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Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
Georgetown, South Carolina
Port City Marina - Wilmington, NC
Zimmerman Marine
  • Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Welcomes Our Newest Sponsor, BoatPeeling.com

    SSECN’s newest sponsor is an experienced, well informed, expert a repairing that dreaded bottom condition called BLISTERS !! Captain Phil Turner has have been serving boaters and boat yards on the Northern Gulf for 15 years. His new website is now linked to “The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net” in his effort to connect with boaters in his expanded service area, serving West and North East coast of Florida. Click on the sponsorship panel to the left to visit BoatPeel’s site.

    Phil’s practical down to earth discussion informs potential customers about the problem and his services. Phil’s website hopes to better inform vessel owners of the causes of the blistering of fiberglass boats and the proper repair of them. Much has been written about these subjects and there is nothing to be gained by repeating them here, but he will give you some links that should be helpful. We hope you will visit Boat-Peel’s website to better inform yourself about this serious maintenance issue.

  • Casual Passage of the Rock Pile, AICW Statute Mile 355, Myrtle Beach, SC

    The “Rock Pile” is a three mile section of a man-made canal, officially known as the Pine Island Cut, used by the AICW to run between Little River and the Waccamaw River. Capt. Marquet was wise to heed the “dire warnings” about the Rock Pile, but misses the point of those warnings. The channel is narrow and lined with submerged concrete and rocks. Cruisers are urged to announce their presence on VHF in case large commercial traffic is approaching which could force you out of the channel’s mid-width and onto the “rocks”, especially at high tide when the rocks are fully submerged. Capt. Marquet is correct in stating that the passage is easy “if you stay well within the channel”, but that becomes a “big if” when facing an approaching barge in the narrowest sections.

    Cruising News:
    Because of dire warnings, we slogged through here @ 6 knots, but if you stay well within the channel there is no problem going faster.
    Carolou Marquet

  • Shoaling Reported at Hell Gate, AICW Statute Mile 602

    The dredging of 2009 is slowly being overcome by shoaling through this perennial problem stretch, making Hell Gate another section that requires mid-to-high tide passage for vessels carrying 4ft or more draft. With his 6.25ft draft, Capt. Pascal is very alert to depth changes and his is the kind of vessel you would hope to be following through these trouble spots!

    Definitely more shallow, by a couple of feet, again on the same lines I usually run thru there.
    MM602, Hell Gate, 8′ to 9′ MLW thru most of the cut but some readings as low as 5′ to 6′ MLW around R90 and G89. Had 8′ of tides so I tried poking around for better readings, no luck. I usually pass about 40′ from R90, and about 30′ from G89; this time around it s definitely shallower by about 2 to 2.5′ compared to earlier this year.
    Capt. Pascal Gademer

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

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

  • More Praise for Charleston Harbor Marina, Charleston Harbor, AICW Statute Mile 465

    Seaside Luxury at its best Always a pleasure to hear such good words about A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! Charleston Harbor Marina is located on the eastern banks of the Cooper River downstream of Patriots Point between Horse Reach’s flashing buoys #34 and #36.

    My husband and I made Charleston Harbor Marina our 1st stop in a month long cruise out of Southport. Capt. Stan, the Harbormaster, and his crew made our stay carefree and he even offered to make reservations for our destinations along our route. The breakwater out front does its job to deaden the wakes of boat/ship traffic and lessens any current, which makes the boat happy. The showers and bathrooms were clean, laundry on site and the hotel amenities and a shuttle to Charleston are available. We enjoyed our stay and look forward to stopping again on our return.
    The Callemyn’s aboard
    M/V Turning Point,
    320EC World Cat

    Cruising News:
    We are staying at Charleston Harbor Marina and find it an excellent facility. It’s really windy (20-30knots) but we are comfortable in a slip. Shuttle serve to Charleston was convenient. Enjoyed a nice light supper at the Reel Bar. Definitely recommend this marina if you can’t get in to the City Marina.
    Eve-Marie Lacroix

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Charleston Harbor Marina

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

  • Dinner Key Marina/Mooring Field in Depth (Miami, Florida – Statute Mile 1094.5)

    Coconut Grove Sailing Club Moorings

    Many, many thanks to professional nautical writer, Captain Jessica Geffen, for allowing the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net to publish her in-depth account of Dinner Key Marina, their adjacent mooring field, and the nearby Coconut Grove community, as well as the included photos. This article offers GREAT information to all cruisers who coil their lines at this popular port of call!

