreet. Once again, valuable prizes were awarded. CCCC has neat contests…

    Thursday morning brought yet another breakfast by the pool with Scrambled eggs with cheese, rolls and fruit. Later that morning a trip to the Marco Island Museum was on tap. Approximately 10 people enjoyed learning the history of Marco Island from ancient times to present modern development.

    Thursday evening was our dinner out at CJ’s on the Bay at Esplanade. Cruisers were treated to a beautiful facility and marina on the bay at the Esplanade with a wonderful menu that provided something tasty for everyone. The after dinner highlight was the culmination of the Marco Island Poker Run. Final cards were drawn and the winners were Bill and Donna Peterson… and yes, valuable prizes were awarded.

    Friday morning all boats cast off, bid a fond farewell to Marco Island Marina and headed back north for a smooth Gulf ride back to the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area.

    The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations and reside in the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area. For membership information please contact Phil Kryger at 239-541-0236. View a short picture video of recent Club activities and read additional Club information on its website, www.c-c-c-c.org Like us on Facebook.

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

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

  • Cape Coral Cruising Club Visits Naples Boat Club, Naples, FL


    This fine group of boaters, made up of overnight cruisers from the Cape Coral area, is a cruising club worth following as they visit marinas along the West Coast. Naples Boat Club overlooks the western banks of Gordon River, upstream of the Naples City Pier. This facility lies within walking distance of many shopping and dining attractions in downtown Naples.

    CCCC Enjoys a fun time at Naples Boat Club

    DSC_0026

    Member boats moored at Naples Boat Club

    Seventeen boats braved the “unknown” by taking a trip down the Gulf of Mexico for our annual trip to the beautiful Naples Boat Club. Why that adjective? September on the Gulf of Mexico… are you going to deal with a potential hurricane or be delighted by a gorgeous sunny day. Some southbound boaters experienced bumpy seas, but all arrived safely. Those cruising were Y Knot, Phil and Pat Kryger;, Infinite Sea, Paul and Stephanie Carrico; The Geezers, Stu and Jane Harelik; MarKate, Mark and Kate Lewis; Princess, Jim and Edie Limbright; Surface Interval, Bruce and Sue Longman; B Mine, Joe and Kelli Mille;, Hardee II, Hal and Dee Moss; Sharon Ann, Len and Sharon Palmisano; Luna Sea, Doug and Michelle Rhees; Spoiled Yacht’n , Armond and Pam Sykes; Still Crazy, Jeff and Joanne Ziemer ; C R Side, Bob and Carol Peterson; Wine Down, George and Carol Smith; Happy Ours, Gary and Kathy Taake; Knot Again, Larry and Maryanne Habich; and Sunkissed, Phil and Lyn Quick.

    Club members experienced three days of clouds and lots of rain. However, it did not lessen our appetites for food, drink, and fun & games. So that everyone could relax on arrival day, cruise leaders Phil and Lyn Quick, saw to it that no one would go hungry. One hundred and fifty pieces of fried chicken were provided along with hot buttered biscuits, potato salad, and sliced tomatoes. Way too much chicken. Pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream was a wonderful finishing touch. Needless to say anyone requiring chicken for the rest of the cruise did not have to look past the refrigerator to find plenty of leftovers.

    Day two provided us with even more rain. Therefore several card and other table games became the activity for many in the beautiful Naples Boat Club Clubhouse. After a nice continental breakfast of pastries and fresh fruit several members pulled out their rain gear and walked to Tin City and Fifth Avenue to help stimulate the local economy.

    DSC_0057

    Members have dinner at Café Luna, Naples, Fl

    Thursday morning had more bakery delights provided as another gloomy wet day was upon us. No one was brave enough to put on bathing suits and sit by the pool the entire trip. A bus trip to the Naples Zoo was cancelled due to rain. Most people figured a way to offset the weather and make the best of the day.

    We then walked to the front of the Naples Boat Club building to the Wharf Tavern to have a wonderful lobster dinner with all the trimmings. Luckily it was a short, sheltered walk, because…you guessed it…yep…still raining!

