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    • GOOD NEWS – Utility Lines Crossing Boot Key Harbor Primary Entrance Repaired

      Click This Chartlet to Open a Chart View Page Centered on the Entrance to Boot Key Harbor

      We are very pleased to report that as of this morning, 3/27/12, the once sagging utility lines crossing the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor have been repaired, and returned to their normal vertical clearance of 65 feet. Our sincere thanks to Captain Peter F. TenHaagen for this report, and for the dramatic photo attached to this message. To see more of Captain Peter’s utility line repair photos, click the “Photo Gallery” icon/link below!
      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would also like to express a sincere thanks to the cruising community for their help and cooperation in getting the word out about this formerly dangerous situation over the past several days. Working together, there is little the combined forces of the SSECN and the Cruising Community cannot achieve!

      Just wanted to let you know they finished making the wires the correct height again today (ribbon hanging down is their measuring device!) at the Knights Key Channel entrance to Boot Key Harbor and sailboats are now coming and going freely.
      Peter

      Cruising News:
      THE WIRE IS FIXED to 65′ Clear M.H.W.
      Edwin Spomer

      The sagging lines appeared to be fixed about 3 PM Monday afternoon. We were heading back from lunch and passed under the bridge/cables while the barge with two men up in the crane finished. There is a new yellow/red circle attached to the middle of the cable, I guess to show it’s been fixed? Anyway, as we watched, the barge lowered the two men in the crane back to deck, so hopefully all is well again in Marathon.
      Cheers!
      Jan,
      sv Winterlude
      http://www.commutercruiser.com

      I witnessed the incident [that originally caused the utility lines to sag]. It was Sunday, March 18. I was in my dinghy heading toward the bridge. A big catamaran with a 75 foot rig was trying to enter the harbor. Suddenly she reared back like a motorcycle doing a wheelie. If she had been going any faster, she would have flipped herself onto her back.
      Unfortunately I didn’t get the vessel name, but I did talk to the people on board. They were 6 teenagers there for the sailing regatta. They tied off at the old abandoned marina next to Burdines.
      Dick Mills

      Hello All,
      Has anyone noticed if they put a tide reading scale [ 24-25-26 ] on the EAST , mooring field side of the bridge ? Am I missing it. I dont think I have seen one on that side.
      THANKS
      TOM

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    • Praise for Leland Oil Company Now Open and New Docks Ready for Cruisers, McClellanville, SC, AICW Statute Mile 430

      We understand from other contributors that Leland Oil Company Marina, under a new owner, is steadily making improvements to this very affordable facility and long a source of good fuel prices. We hear, too, that the owner will take time to drive you to nearby stores. Also note that if you have never visited the backwater village of McClellanville, SC, you owe it to yourself to stop here and at least take in the community. It’s like stepping into a time machine that transports you to what most of the Low Country must have looked like 50 years ago. Try it, you might just like it!

      Leland Oil Co. is in the process of replacing our fixed wooden docks with new floating docks. Should be ready by March 10 with the utilities in by the 20th. Hope to see some of you soon.
      Duane Merritt, Dockmaster

      Mar 26,2012
      The updates to our docks at Leland Oil Co. are now complete and we are open for business.
      Duane Merritt

      We were here a few years ago on Easter. Duane invited us to accompany he and his family to a local restaurant for Easter Dinner. It was wonderful. Another time he gave us a ride to a grocery store.
      Now the new floating docks are done’¦They came out great’¦ Easy access, new power ped3stals Nice wide aluminum float.
      What we love about this place is the hospitality, the down home charm of the area for taking a walk. A couple of FRESH seafood stores’¦.(walking distance) This trip we are here in time for softshell crabs.
      Check out the 1000 yr old Live Oak tree. The only thing you can hear here’¦’¦..Nothing! Talk about peace and quiet.
      The entrance off the ICW. Stay in the center is the key. We draw 5 1/2′ no prob 1/2 tide.
      Bob n Nancy Spiro M/V Rachel J.

