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    • Arcane Opening Procedure at the Moore Haven Railway Bridge (Okeechobee Waterway, St. M. 78.5)

      Click on Charlet Above to Open Chart View Page Centered on Moore Haven

      Wow, this sounds like something that might have taken place during my Dad’s cruising days in the early 1950’s! Note the VERY HELPFUL phone number provided by Captain Regina below, if you should find yourself in this same fix!
      Moore Haven is located north of Clewiston, FL, and is the gateway to the western 1/2 of the Okeechobee Waterway!

      Today our destination was Indiantown, eastbound across Lake Okeechobee, so we wanted to get an `earlier’ start at 8 a.m. We had spent the night at Moorehaven and as we went under the Moorehaven bridge, we noticed that the Moorehaven Railway Bridge was down. It’s supposed to be open unless a train is coming. Several of the cruising guides suggest sounding the horn for someone to open it. We tried that several times to no avail. Finally, we called the lockmaster at Ortona Lock for suggestions. He gave us the phone number of the CSX Dispatch in Clewiston. After a chuckle, the man at CSX we spoke with said they’d send someone in about 5 minutes to open the bridge ‘“ SO NO BRIDGETENDER ON DUTY???. After 30 minutes, a man in a pickup truck came and in 10-15 minutes the bridge was open.. So our early start wasn’t so early ‘“ we lost over an hour waiting for the bridge to open. Oh, one of the joys of cruising’¦’¦
      If you are crossing Lake O and have a questions or problems with a railway bridge, here is the number we were given for CSX Dispatch in Clewiston: 863-983-3163!
      Regina Smith

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Moore Haven

      There appears to be a lot of RR activity in Moore Haven lately. We came through on 2/16 and the RR bridge was down. There was a short train preparing to cross. A couple of men got off the train and walked back and forth across the bridge like they were inspecting it. The train finally crossed and we had to wait about 10 minutes to go through. I don’t know of any of RR bridges that have bridge tenders on duty.
      Susan Parker

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    • Shad Fishing In the AICW/Waccamaw River, SC

      The legal season for shad gill net fishing runs from Nov 1 to Mar 1. Gill fishing is only allowed on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Fortunately for we cruisers, there’s only a few days remaining in the season. In the meantime, watch for these local fishermen and, as usual, give their small boats a very slow, no wake pass! As a kid, I helped my Dad and Grandad tend their gill nets in the Ocmulgee River in GA and we often fished well after dark.

      Helping a friend bring his new boat from Little River, SC to Charleston, SC, we were cruising the ICW on the Waccamaw River when we cam upon a man in a jon boat waving an orange PFD at us and motioning us away from a line of what we thought were crab trap markers. We went on around and a few miles later had much the same experience only the guy waved and pulled up to us and told us he had a net strung between two floats.
      We spent the night at a marina in Georgetown, SC and asked the staff about this. Apparently, there is a certain time of year when people are allowed to place nets across the river to catch shad. They cannot block more than one half the river and must be on duty the entire time to warn boaters away from their nets. Just FYI.

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    • Dinghy Dock at the Roosevelt Channel Anchorage (near Statute Mile 13)

      The anchorage described below by Captains Mike and Twyla, is accessed by leaving the Western Florida ICW between markers #37 and ?#39, and the following the well marked Roosevelt Channel to a point south of Tween Waters Marina.
      Mike and Twyla’s note contains some GREAT advice about hot to obtain inexpensive dinghy dockage while your hook is resting in these waters. We knew that Tween Waters started prohibiting dinghy dockage some years ago, but the idea of tying up temporarily at the nearby Green Flash Restaurant is a new and inspiring idea!
      And, by the way, the Green Flash IS a good place to satisfy a healthy appetite. Some of their seafood entrees are nothing short of YUMMY!!!

      Just an FYI for anyone planning to anchor Captiva Island – We recently anchored near the ‘Tween Waters Marina. The Waterway Guide does state correctly that the marina does not offer dingy docking to anyone on anchor.
      However it does state that you can take your dinghy to McCarthy’s Marina to tie up so you can go to shore for provisions. What it fails to mention is that McCarthy’s Marina charges $15.00 to dock your dink there! No matter how long you are going to leave it – it’s $15.00 flat fee! So for those of you that find yourself at Captiva Island and in need of provisions (beer?) – there is still hope. We took the dink to the Green Flash Restaurant’s dock. We enjoyed a couple of drinks at the bar and
      walked only a few blocks to the Island Store. The bartendar there was very friendly and had no problem with us leaving the dinghy. By the way, it looked like a great place to eat but we only went to the bar.
      Safe travels!
      Mike and Twyla
      aboard NautiNell

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Roosevelt Channel Anchorage

      Click on Chartlet Below to Open a Chart View Window,
      Centered on the Location of This Anchorage:

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    • Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field Advice (Marathon)

      Isn’t it encouraging to find a city owned and operated mooring field that ENCOURAGES cruisers to anchor just outside of the field until a mooring become available. Other municipalities in Florida would be well advised to take note!

