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    • Russell Pass Middle Anchorage (between Indian Key and Everglades City)

      Russell Pass sits between Indian Key and Everglades City. The marked channel which eventually leads to the Barron River and Everglades City allows relatively easy access to Russell Pass. There are a multitude of good, sheltered spots to drop the hook on these waters. Captain describes one haven below.

      3-19-2010. This is the second time we have anchored just a tad south of the anchorage shown on the chart above [follow link below to check out the chartlet Captain Jean is referring to]. It is well protected with good depths. We aren’t going anywhere in the dinghy, just kicking back and catching up on email etc.
      Jean Thomason (DOVEKIE)

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Russell Pass Middle Anchorage

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    • Southwestern Florida Crab Pot Discussion

      For the last week or so, there has been a lively discussion on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list about crab pots and fish traps as navigational hazards while navigating the waters of southwestern Florida, between Marco Island and the Florida Keys. I’ve copied some of this discussion below.
      As usual, with a copied discussion with this many contributions, it is impractical to obtain individual permissions, so I’ve just used first names.

      Sunday we arrived Marathon, FL from Little Shark River after navigating the minefield of crab trap floats through much of Florida Bay There was even a string right down Moser Channel to the Seven Mile Bridge. After a couple of hours of dodging traps I remembered a land clearing project I visited in Africa in the 70s. They were clearing light trees and shrub growth using a piece of ship anchor chain about 100 feet long with a Caterpillar D-8 ate each end. The Cats would move along in the same direction and the chain stretched out between them would knock down anything standing between them. How about a couple of trawlers with a chain between them clearing the way through the traps?
      Please no flames, I know the crabbers are out there working hard making a living for their families while we are just playing. I wouldn’t do this and am not advocating anyone doing it either, just recounting a memory and one the evil thoughts that came to mind as I dodged the traps for a couple of hours. Driving around Marathon I see several storage areas where I’d guess many thousands of traps are neatly stacked. Like an old Cajun friend of mine used to say “A crab don’t stand a chance around here!”
      It was a beautiful day, sunny, light winds, maybe 2′ seas and finally warm, and that made it all well worth while.We found water depths at least 8′ leaving Little Shark and most of the way down to Marathon where we are at Marathon Marina and Boatyard which is quite nice.

      Serious question with probably an easy and obvious answer that I don’t know:
      If crab pots are in a charted channel, can they be moved/removed by a pleasure cruiser because they constitute a “hazard to navigation?”

      I don’t know the legal answer but I suspect that an angry waterman, who thinks you are intruding on his source of income, could be a real problem that might be more difficult to deal with than the “authorities”.

      You could probably legally move them but:
      1. There are so many of them that it would become your life’s work…at least until the season closes in May.
      2. You’d likely get shot at.

      On my trips down the gulf past Flamingo, I usually run inside the Park boundary, it’s shallower but doable, and less traps
      It is illegal to trap in the Everglades National park, but on SEVERAL of these occasions, I was inside the park boundary south bound, watching trappers working their line inside the park boundary.
      Guess those park rangers have better things to do.
      See you in Paradise!
      Capt Sterling

      I had a fin keeled sailboat with completely exposed prop that twice got a pot line wrapped on it.
      When I changed boats I knew I needed a full keel boat with a protected propeller.
      We bought the boat in Charlotte Harbor and motor sailed it non stop to Marathon. And I was so happy watching the pots go by under the moon light at 3:00 am in Florida Bay. I didn’t try to avoid a single one.
      That problem is solved, for me anyway.
      Jules Robinson

      Coming to Marathon from the East, we observed hundreds of traps and every trap was right in the charted channel. The water depth is the same north of the channel so we dodged the traps by moving a hundred yards north where no waterman bothered to drop a trap. Needless to say, I couldn’t set the autohelm.
      I hope that prudent mariners will resist the temptation to mount spurs on their prop shafts. The spurs cut any lines that might wrap the prop but these spurs also might leave behind un-bouyed traps that will roam the waters for years attracting and killing thousands of crabs as they move.
      The watermen of Florida don’t capture and kill the stone crab; they just remove one claw and return the creature to the sea to grow another claw. (am I correct?)
      Let’s do all we can to preserve these tasty little critters and let the watermen continue to make a living even if they can’t tell a channel from open water.

