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    • Praise for Bay Point Marina (Panama City, FL on Grand Lagoon)

      To access this superb facility, you must leaven the Northern Gulf ICW, and follow the path towards Panama City Inlet. You must then cut off on a narrow channel into wide Grand Lagoon. Bay Point Marina is the first facility encountered on Grand Lagoon.
      Having visited here many times myself, I can attest to what a great place this is, and these good folks are a SALT SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!

      Steve,the harbormaster, had a great shrimp boil for everyone here at the Marina. In the Carolinas we would call it Frogmore Stew. There was live music, all the shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, desserts and drinks that you could consume.
      Also if you need a mechanic in this area, Chuck Davis is the man. His phone number is 850-596-6469.
      Roy & Elvie on Roy El’

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    • Key West: Captain Jane Eats Cuban at El Siboney

      Yummmm, but I bet there were no vampires within 100 miles of Captain Jane’s vessel after this meal!

      The corner of Catherine and Margaret Streets is a healthy walk, a touch under a mile, from the Key West Bight marinas — just the right amount to allow you to imagine you earned a really good meal at El Siboney, a homey Cuban restaurant that is the best Cuban food I’ve ever eaten. The walk back will also help, especially if you finished your meal.
      We both ordered the garlic grilled half chicken with yellow rice, black beans and plantains. The folks at the next table looked over and said: Did you order the dinner special for four? Indeed, now that they mentioned it, that is what our two plates looked like and indeed, the leftovers provided a very nice second meal the next day. The chicken was crispy, appeared to be grilled under a weight or press of some sort giving it that special mix of crunch and smooth. We were two very happy campers. Black beans and rice were what they should be — flavorful, fresh and real. The plantains, crispy, caramelized and good enough to be dessert.
      We hear they’ve opened a branch in Marathon in the shopping center across from the Publix. We are hoping one of you Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Subscribers will step up to the lunch plate and check it and let us know how it is. As for the Key West original? Fantastic and the prices are very modest for anywhere, not just for Key West. A huge lunch costs less than $10 per person. A reason to brave that last bit of Hawk Channel and sail to what some say is the edge of the known world.
      PS: This was another Heidi Garbo of Garbo’s Grill recommendation — thank you Heidi!
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

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    • Jones Fuel Dock, Now a Thing of the Past (Statute Mile 945.5)

      Waterway veterans will remember fondly stopping at Jones Fruit dock, north of Vero Beach. Once upon a day, you could tie up here, go ashore and purchase very fresh citrus fruit from Orange Groves literally next door.
      Unfortunately, for most of us those days ended some years ago. The “dock” has been is such poor shape of late that I have not recommended stopping here since the mid 2000’s. I am very sorry to hear of the final passing of Captain Richard Jones. He will be missed up and down the AICW!

      On a sad note, we arrived at Jones Fruit Dock in the Indian River and found everything locked up and the dock empty. We learned from a neighbor that the owner passed away last Saturday, March 26. We had never had the chance to visit the dock before, but had heard from other loopers that it was a stop we should make. We pressed on, but 2 or 3 other looper boats behind us did tie up for the night. The neighbor had no idea what would become of the place.
      Larry & Jane Pfeifer
      on Bavarian Cream

      Here is the Obituary.

      http://tinyurl.com/3trfv6d">http://tinyurl.com/3trfv6d “>http://tinyurl.com/3trfv6d

      Ted Stehle, Editor
      WaterwayGuide/Skipper Bob Publications

      Thats a real shame
      Jim Lowry

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Old Location of Jones Fruit Dock

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    • The Beauty and Danger of Bahia Honda Anchorage (Florida Keys)

      Bahia Honda Anchorage

      The Bahia Honda Channel/State Park anchorage, which is the subject of Captain Charmaine’s article below. lies west of Marathon, and can only be entered from the Hawk Channel side, as a low level bridge prevents access from the Inside/ICW route. Even vessels approaching from Hawk Channel must cruise through a narrow section of the old Bahia Honda Bridge, where a short section of the span has been removed to facilitate navigation. We already have a “Navigation Alert” set at this old span, due to an entry in the Local Notice to Mariners about the bridge deteriorating.
      Now, Captain Charmaine gives us even more to think about in regards to this anchorage. Follow the second link below Charmaine’s article to view this anchorage in Chart View!