      At Boot Key the dockmaster generally will have you anchor out until a mooring becomes available. Depending on weather and the number of folks staging to go to the Bahamas, your wait can be hours to a few days. Just remember to look at the tide charts (especially now, coming off of full moon) and gage where you anchor with
      your draft.
      PS Russell
      M/V Ocean Breeze

      We are in Marathon and while the mooring field is busy there are openings. A number of boats just headed out for the Bahamas and that makes for available openings. With your mooring you get pumped out once a week and you can pull into the Marathon City Marina and get water. You can also check with the City Marina for dockage.
      Good Luck
      Marty and Jerry Richardson
      onboard M/V Monarch

      The boats in Boot Key Harbor come and go all the time. They might be full today and have a half dozen moorings open by weeks end if a good weather window opens up. There is usually someplace to anchor in Boot Key Harbor. Depending on your boats draft, you can anchor in Newfound Harbor on the way to Key West, and depending on the weather, if the southerlies are not blowing too bad, you can anchor just outside Boot Key Harbor. There is also the anchorage in Key West. Marina availability will be a different story this time of year.
      Chuck Baier

      Cruising News:
      City of Marathon is in the process of passing Resolution 2012-21 which will restrict all anchoring in Boot Key Harbor to one small area. This Resolution can be viewed on City of Marathon website.
      Patrick Carter

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For the Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

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    • Boot Key Harbor Fee Increases Generate Letter from Fellow Nautical Writer, Captain John Kettlewell

      The note Captain Kettlewell has copied us on below, was inspired by the earlier article here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net by our very special Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd (see /?p=79332). John’s words, as they usually do, speak eloquently for themselves!

      I sent the following message to the chamber of commerce in Marathon. Charmaine suggested I forward a copy to you in case you might want to use it on your website. I have no objections.

      Subject: Boot Key Harbor fees
      From: “John J. Kettlewell”
      Date: Sat, February 04, 2012 5:35 pm
      Dear Mr. Samess:
      You and your member businesses should be very concerned about the recently instituted dramatic increase in fees at the city mooring field and city dinghy dock. Snowbirding boaters in Boot Key Harbor spend lots of money in Marathon businesses on things like marine supplies, fuel, ice, groceries and shopping of all sorts, restaurants, and entertainment. The last time I was there on my boat I spent three weeks in the harbor, renting a space at the dinghy dock. In total I believe I spent several thousand dollars on refitting my boat, restaurants, and other supplies. However, as of February 1 the city has raised the daily rate for the dinghy dock by 69% to $22 per day! Imagine what it would do to business in Marathon if a parking fee of $22 per day was instituted on your streets. This fee seems particularly unfair when you note that the use of the two public boat ramps in Marathon is completely free, as is all day parking at the boat ramps. In addition, weekly and monthly fees also increased dramatically, while mooring fees also increased. In short, not many boaters will pay this extortionate fee just to tie up a dinghy and go ashore to be able to spend money–I certainly will take my business elsewhere.
      Boaters have a very well-established and efficient communication system that is spreading the word rapidly about these outrageous fees, and the unfriendly nature of Marathon. I know some boaters have already cancelled plans to visit Boot Key Harbor this winter. Marathon businesses should let the city know that the recent fee increases are bad for business.
      John J. Kettlewell

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

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    • Warning of Shallow Depths on Indian Key Channel (Everglades City, FL)

      Chuck Baier, former Waterway Guide General Manager, and now cruising consultant for MarinaLife, is the author of the brief note below. We ALWAYS pay attention to what Captain Chuck has to say, so those of you bound for Everglades City should indeed call the Rod and Gun Club (see below), before attempting this passage.
      The last time we sounded the Indian Key channel,no depths shallower than 5 1/2 feet MLW showed up, but that was a good 3 years ago.
      The SSECN would WELCOME some additional reports on depths in the Indian Key Channel from those of you who have visited Everglades City recently. If this describes you, PLEASE click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

      You might want to check with the Rod and Gun Club [239-695-2101] to get the latest on the channel depths into Everglade City. There are some pretty shallow spots. Have a great trip.

      And, as requested both above and in a recent “SSECN Alert,” here is some additional data from fellow cruiser, Capt. David. Looks like there really are low-mid tide depth issues on the Indian Key Channel. ALL Western Florida mariners, TAKE NOTE!