      March 31, Stayed at Leland Oil Company and had a peaceful night! Brand new floating aluminum docks with new pedestals shows a strong desire to cater to more cruisers. Met and assisted dockside upon arrival. The fuel is convenient and the price is competitive. The rest of the amenities are a little Spartan but the walk around the town is spectacular if you like tree and Spanish moss covered streets and classic southern small town homes. A wonderful stay in a working harbor and we will keep coming back.
      Kip Brundage

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Leland Oil Company

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Entrance to McClellanville Channel

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    • Depths on Sister Creek (Marathon, Alternate Passage from Hawk Channel to Boot Key Harbor)

      As part of the recent string of messages concerning the sagging utility lines over the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor (see /?p=84015), a side discussion has come about concerning depths on Sister Creek. The “primary” entrance to Boot Key Harbor (“BKH”) is a more or less straight shot from Moser Channel. This is the passage over which the sagging utility lines cross.
      Sister Creek is an alternate entrance to BKH, which runs, more or less, north from Hawk Channel. In the “sagging utility lines posting,” both yours truly and our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, cautioned that boats drawing more than 4 feet should not attempt to use Sister Creek to access BKH. This admonition resulted in some dissenting points of view:

      Click Chartlet Above to Open a Chart View Page Centered on the Entrance to Boot Key Harbor

      Good to hear the alert but Sister’s Creek is deeper than 4′. I have come in and out of Boot Key via Sister’s Creek and have never experienced less than 6′. Take your own chances ‘“ I’m just saying.
      Always FOR SAIL too

      I disagree about Sister Creek ‘“ large sportfishers and sailing craft enter the harbor from Sister Creek daily. There is a spot at the entrance that might preclude 6’ from entering at MLW, but half tide and rising there is no apparent problem. I am anchored on Sister Creek with two other craft as I write this.
      Peter TenHaagen

      So, I asked Captain Charmine to comment further on the soundings to be expected in Sister Creek. Here is her reply:

      Regarding SISTER CREEK. Sister Creek at mean low tide is 4’1’³. That’s FOUR FEET ONE INCH. From that point, as usual, you have to do the math with the tides as far as one’s draft is concerned. Obviously if you have a two foot tide you’ll be fine if you draw less than six feet. With that said, whatever someone has experienced in their vessel is highly subjective and there are dangerously hard groundings that occur in Sister Creek because of this. Each Captain has to make his or her decision based on their particular situation.
      This is why I am extremely cautious with suggesting using Sister Creek to others. Some don’t watch tides as closely as others. Therefore, I merely report its mean low tide depth. Those who traverse Sister Creek with 6′ drafts have done their homework’¦and that is all that is necessary in order to decide to use it or not. Just know that it is not quite a no-brainer unless you have a shallower draft vessel.
      Hugs!
      Charmaine

      Remember if you enter Sister Creek from Hawk Channel, it’s a normal red-right-returning as you enter Boot Key Harbor.But the channel colors `reverse’ where Sister Creek meets Boot Key Harbor. That’s because the markers near that entrance are really a continuation of the markers from the main entrance channel at Seven Mile Bridge, and thus are `reverse-colors’ from the Sister Creek entrance. That can cause confusion and potential grounding if the skipper is on the `wrong’ side of the markers as they enter Boot Key Harbor where the water at that intersection is shallow.
      Joe Curley

      I agree with Captain Charmaine. Our boat draws 4 feet and our depth sounder is accurate to within 2 inches. We departed Sister Creek in February of 2012 at dead low tide and our depth reading was 4 feet. Sister Creek itself is deep enough. The shallow area is east of the entrance to Sister Creek between the Red and Green marks.
      James Angel

      We recently entered Boot Key via Sister’screek in our sailboat. It was at mid tide. Our dept sounder is set for actual water depth and is accurate. We saw readings or 4.1 on the sounder. The draft on our boat is 5 foot but we never even felt a bump let alone run hard aground. I wonder if there is a heavy grass growth that may be bouncing the echoe sound up from the tall grass. This occurred just off the beach in the channel. The rest of the way was all over 5 foot or better
      Capt. Mike

