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.
GREAT GREAT ANCHORAGE.
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.