    Miami, Coconut Grove, Dinner Key Marina
    The highly sought after Dinner Key Marina, in the cozy little village of Coconut Grove now has 225 moorings located on Biscayne Bay, giving boaters more options in Miami. Dinner Key Marina’s location has roots in the Pan-American Airline industry. The mooring field has many benefits to cruisers either passing through to ports further south or as a storage option.
    While slip rates are up to $33 per foot, a mooring ball costs just $295 per month. Dinner Key Mooring Field offers transient or short-term rates. Amenities include dinghy dockage, showers; closed for cleaning twice daily, laundry, a detergent -dispenser, a snack machine, soda machine and an ice machine. A few shelves in the office denote a book exchange. Other services include; package handling, pump out service, and a shuttle boat.
    When choosing a port to wait for weather, parts, or labor we look for a few key items. Access to Internet is always high on the list, marine and hardware stores and access to good grocery stores as well as safety in the harbor. Transportation can be an issue for cruisers that lack a vehicle or even a bicycle but Miami’s super convenient public transit has endless possibilities for those wishing to provision or sightsee.
    The marina is conveniently located close to Highway US 1, the main road that runs North and South. The Grove Circulator, a bus that runs every 15 minutes stops within walking distance to the marina and costs just 25 cents. Stopping several times until arriving at the Coconut Grove Metro-Rail Station where a high-speed train runs from South Miami – for $2 per ride. Another option is the Tri-Rail that runs from North Miami to West Palm Beach round trip for under $10. With about 20 different stops along the way one can find just about anything.

    Internet access
    Coconut grove is the home to Coco-Walk centrally located in the business district, street shops geared with tourists in mind. A bevy of eateries and art galleries are nestled in among the Post Office and Bookstore. The Bookstore in the Grove, a local’s spot, located on the corner of Virginia and Grand, is a very cozy place to get a cup of coffee while checking emails. Supplies for boat projects can be purchased between Shell Lumber, West Marine, Home Depot and Crook & Crook Marine all within walking distance.

    MISC
    Refilling Propane can be a daunting project. It is illegal to transport a propane tank by public transportation. Our daughter’s passport needed renewing before we left, the Passport office is easily accessible. This time we rode our bikes a total of (3 miles) and hours of operation were convenient. The Public library is located at the south end of Bayshore Dr and will allow guests Internet access.

    Groceries (Nearby)
    Publix
    Fresh Market
    Milam’s
    (Further out)
    Winn Dixie
    Wal-Mart

    Eateries
    **Flannigan’s
    Monday – Nachos free with purchase of pitcher
    Tuesday -Tumbleweed fried onion free with purchase of pitcher
    Wednesday – 10 wings free w/ purchase of pitcher
    M-T lunch deals under $8
    Wi-Fi & Happy Hour at the bar only

    ***Las Culebrinas (The Snakes)
    $1 tapas, buy 1 get 1 happy hour

    *Burger King Dollar Menu & 2 for $3.33 daily deals
    Check the back of your receipt for a coupon

    **Sandbar Friday night Trivia night up to 7 players
    Trivia begins at 7 with an extended happy hour until 9pm if you play
    Happy hour from 4-7 Daily

    ***The Knife – Argentinian Buffet Style Steakhouse

    **Pizza at NY Roma Style pizza sidewalk café

    Coco-Walk offers several eateries including CocoWok, Chili’s, and Cheesecake Factory.

    The businesses are more and more becoming aware of the presence of the local boating community are very welcoming. With this many options it’s no wonder more and more people are calling Coconut Grove home!

    Dinner Key is great in many ways. It is a beautiful location but its flaw is the bathrooms. All those 275 mooring cans plus the many dock slips all use the same small bathrooms that are outdated and minimal in number. Time for the City of Coconut Grove to give back to boaters and renovate the facilities. A comfy lounge for boaters would be welcome too.
    marniekm

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida/Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Dinner Key Marina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida/Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Coconut Grove Sailing Club

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dinner Key – Coconut Grove Region

    The DKM mooring field is limited to 42′ and exposed to wins and chop
    Sailing enthusiasts should visit the Barnacle, a state park just 1/2 mile away from DKM. it was the home Ralph Munroe, of one of the early settlers (late 1800) on Biscayne bay. Originally from Staten island he designed and built a number of boats, incl the recently revived Presto sharpie
    Capt Nat herreshoff spent a few winters there late in his life, always bringing a boat from Bristol RI to enjoy the bay, still great sailing ground.
    Pascal

    And, a question from a fellow cruiser, inspired by the article above. If anyone has an answer, PLEASE send your info along to CruisersNet@triad.rr.com. Thanks in advance!