      March 29th 2011

      The Beauty and Dangers of Bahia Honda Anchorage
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd

      Bahia Honda Key is gorgeous. There’s something there for everyone at this incredible State Park. There is an RV Park, Marina (albeit for shallower drafted vessels), lots of nature trails, nearly 3-1/2 miles of paved road for jogging, biking, and walking. There are steps set between lush palms where you can walk atop the old railroad bridge and see captivating views for miles! Bahia Honda also boasts 2-1/2 miles of natural white sand making several beautiful beaches that are hard to best. The crescent beach of the anchorage is lovely. There is a comfy beach house for changing and outdoor showers to rinse off the saltwater after a relaxing swim. The Keys has never been known for its beaches. Bahia Honda puts us on the “beach” map!

      The ample anchorage is set between the remains of the old Henry Flagler Railroad (destroyed by the famous 1935 Labor Day Hurricane) and highway U.S. 1. In fair weather, this anchorage is ideal with its plethora of breathtaking foliage and million-dollar views of the beach. Once you’ve anchored, remember the current can be swift between the bridges, so don’t be too quick to jump into the water and swim to the nearby beach until you know it is safe to do so. You can also dinghy over to the friendly marina and tie up there. It is a short and enjoyable walk to the beach.

      In the anchorage, there is great protection from the east. However, any foul weather from the North or South can blow inadequately secured boats into one of the bridges. This has occurred many times in the past. But it does not have to happen.

      Last night (March 28th), it was reported that a sailing vessel was dismasted while anchored in Bahia Honda. A squall of weather blowing NNE hit the Keys around 22:30 with sustained winds of 25 knots, gusts up to 40. Before going to Bahia Honda to anchor, one must realize that even though the weather forecast may be for sunshine and lollipops; sudden and fast moving squalls do begin to occur this time of year. Bahia Honda anchorage, in the opinion of this writer, is fabulous if limited to a day sail as the month of March ends and the squally weather and winds begin.

      Opening into Bahia Honda Anchorage From Hawk Channel

      The report on the VHF from the Coast Guard said the boat was was taking on water and possibly sinking. With the wind direction, the vessel must have blown from south to north and hit the old Flager bridge. The old pilings there are quite substantial, a fiberglass hull is simply no match for those mammoth pilings. It was later stated that two passengers were soon rescued from the vessel in peril. At this time it is not known whether or not the vessel sank. It is great to know no one was hurt in what undoubtedly was a life-threatening situation.

      It is not clear whether or not the vessel had a working engine. On that note, it is unwise for any vessel without motor capability to anchor in the Bahia Honda anchorage. In the past, many a vessel without engines have sailed into Bahia Honda to wait for more favorable winds. As my mother used to say, “Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it…and all that comes with it.” That adage is a good one. This time of year one may very well get far more winds than wished for. Without a working engine one would be at the mercy of the winds. There is no mercy when anchored in between two bridge spans with no means to otherwise maneuver.

      The bottom line here is that this is just another one of the many horror stories people have read or heard about Bahia Honda’s Anchorage. Truly, there is a time for everything. With knowledge and attention, one can anchor there with no problems at all. September Sea has been there at least ten times staying as long as a week to ten days and we have never had a problem with holding. And yes, we have encountered a few storms before realizing there is a time of year not to anchor there! But we never dragged there–however, lots of other boats certainly did while we were there! We always anchor close to the beach where the sand and grass are plentiful and the difficult rocky bottom as far behind us as possible. We do not anchor in Bahia Honda overnight this time of year as hurricane season grows nearer.

      Be informed. Bahia Honda is wonderful!! One must use their head so their vessel and passengers will stay safe. You will love Bahia Honda’s anchorage, but at the right time of year and for the proper length of stay. In the Keys during this time of year one must watch the weather many times a day. If you don’t have radar, use NOAA weather on the VHF. In any anchorage in the Keys one can usually hail another vessel on either VHF 16 or 68 to inquire about weather. And don’t forget to use your instincts. Last night I noticed the breeze had cooled significantly. That was all the notice needed to turn on the VHF NOAA weather forecast and check radar.

      Bahia Honda. Beautiful, captivating, and wonderful for the entire family…but anchoring there can indeed be dangerous when not fully informed.

      Charmaine Smith Ladd, s/v September Sea
      SSECN Correspondent – Florida Keys
      “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

      Great article on one of our absolute favorite anchorages. No trip to the Keys is complete without a log entry for Bahia Honda, even if it is just for lunch!