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    • New Marina in Everglades City (Southwestern Florida, Ten Thousand Islands Region)

      I love the backwater feeling of visting Everglades City by water. There is a true feeling of OLD Florida here. Just don’t try this on a still summer night!
      Heretofore, waterborne visitors to Everglades City had only choice for overnight dockage, the old Rod and Gun Club. Well, that’s still a possibility, but, according to Captain Jan’s note below, there is now a new “luxury marina” in town known as Everglades Isle.
      We would like to know more bout Everglade Isle. Anyone else berthed here. What were your experiences. Please share by clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below!

      Onward to Everglades City, there’s a new luxury marina just before the bridge: Everglades Isle. Actually an upscale RV park, it has 30 or so floating docks, only 6 with 30 amp power, the remainder 15 amp, pool, showers, laundry, bar. On the downside, the docks are narrow; I’ll measure them when we arrive; the strong tidal current makes for challenging docking and the airboats run non-stop until 5pm.
      Rod & Gun is okay, except a little rocky with the current and boat traffic, tie-up wall is in disrepair and had
      cold water only showers when we visited last New Years Eve.

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    • Marco Island to Marathon and Key West, Then North to Miami

      Below is a very informative and interesting string of messages copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list about cruising from Marco Island in southwestern Florida, to either Marathon or Key West, then north to Miami or possibly even the Okeechobee Waterway. There’s tons of useful cruising tips here, over a wide ranging swath of waters.

      I am interested in information related to leaving Marco Island and rounding the bottom of Florida, possible crossing over to the Hawk Channel at Seven Mile bridge. Anyone with experience, ideas, help? Thanks.
      Craig McAllaster
      “Cavalier” Island Packet SP Cruiser

      We did just that about 2 years ago. It seems like yesterday but unfortunately that is a long time ago in cruising days. Our boat draws 4.5 feet and I would love to leave again tomorrow and do it in the same boat.
      We made our way from Marco to Little Shark River, anchored there and left for 7 mile bridge. The water is skinny but you will get used to 9-10 feet and you will make it. Picking good weather is important. Many crab traps but just work your way through them. Go slow in places where dodging them is difficult and faster in open areas. Uneventful in crossing under 7 mile bridge. We had no tidal problems but I have heard of significant tidal flow so you probably should check the tidal flow times before leaving.
      We did Hawk Channel to and from Key West. Plenty of water, of course, but we experienced extraordinarily rough water. When the wind direction is from off shore the long fetch can make things uncomfortable. Hawk Channel provides easy access to the Key West area but in my opinion, it is not worth it if the water is rough. Hawk channel is not close enough to land to say you saw any local color of the keys.
      Now, if I had it to do again, I would take the bay side to key west. I have never been that way so do not have any direct experience but have heard many good things. Also have traveled by car to many places on the bay side and easily see why others rave about the “local color”.
      Wayne Prichard

      You didn’t say what your draft is and that can be a factor in this part of the world. Also, you didn’t say how long you plan to be gone or when you want to leave.
      Morning Star only draws 3-1/2 ft and we regularly leave Marco via Coon Key Pass. That makes a stop at Everglades City a short hop. Or you can continue on to Little Shark River for an overnight. The run from Little Shark to Marathon is not long and we have never found it to be particularly shallow. There are a few “banks” to avoid but they are well marked and if you are paying attention there won’t be a problem.
      From Marathon, you can pass under the Seven-Mile Bridge at Moser Channel or you can go east up the ICW on the Florida Bay side or you can head west to Key West via Big Spanish Channel.
      If you are contemplating Florida Bay, know that a strong northerly will blow a lot of water out of the Bay.
      Finally, if your goal is to do the “South Florida Loop”, a trip we highly recommend, I would do the Okeechobee leg first and head south from Stuart. That way when you leave Miami and head down the Keys the prevailing wind will be at your back.
      Randy Pickelmann

      We traveled directly from Naples to Key West on the Gulf. It was 122nm dock to dock and an easy run, although we did travel at a faster speed than usual. We left Naples at 7AM, navigated the crab pots and then never saw another pot nor another boat until we neared Key West! Took the Hawk Channel from Key West to Marathon.