    Can we anchor off Hobie Beach for an extended period of time? If not where would there be a safe anchorage in the area not a mooring field.
    Thank You
    “Almost Heaven”

    And, a warning from Captain McMurtry:

    I hope the locals will not turn it into a “liveaboard” community and destroy it for transient visitors. good to see a positive result. Hope it stays that way.
    Dennis McMurtry

  • Great Fuel Prices and a Warm Welcome from Inlet Marina (St. Augustine, FL, near St. M. 775.5)

     904-547-2219 Inlet Marina sits on the site of the old Sea Love Marina, along the AICW/Tolomato River’s eastern shores, north of St. Augustine Inlet, and hard by the Vilano Beach Bridge, will be a full fledged marina. Inlet Marina just opened with new fuel tanks installed for unleaded 89 octane gas with no ethanol and of course diesel. They currently are just a fuel stop but they are supposed to have their new restaurant opened on May 15th, called Beaches. This marina used to be the old Sea Love marina which was closed last year sometime then bought and is now permitted for 60 slips (not yet built), but they do have two floating docks, one concrete and one wood and a fuel dock. There is also a boat rental operation already there. They have a nice beach area near the dock office also. There is a lot of area behind the marina office which is planned for development with a Publix grocery planned as part of the complex and they are supposed to have a grocery delivery operation for the marina if folks want to get provisions while fueling..that is to come. The new owners are taking it slow but are committed to the new operations success. The Marina is very close to the St. Augustine inlet and on the AICW. So it is very convenient for cruisers to stop in for fuel.Small, but super-friendly Inlet Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR), overlooks the eastern shores of the AICW, just north of St. Augustine Inlet, and only a hop, skip and a jump south of the Vilano Beach Bridge. While Captain Jay lacks transient dockage, Inlet Marina boasts some of the best fuel prices around, and when it comes to enthusiasm for welcoming cruisers, these good people are in the very top tier!

    Good Morning
    My goal is to offer cruisers the very best fuel prices in St. Augustine. Please call prior to your arrival, and we can be sure to be on hand to greet your vessel and assist in any way possible. We hope you will remember us for our old fashioned good will and a really caring attitude. Sounds soapy but it’s true.
    This is the first time since the USMC that I’ve had a boss but they let me run the marina and fuel dock as my own.
    In addition to our on-site restaurant , Beaches, we have signed a tenant that will provide live theater. I recently called the owner of a viking 65 that came thru when we first started and just said hi and thanks-he remembered us ,appreciated the call and I said If I can be of assistance on your southbound trip to give a call.
    Hope to see many of you soon as you travel south this fall on the AICW!
    Regards.Jay

    Great fuel stop and a nice new restaurant.
    Friendly service with easy entry and exit right on the ICW. Best fuel prices in St. A with the noted discounts.
    Love the afternoon music at Beaches the attached restaurant.
    Jason Martin

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

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

  • Free and Inexpensive Dockage Between Norfolk, VA and the AICW Split at the Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route

    Now here is a REALLY USEFUL posting for all who are cruising south on the AICW, from the Chesapeake, this fall. What a great listing of free (or inexpensive) dockage. I only wish Captain Parky had provided Lat/Lon positions for these five finds. If anyone has Lat/Lon’s for any or all of these, PLEASE e-mail that info to Contact@CruisersNet.net.