      I just returned in my dinghy from the marked channel entering Sister Creek from Hawk Channel ‘“ I found at dead low tide some 4.5′ spots between markers 2 and 3/4, nothing under 5′ after that and nothing under 7′ once past the marked channel. I don’t know the exact tide range but it is well over 2’ ‘“ I would say 3-4′ depending on winds and other conditions that affect the tide. I did this for friends in a 5′ draft sailboat planning to meet me here over the weekend.
      Peter TenHaagen

      Boat using sister creek this morning reported at least 6′ at near high tide. Local knowledge is needed as there are shallow rocks reported to be inside one of the red markers. Local boat US will charge $400 to escort you thru.
      Ted

      For the past 12 years I have lived on Sombrero Blvd. For the first 5ive years I had a Shannon 43 drawing when cruising 5′ 2’³ that I took in and out of Sisters Creek. I have read the warnings and looked at the charts but have yet to run aground. My neighbor had a Gulfstar 50 that he took in and out numerous times. He did bump once or twice but never ran aground. I took my boat in and out regardless of the tide level although never at a low low tide.
      Joe Hamrick

      Re Sisters Creek: I lived in Marathon for 11 years, and always used the Sisters channel coming and going on my 50′ Gulfstar with 5.5′ draft. I recall a light bumping once or twice during very low tides, but most locals consider the channel good for 6′ in normal high tides.
      The old charts do say 4’ at MLT, but local knowledge is pretty well established on this one.
      Ed Loke

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    • A Tall Ship Will Make Washington, NC Waterfront Docks Its New Homeport


      Washington, NC is a long-time and much valued SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 14, 2012, WASHINGTON, NC
      The Schooner Jeanie B, a 72′ tall masted sailing vessel, will be coming to the City of Washington and become a fixture to the community of Eastern North Carolina.

      The Washington Harbor District Alliance helped to formulate the new partnership between the City of Washington and The Schooner Jeanie B. This partnership creates a relationship that couples the vibrant waterfront in Washington, NC with the educational and family sailings of the vessel. Schooner Jeanie B will reconnect the rich history of Washington’s past which was active with tall ships with the present when she arrives March 21.
      The Schooner Jeanie B is a traditional sailing vessel that sails with Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer during the summer months and Boy Scouts of America and the Pamlico Sea Base during the spring and fall months. Jeanie B teaches principles of sailing, ship handling, and traditional navigation including using the stars to find their way. Team and character building are another benefit the campers, scouts and students experience living aboard the boat
      as they travel around the Inner Banks of North Carolina visiting various ports such as Manteo, Ocracoke, Washington and Beaufort.
      The Jeanie B also provides sailing excursions during the week and weekends from the docks in Washington, NC. She can take up to 25 passengers for afternoon and evening sunset or star gazing sails. The captain and crew of Jeanie B can put you at the helm of the 72′ vessel, allow you and your friends to raise her sails and navigate along the Pamlico River or just sit back and enjoy the peaceful sail of an afternoon or evening.
      To celebrate the arrival of Schooner Jeanie B, the City of Washington, NC welcomes her March 21 – 24 with an array of activities. Jeanie B will arrive in Washington on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21 and that evening a lecture entitled, “Equinox, Solstice, Hallmark and Hershey. A talk on astronomical events and how they merge with our lives” will be given by Dr. Lee Sutton, owner and operator of the schooner. Jeanie B teaches celestial navigation and her arrival, to coincide with the Vernal Equinox on March 21, couples that teaching to her new home. The lecture will take place at the North Carolina Estuarium along the Washington waterfront.
      Thursday and Friday, March 22, 23, the vessel will be offering free tours from 10am until 2pm. Saturday, March 24, Jeanie will be offering free to all the public multiple sailings from the docks of the City of Washington.
      After this arrival celebration, the schooner will make Washington, NC her permanent home and be available for corporate, family or group sailings throughout the year. For additional information, please contact the Jeanie B at 804-519-0174 and schoonerjeanieb@gmail.com
      For more information Contact Lee Sutton at 804-519-0174 or Beth Byrd, Director Washington Harbor District Alliance at 252-947-1487, whda@washingtononthewater.com
      Beth Byrd
      Director
      Washington Harbor District Alliance
      102 East 2nd Street
      PO Box 1988
      Washington, NC 27889
      Cell: 252-947-1487
      Email: whda@washingtononthewater.com
      Web: www.whda.org
      Much appreciation goes out to our Corporate Sponsors and the City of Washington for their support:

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

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Washington City Docks

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    • Question About Boca Grande Pass Swash Channel

       Spotless Stainless is the simplest and most effective way to remove rust and the

      I took one, quick look at Captain Dave’s question below, and knew he was speaking of the so-called, Boca Grande Swash Channel, immediately south of Gasparilla Island. For years and years now, local cruisers have used this cut to short-cut the looonnnggg run out into the Gulf of Mexico via the main Boca Grande Pass channel.
      If and only if all goes well, cruisers can turn north immediately west of Gasparill Island’s southwestern tip, run the Swash Channel hard by the concrete piers of the old dock that will passed to your eastern flank, and then continue with good soundings for points north, such as naturally deep Venice Pass.
      And, there is some reason to believe that this is a naturally deep (enough?) passage. Hurricane Charley completely filled up the Swash Channel, but a few months later, tidal current had scoured it out again.
      Trouble is, to be really safe when using the Swash Channel, captains must know where the good water is “this week.” And, that requires local knowledge. Trust me, this is NOT the spot where you want to ground your vessel. The tidal currents and surf could quickly bring on a life threatening situation after running aground here, not to mention the danger to your vessel.
      So, as of late February, 2012, have any of you run the Swash Channel lately? What depths did you discover, and where did you find the best water? Please be as specific with your advice as possible. Send your info to us via clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to “yours truly” at CruisersNet@triad.twcbc.com. Many thanks in advance!

      Cruising News:
      At the southern end of Gasparilla Island there appears to be a unmarked channel that is close to the Boca Grand light house and parallels Don Pedro park. which opens in a North westerly direction. Charts show enough water if one stays close to the beach. Does anyone have any experience going through there?
      Thanks!
      Dave

      Haven’t run the swash channel since last fall, but we’ve had no major storms. Sand bars then were at/near as charted, we saw nothing less than 6 feet. Both Isles YC and Sarasota YC publish way points to lead you thru the shoals.
      Wind against tide can throw up NASTY chop. Watch the weather
      Bill Dixon

      I have run the Swash many times over the years. 6 month ago was the last time I used this path. I took the route that the Sarasota Yacht club had layed out and found I was too close to land and running out of water. I went back to my old path that was a thousand feet further off shore and found 5 to 6 feet of water.
      Just use your charts and go slowly and watch your depth . You should not have a problem
      Robert M. Wilson

      I passed through the swash channel on Sunday March 18th and found depths of greater than 6 feet at high tide. Please note, however, that I dont’t have the data on the height of of the tide, and my trimaran sailboat only draws 3′ 2’³ so I wasn’t too concerned and didn’t make detailed observations.
      David Tarbox

      I’ve run the swash channel for years in a 43 Viking DCMY with 42’³ draft. I always found both ends of the channel to vary in depth over time but always passable. Clearly with deeper drafts you need to play the tide. Although I always had confidence I dropped to 5 knots to make the transit with a close eye on the sonar and plotter.
      Tom

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boca Grande Pass and the Swash Channel

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    • Florida Keys Inside Route Through Tarpon Basin, and Tarpon Basin Northern Anchorage (FLK Inside Route, Statute Mile 1139.5)

      Captain John is 100% correct in his advice below, cautioning one and all to “hug the channel along the red markers,” as your vessel passes through Tarpon Basin. Many a captain has come to grief when, after coming abeam of marker #46, they look to the east and southeast, and spot vessels anchored on the “Tarpon Basin Interior Anchorage” (see /?p=6258), and then turn east thinking there is good water between the FL Keys Inside passage, and the anchored boats in the distance. Those who take this ill path will hear a loud “crunch” every time.
      Instead, do as Captain John did, and continue following the main channel to marker #48A. Then, you can explore all three of this basin’s excellent anchorage possibilities in reasonable safety.