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    • Cruising from Marco Island to The Florida Keys

      The northerly part of the cruise outlined by Captain Jim below leads through (or at least parallel) to the Ten Thousand Island region of southwestern Florida. Then, as is ably outlined below, there are several choices as to how to cruise from the Little Shark River – Cape Sable area to the Florida Keys.

      From EC or the Indian Key area, travel south along the inside boundryline of the Everglades National Park boundry (clearly marked on the charts) to avoid crab pots. Water is reliably 5 – 6 ft in this area. Outside the park, there are several large crab fields, but of course, deeper water. Which anxiety do you prefer? You do have choices. Again, best time for this area is generally noon and later, when afternoon high tides are coming on. Go into the Little Shark River for another neat, wild anchorage. Mind the shoal building southwest into the gulf from the north shoreline. No place to walk a dog.
      From the Little Shark, you’ll have several choices. One is the Yacht Channel south and east across Florida Bay. It’s shallow, and there are crab fields to avoid, but even in 20 kt winds, seas will be calm because of the shallow water. This choice takes you toward Channel 5 and Islamorada. Choice two is to head slightly southwest to Seven Mile Bridge and Marathon. That part of Florida Bay carries somewhat more water – 10 – 15 ft – but is still a fairly good ride in 20 kt winds, at least until you go under the bridge into Hawk Channel. Then, it’ll change abruptly, and get potentially uncomfortable. From there it’s only an hour or so to Marathon harbor and cover.
      The third option is to head west towards Key West/Las Tortugas. If you go to the Tortugas, be aware, it’s about a 65 mile open water transit west
      of Key West, and the last third of that is in deeper gulf water (100 ft). That trip is completely exposed from virtually every direction and carries ocean sea states. Don’t go to the Tortugas unless you are well provisioned and could stay a week or more if you had to wait out a weather window. Worst case is a shopping trip from the Tortugas on a ferry to Key West, but that’s certainly not optimum.
      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

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    • Marina and Anchorage Recommendations for Southwestern Florida

      Below is more superb marina and anchorage recommendations from Captains Tom and Sue (copied from the AGLCA mailing list), this time stetching south from the “Miserable Mile” to Little Shark River.