    Most folks retired early knowing the forecast for a northbound departure day was again uncertain. Some left at daybreak and some left at their leisure to take on a smooth Gulf and relish the great times we all had. We look forward to the next cruise trip to again enjoy the camaraderie and boating that the Cape Coral Cruise Club provides.

    The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations and reside in the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area. For membership information please contact Phil Kryger at 239-541-0236. View a short picture video of recent Club activities and read additional Club information on its website, www.c-c-c-c.org Like us on Facebook.

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Naples Boat Club

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Naples Boat Club

  • Shoaling Reported in Gordan Pass, south of Naples, FL, 6/3/2015


    Gordan Pass is the inlet into Naples, FL. The reported shoaling encompasses the entire Gordan Pass channel from its entrance to the point where the channel joins the Naples Channel in Naples Bay.

    FLORIDA – LOSTMANS RIVER TO WIGGINS PASS – GORDON PASS CHANNEL TO NAPLES BAY CHANNEL: Shoaling/Hazard to Navigation.
    There is shoaling from Gordon Pass Channel Daybeacon 1 (LLNR 17453) to Naples Bay Channel Light 20 (LLNR 17540). It is strongly advised that all mariners should obtain local knowledge of the channel conditions before attempting passage. Chart 11430 LNM: 22/15

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

  • Good Visit and Good Advice on Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage, Marco Island, Southwest Florida


    Smokehouse Bay lies in the heart of northern Marco Island. This fortunate body of water plays host to Esplanade Marina and a good anchorage. Collier Creek is its entrance channel which leaves the Marco Island-to-Naples waterway west of marker #14. Our thanks to Skipper Merritt for this report. For a report of depths in the anchorage, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=139969

    Anchored twice in Smokehouse Bay in May of this year (2015) and found the bay and the holding excellent. The Winn Dixie dock around the corner under the bridge was very convenient. The only note I would add that isn’t in the previous postings is that the navigation markers from the pass through Collier bay on the chart plotter do not match what is actually there. The marked channel runs out at “12” with three possible directions. Take the residential channel directly ahead and after going around a bend you will see smokehouse bay and “13”.
    Jim Merritt
    SV Latitude Adjustment

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

  • Shallow Water and Extinguished Light at Little Marco Pass, Southwestern Florida


    Little Marco Pass leads to the unofficial waterway stretching from Capri Pass and Marco Island north to Naples and to the popular Little Marco Island Anchorage. Our thanks to Skipper Forshier for this information.

    I do not know if this was reported but the outer markers on both gordon pass into Naples Fl and the marker into Marco Island ( little marco pass) were removed last year. This makes night entry trickier as they were lighted markers. ( so do not look for them) There are no plans to replace them.
    Also Gordon pass has shallowed on the north side and there are reports of only 5 feet depth at low tide in some areas. There are Multiple reports of bumping aground at low tide. although the permit to dredge is in place the funding is not. So we wait.
    Terry Forshier

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

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

  • Extinguished Lights and Shallow Depths at Gordon Pass, Southwestern Florida Coastline


    Gordon Pass is the primary inlet serving the Naples, Florida region and has to be dredged every so often, but, as Skipper Forshier points out, the permit to dredge is in place, but the funding isn’t. Haven’t we heard that lament before?

    I do not know if this was reported but the outer markers on both gordon pass into Naples Fl and the marker into Marco Island ( little marco pass) were removed last year. This makes night entry trickier as they were lighted markers. ( so do not look for them) There are no plans to replace them.
    Also Gordon pass has shallowed on the north side and there are reports of only 5 feet depth at low tide in some areas. There are Multiple reports of bumping aground at low tide. although the permit to dredge is in place the funding is not. So we wait.
    Terry Forshier

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

  • More Good Words for Marco Island Marina, West Florida, south of Naples


    Marco Island Marina will be found along the Marco – Naples waterway’s southerly banks, immediately west of the high-rise fixed Marco Island bridge.

