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    • Report from Caledesi Island State Park Marina (north of Dunedin)

      Caladesi Island Marina - Click for Chartview

      As I recall, the entrance channel leading to Caladesi Island State Park Marina (from Hurricane Pass) can be a bit of a challenge for first timers, but otherwise, this is a pretty good facility for those who just want to get away from the maddening crowd. It lies just north of the Dunedin and the Honeymoon Island Bridge

      Caladesi is located immediately north of Clearwater Beach. The beach is still great for shellers, especially near the northern end. Dockage is $1/ft at a slip, $2/ft on a t-dock; 30 amp elec. and water included. 24/7 bathrooms on shore, and a snack bar. Florida senior citizens (65+) pay half. Limit is 14 days, but you can contact them and offer to be a volunteer: free dockage in exchange for 20 hr/wk easy labor. For example we met someone who’s job was to pick up any trash (rare) on the beach. She would carry two bags; one for trash, one for shells.
      There are signs that say “watch out for rattlesnakes” but we haven’t seen any. We have seen lots of armadillos, some raccoons, numerous types of birds, gopher tortoises, and very few people.
      The channel is shallow in places, but marked and doable for our 4’6″ draft. A great place to visit. Chosen twice by “Dr. Beach” as the best beach in the country.
      Wade Ehlen
      MT 36 Shady Lady
      New Bern NC

      Wade is spot on about Caladesi Island. It was one of our favorite weekend spots since it was so close to home yet so far away. The beach is absolutely beautiful.
      But Wade, the rattlesnakes are there, although they tend to be in the wooded areas. There used to be a skin mounted on the wall in the rangers office that must be 6′ long. We have seen them that big in the winter, warming themselves in
      a sunny spot on the nature trails.
      Randy Pickelmann
      Morning Star

      When we were in Caladesi last year we caught a line in the prop while in the marina so my husband hopped over to free it. About five minutes after he was back on board a rattlesnake swam by on its way over to the mangroves. We were glad we hadn’t seen it before freeing the line because we might have left the line in the prop rather than risk swimming with the snake. The next day, we also watched as a ranger chased one off the park’s work boat. Still, if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. And Caladesi is so beautiful its worth the stop, even with the snakes!
      Paige Caldwell

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Caladesi Island State Park Marina

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    • “Sailorman” Highly Recommended, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

      As many of you already know, this is a fascinating place to visit – a great way to spend a rainy afternoon!

      If you want a great [marine] Flea Market, look at Sailorman. You can spend a whole day ogling their good stuff. Google the word Sailorman and you will get their website.
      Their address is:
      350 SE 24th St. (aka State Road 84)
      Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316
      Sailorman’s waypoints: 26.05.55 N, 80.08.36 W
      Ken Bloomfield
      m/v Tellico Lady

      Right next to the biggest West Marine store in the corporation (I think).
      Jim Ward

      I am looking for a nice set of navigation lights for a 50′ boat. In the past I have purchased things from your consignment deals and hope you have something that would work for me. I will be in Florida for the next two weeks so let me know if you have something that I should look at.I am from Toronto Canada and have dealt with Chuck in the past.

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    • Pelican Bay Anchorages (hard by Cayo Costa Island/State Park), Western Florida ICW Statute Mile 25