      5. If you come east across the ‘miserable mile’ and turn to stbd (south) rather than north to the waterway, you have very close by the very protected Port Sanibel Marina (239-472-8443). Turn to port at marker G 11 and enter the Punta Rassa channel. Near the marina (easy walk) is the Lighthouse restaurant.
      6. Ft Myers Beach — southbound on the ‘inside’ before the fixed bridge (vert clear 65′) is Moss Marine (239-765-6677) to stbd (fixed docks), with a casino boat that operates out of their facility. USCG station just across the channel. After passing under the bridge you have a terrific mooring field, priced in the $12 to $13 a day range. No longer any anchoring in this area, with the balls controlled by the city of Ft Myers Beach but operated by Mantanzas Inn. Call 239-463-9258 when you enter (no reservations) and from our experience they do not monitor any VHF channel. They have a good dinghy dock near the Mantanza Inn restaurant under the west side of the bridge. There are 5 restaurants you can dinghy to from this location. On the east side of the mooring field and south just beyond the shrimp boat fleet is Salty Sams Marina (239-463-7333) with floating docks, fuel and the regular amenities. The terrific Parrot Key restaurant is located here also.
      7. Heading south on the Gulf after Ft Myers Beach is Big Carlos Pass, and a good anchorage with a lunch stop you can dinghy to. As of October ’09 you could enter easily with up to a 4′ draft. Some large sport fish boats & trawlers come thur here from just north on the GIWW, so water depth is typically sufficient for many boats. Bridge (vert clr 23′) opens on request. The outside green marker actually is located south of the channel entrance approx 6/10 ‘s of a mile offshore, and you need to be very careful to locate the channel markers when entering. Anchor east of the bridge on the south side of Coon Key. Dinghy for lunch to “Flippers” on the south shore near R2 between the two mid rise bldings.
      8. Fish Tale Marina(239-463-3600) – Enter thru Big Carlos Pass and turn north(to port) on the GIWW. Turn to port at the frst channel to the left near G 59, and steer at idle speed down the channel to FishTale. Call ahead. Great bar/restaurant on the premises.
      9. Wiggins Pass – County run fuel dock (diesel & gas) on the north side of the 3 high rise condos after entering the channel. 10 cents a gal discount if Boat US member, and is normally the lowest fuel prices on the Florida west coast. Channel is well marked and dredged last year to 7′ – 9’, but need to follow a zig zag pattern among the markers when entering. Call Pelican Isle Yacht Club Harbormaster on VHF 16 before entering for local updated knowledge.
      10. Naples – Gordon Pass entrance. You have City Dock Marina, plus the mooring balls just south of the docks as of October were installed and being used. There is also Naples Yacht Club and Naples Boat Club down toward the city, but usually in the Winter months do not take reciprocals. Good anchorages in the various bays among the homes in Port Royal (to port) after entering Gordon Pass.
      11. Marco Island – good protected anchorage—-when entering the main channel to Marco from the Gulf, head east to marker R 12 and turn into Collier Bay. Entrance always looks tight, and current can be running fast depending on tide, but depth is good. I have seen 65 motor yachts enter here. Follow marked channel (stay in channel!) around to Smokehouse Bay and anchor to the north of the Esplanade Marina (239) 394-6333; which also has very good transient dockage within walking distance to shopping, restaurant(s) and a large Publix’s grocery store across the street. The marina as of 6 months ago still allows boat anchoring to bring dinghys for docking.
      12. Marco Island Yacht & Sailing Club (239-642-2531) east on the river near the bridge on the sbd side takes transients—nice facility w/pool.
      If you have Skipper Bob “Crusing the Gulf Coast”, there is mention of other anchorages in the area.
      13. On south you can enter Indian Key Pass heading in to Everglade City. Without going all the way into the city there is a very good anchorage that will hold a number of boats in Russell Pass near marker 7…turn to port.
      14. If you do not want to jump down to Marathon or Key West from here, stop at Little Shark River for a night, and anchor in the area of marker R 4.
      Tom & Sue
      m/v Marbles

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    • Marco Island to Marathon Discussion (Western Florida to the Florida Keys)

      Below is a GREAT discussion copied from the GL (“Great Loop”) mail list about cruising the waters from Marco Island on the Western Florida coastline, south of Marthon in the Florida Keys. There were so many contributors to this string that it was not practical to seek individual permissions, so I’ve just used first names.

      Looking for a crossing buddy & or advice for the best route to Marathon. Lots of skinny water, a long passage at 9 kn & navigating shoals at the end in fading light leave me a bit nervous. Any advice or company appreciated.

      We prefer to duck in at Little Shark River and anchor for the night. It is a wild, desolate and beautiful place. Take a run up the river a ways to sightsee. Leave early in the morning when the seas are down a bit. The trip from there to Marathon is only about 35 miles, if my memory is correct. Its an easy morning run and you will have lunch in Marathon.

