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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our  beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida.Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City ofPink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaGulfport Marina includes dry boat storage, ship store, bathroom, public boat ramp, parking, fueling stations, lighted range markers and guest docking facility.Gulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
gulfharbourmarina@comcast.netTwin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350
The Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLSt. Andrew's MarinaPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by Boaters

Crossing Florida’s Big Bend

I have said it before, and will probably say it many times again. If you get six veteran Western Florida cruisers together, they will express seven different opinions about the best way to cross the Sunshine State’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region. There are two basic strategies. You can cut the corner and head straight for Carrabelle or Panama City (if you are northbound), or for Anclote Key and Tarpon Springs (if you are southbound), OR follow the coastline around as it curves, staying well offshore. The advantage of the “corner cutting” route is that it’s shorter, and the “Big Bend Route” allows you to duck into one of the coastal rivers if the weather turns nasty. However, all of the Big Bend rivers have shallow, sometimes tortuous entrance channels.
Few know these waters better than Captain Alan Lloyd, so I’ve copied his note below from the AGLCA mailing list.

I would not wish make a 180 mile run across open water in a 25 foot boat. For one thing, I could not be certain the weather would be consistent all the way across. As a minimum, I would make an intermediate stop at Steinhatchee. A second option would be stops at Crystal River and Steinhatchee. Although a 20 mile side trip, Crystal River is a popular stop for loopers and manatees! A third option is a stop at Suwannee River. This is halfway between Tarpon Springs and Carrabelle. Loopers do not normally include Suawannee River since the entrance is too shallow but I believe a C-Dory could make it in and then enjoy 20 miles up river to Springs State Park. I have made this crossing three times using each of the above options.
Alan Lloyd
Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes

I’ve only crossed once, and going south – but we made the crossing in a 23’ 5” cuddy-walkaround with a single 225 HP outboard with a WOT top speed of ~35-37MPH. It was at the end of June (2008) and indeed, we ran into
weather. Weather bad enough to cause us to look for a safe harbor; and we found one that no one ever talks about or mentions – Horseshoe Beach. Luckily, we worked our way there with sufficient tide to navigate the
channel in a skinny part of the Gulf. A call to “anyone familiar with the Horseshoe Beach channel” gave us the confidence to run the channel after a Sea Tow operator answered our call.
Aside from what Alan mentioned, and Horseshoe Beach at higher tide, I know of no alternatives for a safe haven. (There’s the Withlacoochee River, but that’s not too far north of your departure and near Crystal River.) Since
the storm we tried to avoid gave us some warning, we were already trying to stay closer to shore than originally planned.
Our crossing was fine without the storm and many similar size boats make it easily. That doesn’t mean that you may not want to stop and smell the roses. It’s just those darn storms and sometimes higher winds that require
vigilance and good risk management skills are in order.
Stats and info from log: (We only went from Carrabelle, to my home inHudson Florida.)

• Total mile run expected to cross the Gulf, (slip-to-slip)
o 170
• Total miles to actually cross the Gulf to the Sea Pines channel marker #1
o 188
• Total elapsed hours from Carrabelle, through Horseshoe Beach, to mooring
at Hudson public
o 11 ½, including about a 2-hour layover in Horseshoe Beach
• Average underway speed across the Gulf
o 20.8 statute MPH (18.1 knots)
• Total gallons of fuel to top off the tank at the near-completion of our
journey (including
replenishment of the 3 extra gallons we carry for emergencies, and used)
o 99.5 – the fuel tank holds 101

As you can see, the seas slowed us drastically from the WOT capabilities of the boat. BTW, Horseshoe Beach has virtually no services except a restaurant where we had the best Gulf shrimp I’ve ever had in my life.
Kitty Nicolai

I made this run in Dec 2008 – same direction you’re travelling. Due to sea conditions we had to seek a safe haven. We went into the Steinhatchee River. This is a friendly port as long as you enter and
depart in daylight. We left Steinhatchee the next day and completed the trip into Appalachicola.

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