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  • Interesting Article on Ocracoke, NC (off the AICW, on Pamlico Sound)

    What a great report from Captains Greg and Susan concerning one of the North Carolina’s most popular ports of call. Note that this cruising duo note the same shoaling in the Big Foot Slough Channel, on which we reported last week, but they also reflect a later report of dredging here. Follow the link provided below to check out this earlier article.
    Even if you don’t plan on visiting Ocracoke this summer, Greg and Susan’s account of the “movie” in Ocracoke, plus the offshore research trip, is well worth a read!

    Allegria is spending and extended weekend at the USNPS docks in Ocracoke, NC. This idyllic village on the outer banks is the perfect place to enjoythe summer’s heat with a cooling breeze. The docks were only half full and we got a great spot along with enough power to be comforable with our A/C. Since we are over 62 years old we can use our Golden Passports here to get a 50% discount on the dockage, quite a bargain. The channel entering the Silver Lake anchorage was extremely shoaled with barely 6′ on the green side and seabirds walking around on the red side. Fortunately, there is an USACOE dredge working there right now.
    Last night in Ocracoke, there was a feature movie played right behind our boat on a big inflatable screen, of a Disney from 2009 entitled Oceans. It had some of the most spectacular wildlife footage I have ever seen. One scene in Alaska had a pod of grey whales herding bait fish into a ball using air bubbles. Then a dozen full grown grey whale exploded to the surface en-mass from deep down. The slow motion showed their mouths, which sieve out the fish from the water, bloated and distended with their catch as they fell back. Truly do not miss this film, it is unlike anything else I have ever seen. See some clips at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765128/
    There is an 85′ NOAA research vessel in residence which is working on a project to locate and photograph wrecks that are offshore from the Battle of the Atlantic, the extended battle between U boats and merchant and US Navy ships that resulted in dozen of sinkings in the early part of WWII. They have a sophisticated free ranging, self propelled side scan sonar device that they release to run track lines along the bottom. When retrieved, the data can be downloaded and reviewed. This is much easier than towing the device behind a ship and running track lines. The National Geographic has a film crew documenting the project so look for a future piece on TV and in print. This is related to the Marine Sanctuary program of NOAA surrounding the Monitor archeological site just offshore.
    Greg and Susan Han
    USCG 100GT Master, Near Coastal
    Key Biscayne, FL
    Allegria — Krogen Whaleback #16

    Click Here To Read An Earlier Article About Shoaling and New Dredging on Ocracoke’s Big Foot Slough Channel

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Ocracoke’s National Park Service Docks

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Ocracoke’s Anchorage Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor and Its Approach Channels

  • Elizabeth City Gets Better and Better, Dismal Swamp Route, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop programElizabeth City and the Rose Buddies have been charming cruising visitors to the City Docks since 1983. Over 15 years ago, my family and I were privileged to meet the original Rose Buddy, Fred Fearing, who passed away in 2007, and we got the same warm greeting and assistance as did Ken and Francie. Isn’t it wonderful that some things do not change! The city docks are officially called Mariner’s Wharf City Docks and dockage is free for 48 hours, although we were once allowed to stay for three days when high winds prevented the Alligator River Bridge from opening. We are proud to report that Elizabeth, NC is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Elizabeth City has major improvements for boaters since our last stop a few years ago, thanks to former mayor Atkinson who now owns a trawler. Enjoy Saturday morning farmer’s market at mariner wharf May – October. Farm Fresh market, a great new grocery store, picks boaters up at the wharf with a phone call. We enjoyed First Friday gallery walk and new art center downtown. The new library and Albermarle museum exhibits are terrific. We highly recommend Elizabeth City to anyone cruising the area.
    Capt. Wendy Young aboard “Blue Crab” 32′ Island Gypsy, Punta Gorda FL

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

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

  • Dangerous Navigational Mistake on St. Johns River (near intersection with Trout River), 6/8/11