      If you have the time, instead of going from Marco to Marathon in one long run, stop at Everglades City along the way, and if you like anchoring out, too, try the Little Shark River. (No place at Little Shark for animals, if you have a dog aboard, but otherwise a beautiful, remote area.)
      From Marco, you have two choices. You can go inside down through Goodland, or outside around the Cape Romano, I think the name is, shoals. Inside, there’s only one trick, and that’s immediately south of Marco. There’s a bridge there, where if I recall correctly, the marker colors reverse sides. As you come under that bridge, you have to turn hard to stbd to catch a red marker that’s difficult to pick out on the south shoreline. Don’t miss it. Little fishing boats skip it and go straight across that bay to the green, but you can’t. That red is correctly charted, but confusing on the water. Thatchannel is shallow, but it carries 7′, so you should be OK. You come out of the inside passage in the 10,000 Islands region inside (east) of the Cape Romano shoals, and can run across the bay there in 6 ft or water until it deepens to the 10 ft range. The channel up to Everglades City is deep, and the river currents can be swift at peak ebb and flood. The dock there is old, but adequate. Dining ambiance is fun. Old Florida. Make your run from EC to Marathon (or Little Shark) the next day.
      As you run south, say just inside the Everglades National Wildlife Sanctuary and you’ll be clear of crab pots. Outside the park boundary, there are lots of them. That run carries 6′ or slightly more water all the way.
      At Marathon, sea conditions may change when you go under the Seven Mile Bridge into Hawk Channel. We made the trip in rather calm conditions in Florida Bay, but found 4 ft rollers in the Hawk Channel. Use the charts and run in shallower water north of the channel for a smoother ride.
      Hope this is useful.

      I’ve done Marco to Marathon (and vice versa) several times in my 4.5 draft vessel. The only spots to be concerned about are on the Marathon end where you have to make a few zigs and zags to by pass some shoals. They are well marked on the chart. Plot a course through there then line up on Seven Mile bridge and you will have it made.

      I agree with everythin Jim says about Everglades City. I’ve done the “back door” from Goodland and out Coon Key Pass to avoid the long trip around Cape Romano Shoals, but I’d be VERY cautious with 5 ft. draft. Also, unless they have changed, the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City doesn’t take plastic.
      Bring cash for your dockage.

      Because of very strong easterly winds in March 2009, we enjoyed several relaxing days at the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City and then an additional night at anchor in nearby Russell Pass because a pre-arranged boating club visit ran us off the quay wall at the R&G Club. We were offered a short section of the quay at is southern end just beyond a slight jog in it, but upon sounding it with my lead line, I discovered I had about an hour to vacate it before I was aground – off to Russell Pass where we were in the company of 11 other vessels.
      An easy day to the Little Shark River headed into the seas saw us well up into the river beyond the last nav marker because several sailboats were occupying the more generally used open area inside the mouth of the river. The wind funneling down the river and the severely reversing currents made that a bad decision for us, and the second night was spent much more comfortably at anchor off the coast a mile south of the river’s mouth. The wind was howling right out of the east making the area close in flat calm.
      My chart plotter shows the route I took to be 60 NM to Boot Key Harbor at Marathon from the Little Shark. I stayed just inside the National Park Markers until the jagged coral bottom began to look too close to my 4.5 foot deep keel. Even after going south of the markers (before Oxfoot Bank), I was clearing it by less than a foot. This all may well have had to do with that strong wind blowing the water out of the bay.

      Another option if the weather turns on you and you don’t want to push on is behind New Turkey Key ( 25038’52.36″N x 81016’47.50″W) Protected from anything but wind out of the south. Easy to get in and out. There’s a nice beach you can go ashore. There were tent campers there when we passed thru.
      What’s the status of Flamingo? We spent a week there Feb 2008. They were still recovering from storm damage, but it is one of the highlights of the loop for us. We finally left when we started running low on food.
      Mike & Tammy

      My route plan shows 37.5 NM from the mouth of the Little Shark River to North West Cape on Cape Sable, to the N side of the span at the Seven Mile Bridge. You will need to add extra mileage if you don’t go direct from NW Cape to Marathon. If you take the “Yacht Channel route, which is what I suspect Rich did, you wind up almost 20 miles east of Marathon at about Long Key. This is a good strategy if the wind is strong out of the east because you can hug the shore at Cape Sable and then you get somewhat of a lee from the shallow waters of Florida Bay as you run down past First National Bank, Oxfoot Bank and Schooner Bank.
      Randy is exactly right. Lots of wind that day, and I was looking for the most water I could find for my 4.5 foot draft.