      Captain Charmaine's Vessel ("September Sea") Anchored in Bahia Honda

      Worth Waiting

      All of the above stated is true. From the beauty of the park and beaches to the dangers of the anchorage.
      I did spend a night there in the squall conditions described above.
      However since I had read about the strong currents I had two anchors down not even considering that there might be a squall. The winds that night were predicted ENE which would be from behind the island giving us protection if they increased. But the squalls came from the ESE where there was no protection, surprise, surprise. We got pounded on an off for hours in the middle of the night. Sitting under the dodger in the companionway all the while I was thinking, if I drag I’m going to drag into that bridge.
      But since my anchors are over sized and one rode is all chain, with plenty of scope out we did not drag.
      I night to remember.
      Cap Jules
      S/V Nemesis

      I was there on the night of March 28th, having just returned from Cuba. The boat that hit the bridge was a 22 foot Pacific Seacraft. His engine was not working properly and he went back very quickly once he started dragging, although he tried to let more scope out ‘“ I had a spotlight on him to assist. The boat was not dismasted and Boat US was there to take he and his wife off the boat, which was then towed back into the anchorage and re-anchored, then towed to a marina the next day. I myself dragged onto the beach that evening and had to be towed off by boat US, and again was re-anchored well out where my boat comfortably handled the conditions.
      The safe part of this anchorage is well off the beach, where the current has not scoured the sand and it is possible to get decent holding. Close to the beach is NOT where you want to be despite what the OP says ‘“ the current rips through there and with the right winds, will pull your anchor out as it did mine. This by the way is the advice that Boat US will give you as well.
      Wally Moran

      Check out:
      Susan Kennedy

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Bahia Honda Channel Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Bahia Honda Channel Anchorage

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    • Updates on AICW/Little Mud River Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 655)

      Again, Captain Bob takes this trouble spot within less than two hours of high tide and offers some advice to his fellow cruisers.
      Please note that the Little Mud River section of the AICW, is the WORST problem stretch of the entire run from Norfolk to Miami. Trying to interpolate the tidal tables, it looks as if we must subtract 6 to 7 feet from the soundings below to discover what depths would be at MLW. That means we could easily be looking at a mere 3 feet of water near markers #190 and #195.

      10-29-10 Little Mud River (A Walk in the Park) Anchored in Duplin River night before, Great Anchorage
      Short Distance to Little Mud River. High Tide was 1200 Noon. Arrive Little Mud River 1-1/2 Hours before HIGH TIDE.
      Marker R190 10 Ft,
      Marker G195 10 Ft.
      Exit Mud River @ 1247 PM.
      Draft Five Ft we had five under the keel Minimum all the way. Good Run.
      Instead of folks posting horror stories they need to take life easy and do these areas of concern two hours before high tide.
      Captains Bob and Helen
      aboard M/Y ALLEZ

      We just passed the Little Mud River. We hit it at exactly low tide. Uh oh. We made it through OK however. The minimum depth I saw was 6.5 feet near marker 194. We met a tug going north. He said that he didn’t have a depth sounder, but that he draws 8 feet and he made it through fine, also at low tide. Go figure.
      Captains Dick and Libby Mills

      Good evening all, went through today 11/2/10 at 2:00 PM local, just about low tide & only saw 6.9 ft, just stay in the MIDDLE & you will be fine! Winds today were between twenty to thirty & did not seem to affect the depths.
      Captains Mike & Barbara aboard M/V Elan
      We did basically the same thing that Captains Bob and Helen did, anchoring in Duplin river the night before passage through the Little Mud River section. We hit it at about an hour before high tide and had a trouble free passage. (s/v MarLyn, S2 30ft, 5ft draft)
      Skipper Mark

      Transited Little Mud River 3/27/11 at half tide. 8-9 ft through mid channel.
      Skipper Stephen

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Little Mud River

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To The AICW Problem Stretch

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    • Major New Publication Available on Florida Anchoring

      Our sincere thanks to Captain Mary Dixon for forwarding the link below. We have read the document in question, and it IS LENGTHY and very wordy, BUT it is perhaps the last word on virtually ALL the issues surrounding the complex and emotionally charged Florida anchoring issue.