      Like Captains Mary and Jerry, we just love anchoring in Pelican Bay,and then dinghying ashore to unspoiled Cayo Costa. Thanks to its being a Florida state park, this barrier island remains almost entirely in its natural state. Hiking across to the ocean side, particularly at sunset, is one of the greatest experiences the western coastline of the Sunshine State has to offer.Unfortunately, the rub is that there is an entrance bar, which, at low tide, carries only about 4 1/2 feet of water. Some local cruisers have told me they have found a deeper route, which will hold 5 feet at MLW.And, in this regard, there is a GREAT You-Tube video giving SOLID ADVICE about entering Pelican Bay, available at: might also want to check out a string of earlier messages here on the Cruisers’ Net concerning how best to enter this series of anchorages:/?p=914Anyway, check out the message below to read one more glowing opinion about the wonderful qualities of anchoring on Pelican Bay!Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa is the best anchorage on the west side of Florida – hands down. We have been in there on a holiday weekend when there were 70 boats and everyone was on a single anchor with plenty of swing room. Easy dinghy ride to Cabbage Key for a ‘cheeseburger in paradise’.Marty & Jerry RichardsonWe are there now and can see why the west coast is Jim’s favorite. We anchored last night at the best anchorage on the West Coast. Even [cruisers] adverse to anchoring out should give Cayo Costa a try. There is more than ample room to swing on one hook. There were 18 boats anchored last night enjoying a full moon and a romantic sunrise. Cayo Costa Island is a state park. We dinghied to the dock and walked 3/4 mile across the desert island to the gulf side beach. (There is a regular tram service and bikes for rent, but we preferred to walk ). We had the whole beach to ourselves! Access Fee is $2.00pp. Don’t pass this anchorage! Oh, by the way, there is also a floating dock where you may tie up overnight for $20.Alan LloydAuthor, Great Loop Navigation Notes Eyeball method into PBay is a line from R74 to the entrance sign leaving sign to Starboard; then along the sand spit. Start aiming for the park dock once you are about halfway down the spit.Or if you must-plug these into your GPS to route yourself into PBay.A: 26 41.940N 82 14.208WB: 26 41.745N 82 14.525WC: 26 41.600N 82 14,600WD: 26 41.100N 82 14.600WE: 26 40.900N 82.14 (40°54N / 082°8.4W).400WF: 26 40.950N 82 14.200WG: 26 41.100N 82 14.250There is small power boat access out the south with local knowledge (uses part of the Punta Blanca channel) ‘“ Watch the ferry. Above will get you in (for 5’ or less) on all but an extreme winter low. There are a couple of bars so don’t freak if you think you’re in but start losing depth again. If you are coming from the south you can turn onto the A-B leg close to B. Start cheating about G71 and aim for a point to the right of B. If the depths get scary jog right until you are comfortable. Turn onto the track when you get to it. Once inside the chart is petty good at identifying the deeper areas. Standard rules apply- if there are a lot of boats in the anchorage and no one is anchored in what looks like a choice spot there is probably a shallow reason. You want to be surprisingly close to the beach from B to C. There is a nice hole around ‘˜E’ and we usually anchor there in about 8-9′. E-F can be a problematic stretch so exercise care. You may stir more mud than you want.KimWe’ve anchored here on 4 occasions and each time we enter and exit from the north Pelican Pass inlet. We stay as close to the north beach as possible as this is where the deepest water is at the entrance channel. Once inside Cayo Costa you’ll find two pools with 8 to 9 foot depths with the balance being between 5 to 6 feet or so. There are some shallow areas but it is all manageable.Jim FavorsKismetOn Pelican Bay entrance. R 74 is now a nun, not a daymark.Bill DixonClick Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Outer AnchorageClick Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Park Service Dock AnchorageClick Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay – Punta Blanca Island AnchorageClick Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pelican Bay

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    • Peck Lake Anchorage (Statute Mile 992)

       I can tell you from extensive, personal experience, Peck Lake Anchorage is wonderful, IF you can clear the shallow bar that lies between the AICW channel and the deeper waters to the east. The best spot to transit the bar varies, but we have held as much as 6 feet MLW, and at other times, these soundings have shrunk to 4 feet at low tide.
      Once you get the hook down, dinghy ashore and walk the short distance to the totally unspoiled beach. This is a wonderful place to while away a warm, lazy afternoon!!!!

      5 miles or so south of the St.Lucie inlet the ICW widens to a decent anchorage. It is undeveloped except for a dinghy dock. 100 yds beyond the dock is a very nice beach ( Jonathan Dickenson State Park)

      I’ve been here several times, but it would be most helpful to know the exact entry point off the ICW to get into this anchorage. I’ve always depended on the kindness of those in this anchorage before me to guide me in due to the challenge of finding the ‘˜sweet spot’ to get over that bar’¦and passed it by on those occasions when some braver soul had not already ‘˜done the deed’ before me. Hints anyone?
      Wally Moran

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Peck Lake Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Peck Lake Anchorage

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    • Good Words for Swan Point Marina and Boatyard, AICW Statute Mile 247

      Swan Point Marina guards the AICW’s western banks, immediately south of the AICW/New River/New River Inlet Problem Stretch intersection, just north of marker #4.
      This facility changed hands about a year ago, and while we were sorry to see the former management depart, it is very gratifying to learn that the new owners are doing such a great job for visiting cruisers!

