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Archive For: West FL – 7 – Charlotte Harbor, Including Punta Gorda

  • Thoughts on the Changing Seasons in Southwestern Florida

    Barb Hansen, author of the article below, is co-owner of Southwestern Florida Yachts in North Fort Myers, Florida. These good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and, by the way, one of the best charter operations in all of Florida!!!!

    View from the Marina
    Florida’s Four Seasons
    By Barb Hansen
    October 2010

    The full moon in late September this year was as big and as beautiful as it can be and it was accompanied by the most delicious breeze from the north, a harbinger of well-deserved, cooler weather for those of us who live in Southwest Florida.
    Now for at least nine months more the climate will be exceptionally good, proving again the area deserves its “paradise” title.
    This is the time of the year when I have to remind myself not to phone friends up north and brag about our weather, especially not when they’re getting cold fronts and, with autumn’s shorter days, must turn on their car lights at 4:30 p.m.
    People say Florida doesn’t have seasons. That’s incorrect.
    The temperature differential may not be as dramatic in Fort Myers as it is in Fort Wayne, but signs of seasonal change are just as unmistakable if you are tuned in to the sights and sounds of the subtropics.
    Winter is wonderful, of course. I think of it as the season of roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets and wood storks feeding on mud flat at low tide. Natives get chilly sometimes but those who know how cold it gets in other climes are comfortable and so grateful they are not shoveling snow. Personally, I like a wind chill of 75 degrees and break out the winter jacket when the temperature drops into the 60’s.
    By late March, the cold fronts seem to lose their punch and the flora and fauna of spring emerge. April and May are a special time of the year when tired, tiny tanagers and warblers hitch rides and a rest on your boat railing before flitting off in search of a berry tree on Sanibel Island. Our eyes and noses delight in the flowering trees — fragrant yellow frangipani, fire-red poinciana, lavender-blue jacaranda.
    Summer arrives with the first thunderstorm and the `full moon in June’ as the saying goes. Shy cereus cactus flowers make their one-night-only appearances in June. Summer mornings are clear and clouds build throughout the day. On the water, the tarpon are rolling and a fishing frenzy ensues in the waters of Southwest Florida.
    Summer is relaxing on the flybridge, in the shade of a Bimini, with a cool drink in hand, watching a pod of dolphins circle in on their fresh fish entrée. This is the “low” season. Okay. Whatever.
    I love it here in Southwest Florida, as you can tell. Still, I’ve come to the point of view that no one place is perfect unless you make it so. I like to read and when I’m wrapped up in a great novel I don’t care where I am so long as the chair is comfortable. In fact, if it were snowing outside and I was close to a crackling fire, that would be just dandy.
    But dyed in the wool boaters logically migrate toward Florida (and they will leave their woolens behind). Snow skiers probably want to be close to the Rockies, High Sierras, or the Cascades. Surfers prefer the Pacific. We have traveled to all of those places and beyond, but as Dorothy said, `There’s no place like home.’
    So maybe no one place is perfect but, like those snowbirds on the yacht pulpit, we can fly to some other place and suit our changing weather whims.
    As a Floridian who spent her first 20 years in the Midwest, I can tell you that I feel the change of seasons in the Sunshine State just as much as I did back in Indiana. Whatever the season, Florida suits me just fine.

    Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at info@swfyachts.com, phone 1-800-262-7939 or visit http://www.swfyachts.com/

  • Good Words About Burnt Store Marina (Charlotte Harbor)

    Burnt Store Marina is a huge complex, that guards the eastern shores of Charlotte Harbor, just a short hop north from this body of water’s southern entrance. They offer just about everything that one could ask for!

    We stayed at Burnt Store for 2 months last year while doing the loop and liked it so much that we came back to spend a few months this past winter. We stayed in the north basin as it’s more residential for an extended period, although a short walk to the main basin which has the restaurant and boater’s pool and laundry facilities. It’s a nice stop!
    Barbara and Jim Benjamin and Golden Retriever, LIly
    Golden Lily – Nordic Tug 42

    Burnt Store is our home port. For all fellow [cruisers], I can tell you it is worth the trip across Charlotte Harbor to visit this marina. The staff is the best, the surroundings are beautiful, and there are 27 holes of golf on the property. Very nice pool and laundry facilities as well. Great place to spend your winter months. It’s easy to explore places like Sanibel, Captiva, Boca Grande, and Cabbage Key from here. For those interested, the property values here on condos and homes have never been better.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Burnt Store Marina

  • Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage

    I have not reviewed the storage facility recommended by WinterHawk below, but I will be on these waters soon, and will soon rectify that oversight! I have seen this facility from the nearby road, however, and so I know it’s located on Charlotte Harbor’s western shoreline, north of Cape Haze.