    Cruising News:
    Thanks to Robert and the boys of Deep Creek Lock the Dismal Swamp Canal is now free of the dreaded intake blocking duckweed. If you’re a cheap and mean sailor like me, there are several free docks in this area.
    1) Portsmouth City Docks – either one – 48 hour restriction but not enforced.
    2) Chesapeake City Landing just south east of what was the old Jordan bridge. Next to a park and shops within walking distance.
    3) Great Bridge Lock – great for stores and Canadian geese
    4) Elizabeth Dock at Deep Creek Lock. Capn Bill, who built it, has just kindly finished another at Marker 19 on the Dismal Swamp Canal. And of course a little further down the Visitors Center where you can get water and lots of info.
    5) The least expensive marina docking in the area – Scotts just north east of Portsmouth. The least expensive marina for fuel – Top Rack Marina just north of Steel Bridge.
    I’ve spent over a month going from to another, meeting many nice cruising
    friends along the way.
    Happy gunkholing
    Cap’n Parky on Pisces

    I e-mailed Cap’n Parky, and asked for more details on the locations of these free and inexpensive facilities, and received the following reply:

    My emphasis is that it is possible to find free docks in this area despite the attempts of the two big marinas (Ocean Marine and Tidewater) to place time restrictions on them – which nobody enforces fortunately. Cruising traffic is very much down from two years ago – presumably because of the poor economy – and I find that most owners these days are seeking good places to moor out and dinghy in – as well as free docks.
    Cap’n Parky

    Great timing for this we will be making our first trip south through there in a copule of weeks (Oct 21 ish)
    JIM Lady

  • Dining Situation Changes at Osprey Marina (Statute Mile 373.5)

    Osprey Marina , owned by Carson Benton, is at mile marker 373 on the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach. Osprey Marina offers a protected harbor 150 yards off the waterway accessible by a private dUpon receiving the message below, we immediately telephoned SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Osprey Marina, and learned that Captain Good’s observations below are quite correct. Due to slow landside traffic during the summer months, the on-site grill is indeed not currently operating. Also, South Carolina DOT work on a small “channel bridge” nearby has closed direct access from Ospry to Scatori’s Italan Restaurant, which normally picks boaters up from the docks and returns them to the marina after dining. The road work in question was originally slated for completion this November, but, surprise, surprise, that date has been put off until the latter part of December, 2011.
    Fortunately, all is not lost when it comes to shoreside dining. The 707 Diner (843-215-7707) and Delaney’s Dog Haus (843-650-8336), will both make food deliveries to the marina parking lot. And, Captain Lynn at Osprey tells us Delaney’s has “the best cheeseburgers in the world.”
    Even with these dining changes, Osprey Marina remains one of the very best marinas in northeastern South Carolina. Pay them a visit, and you won’t be sorry!

    Cruising News:
    We stopped at Osprey Marina 10/08/11 for fuel and to spend the night. Scatori will not pick up for dinner or deliver because of a bridge being out. The cafe at the marina is closed at present.
    Nice folks. 1.00 per foot.tied up at their fuel dock for the night.
    Reggie Good

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Osprey Marina

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

  • GREAT NEWS – Live Aboard Cruisers Now Welcome in Georgia Waters

    The message below comes to us from Charlie Waller, owner of Isle of Hope Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and past president of the Georgia Marine Business Owners Association.  Charlie and his organization have been working tirelessly to get the archaic, often ignored, but still a threat, regulation limiting boat owners to a 30 day stay aboard, changed.  Congratulations to “GAMBA,” and everyone else who worked for this change.
    As Charlie explains below, now, by filling out a simple form, cruisers can stay aboard for up to a year in Georgia waters! Finally, a real victory for the cruising community!!!

    Claiborne,
    Good News!
    The State of Georgia has just modified the Live-Aboard rule so that it will be legal and practical to say on board your boat in Georgia for more than 30 days. A rule change will allow boaters to fill out a simple form to receive permission to be onboard for up to one year in Georgia so long as the boat is docked at a marina that meets the state’s minimum requirements for pump-out facilities. Isle of Hope Marina and just a couple of other marinas currently meet those standards, but I expect that other marinas will upgrade their facilities to take advantage of this rule change. I am heading a committee that will be working with the DNR to finalize the application form in the next few weeks. The rule change will be effective January 1, 2012.
    Charlie Waller
    Isle of Hope Marina

    Below, we present a wide cross section of responses from the cruising community to this change in Georgia’s live-aboard regulations, As you will see, some cruisers are very appreciative, others question why any regulation is needed and/or justified, and at least one fellow captain points out the process of applying to live aboard in Georgia waters for more than 30 days is not necessarily “simple.”