      When entering Tarpon Basin from the north it is important to hug the channel along the red markers as the channel turrns sw and then west. There are no green markers and we wandered into very shallow water just se of the channel near red `46’³as it turns. We wound up anchoring out on the north side of red 48A in 8 feet with good holding.
      Captain John

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Directory Listing For the Tarpon Basin Northern Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Directory Listing For the Tarpon Basin Southern Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Directory Listing For the Tarpon Basin Interior Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Tarpon Basin

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    • New Grocery/Deli Open on Beaufort, NC’s Front Street, Within Easy Walking Distance of the Municipal Docks (St. M. 201)

      During a recent research visit to the northeastern and central NC coastline, we were delighted to be taken on a tour of a new, downtown Beaufort grocery store and deli, soon to be opened as Taylor’s Creek Grocery (525 Front Street, 252-838-1495). We saw shelves being stocked with what looked to be delectable yummies, and extensive coolers about to be loaded with all sorts of cold drinks, including beer and wine. Equally impressive was the large deli corner, where everything was shiny new, and looked to be just waiting to churn out a mouth watering selection of sandwiches.
      And, what’s best about this new facility from a cruiser’s point of view, is its location, within easy walking distance of the Beaufort Municipal docks. In fact, the store’s position at the corner of Front and Queen Streets, places it just across the road from the eastern tip of the city docks.
      We were told Taylor’s Creek Grocery would be open for business by mid-March, 2012, and, indeed, all the activity we saw would tend to suggest that this opening date is on target. So, now, in addition to Community Market (a couple of blocks from the city docks on Broad Street), and taking a courtesy car to the local Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly supermarkets, cruisers who berth at the Beaufort Municipal Docks have a very attractive provisioning possibility within easy walking distance!

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For the Beaufort Municipal Docks

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Beaufort, NC Waterfront

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    • AICW Bridge Etiquette Discussion

      There has been a LIVELY discussion on AICW Bridge Etiquette on the GL (Great Loop) mail list during early March, 2012. There’s some really good advice here, not only for the Waterway, but for all bridge navigation in general. I have copied much of this discussion, but it’s too lengthy to post here. Click the link below to peruse all this good info!

      /?p=81793

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    • Thoughts on the Best Boat Dog Breeds

      There has been an interesting discussion taking place on the American Great Loop Cruising Association’s (AGLCA) mailing list as of early March, 2012, as to what breed makes the best boating dog. I have copied much of this discussion, but it’s too lengthy to appear here on the SSECN Home Page. Click on the link below if this is a subject of interest to you.

      Click Here To View the “Thoughts on the Best Boat Dog Breeds” Article

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    • GREAT Fuel Price Strategy in the Florida Keys

      Recently, my good friend and host at last fall’s MTOA Rendezvous in Chesapeake Bay, Captain Ken Chumley, arranged for a Florida fuel wholesaler to bring an entire truckload of diesel fuel to Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor. Here, he and a number of other MTOA members, took on 4,200 gallons of diesel, at a really good price! Another fellow cruiser chimed in, and said they had made arrangements with the same company for a truckload delivery to Duck Key, to the tune of about 900 gallons.
      Of course, for anyone to take advantage of this service, they will have to put together a group of fuel thirsty vessels, at a Florida Keys marina where a tanker truck can back close enough to the wet slips so that a hose can be easily snaked to the waiting boats.
      If you can overcome these hurtles, give Urbieta Oil at 305-884-0008 a call, and stand by to save a significant chunk of change!

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