      Last February when I went through the channel to the R&G club, I rubbed a couple of times bottom at 4’6’³ at mid tide. Going out I was careful to plan my departure to coincide with high tide to get me by the bad parts.
      Capt David

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For the Rod and Gun Club

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Rod and Gun Club

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    • Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage Beach Dinghy Dockage (Charlotte Harbor – Peace River, just off the Punta Gorda Waterfront)

      Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage Beach Dinghy Dockage

      I recently had the good fortune to visit with several yacht clubs in the charming, boat-rich community of Punta Gorda, Florida, and, during this same visit, I met with “Team Punta Gorda.” Among any number of worthwhile projects, this commendable private – public partnership group is working hard to promote Punta Gorda as a cruising destination. We join with them in suggesting that the cruising community make the acquaintance of this friendly community, which features two commercial marinas, two Florida Yacht Council Yacht Clubs and several good anchorages. What’s not to love!The note and photos below from Captain Jake Dye were sent to us as a result of my presentation to Team Punta Gorda. The anchorage in question lies just off the Punta Gorda waterfront, southwest of (downstream of) the Highway 41 fixed bridges.

      Hi Claiborne,Great having you in Punta Gorda and your presentation to TEAM was spot on. I attached a couple of photos from our anchorage and our `beach’ dinghy landing. I think we’re all energized to get something moving on a dinghy dock. Thanks again, and look forward to your next visit.The “beach” dinghy landing is 26.56.102N, 82.3 (56°6.12N / 082°18W).318W, at Gilchrist Park.Jake DyeThere are some of us who stopped here while cruising and ended up buying a house.Mary DixonLooking for a place to live in 1970 and found this place with a job and it had all I wanted, water to sail on, access to the Gulf, access to the coast where one can find a safe place each night with the option to over night to the keys, land to ride motorcycle in the woods, race car track,. What else could one be looking for, oh yes it has golfing also. But top off the list local racing and cruising of sailboats with hoes on the water where my boat could be behind my home. A little shallow for some deep draft boats but then so are the Keys but deep enough for good cruising boats.Dennis PeckWhere did you buy the house. I am wondering about Punta Gorda and the North and South Forks of Alligator Creek. How deep is that water at low tide in winter? Worried about sailboat access.WayneWayne,Tthere is a section of Punta Gorda Isles that is called the sailboat section. There are no bridges to Charlotte Harbor. Any realtor can show you where that is. We are 5 minutes from the Harbor.Mary DixonNot real dinghies’¦ No deflated tubes, no homemade covers and no patches!Bill BettsWe lived aboard in Punta Gorda for several winters and loved the town so much we bought a condominium here on the Peace River ( Emerald Pointe) where we keep our boat.Marsha Case

      Dinghies Pulled Up on Beach Adjacent to Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Punta Gorda Waterfront AnchorageClick Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage

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    • A Big THANK YOU from Bucksport Marina, AICW Statute Mile 377

      At Bucksport cruising visitors will discover all new docks, new power pedestals, a newly reopened on-site restaurant, clean '“ climate controlled showers and laundromat, as well as a warm welcome for the cruising communityIn 2010 – 2011 Bucksport Marina, now a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, closed for an extended period of time for renovation and expansion. Now reopened under new, cruiser friendly ownership and management, this facility, along with its also newly reopened, on-site restaurant, makes for a great stop between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown. Bucksport Marina is set in a lovely location on what many consider to be the most beautiful portion of the entire AICW, the Waccamaw River.


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

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

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    • Another Take on Boardings by FL Law Enforcement

      More food for thought on the subject of boardings. This all goes back to the story of a very unsettling boarding which took place during November of 2010 in Volusia County, Florida (see /?p=45038). This incident caused an uproar here on the Cruisers’ Net, and elsewhere. Captain Greer’s note below is in response to this incident.

      While I agree that boarding cruising sail boats the way these law enforcement personal have done is unsettling at the least. we must remember that it is Florida, the drug running capital of the world and this is why it happens. The smugglers are skilled and trying to look like ordinary recreational vessels. Therefore, while sailing in these waters the best thing to do is always be prepared to cooperate with the authorities that are trying to make the area safe and keep illegal drugs out of our country. just food for thought. If we were boarding a boat that might be a front for drugs. knowing that these people will shoot first if possible. would we give them any warning? or would we want to secure all personal on the boat as quickly as possible? I know I know. It feels like a violation of our basic rights. but it’s their job.
      Mickey Geer

      And, appropriately, LOTS of other points of view from the cruising community:

      If the drugs were legal, the drugs could be regulated then taxed to pay the regulators to tyrannize the drug dealers. Instead the boaters are legal and taxed to pay the regulators who tyrannize the boaters in the War On Drugs. In the immortal words of Earl Pitts’¦’WAKE UP AMERICA’
      David Burnham

      It doesn’t only ‘˜feel’ like a violation it IS a violation. Yet another apologist for jack booted thugs. I’m very happy I don’t live there.

      It is not their job to violate anyone’s rights. I do not know the particulars of this situation but I am just saying that it is not their job to violate anyone’s rights. Their job is to enforce the law within the limits of the constitution. In the USA we draw lines and fences. They cannot cross the basic rights fences. It is for very good reason that we do this. I am curious, is a search warrant required to enter somone’s boat without their permission?
      Edward Trzebiatowski

      Click Here To View the 2010 Report That Prompted Mickey’s Comments

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