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    • Captain Jane Eats at Garbo’s Grill – Key West

      If you are in Key West, or plan to visit this vibrant community during the 2011 winter season, run, don’t walk, to Captain Jane’s find, Garbo’s Grill!!!!!!

      Garbo’s Grill Talks!
      Recipe for good food: fresh, top quality ingredients, imagination and love. That may be the reason that regulars flock to Garbo’s Grill food stand in Key West on Greene Street, with over 80 of them receiving daily emails of today’s specials.
      Just across from the pepper store, there she is, Heidi Garbo herself, a legend in the minds of anyone who has eaten one of her justly famous mahi (with a slice of mango!) burritos.
      We chowed down the hefty fresh Mahi burrito and, because we like you, tried that day’s special of conch seviche. The burrito, which is a burrito despite internet posts that it is a taco, is substantial and made from freshly grilled Mahi, mango, cilantro, cabbage and a mayonnaise-based Caribbean sauce — you can add fresh jalapeno too if you’d like a little extra kick. Delicious and a good deal at $8. The seviche at $9 was a hefty portion of conch and chopped vegetables served in a clear plastic drinking cup; very spicy (Heidi says it depends on the particular jalapeno, so the heat varies), bracing hit of lime juice and I forgot what else that she says tenderizes the conch. Maybe it was papaya juice. No matter, bottom line, the glass that had been half full of ceviche, was quickly empty.
      Other menu items that day were black and blue burgers, angus hot dog and chicken quesadilla. Heidi knows real food, as in foodie-level food, so even if the label is ordinary, I think you can count on it being worth eating.
      Garbo’s food talks and it says: a restaurant doesn’t need walls, it doesn’t even need chairs. Wander by hungry for breakfast or lunch. We can’t guarantee the hours and I don’t remember the exact address — do road stands have addresses? In Key West, probably. Oops, just looked it up: 603 Greene Street. The hours? I’m not sure, but it’s often. Check the photo of the posted hours and you’ll know as much as I do.
      Extra bonus — if you want to know where else to eat in town, ask Heidi or check out her restaurant reviews. We’ll be posting two reviews of Heidi’s top pick restaurants — they were both superb. Thank you, Heidi!
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

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    • Rock Creek Anchorage (Statute Mile 516)

      We have finally been able to confirm the Rock Creek soundings reported by Captain Ted Jones below, and many earlier contributors to the Cruisers’ Net. Once deep Rock Creek has shoaled badly, south of the stream’s first turn to the northeast, north of the it’s intersection with the AICW. Favor the eastern banks in order to stay clear of the correctly charted shoal making out from lower Rock Creek’s westerly banks.

      ICW mile 515 ~ Rock Creek. The chart shows a narrow creek well protected from the NW by tall trees and deep water (except on the west side at the entrance) for much further than we wanted to go. However, the depth sounder indicated otherwise, and as we were turning around we grounded. It was near low tide, and we were able to back off easily and find deeper water (but nothing like the soundings of 22 feet) closer to the entrance, where we dropped anchor for the night.
      Buttoned up to conserve what heat we had left, we heard the sound of an engine nearby, and I stuck my head out of the hatch in time to see a Pearson yawl go steaming by headed for the spot where we grounded. I yelled, but he didn’t hear me. I watched unable to affect the inevitable outcome as I Gotta Go ground to a halt 50 yards astern of us. We talked on VHF, and I told him where the deeper water was. The skipper, who appeared to be along, said he was not concerned as the tide was flooding. Later, we could see that he had gotten off and anchored south of us closer to the ICW where the chart indicated — and we had confirmed — 7.5 feet.
      Ted Jones

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For the Rock Creek Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Rock Creek Anchorage

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    • Okeechobee Waterway Minimum Depth Calculator

      Thanks to Captain Ted Guy, we can present below one of the niftiest graphics I’ve seen in quite a while. What this chart shows is the MINIMUM depths cruisers can expect for a particular “Lake Depth.” Of course, they are referring to depths on Lake Okeechobee. With this handy graphic in hand, now you can get the Lake Depth off the ACOE site (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Operations/Branches/Navigation/NavNotices.htm), and then, with a quick look, check to see whether the minimum soundings will keep your craft off the bottom.