    The Cruisers’ Net has just been contacted by Captain David Kudley (http://www.oldmillcove.com) about a potentially dangerous situation which might arise for captains and vessels cruising downstream (east) on the St. Johns River between Jacksonville and the AICW/Mayport. This is a bit of a complicated matter, and it will probably make more sense if you can follow along while referencing chart 11491.
    First, find where the St. Johns intersects with Trout River, and then look across on the opposite shore, east of St. Johns River marker #63. You will spy a very long, unmarked “channel” which eventually leads east and southeast from Reddie Point to Mill Cove.
    Captain David informed us that some downstream bound captains, either by mistake or by way of trying to take a shortcut, are leaving the main St. Johns channel hard by charted Reddie Point, and following this errant, Mill Cove Channel. Vessels that take this route INEVITABLY RUN AGROUND AS THEY COME ABEAM OF PAULINE ISLAND, IF NOT SOONER, AND, THE LOCAL TOW BOAT SERVICES ARE UNDERSTANDABLY VERY RELUCTANT TO TAKE THEIR VESSELS INTO THESE TREACHEROUS WATERS TO PULL OFF GROUNDED CRAFT!
    There is a good reason that boats run aground in the Reddie Point – Mill Cove “channel.” The purpose of dredging this channel WAS NOT TO MAKE IT NAVIGABLE. Rather it was dredged in order to slow or halt silting in Mill Cove by increasing tidal current. That objective has been accomplished, but that does nothing for navigational purposes.
    The bottom line is that ALL CRUISING VESSELS need to avoid the Reddie Point – Mill Cove “channel” like the proverbial plague, and simply stay in the main St. Johns River channel. To accomplish this objective, be SURE to pass west of marker #63 and northwest of marker #61!!!

    My home is Jacksonville, Fl and my vessel is homeported at Jax Beach Marine, a very a ccomodating, professional, and great place to dock your vessel. I know this area of the St John’s well. If you are cruising in a northward direction Reddie Pt will be off to your right just as the river bends to the right. There is a long dock extending off from thaet point. Pauline Island is just across from that dock. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT make your turn towards that dock and between that island. You will run aground. Stay in the maiin channel.
    Skipper John Hartman

    Could not have said it better myself…….print it…..You might tell them that in emergency they can phone William Maulden, Jacksonville Sheriffs marine division @ 904-318-2023……..Bill lives at the Lions Club next to Reddie Point.
    Thanks,
    and the folks in Mill cove thank you,
    Dave

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on the St. Johns River West of Reddie Point

  • Lyme Disease May Be a Danger to Cruising Pets in the Bahamas

    Cruising News:
    While cruising the Staniel and Sampons Cays in Dec. Our dog Andale came down with Lyme disease. We heard reports at Long Is. and Gearge Town and later were told by June the weather lady her friend’s dog died. Well we turned and got back to the states and dog in for test. Never did we find a tick, I checked paws and pads, ears and belly. She swims daily,but on the beach she got into some briar patch that drew blood. Maybe that is the link, I just don’t know. Test confirmed Lyme and medications saved her. I suggest having the meds on board and watch for signs. Good Luck and beware for your pets sake.
    Kat Luchene

  • AIR FORCE SYSTEM TESTS, SAVANNAH GEORGIA

    Do not know if this will affect any of you, but just in case…

    LOCAL NOTICE TO MARINERS: Week 22/11
    The U.S. Air Force will be conducting tests and training operations on nationally controlled frequencies between Hunter Army Airfield and Savannah International Airport during the period of June 6-10, 2011. Reduced reception may occur that could interfere with the range of 2900-3100MHz on some USCG radar systems.
    Mariners are urged to exercise caution and transit at their slowest safe speed if affected by any radar range reduction. If this reduction is noted, please contact the Coast Guard Sector Charleston on VHF radio channels 13 or 16 or by phone at (843)740-7050 immediately

  • Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach

    Captain Wally Moran, author of the “open letter” below, sent to the mayor of Miami Beach, is a reporter and writer for “Sail” magazine. Thanks to Captain Moran for sharing this very interesting, if a bit lengthy, note with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net.
    After reading Wally’s missive below, you may want to refer to my earlier anchoring editorial, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations” (http://www.CruisersNet.net/florida-anchoring-editorial-1-whence-come-the-anchorage-regulations). In particular, check out my “#2” reason behind such regulations.