    Elmer the dockmaster is very helpful. Showers are air conditioned and clean. Floating docks are very nice, the entire set-up is first class.
    Upon registering you are handed a courtesy card to the Marco Island Yacht Club adjacent to this property. Impressive building, but a word of caution, if you are planning on eating dinner at the restaurant, we recommend you call ahead for reservations. We arrived on a Wednesday (dinner special is lobster tails) and assumed we could get a table. Well, had to eat at the boat.
    Manual Farinas

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

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

  • Shoaling at Entrance to Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage, Marco Island, Southwest Florida


    Smokehouse Bay lies in the heart of northern Marco Island. This fortunate body of water plays host to Esplanade Marina and a good anchorage. Collier Creek is its entrance channel which leaves the Marco Island-to-Naples waterway west of marker #14. Our thanks to our friends, Chuck Baier and Susan Landry, for this report. For a report of depths in the anchorage, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=139969

    Shoaling at the Collier Creek entrance, Marco Island, may have an affect on the popular anchorage at Smokehouse Bay for locals and cruisers alike.
    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

    The Great Book Of Anchorages
    Navigation Notices
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House
    Voyages of Sea Trek

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

  • Praise for Marco Island Marina, West Florida, south of Naples


    Marco Island Marina will be found along the Marco – Naples waterway’s southerly banks, immediately west of the high-rise, fixed Marco Island bridge (itself west of marker #26).

    Great marina, terrific staff!!! Very quiet! 3/4 mile walk to publix and restaurants.
    AliOoops

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

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

  • Advice on Depths in Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage, Marco Island, Southwestern Florida Coastline

    Smokehouse Bay – Click for Chartview

    Smokehouse Bay lies in the heart of northern Marco Island. This fortunate body of water plays host to Esplanade Marina and a good anchorage. Its entrance channel leaves the unofficial Marco Island to Naples waterway west of marker #14. Our directory for this anchorage lists 4’6″ft as a minimum depth, so a 5’7″ draft seems questionable. Skipper Oldershaw’s comments are in response to earlier questions about navigating Smokehouse Bay, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=137310.

    Smokehouse Bay has a fairly narrow 3′ mlw bar running north south in the center of the north half of the bay. Depths outside this bar around the edges of the bay are typically 12′ in soft, smelly mud. There’s plenty of room to anchor away from the bar in the eastern half of the bay away from the entry channel that heads south to the marina. The shallowest spot is in entrance route in the eastern corner of Collier Bay at 25 57.955N, 81 43.900W. Keep away from the marker R2 and hug the seawalls as you make the turn to starboard but watch for outbound vessels that don’t know why you’re doing that. A 6′ draft can be carried to the bay.
    The bar in Smokehouse Bay can be faintly seen in the aerial view of the Collier County Property Appraisers GIS web site at http://www.collierappraiser.com/webmap/Map.aspx?ccpaver=1.9.2&msize=L when you zoom in. The cloudy water on the west side of the bay is not shallow.
    Lee Oldershaw

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

  • Question about Depths in Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage, Marco Island, Southwestern Florida Coastline

    Smokehouse Bay – Click for Chartview

    Smokehouse Bay lies in the heart of northern Marco Island. This fortunate body of water plays host to Esplanade Marina and a good anchorage. Its entrance channel leaves the unofficial Marco Island to Naples waterway west of marker #14. Our directory for this anchorage lists 4’6″ft as a minimum depth, so a 5’7″ draft seems questionable. If you have anchored here with a similar or greater draft, let us hear from you.

