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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers

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

  • Good Times in Naples, Fl Mooring Field

    The mooring field in Naples is fairly new and lies just off the Naples City Pier in Naples Bay.

    Had a great time in Naples! They have a limit to 4 nights for the mooring balls (something to do with the EPA owning the bay bottom, kind of a strange story if you ask me) but we got to spend 8 nights total on the Naples mooring balls. (Left for one night in between and got another 4 nights.)
    **CAUTION** The mooring balls DO NOT have a regular pennant on them. (It’s a rope loop that is about 5 inches long attached to the ball). You will not be able to pick it up with a boat hook and the dockmaster’s office for some reason does not inform you of this. When we are aboard when other boats have come in we have used our dinghy to help them.
    When we went back the second time one of us got in the dinghy when we were close and slowed way down so that we could “walk” with the dinghy forward, grab the line we had attached to the cleat, string it through the mooring pennant and then back aboard. Fairly simple if you know about it ahead of time.
    Naples is a great town to visit. There are a number of great restaurants within walking distance of the docks. (Bleu Provence is a stone’s throw away and has a great early dining special, $24.95 between 5-6pm for an appetizer, entree, and glass of wine. The food is first class, you won’t be disappointed.) Definitely can recommend Naples as a cruising destination, Enjoy!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Naples City Pier

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Naples City Mooring Field

  • Calusa Island Marina (southern Marco Island at Goodland)

    Calusa Island Marina sits at the southern tip of Marco Island, in the old village of Goodland. This facility’s entrance channel departs the Coon Key to Naples unofficial waterway near marker #6. Watch out from some depths as thin as 4 1/2 feet at MLW in the “waterway” channel along this stretch.
    And, while I certainly second Captain Moran’s mention of Stan’s Idle Hour bar/restaurant below, where a good time is always had by one and all, also don’t dare miss Little Bar and Restaurant, less than a block away. The seafood here is awesome!

    We ended up staying at Calusa Island Yacht Club (just a marina) at Goodland, just south of Marco Is. for a month last year. Laid back and beautiful setting and Stan’s Idle Hour Bar ( is just up the street!! Anchorages are also available around the Goodland area if you decide to stay for a shorter time.
    Wish you warm breeze and calm seas.
    Joe Moran

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

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

  • Good Visit to Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island, Florida)

    The marked channel to Smokehouse Bay anchorage cuts off the Capri Pass channel near the northern tip of Marco Island. While we have always found MLW depths here to be as thin as 4 1/2 feet, this passage does indeed lead to a super anchorage, offering great protection from foul weather, on Smokehouse Bay.
    Captain Nicole mentions nearby “Esplanade Marina” in her comments below. We are NOT yet familiar with this facility, and would like to learn more. Those who have previously visited this facility, please click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

    Chris, the dockmaster at Esplanade, is fantastic. Give him the courtesy of checking in with him (we walked over from the dinghy dock at Winn Dixie) and he will treat you like gold. Fantastic guy.
    It was mentioned to us that other cruising boats have “snuck” onto the dock early in the morning to take on water and leave their trash. The marina considers this trespassing, just a word to the wise. (besides if you ask the dockmaster he will probably let you do both of these things, just ask!)
    One warning: We were warned by a helpful person on the dock that if you anchor here for more than 4 consecutive nights the shoreside neighbors will call the Coast Guard and tell them you have been there for a long time and must be pumping out in the water. Apparently the CG will then send one of their small boats to visit you and I assume, do a safety and head check. Not a big deal (kind of a waste of the CGs time I think) but good to know in the event in happens to you.
    Esplanade will pump you out for free if you give them a call on VHF 16.

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

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

  • A Good Visit to Naples City Pier

    The Naples City Pier is now one of only two facilities near downtown Naples that offer anything in the way of transient dockage. There’s lots of places to shop and eat within easy walking distance of the city pier.

    Went to Naples and spent 2 nights there at the Naples City Dock. Nothing to complain about. The staff was very nice and the price with Boat/US was 1.50/ft. The Gordon river did not present any challenges as depths were atleast 7′ the whole way.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Naples City Pier

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Naples City Pier

  • Marker 8 Restaurant – Marco Island (Goodland)

    Marker 8 Restaurant is located at Calusa Island Marina near the southern, “Goodland” region of Marco Island. This is a good marina, but do beware of some MLW 4 1/2 foot depths on the adjacent portion of the Coon Key to Naples “waterway” channel.