      Ted/All – The District and the Corps of Engineers have put together a handy dandy depth/vessel draft charts for Lake Okeechobee which can be found on our respective web sites. I have gone ahead and attached them to this e-mail. The District is currently in the process of publishing these charts as a 2-sided handout so they can be handed out at the Okeechobee waterway locks and other locations around the lake.
      David

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    • Another Disturbing Report of Cruisers “Hasseled” in Boca Grande Basin Anchorage

      This is the second report, albeit a second hand one, about cruisers possibly being hassled when trying to anchor on the basin in Boca Grande Bayou, just behind the Pink Elephant restaurant. Follow the link below to check out an earlier article.
      In mid-January, I had the good fortune to address the Boca Grande Yacht Club at Gasparilla Inn. A good time was had by all, particularly yours truly. I raised the topic of anchorage restrictions in Boca Grand Bayou, and no-one there seemed to know anything about it. One must wonder who is really causing trouble for boaters in Boca Grande??????

      Boaters have reported being hassled when anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou. Anyone know which authority has jurisdiction in these waters?
      Jo Mogle

      Click Here To View An Earlier SSECN Posting About Cruisers’ Anchoring on Boca Grande Bayou

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Boca Grande ‘“ Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande ‘“ Gasparilla Island Basin Anchorage

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    • Captain Jane Finds More Healthy Eating in Key West — But with Beer on Tap!

      Well, I’m glad to hear that some of my earlier comments inspired Captain Jane to discover more healthy eating in Key West, BUT with alcohol also on the premises!

      Claiborne “complained” in his introduction to my recent review of the organic health food restaurant “help yourself” that it doesn’t offer Mount Gay Rum…
      Well, Claiborne, since you mentioned it…. It just so happens that the human crew of Lady Jane just ate at a Key West health food restaurant where you don’t have to bring your own. The sign in the window says it all: Beer, Vegan, Vegetarian, BBQ Unwing Dings.
      How Key West loves internal contradiction! Tawdry bars, fried fish, restaurants with no complete walls and some with none at all… boozing until the wee hours and then somewhere else, not so much in full view are the health food folks, classical music concerts in the Episcopal church and yoga on the beach… We present to you, on the health food side, complete with internal contradiction, The Cafe.
      Its specialty? Organic food and organic microbrews and wine. Here you can sin — organically. The perfect place for a mixed marriage — where one partner needs beer and one needs to eat organic and vegan.
      Vegan items are clearly marked with asterisks; for those who need animal protein, there is fresh tuna and mussels, and if I’m remembering correctly the specials when I was there included local shrimp. Gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, feta cheddar are among the cheeses that can be added to sandwiches.
      If you are vegetarian, or even hardcore vegan, this is a find. The Cafe makes its own seitan (an Asian-style high-protein wheat gluten that is often used as a “mock” meat) and it’s chewy and the best I’ve tasted — it bears no relationship to the packaged kind I’ve bought in supermarkets. The veggie burger is made with legumes, carrots, broccoli, mushroom, scallions and sunflower seeds — this is no skinny pre-packaged Boca Burger. Crisp outside and yummy on garlic Ciabatta bread. Falafel is excellent and the salad elements fresh. The stir fry is huge, especially if you add a protein, the brown rice perfectly done and the peanut sauce we tried was excellent, not too sweet and not overpowering — it had just the right hint of peanut to make it unctuous, not deadly. There are vegetable stir fry dishes, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and a category called “Food Food” that includes BBQ tofu, kung pao tofu, polenta cakes, seared yellowfin tuna, udon bowl, mussels, quiche, lasagna and a pasta of the day.
      Everything we tried was first rate, cooked with care and good fresh ingredients. We’ve been here three times and still like it.
      The Cafe is located at 509 Southard Street, just off Duval. It is open Monday through Saturday, 11 to 10 PM. http://theCafeKW.com
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

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    • Dredging of the Salt Ponds in the Lower Chesapeake

      Salt Ponds lies on the western shore of the lower Chesapeake and is the southern-most protected water on the western shore outside Hampton Roads. The entrance is a narrow, perpendicular-to-the shore channel and appears quite daunting on first approach, but once inside the waters are very protected from all directions.