    An open letter to Miami Beach Mayor Bower:
    I know that running for office can be expensive, and that politicians often seek financing from those with the money to contribute, but at what price to the politician? And just what is the price to the people represented by that politician?
    The balance of this letter, Mayor Bower, is intended to put the onus on you to stop the abuse of rights in Miami Beach that wealthy political contributors think they have purchased when they finance a politician’s campaign, not only in the specific circumstances outlined in my letter.
    My sailing students and I had only just anchored at Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, behind the house at 2344 N. Bay Road, when the police boat came up to us. The officers aboard politely requested that we move the boat a couple of hundred yards south. They very carefully explained that we didn’t have to do this, that they had no right in law to make the request, but that they would appreciate our doing so.
    The reason for their request? We had anchored in front of the home of a man with considerable political clout, apparently purchased with substantial donations to various politicians, although the police didn’t give specifics. The man had phoned the police, probably before our anchor had finished sinking to the bottom. The officers had been ordered to respond, and did so in less than ten minutes. I’m quite certain that there are victims of crime in Miami Beach who would be astonished by the speed of this response, but as we were discovering, wealth does have its advantages.
    We and the officers had an entertaining fifteen minutes discussing the merits – or lack thereof – of the situation we found ourselves in. The officers were clearly disgusted at having to do the bidding of the man who had complained, but since they were acting on a superior’s orders, they really had no choice.
    After the officers left us, we sat for a half hour and enjoyed watching the instigator of this situation surreptitiously watching us as he pretended to clean his boat. We left after a half hour at anchor, not because of this man but out of respect for the officers, who were only doing their job – no, belay that, they were doing what they had been told to do – which was most decidedly not their job.
    My question here is this: are the politicians of Miami Beach, and the senior police officers giving the orders and who appear to leap at the politicians beck and call, so craven, so spineless, so hungry for political largesse that they will order their front line officers to break the law? Because that is exactly what happened here – with their request, these officers were violating our rights. They knew it, and clearly didn’t like being ordered to do it.
    It’s not like these officers didn’t have more important things to do, it was a busy weekend on the water. No, they were ordered to break the law, to go after us, to get us to move on, all because one man has money and the politicians of Miami Beach (who are in his pocket) don’t have the backbone or integrity to tell him that his money doesn’t buy him that privilege. Quite frankly, if I were a voter in Miami Beach, I’d be asking some very difficult questions of the mayor and the Chief of Police.
    For those who would like to ask those questions, Mayor Bower’s email is mayorbower@miamibeachfl.gov. The Chief’s email apparently isn’t publicly available.
    There is something else that we can do about this as free citizens. I’d like to invite all Miami Beach and area boaters to an ‘Anchor Fest’, to be held on July 4th, starting at 2 p.m. The Anchor Fest will be a celebration of American freedom, particularly the freedom Americans have to see all legal rights respected by our politicians.
    I’d like to see several hundred boats anchor in view of this man’s home, to help bring home to him the fact that, while he may be able to buy politicians, the Miami Beach Police do not answer to him through them, they do not violate the rights of others because he is displeased.
    I’d also like to see the politicians of Miami Beach get the message that someone with money doesn’t have the right to force police officers to break the law through political patronage. I’d like Miami Beach’s politicians to remember and understand that they answer to the voters of the city – all of them, not just ones with lots of money and attitude.
    I’d like to thank the officers for their courtesy and for the job they do for us. I know you’ll be with us at Anchor Fest in spirit.
    I’d like to see everyone have a great time at this man’s expense, for him to see that his money doesn’t buy him the right to abuse the rights of others.
    And I have a suggestion for this man: if you don’t like boats anchored where you can see them, buy a home inland. I’d suggest New Mexico or Arizona.
    I hope to see everyone at Anchor Fest. You can get more details on Facebook, just search for Anchor Fest or Anchor Fest Miami Beach.
    W. J. Moran

    I just sent off the following email to the Mayor and encourage others to do the same….
    “Mayor Bower, Would you be so kind as to respond to the reports that a wealthy land owner and political contributor is using the Miami Beach Police Department for personal use to harass boaters that anchor near his home in Sunset Lake. This is a complete abuse of power, since the order either comes from the Chief of Police or his superior. And we all know who his superior is. With tight budget constraints in almost every city today, how do you justify the cost to the citizens of Miami Beach for the Officers time and use of a boat to coddle to this one individual and ask your police officer to harass innocent boaters in clear violation of Florida State law. It is the hopes of all of the boating public that an investigation by higher authorities will provide answers if you will not. But I did feel it necessary to voice my opinion in this matter and give you the chance to respond. I await your answers.
    Sincerely, ”
    Chuck