      Cruising News:
      New publication on Florida anchoring
      Mary Dixon

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Cruisers' Net -  March 25, 2011 - 10:54 am

        No, see the issue now. The feeds come from all the geos and this one was on several pages

        Reply to Cruisers'
    • Leave the AICW At Statute Mile 652 And Cruise Up Darien River to Darien, GA


      Darien Watefront Inn Porch

      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is very pleased to welcome our newest sponsor, the Darien Waterfront Inn. We invited innkeeper, Captain JoAnn Viera, to send us an account of why ALL cruisers should consider this short trek off the Waterway. And, wait until you read her words below. It makes me want to point our bow towards Georgia just to visit this wonderful community. See you there, and PLEASE patronize Darien Waterfront Inn whenever possible to thank them for their support of the cruising community, by way of their support for the SSECN!!!!!

      Leave the familiar confines of the AICW, and cruise up the beautiful Darien River to Historic Darien Georgia. Here you can dock your vessel at the Darien Development Authority docks and spend a night or two with solid ground under your feet. The cruiser friendly Darien Waterfront Inn is steps away from the dock. This seven room inn is situated in a remodeled warehouse perched on the Darien River Bluff. All rooms open onto a spacious riverview porch, perfect for relaxing.
      While visiting with us in Darien, don’t miss all the many attractions of our downtown businesses and historic district. Everything you need is ‘steps’ from the inn: Four local restaurants, a wine bar, gift shop, outdoor outfitter, hardware and marine supply store, post office, convenience store, even a salon that offers services for both men and women. We even offer laundry and grocery service….Let us do the work while you sip a glass of your favorite beverage with your feet up on the porch!
      If you want to take a stroll thru historic Darien, there is lots to see. Darien is the second oldest planned city in Georgia. Take the walking tour and you will visit 17 historic sites! From Tabby Ruins dating back to 1815, Vernon Square (c.1806) and Fort King George (c.1721)
      So make historic Darien and the Darien Waterfront Inn your next overnight stop between Savannah and Jacksonville. We look forward to meeting you! Call 912.437.1215 to make your reservation. Innkeeper, JoAnn will make dock reservations for you as well.

      Darien Development Authority Docks

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

    • Captain Jane Reports: Titusville, It’s a bird, it’s a rocket, it’s Titusville! Visiting the Kennedy Space Center (St. M. 879)

      451 Marina Rd., Titusville, FL 32796, Phone: 321-383-5600, Fax: 321-383-5602, Contact: Joe Stone General Manager, Hours: 8:00 am - 1:00 am, Groceries within walking distance , Restaurants nearby , 5 minutes from Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge , 10 minutes from Canaveral National Seashore , 20 minutes from Kennedy Space Center , 1 hour from Orlando Attractions , A GREAT account by Captain Jane of one of the really NEAT things to do while berthed at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Titusville Municipal Marina!!!!!

      Titusville is a great place to stay for several days and with an assist from the Titusville Municipal Marina’s three-for-two discount through March 31, 2011, there’s no excuse not to do so this 2010/2011 cruising season. Let’s put it this way, we will long remember, and with big smiles, our visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the space center’s compare-and-contrast sibling attraction on the island. In this post, I’ll focus on the Space Center and tell you what I would have liked to know before we went.
      The Kennedy Space Center is definitely one of the pricier Intracoastal Waterway side-trip attractions with ticket prices starting at about $33 for children and $37 for Seniors, the only good price news being that Seniors are 55 years old and up. If you’re not a pre-sold Space or astronomy nerd, one could quibble about the Space Center’s space race propaganda rhetoric and the privatization of the space center tours and its attendant corporate rhetoric. One could also quibble about the theme park aspect, complete with theme park standard food offerings and gaudy souvenir shops and theme park prices.
      But don’t. Take off that purist cap and enjoy the wonder that we ever thought of putting a person on the moon and that astronomical knowledge is coming in faster than scientists can analyze through the Hubble Telescope that is bravely going where literally no human has dared to go. While some of the presentations are a little touristic-lite and the omnipresent in-your-face souvenir shops can be a turn-off, there’s plenty of substance (and NASA logo moon boot slipper socks!) left to make this worth the hefty $33 + ticket prices.
      First, how the heck do you get there? We did not find any suitable public transportation, so our suggestion is to rent a car from one of three car rentals. Marina staff told us a taxi would cost about $60 round trip; we found car rentals on a week day ranged from $32 to $42 for a small no frills car. Rental car pricing has become as irrational as airline pricing, so if you are price sensitive, we suggest you call each of three car rentals and compare. All the agencies we called offered free pick up and return. We found the U-Save folks to be friendly and — big advantage over Enterprise — available on a Sunday. Internet deals abound with Enterprise, especially on weekends this winter, but beware the rental agent there who pushed us for insurance and misled us about internet pricing, so much so that we canceled our reservation on the spot and walked across the street and paid more at U-Save where we were treated right.

