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

  • Marco Island to the Florida Keys

    There is a wealth of good cruising tips in Captain Lloyd’s note below. His description of the “inside” passage navigational challenges, behind Marco Island, is spot on, as is his description of Little Shark River’s shoreline.
    I might also add that as of a few months ago, the entrance channel into Flamingo was still quite shallow!

    You can take the inside route behind Marco Island with a 4′ draft but avoid low tide. 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 have not been to Flamingo since it was rebuilt after the hurricane. The approach was shallow at that time. I recommend a direct route from Little Shark River to Seven Mile Bridge and stop at Marathon.
    Alan Lloyd

    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

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Outer Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Outer Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Southern Fork Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Southern Fork Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Upper Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Upper Anchorage

  • Happy Words About Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island, Florida – south of Naples, FL)

    To successfully enter the excellent anchorage on Marco Island’s Smokehouse Bay, you must make your approach via a well marked, but exacting channel which cuts off from the southern approach to Capri Pass Inlet and runs through the easterly reaches of Collier Bay. Some low water depths on this approach run as thin as 4 1/2 feet (in one spot), but if you can get past these shallows, your reward will be one of the most sheltered anchor down spots in southwestern Florida, with good shoreside access! Follow the links below to learn more!

    Whole heartily endorse the anchorage in Smokehouse Bay on Marco (this is where the Esplanada is. Dinghy under the bridge and Winn-Dixie has a dingy dock you can use. There is also a great Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays – we always plan to hit there on our way through.
    Marty & Jerry Richardson

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

    Click on Chartlet Below to Open a Chart View Window,
    Centered on the Location of This Anchorage:

  • Anchoring East of Coconut Island A No-Go (Capri Pass, just north of Marco Island)

    I can pretty much answer Captain Trometer’s questions below. Anchorage east of so-called Coconut Island just inside Capri Pass is no longer a real possibility for cruising size craft.
    Some years ago, the state of Florida, in what a friend of mine calls its “infant wisdom” cut down all the Australian Pines which held this island’s sands in place. Consequently, the isle has pretty much eroded into the surrounding waters. The last time I saw Coconut Island, it was nothing more than a small sand bar.

    Subject*: Coconut Island, Marco Island, FL
    Cruising News*: Has anyone recently anchored on the East side of Coconut Island? What are the depths going in and at anchor?
    August Trometer

    March 31, 2011 Just went past the former anchorage in Capri Pass. Forget about it’¦too much wind, wave, and no cover from what the Gulf may have in mind for your evening on the hook. Factory Bay anchorage worked well in a 20 + knot blow.
    Captain Ron Rice

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

  • Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island)

    Smokehouse Bay is the newest addition to our Western Florida Anchorage Directory. This body of water is all but landlocked amidst the northern reaches of Marco Island, and, consequently, the bay is very well sheltered.
    We queried our “man on the scene” in Marco Island, Captain Herman Diebler, about depths on the Smokehouse Bay approach channel. having heard that the waters could be a bit thin along this passage at MLW. Herman replied

    I read your listing of Smokehouse Bay. And I was happy to see it. This is the best anchorage on the west coast of Florida. The chart you have bears no resemblance to reality. I don’t know if there is a more recent one, I am going to have to look around, if you are interested. There are all new markers which were put in when the marina was built. The channel is very well marked. Coming in from the Marco River it typically 8+ feet. The only shallow spot is by the first turn to starboard which is 5+ or so feet at dead low tide. The water is the deepest hugging the pilings and seawall. After that spot there is 8+ feet by following the markers into Smokehouse Bay. Smokehouse Bay is deep 10+ feet. There is only one shallow spot which is behind the first green marker on the way into the bay. Even with that there is deep water between the marker and the seawall. The problem is just that relatively small spot of about 4+ feet. The bottom is mud, so make sure your anchor is caught.