    We had a similar problem in Washington State years ago. The head of our DNR just flatly wanted no live aboards at all. We formed the Washington Live Aboards and fought and won. The big issues now is raw sewage being dumped and soap when washing your boat.
    The best advise I can give is get together with the marina owners and managers, develop rules dealing with sewage and pump outs. Be proactive and get in front of the issue. Getting teamed up with marinas gives you more credability and greater influnce.
    Final thought, don’t bad mouth the state and govermental officals its difficult to further your point of view if they’re pissed at you.
    We work closely with Seattle, Tacoma and Everett and they are all pro live aboards and help keep DNR in check.
    Detlev Willoughby
    President Tacoma Live Aboards, VP of the Washington Live Aboards

    The Seattle situation is still evolving, but it is shaping up to be about greywater. The City of Seattle has proposed limiting liveaboards (where marinas will accept them) to 25% of available slips. Current LABs will be allowed to stay, but once they leave the marina can’t rent to another LAB until they come below the 25% cap. The City has also proposed imposing a fee on marinas that accept LABs and additional administrative burdens. We all know that this will discourage private marina owners from renting to LABs and that the costs will flow downstream. My question re the Georgia situation is: what happens at the end of one year? That’s a good development for cruisers wanting to stay more than a month, but what’s the impact on full time residents of the state?
    Gail L.

    I think the title of this piece should be changed to “Liveaboards now tolerated at a few marinas in Georgia.” The word “welcome” does not come to mind. Like other long-term cruisers I prefer to anchor out, which means I won’t be living aboard in Georgia waters any time in the near future. By the way, I still highly recommend the beautiful ICW waters of Georgia for those who like to anchor and get away from it all–just don’t stay in one place for more than 30 days.
    John Kettlewell

    THANKS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL CRUISERS
    Bill

    Thanks Charlie!!!
    Betsy Basch

    Oh Goddie! The awful is now only bad.
    Why should I need a States permission to live on my boat? And why should I be forced to pay for dockage to do so?
    I use a composting head and had have no need for pump-out facilities. My water and electric needs are also self met. I much prefer to live on the hook.
    Bad precedent to set or accept. My opinion is that Georgia is still a place to pass through until this law is totally abandoned.
    Philip

    Charlie has done a great job along with many other people to help the liveaboard community.
    We & MANY others each year just go off shore to avoid Georgia since they still JUST DON’T get it. They need to make their portion of the ICW navigatible at ALL tide levels. Our money their loss!
    We feel sorry for all the businesses that are struggling, but until Georgia catches up with the rest of the world we & many others will just go off shore & NOT put up with the hassel!
    Mike M/V Elan

    Actually it is a little more complicated than just “filling out a simple form”. The 30 day law has not changed, now you must file for an extension of the 30day rule. You have to file for the extension to the Commissioner of the Georgia DNR. The commissioner, in his or her sole discretion, may grant or deny any request for an extension of time to occupy a live-aboard.
    Again it is not just a simple form you must meet the following Eligibility requirements:
    1. No live-aboard may be occupied in Georgia coastal waters subject to the jurisdiction of the CMPA for more than 30 days during any calendar year unless the live-aboard owner has been granted an extension of time in writing by the Commissioner.
    2. The applicant shall submit a written request for an extension to the Commissioner.
    3. The Commissioner shall promptly consider any written request that meet the following requirements.
    a. The applicant submits the request on the application form provided by the Department to the Commissioner, c/o the Coastal Resources Division, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia 31520.
    b. The Coastal Resources Division receives the request at least 15 calendar days prior to the requested extension start date.
    c. The applicant certifies that the live-aboard has a secured mechanism to prevent discharge of treated and untreated sewage.
    Examples of secured mechanisms considered to be effective at preventing discharge include, but are not limited to, closing the seacock and padlocking, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle (with the seacock closed).
    d. The applicant certifies that they will not discharge any sewage, treated or untreated, into Georgia coastal waters subject to the jurisdiction of the CMPA.
    e. The applicant certifies that the live-aboard is capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water and is capable of safe, mechanically-propelled, navigation under average Georgia coastal wind and current conditions.
    f. The applicant identifies the eligible marina at which the live-aboard operator will moor the live-aboard.
    g. The applicant provides written documentation of a slip rental agreement with an eligible marina.
    h. The applicant states the reasons for requesting the extension and the period of time for which the extension is requested.
    Doesn’t seem that simple to me! Is working with the government ever simple? When you give them all that information you have given them all they need to through you out of the state and band you from ever entering the state on your way to Florida.
    What about the fines when you break one of their laws?
    There is no fee or tax this first year!
    What other state do you have to go before a Commissioner to live in that state?
    Kevin R. Quinn

