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    • Fort McAllister Marina (Statute Mile 603.5)

      Fort McAllister Marina on Georgia's Ogeechee River></a><a href=On 4/22/13, as part of a NE Florida – Georgia Wish List, we posed the following question:

      Statute Mile 603.5 ‘“ who has departed the AICW at marker #98, and cruised upstream on Ogeechee River to Fort McAllister Marina. Did you find the markers on Ogeechee River between the Waterway and marina adequate? Did you dine at the on-site restaurant? Please give us your overall impressions of this facility.

      Responses follow:

      This Marina has been completely redone. Dew docks and bot lift. The boat lift is huge. Being new there is plenty of room to dock overnight. The staff falls all over you to help in any way they can. They have a big open patio and usually have a live band on the weekends. Butch Broom runs the restaurant “Fish Tales” He is a great guy and lots of fun. our local sail club and power squadron have events there. You have to party with the locals as there is not much else to do in the area. You can walk to historic Fort McAllister just down the street.

      Stayed at Ft McAllister Marina on the evening of 27-28 March 2013. Low tide at Hells Gate and Sea Tow advised not making the transit in our boat due to shallows. Trip up the Ogeechee River was nerve wracking. Hit bottom 4 times as the Marina did not provide the kind of directions that an unfamiliar skipper could follow. Markers were all white so no indication of which side to pass. Simple directions, e.g., stay to the north side of the river and when you see the marina sign on the starboard bank make a 45 degree turn to port and head slowly toward the marina, would have probably made this uneventful. Nice people, low rates and fuel prices, and the resturant at the marina is well worth a visit with ample portions, good food and low prices.
      Tom Callan
      oo/b Great Escape
      53 DeFever POC

      Click Here To View the Georgia Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fort McAllister Marina

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

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    • San Sebastian River Marinas (St. Augustine) – near St. M. 780

      On 4/22/13, as part of a NE Florida – Georgia Wish List, we posed the following question:

      Statute Mile 780 ‘“ Has anyone visited the marinas on St. Augustine’s San Sebastian River, particularly River’s Edge Marina and/or Hidden Harbor? If so, please give us your impressions and observations.

      Responses follow:

      Stayed there [River’s Edge Marina] and it was neat, albiet not a modern place. Eat at Paddys is neat. If you ask, you may get a nice discount. Sailors Exchange is an easy walk, and downtown is not that far either. We prefer it here to downtown. River has some current and turning around in a large boat may be a little difficult (65’+). Not many wakes here, especially versus downtown marina.
      John Winter

      We much prefer going to Rivers Edge Marina on the San Sabastian River. It’s better protected and less costly than the city marina. It’s closer to the really good restaurants in St. Augustine. We really like The Back 40 Urban Cafe a couple of blocks from the marina. The other good restaurant is Kings Street Bistro. The chef there was chef on Air Force 1 for two presidents. We have not been there because it’s only open Fri., Sat. and Sunday.
      Martin Basch
      Molly Blossom

      We stayed here [River’s Edge Marina] last month. What drew us initially was the opportunity to guy diesel from the truck that the Dockmaster would order for you if you give them prior notice. The fuel price was significantly less than any other marina we had encountered on the east coast of Florida. The truck showed up on time and by us docking at the marina’s fuel dock, it was easy to fuel up. We then moved to a T-head for the night. The docks have seen better days, but are fine. The marina has loaner bikes with large baskets so we could ride to the nearby
      grocery store, and the propane tank refill store. All that was very convenient.
      Finally the on site restaurant was filled with locals. The seafood was good and very reasonably priced. They give Happy Hour prices to boaters from Rivers Edge at any time that you eat at their restaurant. We like fancy marinas just as much as most boaters, but this is “Old Florida” and we enjoyed the atmosphere. We were very satisfied with our stay.
      Marc and Shelley Colby
      M/V Rock Chalk
      Endeavour 44 Trawlercat

      I stayed at Rivers Edge Marina on April 15, 2013. The marina is older with floating docks and a number of liveaboards. There is a great little bar called Hurricane Patty’s with daily specials for marina guests. They have complimentary
      bikes and west marine is only a short bike ride as well as grocery store. But the best reason to stop here is the fuel prices. The local diesel distributor will bring a truck to the dock and sell you clean, fresh diesel. I paid $3.75
      per gallon including all taxes.
      Randy Hondros
      Atlantic Beach, NC
      32 Grand Banks #855

