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  • Survey Request from St. Augustine Cruisers Net, St. Augustine, FL

    An interesting survey that gives you an opportunity to express opinions about your cruising experiences in St. Augustine. After opening the link below, click Next to begin the survey.

    Cruising News:

    The St Augustine Cruisers Net would is looking to understand what brings people to St Augustine or not and why. Please complete our survey at:

    https://www.ittagteam.com/survey/index.php/55688/lang-en

    Thank you.

  • A Request for Route Recommendations, Fort Myers to Homestead (Biscayne Bay)

    Here is a another fellow boater looking for local knowledge and suggestions. His journey will encompass navigating the waters of Southwestern Florida past Naples, then Marco Island, then past the Ten Thousand Island region, and finally past Cape Sable, eventually ending up in the Florida Keys. At this point, a northward turn via the FLK Inside Route, will take him to his goal on the Eastern Florida shoreline in Biscayne Bay.
    As of 2/25/13, Captain Kris has received some excellent advice from Captains Donovan and Bell below

    Hello,
    I’m planning or rather need to go from Fort Myers to Black Point marina in Homestead [south of Miami on the mainland shores of Biscayne Bay – editor]. Was reading the postings and looking at the chart and have a few questions regarding the posts.
    The comment `winter waves’ ‘“ should I expect high seas in February? I generally like deep water so was planning to stay somewhat deep but I saw some posts that said charts are wrong.
    Cape Sable shoals ‘“ is this difficult to navigate?
    Boat. 34ft sail, 4.0 draft, 52’8 must height. 27 horse diesel.
    Experience moderate. Looks like I enter the channel just south of east cape. couple questions:
    1. What stops do you recommend?
    2. Does the inter-coastal run cleanly all the way up from the inside or do I need to go outside?
    3. Heading towards Marathon looks interesting because the water is deeper.
    I appreciate any advice.
    Kris

    You will need to go outside at least until Gordon Pass at Naples where you can anchor in Port Royal or go downtown for a mooring or dockage. From there, inside to Marco is doable with the right tide as is inside to coon Key, but it is tricky in spots, so outside is easier. You can anchor in Factory Bay or Smokehouse Bay or dock in Marco. Cape Sable Shoals are not to be taken lightly so, if you go outside, you need to go pretty far south before turning Eastward (you can `jump the light ‘˜). There are other anchorages before Little Shark, but I haven’t used them and they would depend on the strength and direction of the winds. Anything at or above 20 from any other direction than North will be uncomfortable and we get lots of fronts this time of year.. From Little Shark it’s a straight run down to Marathon. Of course, you could do an `allnighter’ directly from Ft. Myers.
    Donovan

    You can anchor a mile inside Gordens Pass, then at Factory Bay in Marco. You can safely cut cape Ramano at the lime stone channels and anchor in calm water up the left hand fork heading towards Everglades City then a easy run to Boot Key Harbor. Email me if you want route, anchorage way point and draft information. We have a five foot draft 41 Hunter that has been on this route at least eight times. Email info is patriotus@comcast.net for info from 41 Hunter.
    Dave Bell

  • Missing Marker in Darien River Replaced, off the AICW departing at Statute Mile 653

    There are several rivers flowing into the AICW stretch, just north of infamous Little Mud River. Darien River departs westward at marker #183, and runs upstream to an interesting city marina/dock at the charming community of Darien, Georgia. Here you will find free 48-hour dockage and a host of interesting restaurants and other businesses.

    Darien, Georgia - Click for Chartview

    Marker R26 between ICW and Darien GA has been replaced by CG with a lighted red floating marker. Also .. pay attention to R12 which may seem too close to marsh but IS NOT! Go slow and pay attention. 48 hrs free dockage for cruisers. Ya’ll come! 48 HOURS FREE DOCKAGE/WATER/ELEC FOR 48 HOURS’¦NON-COMMERCIAL ONLY.
    David Butler, Darien Dockmaster

    Click Here To View the Georgia Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Darien City Docks

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

  • New St. Johns River/Lake George Cruising Opportunity

    Well, at least this off-the-beaten-path side trip is new to me. After cruising the St. Johns for 30+ years, the note below from Captains Jim and Vaughn, is the first I’ve heard of Salt Springs. But, sure enough, I checked the charts, and there it was, just as Jim and Vaughn point out below, in the northwestern corner of Lake George.
    A study of the charts reveals that this is certainly an anchor off – dinghy in sort of cruising attraction, and it would be a very good thing indeed to have a well functioning chartplotter aboard, so as to avoid the shelf of 1-foot shoals extending out from the creek’s mouth.
    Otherwise, this sounds like a really neat place to explore (again, by dinghy), and the SSECN would WELCOME accounts from other cruisers who have visited this stream. Please follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link on the upper right of this, and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages, and share your experience!