      While traveling south we were unable to clear the fixed Topsail Bridge just south of Alligator Bay due to extremely high tides.
      We spent the night at Swan Point Marina and were very pleased with the service. Under new ownership, this marina is a family owned operation with plans for a complete renovation. The owners were very kind and helpful in every aspect.
      Vince Archetto

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Swan Point Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Swan Point Marina

      Click Here To Read An Earlier Article Related To The Closing of Swan Point Marina

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    • Western Florida’s Big Bend Passage, Apalachiacola to Clearwater

      Clearwater Entrance - Click for Chartview

      I have often said before, but it bears repeating again, “get twelve cruisers together, and you will give fourteeen opinions about how to best traverse Western Florida’s waterwayless ‘Big Bend’ region.” Every time this topic arises, whether it’s here on the Cruisers’ Net, or some other nautical forum, a wide range of often very useful and informative opinions come to light. That’s just the case below.
      Overnight passages can be memorable, especially when the seas cooperate as Capt. MacMahon describes below. The direct channel to Clearwater Municipal Marina from the Western Florida ICW (there is another entrance from Clearwater Pass Inlet), cuts sharply west, just south of the high-rise Clearwater Beach Bridge.

      Calypso (American Tug 34) crossed the Gulf from Apalachicola to Clearwater on September 22-23. Left Apalachicola at 8:30 a.m. and went down the GICW to East Pass. Exited East Pass into the Gulf shortly before 11:30a.m.
      Weather report was for light winds (5 to 10 mph) out of some derivation of the North for all day and night with waves projected to be 1 to 2 feet. It was a little bouncy going thru East Pass and for the next 45 minutes or so until reaching deeper water. Then, it smoothed out into widely spaced two foot swells which the boat glided over. Conditions got even better as the day progressed and as Calypso worked its way further South until it was essentially smooth throughout the night. Made better time than planned so had to slow down several times in order to arrive after daylight. Stayed out in deeper water (40 feet plus) as approached Clearwater so as to avoid expected crab pots in shallower water. As it got light headed into Clearwater Pass and there were no crab pots off the coast there. Dredging
      equipment was at Clearwater Pass but no problem getting by it. Turned left just after going under the high rise bridge over the pass and went up the side channel to Clearwater Beach Municipal Marina. Somewhat shallow (5 feet over the bar) in the side channel (with about one foot of tide. But, once over the bar depth was fine. The marina has fixed docks and there is a little bit of wake from tour boats (but not bad at all). Showers/heads are not climate controlled. Dock master was helpful. And, it is close to the beach and lots of restaurants/bars.
      Mark MacMahon

      We found Panama City to Clearwater area to be the best for us. Leave Panama City in the morning, over night to Clearwater entrance. Anchor between condos and sleep and rest the rest of the day. Don’t like going across that shallow lake east of Panama City. We also found the return trip to Panama City nice also. We would anchor thru the single lift bridge for a day or two. Then there’s the visit to Gano’s bayou for some of the best hospitality ! Thanks,
      Ted Brown, boatless but thinking

      We’ve done the Gulf crossing 5 times, all overnighters. We departed from Tarpon Springs or Tampa/St Petersburg going west. Destin, Panama City, Carrabelle going east. We’ve always done the overnighters as our philosophy is that one over night is one overnighter at our trawler speed of 8 mph (7 knts). Leave in the Daylight from either end and plan to arrive no earlier than mid day going east so that you are not looking into the sun and can see the myriad of trap floats that extend a surprising distance off shore some as far as 30+ miles. Just get into port in full daylight going west.
      Having spent time in the arm pit, Steinhatchie and Cedar Key hold no attractions for me so I prefer to get across and not hassle with the shallow entry channels guarded by oyster/clam bed. If you really want to go to them watch your tides and remember the winter northerlies can and does draw the gulf waters down up to +2′ lower than MLLW where it will remain for several days.
      So beware of entering shallow channels with expectations of leaving when ever. The distance we go(departure to arrival point) when doing an overnighter is determined by the weather window and weather at each end which can vary depending upon wind speeds and directions at the different points i.e. following seas over head seas, vice fetch and durations along the planned route. Contrary to some guides in all our crossings we have never been out of range (VHF) contact with a USCG site. Remember, patience is the key to an uneventful and boring (at best) crossing and daylight
      departures and arrivals.
      M/V “Carolyn Ann” GH N-37

