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    • Question About Boca Grande Pass Swash Channel

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      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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    • Caution on Entrance to Lake Boca Raton Anchorage, AICW Statute Mile 1048

      Boca Raton Anchorage on the northeastern section of Lake Boca Raton, east of flashing daybeacon #65, but, as Capt. Smith discovered, the preferred entrance channel seems to be on the north side of marker #65.

      Be careful entering this anchorage! We anchored here last night (2/28/12) and it is tricky to get into the anchorage. We entered just south of Marker 65 and almost went aground. The anchorage was crowded but everyone entered North of marker 65. We left the anchorage this morning North of the marker and had plenty of water. Nice anchorage It was crowded until dark with locals but we had a nice, quiet night.
      Steve and Regina Smith

      Good going on giving advice when entering Lake Boca. You can add that the depth is 6 plus all around the perimeter of the lake and the best depths is in the northeast end.
      Advice from a resident of Boca for 22 years.
      Harold Egor

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Boca Raton Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boca Raton Anchorage

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    • Cape Harbour Marina (near western mouth of Caloosahatchee River)

      Cape Harbour is indeed one of the best kept secrets on the Western Florida coastline. Yours truly, who has spent years personally research every marina (and anchorage) I could find on these waters never knew this marina was there until a fellow cruiser brought its existence to our collective attention.
      To access Cape Harbour Marina leave the Okeechobee Waterway/Caloosahatchee River at marker #92 and follow the marked channel into Glover Bight; break off to the northwest before reaching Tarpon Point Marina and follow canal through a LOCK into Cape Harbour’s well sheltered dockage basin.

      After talking with a number of long time Florida cruisers, I concluded this is the best kept secret on the West coast of Florida. Convenient, inexpensive dockage, low diesel prices, fun restaurants and shops right by the docks, and a very cooperative staff. Try it and you will like it. `I guarantee it.’
      Charles `Chuck’ Waygood

      Amazing place and the people are nice!
      Nick

      The only disadvantage is the lock you must go through to get to the marina. We had to wait 40 minutes to get out of the marina when we were there last fall.
      James Angel

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Cape Harbour Marina

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

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    • Changes to the Broadcasts of NOAA Weather Forecasts

      This Local Notice to Mariners explains the changes to the NOAA radio broadcasts zones and is too lengthy to post here. For details on the 24 new zones, please follow the link below.

      CHANGES TO THE BROADCAST OF WEATHER FORECASTS FOR THE OFFSHORE SW NORTH ATLANTIC, CARIBBEAN AND GULF
      OF MEXICO EFFECTIVE APRIL 03, 2012
      Effective Tuesday April 3, 2012 at 200 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) or 1800 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) of the National Hurricane Center will reconfigure its marine zones for the offshore waters in the Caribbean and SW North Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico. The existing nine (9) zones will be
      reconfigured into twenty-four (24) zones This greater number of zones will result in a number of improved products and services. For further information see: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/notification/scn11-40marine.htm

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    • An Appeal from Boat/US re LightSquared and GPS

      Join Today, enjoy better boating all year long. Online Special - 25% Off*, Pay Only $19.00 For a Limited Time , Annual Domestic Dues $25.00....Annual International Dues $30.00, *Discount only appliesYou need not be a Boat/US member to respond to this appeal for comments on this important issue for all cruisers. The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is proud to join with Boat?US in a appeal to the cruising community to let our collective voices be heard on this vital issue!

      February 24, 2012
      Dear Boat/U.S. Member:
      Last summer boaters sent a clear message to the Federal Communications Commission ‘“ `Don’t Mess with GPS!” As you may remember, a private company, LightSquared, received preliminary FCC approval to offer a new cellular broadband service. Tests showed this service could significantly interfere with GPS signals.

      Thanks to over 18,000 boaters who submitted comments, along with many other GPS users, the FCC required additional testing in the fall. (Thank you all for your help!) Last week, these tests revealed that the LightSquared’s network would interfere with GPS and that there are no practical fixes. As a result, the FCC has proposed to withdraw LightSquared’s approval.(http://www.gps.gov/news/2012/02/lightsquared/)

      The FCC has a new comment period (open to March 1) asking for the public’s opinion. Even if you wrote last summer, please take a few minutes now and write the FCC asking them to protect the GPS signal by saying `No’ to LightSquared’s current proposal. Given this company’s tenacity over the last year, we want to make sure that boaters’ needs are remembered as the FCC makes their final decision.

      Important points to make:
      How do you use GPS in your life ‘“ on the water, on land, or in the air?
      What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?
      Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.
      All the studies show that LightSquared’s proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.
      Tell FCC that you rely on them to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support their recommendation to stop LightSquared’s current proposal

      You can submit comments directly to the FCC through their online comment form. (We regret we can’t streamline this process for you, but it is important enough we’re still asking for your help.) Here’s how:
      Click on this link for the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS): http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/hotdocket/list
      Select `Proceeding Number 11-109.’ It should be near the top of the list.
      In the designated boxes, enter your name and mailing address.
      In the box that says `Type in or paste your brief comments,’ do so. Click `Continue’.
      A review page will load listing all of the information entered. If correct, click `Confirm.’
      If you have any trouble, you may contact the FCC ECFS Help desk at 202-418-0193 or email at ecfshelp@fcc.gov

      Thank you for taking action to protect the integrity of the GPSsystem.

      Margaret Podlich
      President, BoatU.S.
      GovtAffairs@BoatUS.com
      703-461-2878 x8363

      For an update on this and other government affairs topics please visit http://www.BoatUS.com/gov

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