    But, there is another Spring to the North that can be a lot of fun. It’s a nicer facility and spring in our opinion. It’s Salt Springs in the northwest corner of the lake. We anchored out and took two dingies up there last year. There are some no wake zones so we just rafted up and enjoyed the ride along the river. Great day trip! Take your mask and snorkel to this spring. You can dive down into the spring openings, probably 10-12 feet. A longer ride up the river but it’s worth the trip just to see it. Same swimmable temperatures year round….and crystal clear.
    Jim & Vaughn Quince

    Saw the post about Silver Glen Springs and wondered why Salt Springs wasn’t mentioned. Then, just read the Salt Springs info. I visited there last April and indeed, it is pretty. Captains Quince are correct about the one foot depth at the opening of the `run’. Went agorund in my dinghy, but just jumped over and walked til deeper water. It’s a beautiful ride of about 2 or ? miles up the run and to the pool. There I thru out the anchor in about 2 ft. of water and walked/ swam into the main pool. Plan on returning sometime this April.
    `Southern Latitudes’
    42′ performance trawler

    Saw the post about Silver Glen Springs and wondered why Salt Springs wasn’t mentioned. Then, just read the Salt Springs info. I visited there last April and indeed, it is pretty. Captains Quince are correct about the one foot depth at the opening of the `run’. Went agorund in my dinghy, but just jumped over and walked til deeper water. It’s a beautiful ride of about 2 or ? miles up the run and to the pool. There I thru out the anchor in about 2 ft. of water and walked/ swam into the main pool. Plan on returning sometime this April.
    `Southern Latitudes’
    42′ performance trawler

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Lake George and Salt Springs Creek

  • Cruising the Upper St. Johns River – Palatka to Sanford (Lake Monroe)

    Acosta Creek Harbor

    I could not possibly agree more with the sentiments presented below by Captains Bill and Kathleen Root. If you have not cruised the upper St. Johns River from Palatka to the city of Sanford on Lake Monroe, you have, quite simply missed some of the best and most unique cruising in the Sunshine State.
    There are myriad opportunities to spend an evening on the hook, about as far removed from civilization as you are likely to get this day and time. The “Seven Sisters” come to mind, as does “Bucher’s Bend.” There are even some superb dining opportunities, and an adequate number of friendly marinas.
    The only caveat, as noted below, is that you want to be SURE your diesel tanks are topped off before cruising south from Jacksonville. Diesel fuel can be tough to come by on the upper St. Johns!
    We would very much like to hear from more of you who have explored the St. Johns between Palatka and Sanford. Please follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the above, right side of this page, and share your experiences with the rest of the cruising community!

    You definitely do not want to miss the lower St. Johns River from Palatka to Sanford. It’s the best part of the river, much nore interesting than the Dismal Swamp. Just be sure you fuel up with Diesel in Jacksonville because diesel can be hard to find farther south. Some marinas that advertise it may not have it when you want it.
    Sanford is our home port. There are several marinas in Sanford that will accomodate transients. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and Acosta Creek marina just north of Lake George is run by very friendly and accommodating folks. We stop there every time we go north. Cafe Blue is an extraordinary restaurant located a short cab ride from Acosta Creek that really shouldn’t be missed.
    Regarding Silver Glen Springs, I agree that no boat over 25 feet should attempt to enter it. However, there is great anchoring just off the mouth of the river running into the springs, so drop the hook and dinghy in. A little farther south you can anchor across from Blue Springs and dinghy into the park. There are plenty of fine anchorages all along the St. Johns for boats under 40 feet in length and 4 foot draft, and several that will accommodate boats up to 55 feet.
    Bill & Kathleen Root
    MV BUFFALO GAL
    54′ Hatteras MY

    Lisa and I did the ST Johns a couple years ago, spent almost a month exploring. The water was a little higher then and we were able to get into Silver Glen Springs with our (at that time) 4 1/2′ draft but it was touch and go even then. If you’re thinking of cruising the St Johns and want to view photo’s you can check out the following posts on our blog.
    http://www.favorsgreatloopblog.com/category/our-new-loop-adventure/5-great-loop-st-johns-river-fl/#.URELH6XrbzI
    Jim Favors
    Kismet
    Ranger Tug R27

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Acosta Creek Harbor

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

  • Great Photo of the New Gilmerton Bridge, AICW Statute Mile 5.8

    Gilmerton Bridge - Click for Chartview

    Captain Mike Glover was kind enough to send us this excellent photo of the newly reconstructed and re-opened Gilmerton Bridge in Norfolk.