    Ah, the man often referred to in blogs and discussions of anyone who has anchored in or near Sunset Lake. The man who also abuses his (land) neighbors rights by blasting loud, obnoxious music to try to drive cruisers away, and shines spotlights on the boats as well.
    This man has to be the single biggest waste of time for the Miami Beach Marine Unit’s officers. Anchor Fest should be a weekly event.
    Lynn Kaak

    I wish I could be at your anchor fest. Thank you for speaking out. I suggest you put the notice out on utube or twitter. That will get a lot of young ones involved. They need to be aware of their future. Once again boaters are being a target. The politicians should have their benefits and salaries cut like many of the locals are having major cuts in their every day common life. Maybe they would not be able to afford the extras in life. Like a police force.
    Kat

    Thank you for doing this Wally Moran! I have experienced this citizen first hand and know that he can be nasty when he wants to be! We will be further north for the 4th of July but we will be there in spirit!! Please post photos, we would love love love to the see them!!
    This is the email I sent today to the mayor of Miami Beach as well as the Miami Herald. I changed the citizen’s name in this posting to not put Cruiser’s Net in an awkward position of posting his name but I did not call him Citizen X in my letter to the mayor. I encourage ALL boaters who care about anchoring rights to email the mayor and to other cruisers who have first hand experience with this citizen, SPEAK UP!
    Dear Mayor Bower,
    As a cruising sailor that has enjoyed Miami Beach on several occasions on my sailboat over the past few years, I have to ask do you not understand what visiting boaters contribute to your community? By allowing your city’s police officers to essentially politely harass visiting boats anchored legally in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach you are discouraging boaters from visiting your city. Do you not realize in a recession how important tourist dollars are to your town? Do you think just because a visiting boat does not stay in a marina, we do not have money to spend? Boating is not a cheap lifestyle. Miami Beach is a great city full of interesting things to do, great places to eat, and wonderful places to shop. Trust me, when one visits Miami Beach, one spends money!
    Citizen X has repeatedly called the police about boats anchored LEGALLY in the PUBLIC waters behind his house and he should be considered a nuisance to the city’s police force. He is trying to harass private citizens (tourists mind you!) engaging in LEGAL activities and the Miami Beach PD is doing his bidding!
    I know from personal experience on two separate occasions how citizen x can be. A year ago we were anchored in front of his house as we were transiting the ICW south and he came up to our boat in his power boat and politely asked us if we would consider anchoring in front of the vacant lot instead of in front of his house. It really made no difference to us and he was polite so we moved.
    This past winter he called the police on our friends and when the police boat came out they were extremely apologetic and specifically told our friends that they had a legal right to be there and the Police visit was pretty much for show to appease “a certain neighbor”.
    That is an utterly appalling waste of police resources!! As the mayor you’d think that you would be concerned about that, not condoning it! It would be an entirely different story if these boats were doing something illegal or something to bother Mr. Karlton but boats using public waters legally is really none of citizen x’s concern is it? You would think after the first couple of phone calls the police would tell him they are not going to respond to it anymore but I am guessing someone higher up the political food chain is putting a little pressure on the police force…
    If you Google Anchor Fest Miami Beach, bully on the waterway in Miami Beach, or “citizen x’s name you will see the negative attention this story is getting on the major cruising boards across the internet. Trust me, people will stop visiting Miami Beach on a matter of principle, anchoring boaters as well as the boaters who utilize the dock space in Miami Beach, because us cruisers, we stick together.
    Hope “citizen X’s” political contributions were worth it for you.
    Nicole Chambers