    We would suggest the All American Covered Boat Storage off Charlotte Harbor – you go through a fresh water lock before the yard which is great for removing salt from your engine and other systems. They handle sailboats and power. They allow you to work on your own boat which is rare for boatyards in Fl.
    WinterHawk

    We have kept our boat at All American and have done many repairs and bottom painting while at their facility. They are very cooperative.
    Rich Oakley
    `Panache’
    Punta Gorda, FL

  • Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage

    The anchorage commented on below by Captain lies on the waters of Peace River, just west of the Highway 41 Bridge, and just off the Punta Gorda waterfront. It is within easy dinghy distance of Fishermens Village Yacht Basin.

    We have been anchored in this area for 3 days, winds mainly from the North 15 ‘“ 30 knots. We originally anchored just inside R4, but later waited for low tide and crept in a little closer. There is a courtesy dock on the west side of Fisherman’s Village’¦also used the floating dinghy dock inside the basin, but the gate closes at 5:30 PM. It’s ok to use this dock if you are going to the village, but you need to see the dockmaster if you want to use the facilities. Very friendly staff. Lots of shops in the village, good restaurants and entertainment in the center of the shops. We missed the Gallery Walks (3rd Thursday of the month) in Punta Gorda because it was too rough to go ashore but we could hear the music. Follow the painted flip flops on the sidewalk in town.
    Capt. RL& Karen

  • Good Times at Laishley Park Marina (Punta Gorda, Peace River – Charlotte Harbor)

     will stand as a tribute to the vision of the leaders of the City of Punta Gorda and to the teamwork of all who helped make it a reality.Laishley Park Marina is the new city of Punta Gorda facility, which sits between the Highway 41 bridges on the shores of Peace River. These spans put this facility off limits for all but small sailcraft, but for power vessels, this is one of the best places to coil your lines from Fort Myers to Tampa Bay. I have been here and personally inspected their docks, store, showers and Laundromat. Laishly Park is exactly what a cruiser friendly marina should be, and I’m not just saying that because they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Subject: Laishley Park Marina
    Cruising News: We are staying at the Laishley Park Marina in Punta Gorda, FL for about 4 weeks. This is an outstanding new marina with floating dock. Very friendly people and really great showers & Laundry. Other than being off the path it is a great place.
    Larry Hemmerich

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Laishley Park Marina

  • Riviera Marina (southern Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor)

    The message below speaks for itself. I will only add that the author’s observations synchronize with my own!

    Claiborne:
    I just purchased your Cruising Guide to Western Florida. What a terrific resource!! We are residents of Punta Gorda, and Alligator Creek is our access to Charlotte Harbor. We are all too familiar with Riviara Marina (known to the locals as Barry’s), situated off Alligator Creek. Their half sunken boats crowd the channel accessing our canal system, and oil / sludge, which we presume is from the marina, routinely drifts into our canal. A fire several years ago destroyed the variety store as well as several of their docks and adjoining property docks. One can hardly call this a marina, although they do rent slips, mostly to local live-aboards. I suppose the boat yard could facilitate desperate boaters in need of hauling their boat for do-it-yourself repairs, but in my opinion they would be wise to seek other facilities. Much to the disappointment of local residents, the facility has survived the fire and more recently Hurricane Charlie (of course there wasn’t much there for the hurricane to destroy). It is an eyesore and a hazard to navigation and the environment.
    Name Witheld by Request

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Riviera Marina

  • Punta Gorda Cruising News (Charlotte Harbor)

    The beautiful new Laishley Park Marina is the forerunner of what will be a complete renovation of Laishley Park as is shown by the illustration below. Here are some quick tid-bits of cruising news about Punta Gorda. This charming communities occupies the southern shoreline at the intersection of Charlotte and the Peace River. It is WELL worth a visit by ALL cruisers! And, please try to patronize Laishley Park Marina. These good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    East of the Hiway 41 bridge in Punta Gorda are new docks and anchorage. Laisley’s has a nice store for some boat repairs. They also help with `The Crab Shack’ a new fairly good restaurant that is a good addition to Punta Gorda.
    Joe

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Laishley Park Marina

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Village Yacht Basin

  • Southwest Florida Yachts And Pine Island Sound – Charlotte Harbor Cruising Suggestions

    Southwest Florida YachtsBelow, I have copied a discussion from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, concerning the charter firm of Southwest Florida Yachts, headquartered in North Fort Myers, and cruising suggestions about the nearby waters (including Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor). All these messages were originally sent as replies to a query on the T&T list. There’s lots of good cruising info here, and, let’s not the forget the good people at Southwestern Florida Yachts are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
    As usual with this many contributors, it was impractical to obtain individual permissions, so I have ommitted all names.