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

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River’s Edge Marina

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    • Dungeness Greyfield Channel Anchorage and Sea Camp Dock (Statute Mile 711.5)

       On 4/22/13, as part of a NE Florida – Georgia Wish List, we posed the following question:

      Statute Mile 711.5 ‘“ one of our favorite side trips along the southern Georgia portion of the AICW is to leave the water at marker #34, and cruise up the Cumberland Island channel, and anchor opposite the `Sea Camp Dock.’ Anyone taken this trip lately? Did you dinghy ashore? Did you walk across to the ocean side and see the rich, maritime forests?

      Responses follow:

      We anchored in 14 feet of water close to low tide. Dingyed to shore and tide up. We walked over to the ocean and then along the parrell trails. It is still beautiful. Consider a life time National Park pass if over 62. It covers the fee. We did not have time go to the museum.
      Jack Pholeric

      We spent a night at this anchorage. We went up the channel past the Park Services dock and opposite the next private dock further north. We anchored in firm mud of 8 ft. It was peaceful and quiet. The next morning we dinghied over to the Park Services dock and walked across the island to the beach. The oak tree forest was spectacular. We were there at 9:00 am and had the entire beach as far north or south as we could see all to ourselves. It was beautiful. We walked the beach south to the path that takes you to the ruins of the Carniege home. After walking the grounds we walked back north on the central road back to our dinghy. It was a pleasant morning and well worth the
      Marc and Shelley Colby
      M/V Rock Chalk
      Endeavour 44 Trawlercat

      Facebook album of hike on Cumberland Island:
      Anchored near Sea Camp dock, walked across the island. Beaches of incredible scale and apparent remoteness. Magnificent dunes at the southern end of the island. We hardly too a single step that was not on top of the hoofprints of unshod wild horses and saw several.
      Roger Long
      S/V Strider

      Click Here To View the Georgia Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Dungeness Greyfield Channel Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dungeness Greyfield Channel Anchorage

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    • Captain Wally Visits Darien, GA’s Blessing of the Fleet

      Click This Chartlet to Open Chart View Page Centered on Darien, GA

      The text below is copied from fellow nautical writer, Captain Wally Moran’s site, LiveBloggin’ the ICW ( Be SURE to follow the video link below. This very professional looking visual narrative provides a good account of this festival’s FUN times, as well as a good look at the city of Darien’s dockage facilities! THANKS Captain Wally!

      Last Thursday, I decided to check out Darien GA – it’s about 8 miles off the ICW, so it’s out of the way. My friend James, from St. Simon’s Island, had written a piece about it for Southwinds – it’s not published yet, but I’ll post the link when I have it – and it sounded interesting. Also, there was a nasty storm on its way, so a dock sounded good.
      I arrived in the dark, and was helped to tie up by another sailor docked there. He told me that this was the weekend for the Blessing of the Fleet, the 45th annual shrimp boat festival and blessing. Well, that sounded interesting, and since Darien was providing 48 hours free dockage to encourage visitors – why not?
      To be honest, Darien is a different sort of place….very down to earth people would be the best way of putting it, and you know, when the first tune from the band is an old Merle Haggart standard, you’re going to be hearing a lot of country and very little rap. Not a bad thing, come to think of it, and I’m not a big country fan…
      Darien partied on all weekend, I made some great new friends, and Gypsy Wind had a front row center seat for the festivities – as loud as they were. And on Sunday, the big event – the blessing of the fleet.
      This video gives you an idea of what it was like….

      Captain Wally Moran

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

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

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    • From Boat/US – Annual Vessel Federal Documenation Renewal Free Proposed

      This just in from our good friends at Boat/US as of 4/19/13.