    Marker 8 Restaurant in Goodland is a great little spot. David, the owner, is very sailboat friendly if you have shallow enough draft. They are good folks and the food is always a good take.

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

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

  • Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island, Western Florida Coastline)

    Smokehouse Bay (in the heart of Marco Island) is the newest addition to the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory.” This is a superb place to drop the hook, with good protection, and several surrounding restaurants where you can easily dinghy ashore.
    The marked entrance channel to Smokehouse Bay breaks off from the Marco Island to Naples waterway/Capri Pass channel, between markers #14 and #12. Depths on this entrance cut are the only real drawback to this anchorage. We’ve sounded as little as 4 1/2 feet in spots at MLW. Need more – wait for a higher tide to enter and exit.

    Have to agree with the postings on Smokehouse Bay. We use this as our primary anchoring spot when at Marco Island. Restaurants at the Esplanade are great, along with being easy walking distances to supermarkets, West Marine and a load of restaurants. One nice thing is that you can dinghy under the bridge and then bear to the left and use the dinghy dock located at the Winn-Dixie to do your shopping. Easier than shopping by car !!!!
    Jerry Richardson

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

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

  • Great Restaurant Find In Southwest Florida

    Red Square Denotes Approximate Positon of Blue Heron Restaurant Docks

    The series of messages below concern a waterside restaurant, located just north of Marco Island, and northeast of Capri Pass. Take a gander at chart 11430, and notice the wide swath of water with the notation, “Isles of Capri,” east, northeast of marker #3 on the Cari Pass channel (or consult the chartlet above).
    I’ve known for a couple of years that there were several waterfront restaurant with their own dockage located on this side – “Isles of Capri” channel, but I must admit to never having explored this passage during my many research trips to these waters. Fortunately, that oversight has now been corrected, courtesy of the two cruisers below.
    Sounds like the “Blue Heron” is really worth checking out, and with Captains Peter and Peggy’s specific navigational info in the second note below, all those piloting vessels drawing 5 1/2 feet or less, can check it out!

    We just recently had the opportunity to find a real jewel on the SW coast of Florida. Just north of Marco Island on the Isle of Capri, The Blue Heron restaurant has been around for over 35 years and just recently added 4 new docks which you can stay at free for the night when dining with them. There is electric available on the docks and they just ask that you leave a contribution to help offset the cost of the electricity. Alex Alexander is working to make sure that fine dining is available in this area. The meal we had was outstanding. Call ahead (239-394-6248) for availability and to make your dinner reservations with her. She will also help you with directions on how to navigate to the docks. Both she and her husband, John, are avid boaters and enjoy sharing experiences with their visitors.
    Commander Jerry

    After reading the mouth watering account above, I asked Commander Jerry for specific location data, and received the following reply:

    Claiborne –
    The Lat/Lon’s are as follows –
    N 25 59 15
    W 81 43 52
    When we went through we had a minimum of 6.5-7 feet. They have the capability of handling a 70′ boat in the largest well and the other three go on down from there.

    The above exchange of notes took place on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, and Captains Pete and Peggy chimed in and offered to check on the passage to the Blue Heron in great detail. Their report below lays bare all the details needed for cruisers to take advantage of this nautical gastronomical find!

    Hi Claiborne…
    The Lat Long of the Blue Heron is 25 59.145 and 081 43 528
    Concur with Meal evaluation
    At low tide(which was still 1.5 the depths ranged from 6.5 to 7.6 to 7.7 to 7.9 to the dock
    To get to the Blue Heron:
    Enter Marco Pass; ICW to Naples passing between 1A and 2 to head toward the Isle of Capri North side
    Pass by green 3
    Pass by Red 2 on starbd side to enter secondary channel
    Pass close to green 3 on port avoiding shoal area on the starbd side east of #3
    Pass red 4 to starbd
    Pass green 5 to port
    Turn at red 6
    Head for green 9 (5-6′ in channel)
    Continue heading 090 beyond Pelican Bend Restaurant
    Turn to 060 passing marina and old abandoned Backwater Nicks docks
    Turn to 105 to Restaurant and Docks (Snow white roof on Building)
    Dock next to large occupied slip will accommodate a 40-45′ boat with depths of 5.5 to 6′
    Then adjacent docks probably best for 30′-35′ boats.
    Docks are wooden piling slips (not floating)
    Pete and Peggy

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the “Isle of Capri” channel

  • Good Words About Naples City Dock (Naple, FL)

    Most cruisers refer to the Naples city marina as the Naples City Dock. However you name it, this facility sits on the western banks of the Gordon River, just north of the Naples Yacht Club. While some transient slips are available at Naples Boat Club, a bit farther to the north, Naples City Pier is where most transient/non yacht club member, cruisers berth while visiting this teeming city.