    I don’t see this as a victory for cruisers at all. It is a victory for the marinas. Many of us anchor whenever possible and stay away from marina life and all its distractions and expense. Trust me, I will continue to go outside and bypass Georgia altogether. My dollars are much better spent elsewhere.
    Jerry Simpson

    At long last. Thanks to all who brought this about. It makes sense.
    Diana Prentice

    I have to agree with the other posters–the title of this blog entry is complete propaganda. Shame on you for trying to spin this as some great win/win situation for boaters. As if we are too stupid to figure out for ourselves what the real facts are! Pathetic.
    That form is the opposite of simple, INO. And way too intrusive, asking too many questions that have zero to do with the idea of living for a while in Georgia waters.
    The sad thing is, that with this guy ‘fighting’ for us boaters, we can expect that the status quo for Georgia to boaters will continue for the foreseeable future. The Georgia ‘solution’ isn’t a solution at all, as obviously made note of ad nauseum above by most boaters responding. So I agree, we will continue to avoid lingering in Georgia waters. I can’t imagine how much money the marinas lose in Georgia because of the attitude of the State.
    Alan Avante

    Go to the bahamas instead. I was going to cruise North for a change, but with Georgias new regs and St. Augustines new 10 day anchoring limits upcoming why should I spend my money and time where I am not wanted. Please do not spend money in any places that are not cruiser friendly.
    Dave C.

  • The Path Less Traveled: Finding Your Piece of the Pye! – Newfound Harbor Anchorage

    Another wonderful article by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. In this story, we follow Captain Charmaine and “September Sea” from their home base in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor to Key West. Along the way, we meet some of the very special anchorages that lie along this route.

    October 4h, 2011

    The Path Less Traveled: Finding Your Piece of the Pye!
    N24 38.01 W81 25.20 – Newfound Harbor Anchorage
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    The summers here in the Keys can be quite hot and sticky. Definitely an understatement for anyone how has had the experience of being down here during the dog days of August! LOL During such hot times when the inboard generator is running more often than not, trying its best to supply we aboard September Sea with air conditioning, then it’s time to head to a marina for shore power. The decision is not a difficult one, as at that point it simply makes economic sense.

    Then there are the amenities! Tennis courts (playing three times a week!), swimming pool, Tiki Bar, restaurant, oh wait…did I mention no dinghy rides during all that time? A dock! It is amazing, life’s simple pleasures. For September Sea, this is pretty much an annual routine for two to three months; yet still the difference from being out at anchor or mooring to marina life seems to always be fresh and new.

    Each year, when it comes time to leave the marina, it also is fresh and new! The first Northeast winds of fall provide ample sail power. This makes for a great opportunity to go out sailing for a month or longer, as long as no hurricanes are an imminently possible threat. We usually stick to the Keys and the Gulf Stream to limit our sailing, cruising and gunkholing areas during this time. Doing so allows timely access to our hurricane hole up in the Everglades, should the need arise.

    Throw off the lines and put away the power cords, September Sea is off on another adventure! We’re sailing west! September Sea’s first anchorage after leaving Boot Key Harbor was Newfound Harbor. Cruisers usually follow the eastern channel up into Newfound Harbor, which can mean a diversion of up to five miles (depending on the amount of protection from wind and weather one is seeking). However, this sailor has found that during this time of year, the western route up Niles Channel is very accommodating, easily accessible, and takes one not out of their way if merely stopping for an anchorage between Marathon and Key West. This is perfect for a midway point between the two.

    Another advantage of this area is there are no anchoring setback restrictions due to power lines, as is the case on the other side. For September Sea’s 5’8 draft, anchoring on the Niles Channel side also means following my plotted course right in to anchor without thought of meandering through skinny waters.