      Joe Pica said “and remember the winter northerlies can and does draw the gulf waters down up to +2′ lower than MLLW where it will remain for several days. So beware of entering shallow channels with expectations of leaving whenever.”
      That is some good advice and things to consider. Thanks for posting that Joe. After living in FL for one winter I saw that is true.
      Ralph Yost

      You ask a good question, what is the best destination for crossing the Gulf, Tarpon Springs or Clearwater. Both are good but slightly different. Tarpon Springs is about 5-6 miles closer if the total crossing distance is critical and marinas there will take reservations, more critical in years past when there were more boaters out there. Clearwater is an easier approach and a few less crab pots to dodge but you would be in the deeper Gulf for a bit longer, important if the west wind is starting to pick up as you finish your crossing. Clearwater has their sunset celebrations that are indeed special but Tarpon Springs has that delicious Greek food that can’t be found many other places.
      To decide what is best port, you will have to serve rum drinks to about a dozen cruisers who have done it before but hope that someone passes out so there can’t be a tie vote. Stay safe,
      Tom Conrad

      The information posted is very helpful. I do have a follow up question for the group. Cruising at 9knts aboard my GB 32, how long should I plan for getting from Fairhope AL to East Pass? Thanks!
      Randy Hondros

      Your priorities should be your major guide in planning time from Fairhope to East Pass. On our last trip through that section, it took us over 6 weeks. There are miles of sandy, shell-covered beaches to explore ‘“ usually by yourself this time of year. Anchor at Perdido Key, Shell Island, and Cape San Blas. Don’t miss the Naval Air Museum and Joe Patti’s seafood market in Pensacola. Apalachicola is a quaint town with some of the best oysters and shrimp in the world. The Florida Panhandle is a great cruising destination that should be savored slowly. Too many cruisers rush through the Panhandle concerned about getting to a point to cross the Gulf and miss some outstanding experiences.
      Glen and Jill Moore
      DeFever 40 Last Dance

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Clearwater Municipal Marina

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

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    • Praise for Argus Data Reports

      It is very gratifying to receive reports like the one below from Captain Bob. How wonderful that he found Survice Engineer’s ARGUS data so useful AND accurate. It’s just another way the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net strives to provide ALL the information necessary to safely and enjoyably cruising the coastal waters of the Southeastern USA!
      By the way, the report of shoaling south of St. Augustine to which Captain Bob refers was posted earlier this year.

      Looked at the Argus info for this stretch as well as other stretches south of here around Pons Inlet [Ponce de Leon Inlet]. What a huge benefit to have this. It was always right on what I found less than an hour after low tide. This is a big step forward from reading the subjective comments of other cruisers.
      Captain Bob Clemons

      Click Here To View A Posting About Shoaling South of St. Augustine

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    • Professional Praise for Osprey Marina (Statute Mile 373.5) – Captains Mark and Diana Report

      Our strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, owners and founders of On The Water ChartGuides, have provided us with a sterling review of one of the most praised marinas to be found in the South Carolina Low Country. We agree with everything this professional cruising duo has to say below, and, of course, let’s not forget that Osprey Marina is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      On the Water GuidebooksHi Claiborne,

      Osprey Marina is aptly named, located along the Waccamaw River (STM 373.3), where you’ll see LOTS of osprey and osprey nests.

      I’ll include two photos, showing the facility, marina, and basin:

      The facility is built around a quiet, secluded basin tucked down a narrow tree-lined channel. It’s easy to forget that crowded Myrtle Beach is just to the north, over the treetops.

      The marina is a great place to leave your boat for holiday travel. Myrtle Beach International Airport is only 14 miles away.

      The basin is incredibly protected and the owners and staff go above and beyond to make you happy and take care of your boat.

      And the rates are very competitive: cruisers should be sure to ask about their decreasing-by-the-day dockage fees.