    Last winter we had the distinct pleasure of spending some time at Naples City Marina. Dockmaster Marlene and her crew are most professional, helpful, and most of all welcoming. What most cruisers do not know is that the City of Naples installed a mooring field, and for just $10 per night you are within walking distance to great restaurants (quite a few of which were offering two dinners and a bottle of wine for $30), concerts and other entertainment. The dinghy dock is located a short distance from the mooring field, the showers are spotless, and you can still do a load of laundry–wash and dry–for $2. Marlene wanted me to get the word out that Naples is no longer an unfriendly place to visit. Another easily missed attraction is the Boat House Restaurant located at the end of the Cove I! nn. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. they have 2 for 1 cocktails, a bar full of cheese and other goodies, as well as hot hors d’oeuvres for free. In the past we have avoided Naples, but never again!
    Darlene Rosen
    s/v Here’s to Us II

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Naples City Dock

  • Naples Waterfront Dockage Facilities

    Having had the good fortune to stay at both Naples City Pier and the Naples Boat Club, I can categorically state that both are well worth considering when it comes time to pick a place to coil your lines along the Naples waterfront.

    I have always stayed at the city docks but my last trip down there around Aug 1 I stayed at the Naples Boat Club. Much nicer then the city docks with floating docks, just as close to down town and about the same price. Fuel is cheaper at the Boat Club and they sell Valvtec diesel (less smoke).
    Al Halpern
    “Hunky Dory”

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Naples City Pier

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

  • Factory Bay Anchorage (Marco Island, south of Naples)

    Be careful when dropping the hook on Factory Bay. There is a charted “Official Anchorage” in this bay, but at low tide the water is about 2 feet (or less) deep here. Fortunately, there are other parts of Factory Bay that make for excellent anchorage. Follow the link below Captain Ron’s message to learn the best places to drop the hook.
    If you’re more into staying at marinaS, please let us note that, the Marina at Factory Bay, is also located here, and these good people are one of our newest SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS!

    We’ve spent weeks at Factory Bay waiting for weather. It is well protected and you have access to everything you need. The bottom is all mud and if you have a Danforth, it won’t hold in a blow. We dragged twice with two hooks set-Danforth and Fortress, in a blow and had to change to our heavier plow to dig and sink in the mud for a good hold. Also, if you stay a bit longer than anticipated, your anchor rode will be studded with tiny seashells and a muddy mess when you pull the hook.

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

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Marina at Factory Bay

  • Smokehouse Bay Anchorage – Marco Island

    This is the second posting we’ve had about anchoring on Smokehouse Bay since the first of May (2010). We WILL get this anchorage on the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory” this week!

    We live in Naples and Marco Island’s Esplanade Marina in Smokehouse Bay is one of our favorite day trips. We simply follow the marked channel into Collier Bay and then Smokehouse Bay. Currents can be strong as you turn from the Marco River into the channel, you need to be alert, but I’ve never had a problem. There is plenty of shallow water in Collier Bay, but you have to get out of the channel to find it. We went at a fairly high tide today and I did not note a single depth indication less than 9′. You may find some shallow water in Smokehouse Bay, but I haven’t. And I frequently see boats anchored there.
    M/V Toto

  • Smokehouse Bay Anchorage – Marco Island

    Here’s a posting about an anchorage that I KNOW needs to be added to the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory.” My good friend, Captain Herman Diebler, who lives on Marco, has already (quite rightly) been on my case about this.
    The reason I’ve never before listed Smokehouse Bay as an overnight haven, is that having tried to sound this channel some years ago, I ran into 4-foot depths. Those of you who have anchored here, PLEASE share what depths you found, and pass along any tips about how to find the best soundings.

    We visited Smokehouse Bay in April. When entering after the Pass, you do need to hug the condo side of the channel and then follow the markers. Plenty of water and good holding. The marina is boater/dinghy friendly, which is a nice change from Marco River Marina and Factory Bay. I would recommend you do a courtesy checking with the dockmaster at Esplanade. They prefer the dinghies to be docked at certain spots. Smokehouse Bay is only about 10 minutes further in than Factory Bay and is well worth it.
    S/V Two If By Sea

  • Little Marco Island Anchorage (north of Capri Pass and Marco Island)

    The Little Marco Island Anchorage is accessed from the unofficial waterway stretching from Capri Pass and Marco Island, north to Naples. This one of the best anchor down havens in this region. Give it your most serious consideration!