    Looking at the chart (to the right), it would appear exposure would be a problem. It really is not. Of course it is always prudent to what is happening with the weather and make sound decisions for anchoring based on that. Newfound Harbor offers many options, accordingly. At this location, the only real threat of exposure to fetch is from the South. That was not likely in any stretch of the imagination when choosing this locale. The surrounding waters of the area chosen to drop my hook (see the anchor I’ve indicated on the chartlet) are relatively shallow and greatly reduce the building of any northern fetch. The afternoon and night there was just glorious! Facing northeast, Little Palm Island is easily seen off to starboard, as well as a number of day trippers, moored and snorkleing at the Newfound Harbor Sanctuary Preservation Area directly off Little Palm. To port, hearty Fat Albert hovers high above Cudjoe Key; and Pye Island sits beautifully at my stern, giving me that “Gilligan’s Island” feeling of remoteness. Not another vessel anchored in the near vicinity, it was blissful and calm in every way. Heavenly, to say the least.

    This is what is so fabulous about the waters of the Keys. It is all anchorage. Since the depths include much shallower waters, as this writer has touted to her readers many times before: using the shoals and shallows as protection from fetch just as you would a land mass, is something one should explore. Doing so opens up areas in which to anchor safely and comfortably, that at first glance would not seem to offer protection–but actually do!

    Though the day was rather a dreary one, weather wise, and negated any opportunity for photographs as the rain poured down, my enthusiasm for this beautiful anchorage hopefully will draw you a vision for which you can strive. Or even better…look it up on Google Earth! Another tremendously valuable choice! That is what I love about the Keys: so many choices!

    For we who like the tranquility and solitude after months of being in close proximity to other vessels, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction in finding your own serene and lovely “Piece of the Pye.” Pye Key, in this case! LOL

    Next destination: Key West!

    Charmaine Smith Ladd
    SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
    “Bringing you the low down from down low.”
    charmaine@septembersea.com, or
    csmithladd@marinersbarr.org

    Thank you again for a great opportunity.you understand how my 7′ limits close in anchoring.
    I expect to be heading to kw in Jan .any anchoring suggestion?
    Thanks
    Bili

    Bill,
    Thanks for your comment! We draw 5’8 and know of many in the Keys with 6+ or even 7 foot drafts that can meander the Keys and find plenty of anchorage possibilities. One need only heed the charts to do so.
    Remember, the draftier one’s vessel, the more important in the Keys to recognize that surrounding shoal waters can act as excellent protection from fetch. This is how September Sea finds herself in some great anchorages that other miss as they don’t recognize it as a great protected anchorage but instead see it as “open water.”
    Bahia Honda, Newfound Harbor (using my chartlet above), Key Lois (ideal after a day out snorkeling or diving at Looe Key Reef) – though it is a “fair weather” anchorage, if you have great ground tackle you shouldn’t have a problem – Key West (I prefer the SW area off Fleming Key to anchor rather than the mooring field – it’s quite deep 25 ft in spots so make sure you have plenty of rode), Boca Grande (west of Woman Key) is a delightful idyllic spot…the list goes on. In the meantime, remember that ALL of the waters of the Keys are basically great anchorage when you heed your charts and learn to use surrounding shallows as protection when mangroves aren’t nearby. You don’t have to be close in to shore to get protection…at least not always, by any means.
    Let me know if I can be of more help to you!
    Hugs, Charmaine

    Bili,
    I think I see your name clearly now, many pardons! Key West has anchorage all along the west side of Fleming Key. You may want to look at that on the charts and pay particular attention to the area that is most SW of Fleming Key. There is plenty of water there (20 ft. depths), and a large expanse for anchoring, but one needs to peruse the charts to safely get in much closer proximity so that getting into the City docks isn’t so cumbersome (and wet during rougher weather). There are a few wrecks and shallow areas that are clearly marked on the charts and in the Harbor. However, noticing a few boats sitting aground illustrates that not all know the lay of the bottom around there. LOL The KW mooring field is open to the North and not my favorite, I prefer to anchor. Hope this is of help to you while you are in Key West.Bili, I think I see your name clearly now, many pardons! Key West has anchorage all along the west side of Fleming Key. You may want to look at that on the charts and pay particular attention to the area that is most SW of Fleming Key. There is plenty of water there (20 ft. depths), and a large expanse for anchoring, but one needs to peruse the charts to safely get in much closer proximity so that getting into the City docks isn’t so cumbersome (and wet during rougher weather). There are a few wrecks and shallow areas that are clearly marked on the charts and in the Harbor. However, noticing a few boats sitting aground illustrates that not all know the lay of the bottom around there. LOL The KW mooring field is open to the North and not my favorite, I prefer to anchor. Hope this is of help to you while you are in Key West.
    Charmaine

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