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For The Little Shark River Outer Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Southern Fork Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For The Little Shark River Upper Anchorage

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

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    • Calusa Island Marina and Marker 8 Restaurant (Marco Island)

      Just hours away from the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas and Sanibel! Captain Bill gives us a quick look at Calusa Island Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) and nearby Marker 8 Restaurant. Calusa Island is located on the southeastern tip of Marco Island, in the old village of Goodland (which is rapidly developing). Can’t wati to give Marker 8 a try for myself. Don’t know how I missed it before!

      Subject: Calusa Island Marina
      Cruising News: For your future info. as of 7/16/09, this marina does not have cable tv hookup and still has not broken ground for the swimming pool, chiki bar or snack shack. Also, all area resturants excluding Marker 8 are closed during the summer months until Oct., which was fine with us because the food at Marker 8 was outstanding. Why haven’t you mentioned this place? It has boat slips, inside and outside dining and a lot of local “color”.
      Bill Chamberlain

      Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Calusa Island Marina

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    • Everglades City and Shallow Spot on Indian Key Channel

      Below, you will find a superbly informative report from Captain Rich Gano, concerning his very recent passage from Indian Key to Everglades City. The shoal depths he observed near marker #17 are the shallowest anyone has ever reported here on the Cruisers’ Net between Indian Key and Everglades City. Clearly, cruisers are going to have to take this shoaling into account, and probably play the tides. We would welcome more info on these shallows near #17 from fellow cruisers. PLEASE e-mail me at if you have the opportunity to sound this channel.
      There’s also lots of good shoreside info on Everglades City in Captain Rich’s posting. We need more messages like this one!

      Subject: Everglades City
      Cruising News: We spoke a north bound 34-foot trawler with 3.5 ft draft this AM, and they reported failure to get into Everglades City due to grounding. They stated that it was a low tide. We brought Calypso, our 4.5 foot draft Calypso in here at high tide today (+2.25 feet) and saw really shallow water at marker 17 only, and that was about 2 feet under us. We carefully adjusted the Humminbird to read depth under the deepest part of the boat using a lead line before we got into the channel; so our readings are within inches. Where you saw shallow water between markers 27 and 29, we saw minimum 4 feet under our keel. At the sharp left hand turn, there was 6-9 feet under our keel. It\’s a sure bet we could not transit past marker 17 without tidal assistance, but the rest of the transit was a breeze.
      We rode our bikes all over town, and there are a ton of eating establishments. The Rod and Gun Club is not on my list due to pricing.
      There is one small market store for essentials, and I found a fuse and some butt connectors I wanted at the True Value hardware a quarter mile north from the market. There is no laundry facility in Everglades City.
      It is evident from a couple of people I spoke with that this place folds up in the summer. It seems a number of the workers and business owners are seasonal in their presence here.
      One business owner pointed out a very fine looking piece of property across a branch of the river complete with many newly planted palms and boat slips. It is a high-end RV camp. Lots go for $600,000.00 and slips for a 32-foot boat would be around 300K. Only class 1 RVs under two years of age are accepted. Maybe some people are not affected by either the economy or good sense.
      Rich Gano