    Love the anchorage! Always stop here.
    Quiet, except for weekends. In a no wake zone if you go all the way down. Good holding , excellent protection, nice views. Beaches.
    Captain Sterling

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

  • Glowing Report on Naples Mooring Field (hard by Naples City Pier)

    After several, earlier negative reports on the Naples Mooring Field, it’s certainly nice to hear about a very positive experience here.

    Subject: mooring field, Naples, FL
    Cruising News: We have just returned from a 4 day stay in the mooring field of Naples, FL. We drive a 37′ Sea Ray EC. The city of Naples has 12 new mooring balls divided into two different fields adjacent to the city dock. There are 6 near the main dock and 6 near the Naples Yacht Club. The dockmaster told us he tries to fill the closer field first because it’s closer to everything. We were told we had to supply our own pennant/line for the mooring ball before we could attach our boat to it. The city also provides a nice dinghy dock for transient use. They were dredging the entrance to Gordon Pass on our visit there, but getting in was no problem at all. We did not get hassled the whole time we were there, as others have complained about. Our time there was very enjoyable.
    Bob Shaw

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To The Approxomate Location of the Naples Mooring Fields

  • Johnson Bay Anchorage (off inside passage from Marco Island to Naples)

    The anchorage Captain Stone refers to in his note below, we term the “Johnson Bay Anchorage” in the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory.” Whatever you call it, this is indeed a good spot to drop the hook, IF you don’t plan on going ashore at Marco Island.

    If you decide to stop in the Marco Island area I’ll share info on an anchorage there that I picked up from another T & T contributor a couple of years ago.
    Take a look at a spot a short distance north of Marco Island along the channel between Naples and Marco Island, NW of R 14 (25 59.972N, 081 44.564W). It’s not very impressive on the chart, but is beautifully protected by mangroves and shallows, has great holding, and there is plenty of room for two or three boats. IMHO it’s far superior to the commonly recommended spot in Factory Bay, with its sloppy mud poor holding. The downside is that there no easy dinghy access to shore or facilities. Also, there is some wave action from passing boats in the channel, but that all stops at dark, since those channel markers are not lighted. Was even able to get fair wifi from some source there.
    Dan Stone
    St. Pete

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Anchorage Listing For Johnson Bay Anchorage

  • Port Royal Southern Offshoot Anchorage (off Gordon Pass Inlet)

    The overnight haven that I term the “Port Royal Southern Offshoot Anchorage” is accessed from the channel which eventually leads north to Naples, just north of this passage’s intersection with the Gordon Pass marked passage.
    Note Captain Thomason’s quite correct warning below about a shoal which must be bypassed when entering this anchorage. This is yet another passage where a working GPS chartplotter aboard would be ever so useful!

    Have anchored here twice, most recently on March 20. The mud is no worse than many other places (or maybe we North Carolinians are more used to mud!) It is a very quiet anchorage surrounded by nice homes. The only drawback is there is no way to go ashore closeby that we know of.
    I meant to add that Sea Tow was dealing with a sailboat that was on the charted shoal on the north side entering the canal. Be sure to stay close to the green 21 side going in for good depths.
    Jean Thomason (DOVEKIE)

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Port Royal Southern Offshotte Anchorage

  • Naples Mooring Field

    They’re very serious about no overboard discharge in Naples!!!

    We are spending 4 nights in the mooring field at Naples adjacent to Naples Town Dock. Pull up to the Naples Town Dock and they will pump your holding tank: they wanted to put a seal on my black water over board. I then explained to the attendant that we on the Canadian Great Lakes banned the discharge of sewage from pleasure craft back in the late 50’s or early 60’s: and that all my overboard systems had been disconected decades ago. Great price $10.00 per night, a short dingy ride from shopping and restaurants. Max stay is 4 days in response to the live aboard problem Fl has. This type of ordance is some what akin to trying to fixing your watch with a sledge hammer.

  • Marco River Marina (south of Naples, on Marco to Naples Waterway)

    Marco River Marina resides on the inner shores of Factory Bay, which indents the eastern shores of Marco Island. There is also good shopping and dining within walking distance of this facility!