      Dredging started today January 16, 2011 on the channel for The Salt Ponds and Long Creek in Hampton, VA. The channel is now passable at all tides for vessels with 5’6’³ draft or less. Yet when the dredging is completed by mid February the controlling depth will be 8′ at MLW.
      Nonnie Minga
      LOCAL NOTICE TO MARINERS:
      The dredge JENNI LEA will be conducting dredging operations in Salt Ponds Channel from 12 January until 12 February, 2011. The dredge and assisting vessels DANNY JOE and MISS LEANNE will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13, 16 and 78. A floating and submerged pipeline will traverse the channel and deposit dredge material on the south side of the inlet. Mariners are cautioned to stay clear of dredge, booster, floating (pontoon) and submerged pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires associated with dredging and marine construction operations. Operators of vessels of all types should be aware that dredges and floating pipelines are held in place by cables, attached to anchors some distance away from the equipment. Buoys are attached to the anchors so that the anchors may be moved as the dredge advances and the location of the submerged pipelines are marked by buoys on each side of the channel. Mariners are cautioned to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road when approaching, passing and leaving the area of operations, and remain a safe distance away from the dredge, booster, buoys, cables, pipeline, barges, derricks, wires and related equipment. Owners and lessees of fishnets, crabpots and other structures that may be in the vicinity and that may hinder the free navigation of attending vessels and equipment must be remove these from the area where tugs, tenderboats and other attendant equipment will be navigating. Dredging projects are usually conducted twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week, all fishnets, crabpots and structures in the general area must be removed prior to commencement of any work. A NO WAKE transit is requested by all transiting vessels. Chart : 12222.
      The

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Salt Ponds

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    • More Groundings on the AICW’s Run Through The Cumberland Dividings (Statute Mile 704)

      Almost a year ago, Cruisers’ Net designated the Georgia section of the Waterway known as the “Cumberland Dividings,” as an “AICW Problem Stretch.” It is so gratifying to have our advice not only confirmed but heeded by an alert skipper. And thank you, Capt. Shires, for your warning about being glued to the magenta line, either electronic or paper!

      January 15, 2011 about mid-tide rising we came through Cumberland Dividings with a 4ft draft, two power boats in front of us had gone aground (with 4.5′ and 3.5′ draft) and a sailboat in front of us (5′ draft went middle of the red and green and lost water, also could not cross over to the green side as he encountered a shoal in the middle. He had to backtrack out and follow us through. We followed the advice on this site and hugged the eastern shore very close to the green markers and the bank and had no problem (we did go right over the charted but non-existant `island’ mentioned here). We did not observe the Red marker `1A’, nor did the sailboat coming behind us see it. We saw no additional floating markers anywhere. Anyone following the chart plotter and trying to avoid hitting the invisible island will end up with no water! Thanks for the great advice!
      Capt Ed Shires
      aboard IIDolphins

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For the Cumberland Dividings

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To An “Alert Position” in the AICW/Cumberland Dividings

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    • Fort Lauderdale Municipal Marina at the Las Olas Bridge – Captain Jane Reports (Statute Mile 1064)


      The Las Olas Marina is one of several maintained by the city of Fort Lauderdale. All the others are found along new River, hard by the downtown section of Fort Lauderdale. The Las Olas facility also has the twin advantages of being directly on the AICW, and within walking distance of the beach.

      I don’t normally supply a photograph of laundry machines for a story on a Florida marina, and if you’re not a cruiser and are reading this by accident, you might be thinking — is this what cruising is about? Well, yes, and no. It’s what makes boaters comfortable so that they can fully enjoy their cruising. To me, as a boater, this photograph speaks volumes. It says “respite”, it says “you can get your chores done and it will be a clean experience!” It says: Here’s a marina that cares about its boat-living customers.