    Dear Cruisers, I’ve been reading your posts re: Smokehouse Bay in Marco Is.. Unfortunately, nobody has mentioned (or I haven’t noticed) the boat types involved. Our vessel is a 43′ Beneteau with a 5’7″ draft; would any of you be able to confirm to me the suitability of Smokehouse for our vessel? We appreciate your time and wish all fair winds.
    Ken & Alta (SV Alta Gracia)

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

  • Underwater Rock Still There Near Naples City Dock

    Naples Waterfront – Click for Chartview

    Naples City Dock and City Moorings are located west, northwest of marker #34. As Skipper Harakal testifies below, this underwater obstacle in the Naples entrance channel can still take its toll. SSECN has had a Navigation Alert posted for this hazard since 2011. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=105417

    I hit this same rock back in January in my 54 Hatteras – low water and bent up my props a bit. I understand it might be marked now.
    Kevin Harakal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position West of the Gordon River/Naples Waterfront Channel

  • More Navigation Advice on Marco Island to Marathon

    Captains Dave and Nan Fuller offer good advice and recommendations of routes and stops on the sail from Marco Island to Marathon, as originally posted on the AGLCA Forum, www.greatloop.org.

    We made this leg of our Loop in August 2013, and it was the roughest open water we have yet encountered, probably because we were on a deadline to get > to the Keys. Our Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs leg was glassy smooth as we were patient and waited nearly 3 weeks for a suitable weather window. I mostly used NOAA and Weather Underground for my weather forecasts from Ft. Myers to the Keys but did not make a go-no go decision based on weather as it was predicted to remain the same for several days and it was within my personal tolerance of seas 2-3 feet. We had wind from the northeast and east during the three day trip from Ft. Myers to Islamorada. Day one, we traveled from Ft. Myers to Marco where we met a close friend and his wife for dinner and then the next day we left Marco for the Little Shark River anchorage in the Everglades. Everyone told us to beware of bugs, but there was
    sufficient wind blowing day and night so they were almost zero problem in August. I was even able to grill out after dusk and only had a few horseflies to deal with. We highly recommend Little Shark River as an anchorage as it is well protected in every direction except southwest and if you go a little deeper up river, it offers protection in every wind direction. The trade-off will be the amount of bugs to deal with. After spending one night at anchor, we continued around the Cape and to the Keys. We have friends in Islamorada, so we did not go to Marathon by boat. We spent a few days in Islamorada and rented a car to go to Key West and be tourists.
    If I take this route again, I will stay further offshore going around the Cape. We basically followed the boundaries of Everglades National Park and went over so much shallow water that I finally shut off my depth alarm. We never hit bottom, but this is an area where shallow water is the rule and the charted depth pretty much matched what we experienced. Interestingly, the closer we came to shore, the bumpier it became and the further off shore, the smoother. This was with a 25 MPH east wind. We had constant 2 foot seas with occasional 3 and 4 footers. I think that the bottom profile is such that because of a slow slope, it gives the wave energy extra lift making for steeper waves and the deeper water makes them more of a roller profile. Normally, when you are behind a reef, you experience smoother water than on the windward side, but that was not the case here. Waves were on
    our port forward quarter resulting in nearly constant spraying and were more bothersome than uncomfortable. However, our dinghy came loose and was thrashing about on the davits and we just had to let it swing as it was not safe to go on our swim platform to secure it. It did some damage to the
    davit mounts and bracing that required repairs, but the dinghy sustained zero damage.
    I am not an expert on weather in this area, but my understanding is that typically the winds are out of the northeast (bad weather) or east (prevailing) or even southeast (best possible for this leg). I understand it is rare to have winds out of the west quadrants unless associated with a storm. We spoke to one skipper in Marco who had come from Key West the previous day and said they got beat up by 6 footers in the same wind conditions, but they took a much deeper water track than hugging the coast as we did. There is only one area you will need to watch with a well-marked channel marking the opening between two reefs. You make an S turn and it is very easy – no problems. As you approach the Keys, crab pots are EVERYWHERE and can only be described as a mine field, even in the middle of the marked channel. Keep a sharp lookout, go slow, and forget your depth alarm – it will be useless.
    If you follow Tom’s weather musings for the Big Bend crossing, he posts a disclaimer that his advice is dispensed based on a specific boat with its characteristics and his tolerance for risk which clearly falls on the conservative side. I share his risk philosophy of being conservative as this is supposed to be fun boating – not a race or a delivery captain mission. Each skipper is responsible for their own decisions after gathering all available data. You should make your decision based on your personal risk tolerance, your boat’s ability to handle different sea conditions, your level of competence and training, and your personal tolerance for what conditions you are willing to accept. Keep in mind that this leg is open water and is a LONG way from help if something goes wrong. VHF radio coverage is spotty in places, and cell phones simply won’t work as you go around the Everglades. I personally carry an EPIRB just in case the VHF or cell phone won’t summon help. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient for this leg or travel with a buddy boat.
    If you can be patient and are not on a specific timeline, you can pick a suitable weather window and have a non-memorable open water trip to the Keys.
    Dave & Nan Ellen Fuller