      Do you own a federally documented vessel? The U.S. Coast Guard is proposingto charge an annual fee of $26.00 for the renewal of certificates of documentation for recreational boats. While the Coast Guard charges to issue new certificates of documentation for boats, currently there is no charge for annual renewal.
      This fee will only apply if your boat is federally documented and would be in addition to any state registration fees. For current information on federal vessel documentation, visit the United States Coast Guard Documentation Center
      We encourage you to share your thoughts with the Coast Guard on this proposal beforeMay 3rd, 2013, by going to!docketDetail;D=USCG-2010-0990
      Please forward this email to fellow boaters with documented vessels. If you have any additional questions, please contact BoatU.S. Government Affairs at
      Margaret Podlich
      President, BoatU.S.
      703-461-2878 x8363

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    • Latest Update on St. Augustine Inlet Aids to Navigation (Statute Mile 776)

      Back in 2011, successful navigation of St. Augustine Inlet had become problematical at best, due to some serious shoaling. A welcome dredging project in 2012 solved most of these problems, but our good friend, Captain Jay Bliss, member of the St. Augustine Port Commission, keeps us up to date from time to time on the very latest inlet navigational conditions.
      The account below is taken from a recent Port Commissioners meeting. Note particularly the red colored text. Here we learn about the refurbishment of inlet aids to navigation, and the removal of marker #5A.

      Greetings Port Observers,
      These notes are one person’s unofficial summary of the many interesting items brought before the StAugustine Port commission on April 16 2013. Our website is not yet up to date; will soon be fully operational.
      The SummerHaven River restoration still has a formidable adversary: the least tern. A few nests from that species are homesteaded on the filled-in river. Alternate sites nearby are being sought for the tern.
      Port is evaluating/pondering/tweaking the text of DEP’s Inlet Management Plan. Florida DEP, County, USArmy Corps of Engineers and FIND will be involved; the goals of restored beaches and a safe inlet are essential; the IMP will be the blueprint.
      City Management and Police, County Sheriff, and StJCo Fire &Marine Rescue departments, FWC, and USCG Jacksonville all provided updates. USCG LCdr Butts presented board with a chart of new buoy locations in the St. Augustine inlet. From the outermost safe water buoy, the “STA”, in to marker “8”, we have refurbished buoys and anchors. With the recent dredging, buoy “5A” became superfluous; it’s gone. There’s still a dog-leg out there. Residents of this area enjoy a proficient cadre of on-the-water experts who conscientiously keep our waters under safe surveillance.
      Commissioner Barry Benjamin was elected to Chair the Port, Herb Rippe will serve as Vicechair.
      CitizenAdvocate Ed Slavin presented us with the concept of a StAugustine Historical Park and Seashore.
      Meeting was adjourned at about 5:15; next meeting May 14, 2013
      Jay Bliss, Port Commissioner seat 5

      Came thru here late April dead low tide and heavy fog . no problem and markers are accurate.
      greg and donna on lady in red.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Augustine Inlet

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

    • Heritage Plantation Marina (St. M. 394.5) Seeks New Dockmaster

      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has been contacted by Captain Darla Spillane, property manager for Heritage Plantation and it’s adjoining marina. We have happily agreed to assist in her search for a new Heritage Plantation Marina dockmaster. If this position is of any interest to you, please follow the link below for a full description of the job requirements. You can then contact Ms. Spillane directly for more information and/or consideration.
      Heritage Plantation Marina guards the eastern shores of the AICW/Waccamaw River between marker #79 and Butler Island, a few miles north of Georgetown, SC. While this facility was once open only to residents, over the past several years there has been a change in philosophy, and cruising visitors have been once again welcomed.
      Click on the chartlet to the right, and a Chart View page will open, centered on this facility. You will then have a very good idea of its location.
      Good luck to one and all who seek this position!

      Click Here To Learn More About the Dockmaster’s Position at Heritage Plantation Marina

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Heritage Plantation Marina

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

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    • Big Sarasota Pass Discussion

      The series of messages below are copied from “The Cruisers’ Forum” (, an alternate information outlet highly recommended by everyone here at the SSECN!
      If you are not familiar with Sarasota, this community actually has two inlets, Big (Sarasota) Pass and New Pass. Having sounded both many times over the years, I can say unequivocally that I do NOT recommend that cruising size craft use either seaward passage. Even with the info very thoughtfully provided by the Sarasota Yacht Club (see below), it’s a dicey proposition at best to run Big Pass. Don’t even think about trying New pass!
      A FAR safer plan is to come inside or out into the briny blue via naturally deep Venice Pass to the south or Longboat Pass, just to the north. Some of you may very well have a different opinion about all of this, and we would very much like to hear from you. Please use the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link on the upper, right of this, and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages.