      View of Las Olas Marina from southern group of slips facing north and the bridge

      I’m not sure why we never tried the Las Olas City Marina, but after recently reading veteran cruising writer Tom Neale’s glowing review of the city’s facilities at Las Olas, we decided to give it a try. Well, well, well. This is very different from what we’re used to. At first, as we spied the marina tucked under — literally — the Las Olas draw bridge, I thought, Tom, what were you thinking? But I was wrong and I now get it. This is yet another Florida city marina that shows what good government can and does do while keeping affordable and good facilities available to the transient boating public.
      As I just mentioned, this marina oddly occupies both sides of the Las Olas bridge. Yes, that Las Olas, the last and huge opening bridge you encounter southbound that brings you into the heart of Fort Lauderdale. So, before you arrive, find out which side of the bridge your slip will be, North or South. The marina staff is very courteous — they offered us a slip on either side clearly explaining the advantages of each. The North side of the bridge brings you closer to the cruisers lounge and facilities and the South side gets you (a) past the opening bridge and (b) a little further from the bridge noise. One thing to note at the moment is that the pump outs on the South side are broken and there are no immediate plans to replace it.
      So what’s it like living under a busy draw bridge? The bridge noise is definitely noticeable — the first night I felt like I was in a Woody Allen movie describing my childhood living under the Elevated train in Brooklyn. After a while, it became white noise. But, a bright side is that being under the bridge, you are in the no-wake zone — so there is surprisingly less wake here than from the apparently more-protected marinas we have stayed in here. Also, odds are a mega yacht will occupy the ICW T-head and lucky you will be protected even more from ICW traffic.
      As for “amenities”, the cruisers lounge, laundry, heads and showers are first rate municipal facilities. They are far better than most facilities we have been offered on the ICW and certainly better than facilities we have used in neighboring private marinas in Fort Lauderdale, perhaps these facilities are designed for cruiser-customers and are not what I have experienced as barely sufficient for their purpose after-thoughts constructed for the crew of or day workers servicing a mega yacht. Euphemistically called “Comfort Stations” in Las Olas-speak, these really are.
      In sum, Las Olas is an impressive facility and well located. It gets special Captain Jane Gold Kudos for its copious and accessible recycling bins (plastics 1 and 2, cans, bottles and paper!) Thank you, Las Olas for your commitment to recycling and for helping cruisers do their part to reduce our impact on the environment! This is yet another example of a Florida city marina that is in many ways superior to its privately-owned pricey counterparts.
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For the Fort Lauderdale Municipal Marina at the Las Olas Bridge

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Fort Lauderdale Municipal Marina at the Las Olas Bridge

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    • Good Times at Fort Myers Yacht Basin (Okeechobee Waterway – Caloosahatchee River)

      Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City ofFort Myers City Yacht Basin is, quite simply, one of the best city owned and run marinas in the Southeaster USA. It’s a great place to begin or end your trip on the Okeechobee Waterway, not to mention your exploration of the Western Florida coastline. And, lest we forget, these good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!

      I’ve been in marinas from the Great Lakes to Venezuela including 3 years at Ft. Myers Yacht Basin. In short, it’s Comfortable, Clean, and Convenient and well staffed with Mgr. Leif and his experienced, extremely helpful crew.
      Downtown Ft. Myers has gone through a total renewal and is a fun place to be. This marina just may be one of the shining diamonds of this wonderful city.
      Jim, M/V Blue Tang
      cruising the Bahamas

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fort Myers Yacht Basin

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fort Myers Yacht Basin

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    • Rodriguez Key Anchorage (Hawk Channel – Key Largo)

      Captain Jane’s observations on this anchorage mirror my own experiences. It’s fine if you must anchor near to Hawk Channel, as long as the weather does not get to agitated. Give me a well sheltered Florida Key Anchorage on the inside route very time, but, with the draft of Captain Jane’s vessel, that would be an iffy proposition at best.

      Anchored on north side of Rodriguez Key

      Sometimes you don’t want to stop and savor the swells of Hawk Channel and just want to get to Marathon — especially if your vessel draws 5 feet or more. With Pennekamp State Park now off limits to boats drawing more than 4 1/2 feet, according to the ranger who answered the phone the two times we have asked, that leaves safe harbors few and far between for many cruising boats.
      Rodriguez Key anchorage took good care of us during a small craft advisory one December night. Yes, we rocked enthusiastically when the front came in but we didn’t drag. We chose a spot in the charted anchorage on the island’s north side, close enough to be in her lee. Another vessel was quite a distance north of the island. She was there in the morning in apparently the same position as at sunset.
      We experienced excellent holding in 8 1/2 feet of water– winds were gusting at 20. North swells made it not my favorite experience but tolerable. I’ve experienced far less comfortable southern swells at Indian Key and similar conditions at Pumpkin Key. We set two anchors, a Fortress and a plow.
      It might have been more comfortable on the south side of the island, where another sailboat anchored that night, but I’m not sure as the swells in Hawk Channel are difficult to hide from. The NOAA predictions had been so wrong that day, it was difficult to know which side to choose.
      We met some experienced skippers who use this anchorage every crossing. It certainly makes possible a two-day trip between Dinner Key and Marathon which can be useful in a period of frequent cold fronts when three-day weather windows can be hard to find.
      In short, Rodriguez Key is a swell anchorage (pun intended) with excellent holding. The charted shoal on the eastern point appears to be marked by small floats. In a blow, set two anchors and bring plenty of ginger snaps.
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For Rodriguez Key Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Rodriguez Key Anchorage

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