    Great shot! For those not familiar with the Gilmerton ‘“ there are actually two bridges shown in this photo. The closer, open, span is the automated Norfolk Southern RR bridge; Gilmerton is the closed lift span.
    Allan DeWall

    Gilmerton Bridge from the South

  • Anchoring on the Eastern Shore Lake Worth Channel (Palm Beach, near St. M. 1018.5)

     Study chart 11472, and look at the waters south of Lake Worth Inlet. You will quickly spot a marked channel which parallels the eastern shore of Lake Worth. It is actually possible, for those piloting vessels that draw 4 feet or less, to follow this channel several miles to the south and eventually rejoin the AICW. Not that we are recommending that for first timers, but many local captains take this route day in and day out.
    In regards to anchoring on these waters, in our SSECN Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory we suggest dropping the hook near the northern head of this side channel, east-southeast of marker #2. The Lucas duo (see below) chose to continue south on the eastern Lake Worth channel and anchor, well south of marker #6 and east of the northernmost of the two charted, rectangular “Spoil Areas.”
    Sounds like in spite of the passing traffic, they had an enjoyable evening!

    We are rookies at this, use this very helpful site, and it is nice to be able to contribute. We arrived for the first time in Lake Worth yesterday, planning to use this anchorage but were unprepared for the crowding we encountered! The detail chart (11472_7) helped us cruise slowly south past red markers 2,4 and 6 to the open area between cable markings and south of all the mooring fields. We anchored east of the first of two large rectangular spoil area in 17 ft of water, hoping that if we swung we’d stay clear. To our surprise, several large (meaning 100+ ft) yachts passed us, went near or over the spoil areas on their approach to the huge marina east of our position. After dark a large dinner cruiser circled around the spoil area before heading south in the ICW. Boats continued to use the channel between us and the eastern shore well into darkness, but everyone was at idle speed. We left our radio on, but no one told us to move and we spent a peaceful night.
    Again, thank you! Our experience has been made much better with this site; the information and updates have been essential to keeping us from making serious mistakes along the way on that is our “shakedown cruise”.
    Tim and Lisa Keith-Lucas, Santa Catalina de Guale

    Great anchoring information and correct is so far as it goes.
    Please be advised that the eastern channel discussed ends just north of the Flagler Bridge, (the first on the ICW south of Lake Worth Inlet) south of the marina discussed (Sailfish Club on Palm Beach). This channel becomes very shoal (less than 1 foot MLW).
    If you choose to utilize this channel for a quiet, calm anchorage, and want to continue further south on the ICW, you may need to backtrack further north before you can cross the lake westbound to reconnect with the ICW (which runs down the west side of the ICW north of the Flagler Bridge) without grounding in the middle of the lake.
    Capt. Ken Wright,
    North Palm Beach

    There are a LOT of boats anchored all over this general area. And the mega yachts do use that eastern channel. We ran down this channel from the inlet past marker 6 and saw depths over 20′. The anchorage had plenty of space for us with over 8′ of depth. A dredging operation was setting up as we left last Tuesday. one report was they were dredging that channel to accommodate the megayachts. Not sure if that is accurate but there is some major dredging setting up in the area. The space close to the inlet was very crowded so having all the extra space is great. Shore access at Rivera Beach marina might be charged $20, no open wifi.
    Ted

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Lake Worth Inlet Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Lake Worth Inlet Anchorage

  • Mangrove Marina – Florida Keys Inside Route – Key Largo (Statute Mile 1150)

     Mangrove Marina is one of only a very few facilities offering transient dockage on the Florida Keys Inside Route between a point south of Jewfish Creek, and Snake Creek. To access Mangrove Marina, depart the Inside Route just northeast of the Tavernier Creek intersection, between markers #64A and #65.
    Note that Mangrove Marina also features a full service repair yard!