    This is one incident that is becoming the norm here in Florida and will become law by way of ordinances if we don’t get busy and let our voices be heard.
    What we’re talking about here are CRUISERS. Cruisers (called “non-liveaboards” even though cruisers may indeed live aboard) and includes the recreational boater who navigates the waters cannot by regulated with regard to anchoring, according to FL Statute 327(60). The People of Florida demanded that Statute stay intact. IT DID.
    But a 13th hour FWC Pilot Program goes around that and is exempt from adhering to the Statute. As FWC posted on their site “Due to pressures from homeowners and some others….” [they added the Pilot Program and submitted it along with what the PUBLIC agreed would be revisions to the Statutes]. This was AFTER it was submitted to the Legislature: done without Public input or knowledge…a back door loophole for those who have political pull to continue to try to override the majority of what Floridians wanted. THIS is what is so scandalous about the Pilot Program.
    Five sites were to be named yet Sarasota immediately jumped the gun and put up a 72-hour anchoring limit. It was challenged and they dropped it, but everyone who knew anything knew that Sarasota would definitely be one of the five sites to participate in the Pilot Program. It is a self-serving program for a few to get what they want despite what the people have used due process to show as their choice: NO ORDINANCES ON ANCHORING for Florida cruisers! When they named the five sites, it was incredulous that one site is ALL OF MONROE COUNTY! This is what happens when people are confused and don’t know what is going on. The Pilot Program is nothing more than a way to ignore the majority and quell the whining of a few powerful minority to take away the freedom of boats in navigation, and use our tax dollars to do it! Misuse of government resources is blatant here.
    The Pilot Program is not focused on derelict boats or hulks as those vessels are already subject to regulation and have been since 2006. Cruisers and recreational boaters are the ONLY ones outside of being regulated, based on our right to navigation as per Maritime Law. We need choices and options — not anchoring ordinances! By confusing people and making them think the Pilot Program was needed to help rid harbors of derelicts and sewage is exactly what they want you to think. They can already do that! I fought from day one the Pilot Program and saw it for exactly what it was…but so many others could not see that there are people this powerful and this brazenly arrogant that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. “How can they do that?” Well, this Miami Beach incident is a perfect example and they are and will do it unless we stand up and expose it. The Pilot Program will eventually make it legal for them to do it by way of ordinances.
    The FWC will be holding more workshops on the issue of anchoring rights for NON-LIVEABOARD VESSELS (that is all cruisers and recreational boaters whether you liveabord or not). See how confusing this is?! It is meant to be. This is so important, my good people. Get involved or lose your freedom.
    There is a Workshop at the Government Center in Marathon, FL on June 8th at 6 pm. If you cannot attend, let your voice be heard by writing. We cannot let this happen. Public trust is being manipulated and we can help our local authorities fight back against those misusing that trust with our voices saying or pens writing that we won’t stand for our rights and wants being ignored.
    Our authorities are essentially being forced to represent a few rather than the majority and the actual LAW. Just imagine what will happen if ordinances are allowed and cruisers and other recreational boaters are subject to anchoring restrictions by law. No thanks!
    One ordinance outside of mooring fields will lead to another ordinance outside of beaches, then another, etc. There is no end to anchoring ordinances for cruisers and recreational boaters if we allow them to BEGIN.
    The People of Florida said NO to them the first time and kept the Statute intact that protects our rights to anchor. This back door called the Pilot Program has got to be exposed for what it really is and SLAMMED SHUT. It is not about derelict vessels, or liveaboard hulks, it’s about YOU the boater, the cruiser, the person who navigates the waters of Florida, and enjoys dropping the hook without a visit from authorities telling you how long you can stay.
    Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

    Well written, Capt. CSL. Yes, the Pilot Program seems to be a carte blanche for 5 sites to screw with regs between now and July 2014. After that the Legislature supposedly writes into FL law whatever has been effective. OR dumps the kitnkaboodle.
    Continued appreciation to Claiborne Y who traveled to StAugustine to specifically address StAugustine’s Pilot proposed ordinance ideas. Claiborne got his three minutes in, and then in typical small town “we’d rather hear ourselves talk” the mike got passed on. Not to be forgotten: a few years back we put MLKing behind bars. We’re more suave now, but City still gets to do things as City sees fit.
    Captain Jay Bliss
    St. Augustine Port Commissioner

    I wrote the mayor with my protests, and if we were not many miles north, we would most certainly participate in the Anchor Fest.
    Beverly Fieges