      Visiting the Kennedy Space Center

      We found that the basic Space Center entry ticket offered more than we wanted to absorb. The ticket is good for two days within a one-week period and includes the Astronaut Hall of Fame that you pass en route to the Space Center. In fact, it took us two visits to feel we had made a dent in all that is offered and we didn’t even set foot in the Astronauts Hall of Fame.
      When you arrive, we recommend you check the schedule for the IMAX movies and the “Astronaut Briefing” where there is a live Q & A with a working astronaut who has participated in at least one space mission. Those are the items that require a little planning to fit in.
      The two-hour introductory bus ride with stops at three main exhibit areas of the Space Center is core to the visit. It sets the stage. Your visit would also work well in reverse — see the IMAX movies and get fired up with the human drama, and then see the real physical objects whose stories you’ve just experienced.

      3D IMAX and Space — Perfect Combination

      Words cannot describe the experience of a 3D IMAX space documentary, which makes sense, or why bother making these movies. The Hubble telescope 3D IMAX is a real treat. What a gift to learn about the Hubble telescope in this way, its construction, repair and the sheer wonder of what it has been bringing us. This is great use of IMAX and 3D. Just a joy! The International Space Station 3D IMAX is also good and fun, but it would my second choice if I had time for only one. The movies are only 45 minutes and are on a rotation schedule, so check the schedule when you arrive so you can plan your visit.

      A simulation almost as good as square waves on the Gulf Stream in a Northern blow!

      Don’t miss the shake-rattle-roll Launch Experience. It runs every 9 minutes, so you don’t have to plan this one. It’s behind the cafeteria on the main campus where you first enter, a short walk from the IMAX. I once reluctantly escorted some young people to Epcot and please trust me, this is far better than any of those shake-you-up theme park simulations. This is really compelling and rattling. They aren’t kidding when they say empty your personal goods into a locker. The guy in front of me lost his base ball cap during lift off. It’s persuasive, fun, the narration is sometimes hilarious — and it gives perspective on what those fiery take-offs feel like from inside, minus the sensation of the G Force 800 pound gorilla on your chest. It also serves a boating purpose, which you may need as you approach the land of endless opening bridges — it helps put in perspective the frustration of waiting for a bridge to open on a breezy day during peak Intracoastal Waterway migration.
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Titusville Municipal Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Titusville Municipal Marina

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    • My Heart’s At Sea Forever

      Thanks to Captain Bill for sending us these moving words. I hope many of us may be able to stay at sea in body rather than just in spirit!

      I know not who penned these lines, but I think they are true for a great many people, including me, although we might not have sailed the Orient or other exotic places. Whether you travel on water by virtue of the wind propelling you or by power boat makes little difference. The true romance is in the travel, not the means of propulsion. Sooner or later we all must face the fact that the journey is nearing the end for one reason or another. Until that time comes, enjoy your time on the water to its fullest.

      My Heart’s at Sea Forever

      Long ago I was a Sailor.
      I sailed the Ocean blue.
      I knew the bars in Singapore…
      The coastline of Peru.

      I knew well the sting of salt spray,
      The taste of Spanish wine,
      The beauty of the Orient…
      Yes, all these things were mine.

      But I wear a different hat now,
      A tie and jacket too.
      My sailing days were long ago…
      with that life I am through.

      But somewhere deep inside of me…
      The sailor lives there still.
      He longs to go to sea again,
      But knows he never will.

      My love, my life, is here at home,
      and I will leave here never.
      Though mind and body stay ashore…
      My heart’s at sea forever.

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    • AICW Shoaling Reported North of Charleston (Near Statute Mile 459)

      This report centers on a section of the AICW north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge and is similar to earlier reports of shoaling between Statute Miles 455 and 465.


      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shoaling N of Ben Sawyer Bridge

      Click Here To View An Earlier Report on this Area

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