      A few weeks ago we called a local towing comp. for local knowledge. Fog offshore was very thick. My plan was to enter Sarasota Bay skipping Venice inlet and the company advised us to go further north to Longboat Pass. When I called the bridge tender, he said I will raise the bridge when I see your vessel………. How is he going to see the vessel if i cant see 50ft in front of the bow? As we turned east there it was a few yards away!!!
      After a few days I am wondering if it safe to enter/exit BP. I scouted the inlet from the end of Lido Key and could not see any nav aids west of green 9. Are there nav aids showing the inlet? Controlling depth? I understand that under some conditions (NW, W or SW with strong wind) its not recommended to use the inlet/pass.

      It’s a dicey pass. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron has some directions at their website, let me see…

      The “pass” at Big Pass moves around a lot, virtually with every heavy weather event, and shoals up very quickly. It would be very foolish to attempt that pass in anything but a very shaol draft yacht. Either come in at Venice and run the ICW or at Longboat Pass although the channel there has moved around a lot as well and does not match the channel that appears on most charts (see various NTM). Note that Longboat is a narrow channel and is subject to sharp, strong, currents. You’ll want to enter there at slack water. If you can’t see the bridge from the channel entrace mark due to fog, continue north and come into Tampa Bay through the Southwest Channel.

      We kept our boat on the West coast for two years. It draws 4 feet. Sarasota Pass was always a no go because of the shifting shoals. We used Longboat Pass on a regular basis whenever we entered the intercoastal. It does have considerable current and is quite narrow. The bridge tenders seem to think that a sailboat can approach closely and remain steady in the strong current before they open the bridge. We never followed their orders and held at least 100 yards from the bridge and told them we would approach quickly once the bridge began to open. Numerous times, we had powerboats cut in front of us or attempt to negotiate the small channel at the same time. They were completely clueless. We also experienced a very rude catamaran charter captain, who used the pass daily, try to intimidate us into moving closer before the bridge had begun to open. We had a very serious conversation once both of us passed through the cut. If you choose to use Longboat Pass, be your own captain, exercise caution and safety and you’ll be fine. Be prepared for other boats also making the transit. Good luck and good sailing.

      I sail a morgan 28 with a 4.5 draft and have come in and out Big Pass many times. You must check with the Sarasota yacht club, they maintain the bouy markers and are always moving. I have never seen less then 7ft, however it can become very narrow when the monster size boat with his noise high comes barreling through the Chanel with wakes 3-4ft high. As far as being able to moore up a nice spot is just north of the ringling bridge to the east, there is a fishing shop and a nice size cove that will protect from heavey north winds… From Sarasota Bay have fun sailing and hope to see ya around.
      Autumns Wind

      I am a local, and the pass is more than just dicey these days. Over the past year’¦last week we sailed our Mariner 31 outside and back, drawing 3’10’³, and saw 5’6’³ at high tide. That’s down from 7′ only a few months ago. Be careful if you must come into Big Pass, pretend you are a large barge and make wide turns around the floating markers on your way in.
      Captain Ray

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Venice Pass

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Big Sarasota Pass

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of New Pass

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Longboat Pass

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    • Pine Island Sound/Matlatcha Pass Area Recommended

      While I have sounded Matlatcha Pass several times over the years, particularly the shallow, hard to follow, southern portion of this passage, I must admit, however, to never spending too much time on Pine Island.
      This is not the first time I’ve heard of some dockage, and good eats ashore, but shallow depths on the Pine Island Sound side of the island have almost made me hesitant about taking a cruising size craft into the smaller streams which indent the isle’s westerly banks.

      Sounds like the effort might be worthwhile though. Of course, you can always anchor just south of the high-rise bridge. There used to be a potentially SHOCKING Issue here for sailcraft, but the powerlines were supposedly raised quite a few years ago, THOUGH THE NOAA CHART STILL LISTS THE VERTICAL CLEARANCE AS 56 FEET.
      Has anyone visited Pine Island Sound and/or Matlatcha Pass recently? Do you know if the powerlines at the bridge have indeed been raised? Can you recommend good places to anchor, dock and/or dine on Pine Island?
      Your fellow Western Florida cruisers can wait to hear from you!