    With the weather forecast predicting a change in wind direction to WSW on Wednesday night and Thursday, we knew we would soon need to move, so today we headed north 20 miles to Mangrove Marina, located at Tavernier in a very
    protected and lovely harbor. This is a great spot for relatively shallow draft vessels to sit out bad weather. They have lots of live-aboards here, nice restrooms/showers and laundry (6 washers and 6 dryers), shopping nearby (half mile), plus a rental car place just a couple of blocks away.
    So, we’re opting to drive to Key West from here while the wind continues to howl for the next several days.
    Sharon and Ken Vogel
    Gold Loopers
    M/V Docker’s Inn

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Mangrove Marina

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

  • A Good Visit to Everglades City and the Rod and Gun Club (Western Florida Coastline, South of Marco Island)

     Everglades City, accessed via the Indian Key – Barron River channel, south of Marco Island and Coon Key Pass, is a slice of OLD Florida. This is what the Sunshine State looked like as a boy when I was spending winters here in the 1950’s and early 60’s.
    The only real place for cruising size craft to dock in Everglades City is the Rod and Gun Club. This historic structure features its own marina and on-site restaurant.
    The channel leading from Indian Key to Everglades City gets rather shallow in places at low water. Captains piloting vessels drawing more than 4 feet or more may want to time their passage for mid to high tide.

    We left Naples on Saturday the 26th, bypassed Marco Island and the Cape Romano Shoals, and then turned in through the Ten Thousand Islands to Everglades City and the famous Rod and Gun Club, where unbeknown to us a wedding was about to begin on the grounds. In fact, the father of the bride very graciously caught a line for us (since they don’t monitor VHF and didn’t answer the phone upon our approach). What a neat little town and a worthwhile stopover. We did hit bottom once (we draw 3.5 – 4 ft. depending on how much fuel and water is weighing us down) on our way back out the channel the next morning at low tide.
    Sharon and Ken Vogel
    Gold Loopers
    M/V Docker’s Inn

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Rod and Gun Club

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Rod and Gun Club

  • Shallow Water But Great Natural Beauty in Silver Glen Springs – St. Johns River/Lake George

    Silver Glen Spring Run is a narrow stream that pierces the western banks of Lake George (between Palatka and Astor on the St. Johns River), west of marker #9. These waters rise from natural springs, and are usually crystal clear. This makes the “basin” (mentioned below) a very popular stop for houseboats and pontoon boats. Years ago, a buddy and I spent a very happy afternoon snorkeling these beautiful waters.
    HOWEVER, depths here have always been SKIMPY, to say the least! And now we hear below from Captain Betsy Johnson, that the “outgoing” channel is so shallow their 3-foot draft catamaran ran hard aground, and they had to be towed! There was only one channel when last I visited, but clearly that has changed.
    So, at least for the time being, the best plan to visit Green Cove Springs is to anchor in Lake George, east of Silver Glen Spring’s mouth, and dinghy into the stream.
    Has anyone else tried to visit here lately. If so, we would like to hear about your experience. Please follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link to the above right, and share your information!

    Over the years, many Loopers have suggested a trip into Silver Glen Springs, off the St. Johns River. That was one of the main reasons we are taking this side trip on the St. Johns River. Once we worked our way in there this week we ended up waiting for TowBoat US for several hours when we ran aground and couldn’t work our way off. We are a power catamaran and draw less than 3 feet. Apparently the water is very low now. Following the channel in was no problem and depths were showing 7 feet or more. But once we got into the “pool” there were many locals already there, on a weekday. We decided we did not want to stay so tried to continue in the markers for the channel heading back out. (They have it marked for an incoming and outgoing channel, as they are so narrow boats can’t pass). OOPS! Once we hit bottom (hard packed sand) we could not get off, and we were right between two markers….could reach out and touch them they were so close.
    Our recommendation would be to not go into this spot that has been so
    popular in the past. Lesson learned was to be sure to have your tow company (TowBoat US for us this time) paid up. The fact that there was a large TowBoat US banner on one of the abandoned boats in the pool should have
    told us something!
    We recommend that all Loopers have both TowBoat US and SeaTow (we do), because you never know when you might need them and having both covers you in all areas of the Loop.
    A final note: if you do choose to go into Silver Glen Springs, be sure to clean your strainers the minute you are out, or even before. The undergrowth is pervasive!
    Betsy Johnson
    Rick ‘n Roll
    currently lying Hontoon Landing State Park on the St. John’s River

    Cruising News:
    The markers in the glen are not navigation markers, [even though] they look like nav markers. They are for traffic control. During the summer weekends there may be as many as 2,000 boats day tripping and the LEO need these to patrol and prevent anchoring in the “channel”. There is plenty of depth 6+ on the southside. If you can cross the shallow entrance there is plenty of water in the spring run. 25+ boating into the “Glenn”
    Harry Gillean