  • Cruising From Marco Island to Marathon, Western Florida to the Keys

    Captains Lloyd and McKane offer good advice and recommendations of routes and stops on the sail from Marco Island to Marathon, as originally posted on the AGLCA Forum, www.greatloop.org.

    From Sanibel Island I usually head for Naples, then you can take an inside route behind Marco Island. Charted depth is 4′ but depth increases by 3′ at high tide. Pay attention after Bear Point bridge as daymark colors switch sides. A red daymark appears to be out of position but it is not! Definitely stop at Goodland, an old-time fishing village that is a marked contrast to the rest of Marco Island. Calusa Island Marina is within walking distance of restaurants.
    Some boaters recommend Everglades City but I usually go directly from Goodland to Little Shark River in Everglades National Park. This area of the park consists of mangrove Islands and hardwood hammocks, not acres of sawgrass that one usually associates with the Everglades. There is a very protected anchorage about 1.5 miles up river.
    I recommend a direct route from Little Shark River to Seven Mile Bridge and stop at Marathon.
    Alan Lloyd

    For weather we used the National Weather Service’s graphical forecast tool for Florida (http://graphical.weather.gov/sectors/florida.php#tabs). It shows wind, wave, precip forecasts in an easy format.
    As for going to Marathon, we overnighted at Middle Cape near Cape Sable which allowed us to get an early start. You get good protection and comfort when the wind is coming in from the E or NE. Some other loopers stayed at Snake River and left from there. In either case, stay inside the park’s waters as long as possible to stay away from the crab pot markers.
    For the passage, it is pretty much a straight run from market MG off Cape Sable to John Sawyer Bank (about 20 NM). Actually it’s not really a straight run. Florida Bay is covered/littered/blanketed with crab pot markers and requires a lot of weaving left and right. Take extra care navigating this area. I spoke with 2 other loopers in the past month who
    got their props fouled. We are staying at the Boathouse Marina and love it. It’s across from Vaca Cut, about 4 miles from Publix, etc. Have a safe voyage.
    Bob & Loretta McKane

  • Dinghy Dockage Controversy on Marco Island’s Smokehouse Bay Remains Unresolved – Background and Outlook (Southwestern Florida Coastline)