      Matlatcha is a quirky little town at the entrance to Pine island. There is a couple marinas there, and also at each end of Pine island. Pronounced ( matt-la-shay) This is a can’t miss area. There are several quirky art galleries and restaurants in the area. Have lunch or dinner at Bert’s bar and grille. (we like manatees,taste like chicken). Also, at the southern end of Pine island, is St. James City it is nice with several small marinas and restaurants. A little further north is Punta Gorda. There is a waterfront area with dockage and restaurants called Fisherman’s village. this is a nice stop for a walk and some browsing.

      There is a new drawbridge just being finished alongside the old one, and you will currently find work barges and cranes in the vicinity. Work is supposedly being finished by mid-summer. Drawbridge is working, but you might experience delays until all work is cleared. There are NO LONGER any power lines in the vicinity of the bridge ‘“ they’ve been buried! Best anchorage is just south of the bridge. Once anchored, you’ll find Bert’s Bar (highly recommended!) just to the east of the bridge, on the south side, with docks available. Across the street is Andy’s Island Seafood fish store. Follow the shoreline to the west of the bridge around to Matlacha Park, where dinghy dockage is possible. From the Park, you can walk to the west to Barnhill’s Seafood Restaurant, with its attendant seafood store, or continue further west for some eclectic shopping, ice cream parlor, and the Sandy Hook Restaurant at the very west end of Matlacha (accessible by dinghy, if you look at the chart). Another good restaurant lies about 1/2 mile to the east, on the north side of the road ‘“ Miceli’s, offering good food at good prices, with nightly music. This restaurant is also accessible by water, if you look at the chart and take the first opening north of the bridge, on the east side, and follow along the shore.
      Access to Matlacha is best from the north, with deeper water and a well-marked channel. From the south, powerlines with a 47ft (sorta) clearance and a very twisty channel, along with less water (maybe 4’ with a rising tide), make it a mostly powerboat experience.
      Capt Mike Smith
      S/V Blue Skye
      M/V Scandalista

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pine Island and Matlatcha Pass

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Syd -  September 22, 2016 - 1:52 pm

        Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha welcomes cruisers.
        Transient slips on a limited basis. $1 a foot per night! Safe protected dinghy dockage available for $5 a day (hot showers too!)

        Ethanol free gas,bulk ice by the basket (it’s a working Fish House),Fresh seafood market (Really), quality restaurant on site and many more within walking distance. Art galleries, gift shops, Publix is about a mile and a half away,post office,public park, bars with nightly entertainment…

        Talk to Lisa about dockage 239-321-3281

        As far as draft goes; I’ve been through the North channel on vessels with a 7′ keel on all but low tide.
        The south channel from Matlacha bridge to the miserable mile can be done in my boat with a 4.6′ draft. The trouble spots are at markers 22and 38. There’s a big hump @38 that can be avoided by staying West of the marker 100′ or so. Marker 22 should be given a wide berth as well, but only 30′ or so.
        As far as the power lines are concerned ; I have a 44′ mast and I only get a mild shock during extremely high tides. (That was a joke). My chart reads 47′ over the channel. I hug the power pole on the west side and gain another 6-8′.

        Slow down. Make sure you’re in the channel, and come explore a town that most cruisers bypass. I changed my homeport from Key West to Matlacha 20 years ago.

        Reply to Syd
    • Recommendation For Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field

       The Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town's dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10' or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field, found east of the high-rise bridge, and just north of Estero Island is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR. This community is also one of the most welcoming to the cruising community in the Sunshine State. Every year they have a “Cruisers’ Appreciation Day.” How many municipalities show this much welcome to the cruising community?

      Best mooring field is at Ft. Myers Beach, and there is a fun, funky beachy tourist strip along the whole island. Not specifically seafood, though they do have a lot of it on the menu, but I always eat at the Plaka Greek restaurant right on Times Square.
      John Kettlewell

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field

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