    Spent 2 nights at Marco Island Marina due to weather.
    Very friendly staff all around. New floating docks were installed only a while ago. Get 10c off / gallon of fuel when you stay at the marina. Plenty of Restaurants within walking distance.
    Sabine and Reinhold Probst
    Mainship Trawler 40

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Marco River Marina

  • Marco Island to Marathon and Key West, Then North to Miami

    Below is a very informative and interesting string of messages copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list about cruising from Marco Island in southwestern Florida, to either Marathon or Key West, then north to Miami or possibly even the Okeechobee Waterway. There’s tons of useful cruising tips here, over a wide ranging swath of waters.

    I am interested in information related to leaving Marco Island and rounding the bottom of Florida, possible crossing over to the Hawk Channel at Seven Mile bridge. Anyone with experience, ideas, help? Thanks.
    Craig McAllaster
    “Cavalier” Island Packet SP Cruiser

    We did just that about 2 years ago. It seems like yesterday but unfortunately that is a long time ago in cruising days. Our boat draws 4.5 feet and I would love to leave again tomorrow and do it in the same boat.
    We made our way from Marco to Little Shark River, anchored there and left for 7 mile bridge. The water is skinny but you will get used to 9-10 feet and you will make it. Picking good weather is important. Many crab traps but just work your way through them. Go slow in places where dodging them is difficult and faster in open areas. Uneventful in crossing under 7 mile bridge. We had no tidal problems but I have heard of significant tidal flow so you probably should check the tidal flow times before leaving.
    We did Hawk Channel to and from Key West. Plenty of water, of course, but we experienced extraordinarily rough water. When the wind direction is from off shore the long fetch can make things uncomfortable. Hawk Channel provides easy access to the Key West area but in my opinion, it is not worth it if the water is rough. Hawk channel is not close enough to land to say you saw any local color of the keys.
    Now, if I had it to do again, I would take the bay side to key west. I have never been that way so do not have any direct experience but have heard many good things. Also have traveled by car to many places on the bay side and easily see why others rave about the “local color”.
    Wayne Prichard

    You didn’t say what your draft is and that can be a factor in this part of the world. Also, you didn’t say how long you plan to be gone or when you want to leave.
    Morning Star only draws 3-1/2 ft and we regularly leave Marco via Coon Key Pass. That makes a stop at Everglades City a short hop. Or you can continue on to Little Shark River for an overnight. The run from Little Shark to Marathon is not long and we have never found it to be particularly shallow. There are a few “banks” to avoid but they are well marked and if you are paying attention there won’t be a problem.
    From Marathon, you can pass under the Seven-Mile Bridge at Moser Channel or you can go east up the ICW on the Florida Bay side or you can head west to Key West via Big Spanish Channel.
    If you are contemplating Florida Bay, know that a strong northerly will blow a lot of water out of the Bay.
    Finally, if your goal is to do the “South Florida Loop”, a trip we highly recommend, I would do the Okeechobee leg first and head south from Stuart. That way when you leave Miami and head down the Keys the prevailing wind will be at your back.
    Randy Pickelmann

    We traveled directly from Naples to Key West on the Gulf. It was 122nm dock to dock and an easy run, although we did travel at a faster speed than usual. We left Naples at 7AM, navigated the crab pots and then never saw another pot nor another boat until we neared Key West! Took the Hawk Channel from Key West to Marathon.

  • Marco Island to Naples Waterway

    The “waterway” that runs from Coon Key Pass, behind Marco Island, and eventually north to Gordon Pass and Naples, is NOT a part of the official (maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers) Western Florida ICW. HOWEVER, for vessels that draw 4 feet or less, this passage is an intriguing alternative to cruising between Marco and Naples.
    There some real navigational quirks, and the depth limitation outlined above is based on one 4 1/2 foot spot, found near Goodland (southern Marco Island). Perhaps the trickiest section is an easy to miss marker, just south of the Goodland Bridge. If you miss that ATON, you’ll be giving Sea Tow some business every time.
    The discussion below is copied from the AGLCA (American’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association) mail list. As always, I HIGHLY recommend this organization for ANYONE doing or contemplating the Great Loop!

    Is this a viable alternative to going outside with a 4.5 foot draft boat? It looks like it might be a nice place to transit and anchor.
    Do it at high/rising tide?

    We took about 4’4″ through there a few years ago (2006) with no problems. It is shallow and narrow in spots, so your thought of doing it on a rising tide is a good one. It is a rather isolated but pretty route.
    Also, be aware they are dredging in Gordon Pass near Naples, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you.