    I e-mailed Captain Herman back, and asked if the “small spot of 4+ foot water” was part of the entrance channel, and, if so, where it would be encountered. As you will see, this one shallow spot is NOT part of the entry cut, and is easily avoided!

    The area in question is not in a channel but rather a small area in the west end of the anchorage and can be easily avoided.

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

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

  • Routes from the Florida Keys to Marco Island

    There has been an interesting, ongoing discussion on the AGLA (American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association) about the best route to cruise from the Florida Keys to the southwestern Florida mainland coastline, Marco Island in particular. Anyone who plans of making this passage will want to check out the string of messages below with a proverbial fine toothed comb.

    We are sitting in the Keys for a month before getting ready to head north to Marco Island and points north.
    I know there are several routes that are mapped but I was hoping that those who have done this trip could help with suggestions on the most recommended route from Key West to Marco Island.
    Thanks in advance
    Cheri and Gerald Wallace

    Cheri and Gerald:
    There are as many ways to make the trip from Key West to Marco as there are folks who have done it. I’ll give you a straightforward way we did it.
    Your route will depend on how much time you have and how much water you draw, but we had moderate time and drew about 4 ft. 4 in. Also, watch for good weather. There is a lot of open water on your trip.
    Leave Key West and move into the Hawk Channel, then eastward to Marathon. Spend some fun time in Marathon and watch the weather. When the wind is light from the south, head under the Seven Mile Bridge cut and take up a northly course to put you just off Little Shark River. It can be a bit shallow south of Little Shark and you will have to stay off perhaps 6-8 miles to avoid frequent furtive glances at the depthfinder. Spend the night at anchor a peaceful, primitive environment. If you have time, dinghy up the river a ways, taking a handheld GPS with you. Lots of fun.
    Next day, head for any of a dozen good anchorages off Everglades City, or go in to Everglades City for some “old Florida.” Visit the Rod and Gun Club. Next day, go in to Marco. Depending on your draft, you can go inland at Gullivan Bay, but be careful getting around Coon Key and into the Big Marco River. It is easier to go outside if weather permits to Capri Pass leading to Marco.
    By the way, watch carefully for crab pots all throughout the route — particularly the Florida Bay area.
    Hope this helps. It is a very nice trip if your weather holds.
    Bill Donovan

    Cheri and Gerald,
    I agree with Bill Donovan. We love the Sportsman’s Club in Everglade City. I would add to what Bill posted with the following: if you draw 5′ or less, you can go inside at Coon Key Pass and north through Goodland to Marco. It’s pretty, and not too bad in the afternoon hours. If you do stay at Everglades City or Indian Key, you’ll hit Coon Key Pass in the afternoon, on a rising tide. You must be careful to stay in the marked channel, particularly in Goodland, but you’ll make it with no trouble.
    Yes, Gullivan Bay is shallow, generally charted at 5′, but the charting is accurate, and in the afternoons on a rising tide, you’ll have good water. The gulf route around the Romano Shoals will take you way offshore, so if you need cover for high seas or weather, the inside route is doable.
    In Goodland, stop at Stan’s for an adult beverage and a fun afternoon. Very “old” Florida. If you stay at a marina in Goodland, get local
    knowledge on approaches. As you approach the high rise bridge in Marco from the south, there are two things you need to watch. One is that there is a Red Marker immediately south (east) of that bridge that you MUST clear, but at an approach distance of a mile or so, lies with the shoreline behind it and is very hard to pick out. Approaching from the south, it will be to the left of the bridge. Find it and honor it, or you will get to meet the local Tow Boat operator. DO NOT head straight for the bridge channel.
    The other thing is that the marker colors change sides at that same bridge. Approaching from the south (east), it’s kinda obvious, because the water gets wider and less confined on the Marco side, but if approaching from the north (west), it can be very confusing, and it’s again easy to miss that Red marker, or take it on the wrong side.
    Finally, the inside route north of Marco is also shallow. There is a great anchorage at Rookery Bay; it does have a correctly charted shoal on the north. The stretch from Rookery Bay north to Naples is very shallow, and should be done at or near high tide (afternoon) for a 5′ draft boat.
    On the West Coast of Florida, there is generally only one high tide per day, and it’s always in the afternoon. Exceptions are spring tides, when there is one tide that is much higher and one tide that is much lower than the other.