    I am a 66 year old cruiser, now in the Chesapeake for the summer and early fall, and a retired attorney having practiced privately in Miami for almost 25 years. Before that I was a trial atorney with the US Dept of Justice in Washington, DC. During the winter my wife and I often go out for overnighters and weekends and I’ll be damned if I will obey the illegal order of any officer, no matter how courteous, concerning moving from a legal anchorage. While anchored, we cause no disturbance or neuisance whatsoever. If I am arrested I will make sure that the source of the illegal order, presumably the mayor, will be prosecuted. The same is true for any homeowner causing the arrest.
    Seth Stopek

    As a long time member of the USpower Squadron , Key west aand now North Carolina, I feel its my duty to inform the resident at 2344 N Bay Rorad, Miami Beach, Sunset Lake Area that I will make  a point at our next regular meeting to encourage all our members to locate and utilize that location when in the area as a palce to anchor and party. If you are at all familar with the Key west Squadron that can be a very noisy group of sailors.
    Billy Ray

    This string is getting so lengthy, that I ‘m placing a link below for the continuing input received from 6/11/11, onward. If you are interested in this topic, don’t fail to follow this link, as you will read some very interesting correspondence between Captain Wally and the Miami Beach Chief of Police:
    Click Here To Read Input Received Concerning the “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach” after 6/11/11

  • Memorial Day, 2011

    May 30th 2011
    Memorial Day: Honoring, Remembrance, and Ringing in Summer
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    On a brighter note, Memorial Day is also viewed as the first day of summer vacation. Families and friends gather to celebrate with cookouts (whether at the beach or in the backyard), games, activities, and general fun just being together. In the boating and cruising communities, there is a tremendous increase of people out on the water enjoying the merriment of ringing in summer. “Summertime, and the living is easy. Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high….” Love that song!

    The long weekend is a perfect time for cruisers to get out and about. Whether by motor or sail, Memorial Day weekend is the time many get their boats off the hard and into the water. If already in the water, they get out of the marinas, mooring fields, and harbors and go out for fun and adventure. Everyone loves summer and the ideal weather it brings as its invitation to participate in various activities in, on, and around the water.

    Fun on Ft. Myer’s Beach!

    There is nothing quite like sailing all day and finding a nice place to drop the hook before sunset. The peace and tranquility is second to none. Boating is a recreation, a time for rejuvenation of the senses with adventure instead of that which has become routine. Sailing, exploring, enjoying nature’s marine life, fishing for a delectable dinner, and then watching the stars come out without city lights nearby to dull their brightness. Life for the full time cruiser is not for most as it takes skill to know and maintain all your own systems. But the reward is priceless. The window of opportunity for this lifestyle is not very long for we who have waited until our children reached adulthood. Our bodies age with each day and before we know it: our physically demanding sailboat becomes an easier to use trawler; our trawler becomes a house back on land with a wheelchair ramp. We are as young as we feel; as long as we keep the freedom to feel young!

    September Sea and her Crew comfy at anchor after a long day sail. Son Bj in hammock. He so loved life aboard!

    In memory of those who have fought and died for freedom of all Americans, and to those who continue to serve and help others of this world gain their freedom…the petty bickering of those who sit on land and complain of we who sit afloat seems surreal. There are real problems and issues in this world that demand our attention. “Visual intrusion” is not one of them. Anchoring rights for cruisers are key to navigational safety and freedom. One of the last freedoms of this great Country of ours will be harnessed and fenced to a fault if we as its citizens do not speak up against it.

    “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.” – Ella Wilcox Wheeler, American Poet

    Please attend the Pilot Program Stakeholder Workshops. If you are not able to attend, then write to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC). But let your voice be heard. Do not let the sun set on the rights of cruisers to anchor. The photo shown below is one I took a few years ago while anchored blissfully outside Boot Key Harbor. The cloud formation reminded me of a Native American Chief, his spirit watching over the waters and keeping them free to all who wish to navigate, anchor and enjoy.

    Big Chief Autumn Sunset

    Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day!

    Charmaine Smith Ladd,
    s/v September Sea
    SSECN Correspondent, Florida Keys
    “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

  • Reports on AICW/Jekyll Creek Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 683)

    The AICW/Jekyll Creek Problem Stretch has had shoaling for some time now with reports of depths below 5ft at low tide. Mid to high tide passage is recommended.