    We did Silver Glen Springs in 2010 but anchored out in Lake George, about 1/2 mile from the spring entrance, and took the dingy into the spring. It is well worth seeing the crystal clear water, Alligators lounging and other
    wildlife.
    Ray & Linda
    SUMMERTIME

    We anchored way out from Silver Glen Springs and took the dinghy into the springs. We found the way in to be far too shallow for our 5 ft draft. We enjoyed the springs and found it well worth the effort. A local volunteered to take the women aboard our dinghy back to our boat as he thought the Lake George waters were rough and we would all be wet. We appreciated his concern and enjoyed meeting another boater.
    Great side trip!!!
    Joy Poole

    While it is a beautiful side trip, avoid the “weekend warriors” at all cost. Expect heavy traffic from Sanford to the springs! Several hundred boats packed in with FWC and three county Marine Patrol Units keeping them sorted out isn’t worth it. BTW- it’s designated as a “NO Alcohol Area” once you enter the channel and you’re not allowed to go ashore to the park. Monday ~ Thursday is the most enjoyable.
    Frank M Howell

    We so enjoyed our sojourn on the St. Johns. We actually turned back to visit Silver Glen Springs along with our friends Beth and Dean on Kismet. We too were worried about the clearance and chose to anchor out in the lake and dinghy in. We almost ran aground in the dinghy but when we reached the springs area there was a huge cruiser anchored in there. We could not figure how it got in but there it was. Apparently the locals knew something we did not.
    Swimming in those springs was a real highlight of our Loop. There were large silver fish down in the spring and when the sun hit just right you could see how the springs got their name. We had hiked up to the ranger station to pay an admission fee and were told as long as we came by boat and stayed around the edge of the spring there was no fee.
    If I had to do the Loop all over, and we may, I would take the time to swim in every spring.
    Rusty and Jan Carlisle

    I cruised to Silver Glen Springs twice during the week days during winter/2012, drawing 3 feet in my 24 cabin cruiser with an I/O. I had no problem navigating the water depths, however there is a lot of kelp-like underwater growth near the entrance of the spring, reaching to the surface, probably due to the effects of the warm water. Near the beginning of the stream’s entrance on the left, there is a large, private fishing club. There were three boats present both times near the terminus of the waterway in about six feet of water; two were pontoon houseboat rentals, and the third was a 34’ Mainship with it’s bow on the beach sand. It was unoccupied (possibly except for weekends.) The first trip I launched at Ed Stone Park at Deland, FL(overnight excursions are permitted, but it’s a somewhat long trip through what is similar to the scenic Great Dismal Swamp.) On my second trip, the park ranger suggested a private launch site only a few miles north of the national forest at Moodys rivate ramp ($10 per day, private ramp.) The ranger said the FWC and the local police were `actively enforcing’ alcohol/drugs and absence of clothing issues by those rafting up on the weekends and acting `wild’ which disturbed the national park visitors family atmosphere. The park even has an ice cooler inspection for their guests. I encountered no inspection issues during my mid-week stayovers of two and three days. The park is has a bouyed line of floats separating it from the area accessible to boaters. The National Forest website for this part is
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ocala/recarea/?recid=37199
    Gary Koerner

    Regarding Silver Glen Springs, I agree that no boat over 25 feet should attempt to enter it. However, there is great anchoring just off the mouth of the river running into the springs, so drop the hook and dinghy in.
    Bill & Kathleen Root
    MV BUFFALO GAL

    Lisa and I did the ST Johns a couple years ago, spent almost a month exploring. The water was a little higher then and we were able to get into Silver Glen Springs with our (at that time) 4 1/2′ draft but it was touch and go even then. If you’re thinking of cruising the St Johns and want to view photo’s you can check out the following posts on our blog.
    http://www.favorsgreatloopblog.com/category/our-new-loop-adventure/5-great-loop-st-johns-river-fl/#.URELH6XrbzI
    Jim Favors
    Kismet
    Ranger Tug R27

    Silver Glen Springs is one that shallower draft boats may be able to get in to depending on Lake water levels. Local knowledge will help a lot. We anchored out and took out dink in there. There are some pretty large boats in the shallows there and lots of bottom scars near the entrance to prove it. Probably busiest on weekends. It’s our understanding that you can visit the springs without charge as long as you don’t touch land. You can get a short term pass for using the bathroom. No alcohol and don’t dare tie to the trees! We talked with a NF ranger about this place and the rules.
    Jim & Vaughn Quince

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Silver Glen Spring Run

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