    The other way is to go from Key West direct to Marco. It is not much farther from KW to Marco than Marathon to Marco, about 90NM I believe, including all the twists & turns of both routes. We have done this with no problem during daylight hours (running 9 to 10 knots) with average wave height of about 3 ft. No problems.
    Watch the charts carefully and follow the channels. Go North around the Navy base and then follow channels and deeper water into the Gulf. Once into deeper water you can set your autopilot for the channel at Marco, again following the charts carefully.
    If you have not been to Marathon and want to take longer to enjoy the trip, do that, taking the Hawk Channel on the South side of the Keys. Stop to anchor at Newfound Harbor halfway between Key West and Marathon (at Little Torch Key), where you can dinghy under the highway bridge to the dinghy dock at Parrotdise Grill for their excellent lobster reuben sandwich. Yum! After staying in Marathon, follow Moser Channel under the “hump” in the Keys bridge there and follow the channel and clear water to Marco.

    The options already posted are good ones. We have done the direct route winter and spring as well as the Marathon route, and the choice can depend on your circumstances and vessel. If you are short on time and you have a couple of good days for sailing (or flat seas for motoring), suggest the direct route Key West to Marco. Monitor the WX for several days as part of your planning.
    Shark River is indeed a terrific anchorage, but beginning usually in mid April be prepared for bugs. Suggest not using the Rod & Gun Club for an overnight. You would be better served continuing on around the island just off the Rod & Gun and motor a short distance to the fairly new Everglade Isle Motorcoach Park. They have terrific floating docks, power, water, great club house, and a friendly and helpful staff. I have seen a 46 footer tied there, but most of their slips are for smaller vessels. Great river restaurant nearby and golf carts may be available for your use.
    Regards, Tom & Sue
    m/v Marbles

    By the postings I have read, there seems to be a sort of the “lets get past this”. Years ago for 3 years I spent the winter going from Ft Meyer down to the Keys, up to Miami and then back to Ft Meyer. My favorite part was from Key West to New Found Harbor to Marathon, then to Shark River, then to Indian Key and then either around Romano Light to Naples or to Coon Key to Marco and then to Naples.
    Spectacular anchorages and good safe boating.
    For 99% of us, we will never be back to the Everglades again and to speed by it is a mistake.
    A potential danger is going straight across from Key West to Marco, especially in the winter. Northers come in very fast and often unannounced. 15 years ago there was a major unannounced all night squall that hit the Keys and Gulf side. The Coast Guard was asking all mariners to help: fishing boats were swamping. The coast Guard could not keep up with calls. I had 4 friends who had left Key West that morning in glorious sun and they got caught in it, boat damaged and almost lost one of them and they never went out in that boat again. Used it for a winter condo for 1 year and then sold it. They later told me how they had wished that they do what I do.
    I do day hops and always have the ability to run for cover. I also try to be near anchorage or tie up, especially if I have never been there by 2 to 3 PM in the winter. That is what I am proposing.
    After leaving the 7 mile bridge (Marathon) and heading towards East Cape you are in crab trap heaven. However when you are within 1 mile of the Everglades, crab trapping is illegal and the water is deep enough that you can run the coast out of crab traps.
    Shark River is a very special place. You are in a jungle: thousands of birds and thru the night the sounds of the jungle. Go up the river a 1/4 mile and it is a hurricane hole. Wind cannot get to you and in the winter no bugs,
    Up the coast to Indian Key to either anchor for the night in protected water or up to Everglade city.
    Then to Marco by either going to Coon key or around Romano Shoals (R16) and then to Marco.
    If you leave Marco out to the Gulf, years ago very uncertain markings and a strong southerly rip current across the bar. i was not aware of rip current and I did it at night and it cost $2000. in repairs
    This is what it is about, as opposed to a fast open water run and then a landing in the dark where you have never been.
    L. Sloan