    I followed my usual path thru Jekyll but found less water than on previous trips with as little as 5′ mlw in spots. Either I messed up on that run or shoaling got worst over winter. I’ll keep playing the tides…
    Captain Pascal

    We traveled this stretch on 4/27/11 at 1 hr.before low tide mid channel and saw no less then 7′. Follow the range markers listed as RW on the charts around the curve past Jekyl Wharf Marina.
    Capts.Steve & Di Koch

    May 2011: came thru northbound and 7′ MLW was the lowest reading i found mostly near G19 and along the range. I passed about 150′ off G19 then turned right on the range. Stayed on the range till past R16 (passed about 75′ away).
    No depth issue between the bridge and the wharf. You just have to take it slow and found the best water as the “channel” is very shallow. On a previous run in April, I did find some 5′ spots around G19 not far from where i passed on this trip.
    Pascal aboard MY Charmer, 70′ 6+ draft

    May 28, 2011. Northbound on a 50′ trawler with 5 foot draft. Passed marker 20A at 4:56 pm. Passed marker 10 at 5:19 pm
    20A depth 14.1 feet
    20 depth 13.3
    19 depth 13.4
    17 depth 13.7
    16 depth 14.1
    13 depth 14.5
    11 depth 17.6
    10 depth 22.3
    I hope this is useful.
    Darrel Peters Aboard “Present Moment”

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Jekyll Creek

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Important – Definitive Info on Little Mud River, Georgia AICW Problem Stretch (near Statute Mile 655)

    It is almost universally acknowledged that the Little Mud River section of the AICW, some 21 statute miles north of Brunswick, Georgia, is the single worst stretch of the “ditch” between Norfolk, VA and Miami, Florida. Well, Captains Chuck and Susan’s observations below certainly tend to bear out that theory.
    As you may recall from other recent postings here on the Net, Captain Chuck Baier and Captain Susan Landry are the former general manager and editor, respectively, of Waterway Guide. They are now cruising south on the AICW on their way to a new home in Fort Myers, Florida. Chuck and Susan are being kind enough to forward very detailed reports to the Cruisers’ Net about concerns they encounter, particularly AICW Problem Stretches.
    With this dynamic duo’s vast cruising experience, we can take their observations below as gospel. And, as you will see, just give up on the idea of traversing Little Mud River at anything but high tide.

    Claiborne,
    We transited the Little Mud River on Tuesday 5/17/2011 and we thought your readers would be interested in what we found. I hope they also appreciate us transiting all of the problem areas on the ICW at or near low tide so we could get accurate depth readings. We transited the Little Mud at 2 hours before low tide. Based on this the following depths would be at low tide. At Red “192” depth of 5 feet. At Crooked Creek, depth of 4 1/2 feet. Approaching Green “193” 4 feet, then 3 feet very near “193”. Just past Green “193” 3 1/2 feet. At Red “194” 3 1/2 feet and just past Red “194” 3 feet. From Red “194” to the turn onto the Altamaha is all about 4 feet. Fortunately there were no other fools except us transiting at this low of a tide. We hope this will help others STAY AWAY at anything less than 2 to 3 extra feet of tides. We will send more as we find it.
    Chuck and Susan

    We have transited this area with our Tayana 37, “Dream Seeker”, twice and had no problems. Of course it was at 1/2 tide rising through 1/2 tide falling. With the tidal range in GA you can carry 6′ but you have to know your onions as they say.
    Kevin McPadden

    We transited the Little Mud River on May 4, 2011 about 1/2 hour before low, northbound. The mud banks extending into the river were visible on both sides. While we didn’t risk going aground to sound each marker, we stayed in the middle between the visable mud sides. We draw four feet and were obviously dragging through the mud a couple of times based on how the steering responded. Otherwise we saw no less than 4.5 feet and generally 5 feet plus on the sounder.
    Again, this was in mid-visible water, not necessasarily mid channel, although our course always honored the daymarks. The depths reported by the sounder might not have been accurate because of the soupy mud bottom.
    Bob McLeran and Judy Young

    I really appreciate all the info on the ICW. I will be making the trip to Tampa next week from Washington DC. Thanks again.
    Safe Seas,
    Captain Lisa Alexander

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Little Mud River

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Channel Key Pass (Fl. Keys ICW through Channel Key Banks) – Navigational Conundrum Resolved

    Captain Charmaine’s article below is a follow-up to her earlier story here on the Cruisers’ Net, entitled, “Channel Key Pass – Navigational Conundrum (Florida Keys Inside Route, Statute Mile 1179.5).” If you have not yet red this article, please do so by following this link (http://CruisersNet.net/channel-key-pass-navigational-conundrum-florida-keys-inside-route-statute-mile-1179-5) BEFORE delving into Charmaine’s story below. This account will be far more meaningful once the background has passed before your eyes.