      And, more about Everglades City and the Rod and Gun Club from Captain Rich

      Everglades City was fun for a day or two as we biked about from our position alongside the Rod and Gun Club seawall.
      The Rod & Gun Club itself has a long ways to go in the management of their seawall moorings. About ten cruising sized boats can fit comfortably alongside, and clubs from the Sarasota area south like to come down here during to cool no-bug months of March/ April. What with being a bit isolated, the R&G Club is a bit prone to having clubs show up on a “flexible” schedule; although
      the two clubs we saw showed up on time. Anyway, the staff there works three shifts and the pass-down is not very good between shifts. They do not monitor a radio, and there was nobody to assist in mooring when we showed up (that doesn’t bother me because I hate dock hands pulling and pushing when I have control of my own boat). We ended up extending our stay by two nights and when the second club showed up (we were not informed of this reservation) we were asked to vacate and told to talk to the other shift about a refund for the last night. Being immediately out of reliable cell contact the moment we left town, I will now rely on the US Mail to carry my request for refund.
      Before we vacated our spot, we were offered a temporary spot with no power and told we could remain there if they could not fit us into a powered spot after the boat club got settled. After getting two 42-foot boats moved to this location (it was high tide – the ONLY time to move a 4.5-foot draft boat around), I sounded around and found that we had about 6 inches under us and 2 feet of tide due to lower in the next few hours. We had no time to dicker and promptly left for anchorage six miles away.
      I am not pissed off or trying to paint a negative picture of the R&G Club (but don’t eat there). We’ll use them again if we ever pass this way again (you have to – they are the only mooring in town, anchorage is way off downstream), but you need to be prepared to deal with a “marina” way down the list from something like Marina Jack in Sarasota. It’s part of their charm. It appears that if we had been able to predict our travels and made reservations before the boat clubs (over two months ago) we would have had prior claim to our spot, no matter how many boat clubs came in.
      As for us, we are just as happy to be able to move on safely despite running through an area with small craft warnings.
      Rich Gano

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

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    • Depths on Indian Key Channel to Everglades City

      It looks as if you can avoid the shoal had by marker #17 (see below), many vessels can make it to Everglades City, even at low tide. Of course, to be on the safe side, and that's always a good side to be on, I would much prefer to run this pasage at mid to high water.

      Subject: Everglades City Channel
      Cruising News: We are a sailboat with a 5 ft. draft and just visited Everglades City. Through a miscalculation we were in the channel at low tide rather than high tide, but made it in except for a shoal near marker 17.The shoal was on the south side and we able to go around it to the north side. On the way out at high tide it was again very shallow at this spot. We also went aground trying to go to Naples on the inside from Marco, but couldn't make it at high tide.
      Joan Clark

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    • Russell Pass Anchorage and Everglades City

      Russell Pass intersects the primary Indian Key – Barron River route to Everglades City, several miles upstream of Indian Key. The many anchor down spots on Russell Pass are some of best and most isolated anchorages you will ever discover, though you do have to watch out for the currents. As Captain Norm discovered, it’s a long dinghy ride from here to Everglades City.

      Next stop for three days was Russell Pass outside Everglades City. A wonderful anchorage.
      We dinghied four miles into Everglades City . They really shouldn’t’t call it a ‘city’. Got bait there (frozen shrimp – hope the catfish don’t like it), but couldn’t get a Sunday paper. The reason for the trip to Everglades City was to lunch at the Rod and Gun Club – a very “old Florida” experience. It opened in the late 1800s and was one of the first winter destinations for the well-heeled from up north.
      As the name implies, they came to hunt and fish, and enjoy the sunshine. The walls of the place are crowded with the heads, bodies, and skins of their trophies as well as newspaper articles about the place through the years.
      It’s been quite the draw with presidents Truman, Roosevelt, and Cleveland visiting there as well as Sally Field and Mick Jagger (now there’s an unlikely collection). We dined on the large veranda and had OK food and delicious Mango Iced Tea. I’d put this on the ‘must see’ list for cruisers. Our chief photographer, Rick, sent us a lot of these photos he took of our dingy ride and lunch at Everglades City.
      Now, Everglades City is not just known for the Ron and Gun Club. It is air boat ride capital of the Everglades. So, for $37 per person, one can ride on one of those propeller-driven, water top skimming, turn-on-a-dime, flat-bottomed boats. Really, they told us that they only did the mangroves; and, WE DID MANGROVES!! So, what fun would that be? We decided on a nice lunch amongst the dead carcases instead.
      Norm Naughton
      Aboard M/V Tide Hiker

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Russell Pass Southern Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Russell Pass Middle Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Russell Pass Northern Anchorage

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    • Fort Myers to Key West Cruising Advice

      A few corrections to Tom and Susan's message below. The "anchorage" at Fort Myers Beach is now a mooring field (with excellent shoreside services). And, the anchorages they discuss at Big Carlos and New Pass, are a bit shallow for real safety. Otherwise, there's LOTS of good advice in this posting.