    Hi there,
    We’ve been reading the discussion, and are looking for some advice. We are heading South from Marco Island to the Everglades, and would like to take the inside route, but are wary of what sounds like quite shallow waters. We draw 4’6’³ and are looking for some local knowledge of the area.
    Much appreciated,
    Mark and Marlene

  • Calusa Island Marina (Goodland – Marco Island)

    Calusa Island Marina is found on the shores of southern Marco Island, within the borders of the old fishing village of Goodland. There’s lots of good places to eat within walking distance, including my personal favorite, “Little Bar.” Entering this facility can be a little tricky for first-timers, and the shallowest portion of the unofficial Marco Island to Naples waterway lies nearby with MLW depths of as little as 4 1/2 feet.

    Calusa Island Marina update as of Feb. 1st, 2011. From Claiborne Young’s outstanding 2008 Cruising Guide to West Florida (7th ed.), he implied that Calusa would be cruiser friendly in our hour of need. They are. VERY. Our story follows the important facts: Calusa has now made available a dinghy dock fee for we who prefer the hook at night. The fee includes shoreside access, showers and laundry. Transient “dockers” are still very welcome too. Andrew Barksdale whose card says “President” and “Managing Partner”, absolutely ROCKS. I now think of him as “can do – Andrew”. That spirit runs thru what we saw of the operation. “Just ask first and we’ll make it work,” is what he told me referring to out-of-the-box arrangements. The protected anchorage in Blue Hill Creek has good depths for a half mile beyond him, Andrew said. Calusa has Block Ice! Gas prices competitive with Marco. Their water tasted very good on the day we filled up (after ASKING FIRST). Groceries, Ace Hardware with LP refill station (see our story below) and West Marine are about 3 and a half miles. We have our own bike which makes that easy for us in flat S. FLorida. Andrew has plans to have loaner bicycles available to dinghy dock users in March and I strongly encouraged that ASAP. A loaner car is hopefully in the works for next season. Goodland’s restaurants are a big draw as is prominently mentioned in the Guide (as well as above). We too have been told that Marker 8 Restaurant is good. The lunch special at Little Bar is still good at ~$6.95 we hear.
    Our story: 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning at Tiger Key about 12 miles South and East of Goodland/Calusa Island Marina. A defective back-up propane 20 lb bottle (seal completely missing!!! on Blue Rhino exchange LP bottle – we’ll check that in future before accepting an exchange) won’t connect at all, which means our fridge and its contents will soon be room temp… Claiborne’s superlative guide steers me toward Calusa as my first call (on the cell). Andrew answers. He tells me that I can get my empty tank REFILLED at the Ace in S. Marco on a Sunday. ” I just filled mine there, so I know they have it.” he tells me. “Can you be here before noon?” he asks. We do. And he drives me in his car to Ace for a very reasonable charge. And the refill was less $ than the (defective) exchange had been at Winn Dixie in N. Marco (see Side note at end). The fridge stays cold. The food is saved. And we find a truly welcoming facility for cruisers like us who genuinely prefer lying on an anchor at night to docking. Showers, laundry, block ice and a friendly welcome. Perfect.
    John McLaughlin

    We really enjoyed our stay. Even though we were towed in and had a gps track to follow, we ran aground, so be careful
    Bill Dixon

    We called Tow Boat US for EXCELLENT blow by blow tips for this “inside” route thru Marco Island. We draw 4′ & still had a few “white knuckle” moments passing thru at mid-tide. Well worth it tho.”
    Linda Gimbel Hughes

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

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

  • 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

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