    Southwest Florida Yachts has been around a long time and has a good reputation.  Some good stops in the nearby area during your charter would be:
    1.   Ft. Myers Beach, with moorings and a public dinghy dock, then a short  walk across the highway (crowded with hotels, restaurants and shops) to the large and very popular beach.
    2.  Boca Grande, a small ritzy but quaint town on an island witha small anchorage area among the mangroves.
    3.  Cayo Costa park, accessible only by boat, with a nice protected anchorage, and a long walk across the island to a secluded beach.
    4.  Also Punta Gorda, St. Pete Beach, Sarasota, etc…..

    I have lived next door to Barb and Vic Hanson the owners of Southwest Florida Yachts for 9 years… they are great people and have never heard anything from them or anyone else negative about their charter boats or charter service.
    I have lived in the SW Florida area since 1959…  it is absolutely great for cruising… favorite area Pelican Bay Anchorage… absoslutely one of the best places to anchor.

    We did Offshore Powerboat training aboard a chartered 42 GB with Southwest Florida Yachts a few years ago.
    There are lots of nice places to anchor nearby.  You have the intracoastal going north and could also go east into Ochochobee.  I’m sure SFY can point out a lot of places to go in the area.
    We actually made it down to the Keys and had two wonderful nights in Little Shark River at the Everglades.

    SW Florida Yachts have been around since forever, chartering both sail and power and I’ve never heard any knocks on them.
    The west coast of Florida is a great cruising location once you get used to the idea of shallow water.  Great anchorages abound – you can be alone or in a crowd – you choose.  Nice city marinas and several world-class resorts.  We just took about 10 days and went south to Pine Island Sound where we spent several nights in Pelican Bay, at Cayo Costa Island (Met T&T listee Jay from “Sails” anchored there) followed by three nights at South Seas Plantation.
    Great cruise!

    They are good people… The boats are clean and in good repair… I recommend them highly… You will enjoy…
    But, this is skinny, skinny, water and there are thrills like the MiserableMile, etc. in store where local knowledge is invaluable… Just getting from the dock at SWY to the intercoastal is an interesting trip in it’s own right…  Hire a captain for a couple of days, learn the waters and the idiosyncrasies of the buoys where the gulf waters cross the intercoastal waterway, eat lunch at Sanibel Island and see how the other half lives (very well), etc… Come back to the SWY dock the first night or two and eat/drink at the restaurant right there (very good), then go anchor out for a night or two, etc…  Learning the ropes first will make your trip memorable and fun…

  • Fishermens Village Yacht Basin (Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor)

    Fishermens Village Yacht Basin is one of two commercial marinas in Punta Gorda, the other being the city owned Laishley Park Municipal Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR). I’ve always been impressed with Fishermens Village, both with the marina and the adjacent shopping complex. I’ve had the good fortune to speak here on three different occasions, and the crowd has always been great.
    Of course, if you are a member of an FCYC Yacht Club, you might also want to consider the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda, or the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, just across the Peace River. Both are absolutely FIRST RATE clubs, with every amenity.

    Fishermen’s Village Yacht Basin in Punta Gorda has won the prestigious Marina of the Year Award for 2008. This award is given out by the trade magazine Marina Dock Age.
    There are two awards given out each year in a competition of over 17,000 marinas in the nation. The two Marina of the Year awards are for marinas with over 250 slips and for those under 250 slips. Fishermen’s Village Yacht Basin qualified for the latter award.
    Jim Branch, Harbormaster, stated that the award is based on a number of criteria including facility improvements, marketing, environmental responsibility and customer satisfaction. The marina was severely damaged by Hurricane Charley and rebuilt and improved. He felt that their emphasis on customer satisfaction and service was a significant factor in winning the award.
    The marina caters to visiting boat clubs. They even offer a discount based on the number of boats in the group. I can tell you first hand that they go out of their way to make your visit special. They will try to solve even the smallest of problems.
    Adjacent to the marina is the resort which includes many specialty shops and numerous restaurants. The City of Punta Gorda is improving the entire waterfront with parks. The downtown area has many new shops and restaurants also.
    Be sure to put this on your cruising schedule. The Harbormaster can be reached at 941-575-3056 for reservations.
    Gary Riss
    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Village Yacht Basin

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