      In our 15 years of cruising the west coast of Fl from Tampa to the Keys you can depend on your WX channel for this area to be 90% accurate daily  (from our experience). You can also play the weather windows by 'hop scotching' down the coast……Ft Myers to Ft Myers Beach buoy with 4 terrific restaurants and services for you at $13 a night.  From there go to an anchorage inside the Big Carlos bridge (5' or less draft) , or even New Pass if your draft is 3.5' or less; followed by Naples(City Docks or private marinas) or the Rookery anchorage between Naples and Marco on the inside route.
      On Marco there are anchorages at Factory Bay as well as off the Esplande (check cruise guides) in a terrific protected anchorage setting(power or sail) with dinghy access to shore, a great Winn Dixie to walk to for resupply as well as coffee shops and restaurants, or just relaxing on the hook.  If you want to splurge and spend the boat bucks dock at the Esplande Marina.  If you have time, and depending on your draft, Goodland is a good stop.  Leave Marco and steam south to the [Little] Shark River and anchor before heading to the Keys……Key West or Marathon. For a short day go to Everglades City after Marco and anchor to port well before the city, or tie up at the Rod and Gun Club in Everglade City.
      Regards, Tom & Susan
      m/v 'Marbles'

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    • Coon Key Pass to Naples,FL, And Ten Thousand Island Anchorages

      The discussion below is copied from the Net's "Ask Your Neighbor" page, and the AGLCA mailing list.
      Russell Pass and Russell Bay are found off the Indian Key Channel, on the way to Everglades City. Panther Key is also in the Ten Thousand Island region, but discovered closer to Coon Key Pass and Marco Island.

      Has anyone recently taken the inside route from Coon Key Pass to Goodland to Marco Island to Naples? We are currently in Marathon, are 52 ft. and draw 4 feet. Is it doable or just too shallow? Any help would be appreciated. Also has anyone anchored near Indian Key? Shark River won't work with our dog. (We'd still love any update on dog friendly anchorages too).
      Bill, Jane and Daisy

      I went this route twice in October 2007, and again in April or May 2008 in our Meridian 459, which draws 4 ft. We stayed the night on the 2008 trip at the dock at Old Marco Lodge, in return for having a meal there, and really enjoyed ourselves. Well worth a look. The water gets a bit skinny, but thats Florida!
      Regards Peter

      From personal experience, Russell Pass is a good, pristine anchorage. Some fairly strong current at times. Also, Russell Bay should be good. Watch the depths, but we had no problem with 4'4". We did not try to land a dog, but at low tide, there were muddy banks. In a pinch, you can anchor near the northeast end of Indian Key, where there is a sand beach for the dinghy trip. For that matter, is decent weather, you can dinghy from Russell Pass the the Key
      Another spot that appears to be an excellent anchorage in all but westerly wind is Panther Key, but I can't vouch for depth. The west side of Gomez Point looks deep according to the charts. reviews indicate 7-12 feet, and there is a sand beach for Daisy.
      And once you tiptoe around Coon Key (either side is equally shallow the channel to Naples should be fine. Navigating to Goodland at half-tide or higher would be my suggestion.
      Hope this is helpful!

      We have done this a number of times (continued to Naples only twice and several years ago) in a 3' draft cat. We have massaged the bottom at low tide once, and there are some other shallow spots. If you have a good tide, you should be able to do from mid tide up w/o problem but just go slow in the shallow spots on your chart. Do NOT try it at low tide.
      Ralph Small

      I used to do it with 3' draft – I don't think I would try it with 4' draft. You could go from Marathon to Goodland, or Marathon to the Marco River, but trying to make it through the "back way" between Goodland and Marco would be risky with 4' draft. The Cape Romano Shoals area just south of Marco Island is very dangerous – do not go through this area. Also, between Marco and Naples, I would not use the inside route, with 4' draft.
      Good luck
      Ray Boller

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