    A nice place to anchor is in the channel west of Little Marco Island beginning at daymark G”33″. We anchored there and found ourselves partially aground next morning. No problem, we just waited two hours for the incoming tide to float our boat. Evidently, we did not allow enough room to swing on the tide change. Why does the boat always swing on the short shore side when there is gobs of room on the other side?
    Alan Lloyd
    Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes

    Yes, inside route is OK for your draft boat.
    Sanctuary draws 4’2″. In March, 2009, we left Punta Gorda via Charlotte Harbor to the G-ICW, south and went out into the Gulf at Redfish Pass (Captiva Island), and south on the Gulf to Gordon Pass.
    There is only one high tide on the gulf side of Florida, and the high tides are normally in the afternoon, so we entered Gordon Pass on a rising tide around 14h00. Or, you could come all the way from
    Charlotte Harbor south on Pine Island Sound and past Sanibel Island to Ft Myers Beach. From Ft. Myers Beach south to Gordon Pass, outside. When you come off the Gulf into and through Gordon Pass, after a mile or so, you’ll take a hard stbd southbound on the old ICW. That’s the worst part of the entire trip for shallow water, narrow channel and inconsiderate local go fast fishing boats. But, about 4 or 5 miles south is a terrific anchorage called Rookery Bay. It’s a wild mangrove swamp area, and beautiful. Mind the correctly charted shoal on the north east of the opening. There’s plenty of water to the south. Some fisherman wakes until dark, but fine thereafter. No place to walk a dog.
    From there, we proceeded south to Marco. Mind the charts very carefully at Marco. From Rookery Bay on the old ICW, you’ll need to go nearly all the way out the Marco inlet and make a 340 degree turn
    back to get to the old ICW channel south of Marco to Goodland. You can anchor or marina at Marco. There is plenty of room, and more than one area to anchor.
    When you leave Marco Southbound, there is a hiway bridge immediately south of Marco where the channel marker colors change sides. So… When you go under that bridge, southbound, you MUST take a 90 degree stbd turn and find R”26″, which lies against the shoreline in a line parallel to the bridge. It can be hard to spot, but you must go around that marker, leaving it to your port side. You will see
    smaller boats skip it, and head straight at the bridge. DO NOT FOLLOW THEM. It is too shallow for your boat! From R”26″, make another 90 degree turn, this time to port, and find G”25″. It’s a mile off, but
    find it. The channel from R”26″ to G”25″ is a bit narrow, but carries 6 – 8′ of water, so no problem. There is a collection of remains of pilings to stbd after you make the turn at R”26″; leave them to your
    stbd side and follow a rhumb line from R”26″ to G”25″. This all sounds complicated, but forewarned, it’s not bad. However, it can be confusing and unintuitive if you don’t know the marker colors change
    side there.
    The rest of that old ICW channel is fine, and well marked. Follow it through Goodland and through Coon Key Pass to Gullivan Bay. You can anchor or marina at Goodland. If you marina there, be sure to check on approach water depths. The area is shallow. The north portion of Gullivan Bay is also shallow: 5 ft or so at MLW, but no problem. As you proceed south past coon Key Light, you have entered the 10,000 Islands.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
    Currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL

    The Old ICW from Naples to Rookery Channel Anchorage
    So far so good…..Shallow yes, Twins arrived in Naples about noon yesterday and took the old ICW to the channel between R46 and R48. We anchored up the channel to the east as far as you should go to the 8ft charted hole where the bay opens. The tide was still rising.
    I’ve estimated that the tides here run one to two hours after the tide tables for Marco and Naples which are about an hour different. At low tide this morning the slack occurred almost 2 hours after the stated Marco low at 7:34 of -1.0. We still had a good 9 feet under the swim platform. You could also tie off to the mangroves here but there is lots of room to swing. A pretty spot.
    Definately do this trip at high tide for Naples or Marco if you carry a trawler draft. The advice from Sanctuary (and others) is great! Thanks.
    I’ll cross my fingers again at high tide when we head for Goodland today.

    In 2006 (so info is that dated, but post Hurricane Charlie) we took a chartered 46′ Grand Banks from Marco to Naples using the inside route, a delightful trip on a rising tide. The junction with Gordon Pass is tricky, as noted by Jim. At that time an alternative anchorage to Rookery Bay, and one of our all time favorites, was inside Hurricane Pass. There is a very nice beach that we swam or took our inflatable kayak to that would be good for a dog if you cleaned up after it. One of those places where we could have spent a week . The Pass itself is not usable to get to the Gulf.

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

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