      When you check in you receive a captain’s bag guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s loaded with treats that show this marina understands what boaters enjoy: goodies like travel packs of laundry detergent, crackers, and homemade local pumpkin butter.

      Sherry, we especially enjoyed the pumpkin butter! [ hint ‘¦ hint ]

      Best and see you On the Water,

      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

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

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

      Click Here To View the Osprey Marina Photo Gallery Take From Our South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Osprey Marina

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    • Sailor Looks for Post Hip Replacement Cruising Advice

      If any fellow cruiser has advice for Captain Wilmington, please click follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” button/link to the above right. We will post your replies for all to share.

      Any fellow sailors/boaters out there who have had a total hip replacement. I would like to know how you adapt/adjust your movements so that you can still enjoy the Big Blue!. My replacement is 3 weeks old, and I am looking forward to spring boating.
      Capt Mike Wilmington

      I had a total hip replacement (anterior method), Jiffy Hip, in 2007. I was ambulating the same day and left 3 months later taking our boat from Yorktown, Va to Savannah, GA with no problems. We have since cruised Chesapeake Bay and just spent 5 months last winter in Charleston, SC on the boat. My doc put no restrictions on me and I haven’t needed any. I can’t speak to the traditional posterior method that involved cutting the glutemus maximus muscle. Hope this helps.
      Jake Smith

      I had a total Hip replacement on 8/1/11, and was back on my trawler 10/ 10/11. That was after both knees in 4/10/11. The hip was a piece of cake, compared to the double knees. We cruised the whole winter/spring of 2011/12, and are now cruising again, since 9/12.
      Roger Hayes

      I am in my mid-70’s and still active. I had hip replacement surgery in 1999 (right hip) and 2007 (left hip). I carefully followed my surgeon’s recommendations following surgery. If your surgeon recommends therapy, do it. After three months I was able to ride my horse, ski, bowl, play golf, and boat.
      To have a good result you must not stress the implant while it is fragile and your muscles are still weak. Avoid falling and sports like tennis that include twisting and short stops.
      I recently had knee replacement. After three months I was back bowling and golfing. Boating waited for good weather.
      Good luck!
      Ann Kendrick

      Thanks for the good advice, and thanks to the Cruisers Net for posting my message. My doc says the 90 degree rule is forever, and that rule puts a crimp of sorts into my singlehanded sailing. The advice boosts my spirit and I am ready for spring!!!
      Capt Mike,
      Wilmington NC

      I would recommend you get a second opinion from a surgeon who uses the Jiffy Hip anterior method of hip replacement. The 90 degree rule does not apply.

      Jake, my surgery was posterior, and I was sent home with 3 rules’¦’¦no crossing legs, no pointing of foot inward on op-leg, and no bending at the waist more than 90 degrees’¦.

      You might want to check this site about hip replacement:

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    • Warnings of Swift Current at the Harborage at Ashley Marina, near AICW Statute Mile 469

      The Harborage at Ashley Marina - Click for Chartview

      The Harborage at Ashley Marina lies along the northeastern shores of Ashley River (on the Charleston peninsula), between the charted 56 foot fixed bridge, and the 18-foot Highway 17 bascule bridge.
      While we certainly have NO argument with either Captain Koerner’s or Captain Jay’s advice to be on the lookout for swiftly moving waters when approaching this facility’s piers, I might just add, “welcome to the South Carolina Low Country.” Strong tidal currents are part and parcel of almost every anchorage and marina from south of Myrtle Beach to St. Marys River.

      I keep my sailboat at this marina. Last April she was T-boned by a trawler whose captain used hiS bow thrusters to turn the boat around during a strong ebb tide. Boat never made the turn.
      A powerboat struck another powerboat yesterday while trying to back in against the current (which seems to run 45 degrees to the shore, rather than parallel).
      And this morning, a transient sailboat was unable to back ouy against the current and was T-boned against the pier before striking another sailboat in his slip.
      HB Koerner

      I second HB’s advice. I’ve stayed at Ashley’s a couple of times as a transient, and usually ask if I can stay on the outside dock so I don’t have to deal with navigating the interior slips with the current.
      Dennis Jay
      `Delta Blues’
      Annapolis, Md.

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For The Harborage at Ashley Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Harborage at Ashley Marina

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