    Red Square Denotes Location of Esplanade Marina

    Smokehouse Bay is a very popular southwestern Florida anchorage that sits in the heart of northern Marco Island. Access is gained by way of a marked channel which breaks off from the main Marco Island to Naples unofficial waterway channel, just east of Capri Pass, and runs southwest and then southeast across Collier Bay.
    Smokehouse Bay also hosts Esplanade Marina on its southeastern shores. Transient dockage is available at Esplanade Marina.
    Back on 4/20/12, we reported, by way of a message received from Captain Noel, that Esplanade Marina would no longer allow dinghy dockage at their piers, unless those who came ashore were strictly there to patronize the shops and restaurants of the Esplande (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=86219). As part of this same posting, we appended a lengthy message from Esplanade Marina dockmaster, Captain Kris Greenough, explaining his facility’s policy, and stating that this prohibition was not a new thing.
    Then, early in 2013, we received a message from SAMI (Sailing Association of Marco Island) member, and a good friend of this writer and the SSECN, Captain Lee Oldershaw, to the effect that the restrictions on dinghy dockage at Esplanade Marina had been lifted. Then, a short time later, a second note arrived informing us that this situation was not yet resolved.
    On 9/20/13, we received an e-mail from Dockmaster Greenough, stating that Captain Oldershaw’s postings on our site were now dated and inaccurate. This led us to investigate the situation, and we agree that the two earlier postings concerning dinghy dockage at Esplanade Marina are now dated, and, for this reason only, we have removed them from the SSECN.
    There is far more to this story, however. According to multiple sources on Marco Island, this controversy began when another SAMI member, Captain Herman Diebler, discovered that in the original permit granted for the building of the Esplanade complex, a provision was included that required the marina associated with this property to provide dinghy dockage for anyone wishing to come ashore to Marco Island.
    SAMI brought this matter to the city government of Marco Island’s attention, and communication was made with the parent company that owns the Esplanade complex. We are told that they originally agreed to lift the “Esplanade only” restriction for dinghy dockage, and that was the source of the first message we received and posted from Captain Oldershaw.
    Then, we are again told, the Esplanade condo owners association and marina association stepped into the picture, and objected to a dinghy dockage policy that would accommodate all cruisers who wished to come ashore. And so, “the signs stayed up” and dinghy dockage remained available only for those patrons of the Esplanade.
    Far more recently, a meeting took place between the Marco Island city government, and the attorney representing the Esplanade condo and marina associations. We are told that the results of this meeting were far from conclusive, and that the situation regarding open dinghy dockage at Esplanade Marina remains “fluid,” and the “waters have been muddied.”
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will continue to follow this situation and bring you news of developments as they occur. For the moment, though, cruisers anchoring on Smokehouse Bay should not expect to find dinghy dockage at Esplanade Marina, unless their shoreside activities are confined to the Esplanade Complex!

  • Dredging in Wiggins Pass, Gulf Coast, Naples, FL

    Wiggins Pass - Click for Chartview

    Even with the dredging done in March of this year, we have a Navigation Alert (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=92652) posted for Wiggins Pass, one of the most shoal prone inlets on the Western Florida coastline which cuts the coast between Gordon Pass and Fort Myers Beach. This channel is often dredged, but by the time the dredge disappears over the horizon, the sand is silting back in once again. However, dredging is always welcomed in this busy pass. And to be safe, we strongly recommend calling Pelican Isle Yacht Club at 239-566-1606 for up-to-date depth information BEFORE attempting entry.

    FLORIDA-FORT MYERS TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR AND WIGGINS PASS: Hydraulic Dredging.
    Orion Marine Construction Inc. will commence hydraulic dredging operations on or about May 24 2013. Operations will occur in Wiggins Pass, Naples. Orion Marine Construction will be performing preliminary construction in Wiggins Pass using a barge for equipment and other vessels. All Barges/Dredges/Tugs/Crew Boats will operate and monitor on working Channel 78 and VHF Channel 16. Hydraulic operations areas and explanations are listed below;
    Dredge JERI–B will be dredging in New Pass, Beach operations on Big Hickory Island and Orion Marine Group personnel will be performing crew transfers at Weeks fish Camping in Estero Bay. While dredging, the vessels will be displaying lights and dayboards as required, and may temporally impede the flow of traffic through the channel.
    The dredge “JERI-B” will work on Channel 78 and monitor VHF Channel 16. The “JERI-B” will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A submerged pipeline will be utilized from the dredge to the overboard dredge material discharge area. The path of the pipeline will be properly marked IAW USCG 33 CFR 88.15. Buoys with “Caution Submerged Pipeline” will mark the submerged line. For further information contact the Project Manager Mr. Jared Rackley 904-868-9498, Mr. David Folsom Safety Officer (904) 210-2175 and/or the Project Engineer Mr. Patrick Link 813-508-1631.
    Mariners are urged to use extreme caution in the area, transit at their slowest speed to minimize wake, and proceed with caution after passing arrangements have been made. Chart 11427

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

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