    May 18, 2011

    Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) – Navigational Conundrum Resolved
    N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green #5 & #7 and Red #8)
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    The navigational conundrum posed in my article of May 11th has been resolved. Love when that happens! LOL

    To quickly refresh your memory, see the illustration below. This is in the waters of Florida Bay, which average 7-9 feet. While traversing the Bay between Channel Five and the Seven Mile Bridge, we aboard September Sea came across what seemed to be an unusual navigational aid configuration along the ICW at Channel Key Pass:

    Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green markers #5 & #7 and Red marker #8)

    It seemed as per the chart, going outside Red marker #8 would keep my 5’8 draft in consistently deeper water and away from the shoals. I wondered why the marked channel was so narrow, seemed to come so very close to the southern shoal of Channel Key Bank, and was in a slight “S” configuration. That’s a lot more to think about than merely opting to go outside Red Marker #8 and be in what the chart shows as 7 ft. waters. Then I thought about the possibility of navigating this area at night or in foul weather! I had to know more about this area before either of those scenarios ever became a reality. Therefore, being daytime, I decided to follow the marked channel. With good daylight it was easier to see the shoals. Yet still, when passing through the marked channel, my keel was in only inches of water. That’s when I began to doubt whether I had made the correct decision.

    Since that time, I have researched to view satellite images of the area (seen side-by-side below). The images show distinctly lighter colored areas outside Red marker #8. This is an obvious indication of inconsistent depths. The black and white image on the left reflects a yellow ring I have drawn around the questionable depth area. The Google Earth image on the right, being in color, does not show that contrast as clearly. The yellow pins I’ve drawn flank the northern and southern boundaries of Channel Key Pass per NOAA charts. It is apparent the yellow ringed area lies within those boundaries.

    Satellite Image Comparisons of Channel Key Pass

    In the future, I will take the marked channel through Channel Key Banks. It is my belief that while navigating the “S” curve, I allowed the stern to swing a bit off the centerline. This would explain why my depth sounder went off and showed only inches of water. I was a bit too close to the shoal of Green Marker #7. When navigating this Pass, be sure to stay in the center of the passage. It is quite narrow and confusing, but it is totally accurate. The chart does show that a bit of shoal overlaps the Pass. Stay a bit more north when passing Green Marker #7 and you’ll be just fine.

    Most boats in Florida Bay do not have the worries about depth as we who draw 5’8 or more. The other sailboat observed that day which decided to pass to the North of the marked Channel (outside of Red Marker #8) was more than likely as confused as we were. His choice was probably decided as per the chart showing enough depth within that course. His thinking was to not risk any dealings to the shoal off Green Marker #7. But now that I have seen the satellite images, it is clear that is not the safest course to take. The satellite images also reveal the logic behind the configuration of the Channel Key Pass markers.

    My next trip there will include going out in the dinghy and taking some depth soundings of the yellow ringed area with a handheld sonar. Even though the satellite images indicate some shoaling there (enough at this point to avoid the area with my 5’8 draft); this writer’s curious nature would love to know what truly lies beneath!

    The NOAA satellite image used here was obtained from a fellow cruiser who has a program on his chartplotter which allows him to overlay such images. Google Earth images were easily obtained by downloading the resources directly from Google Earth. However, the side-by-side comparison shows that the contrast images on Google Earth are not always clear enough to be used for detecting navigational hazards at sea. It is evident that in this case, the NOAA satellite image most clearly reveals the answer to what once was the Channel Key Pass navigational conundrum.

    Cruisers helping Cruisers = Conundrum Resolved!

    Charmaine Smith Ladd
    SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
    “Bringing you the low down from down low!”
    www.SeptemberSea.com

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