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Old 08-29-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

The Admiral and I are taking possession of our 34 Mainship III this weekend and will leave on Monday 5th enroute to our home in Cape Coral FL. *I will hug the coastline for this trip as this boat hasn't proven itself to me, yet. *Are there any areas of the GIWW/ICW that you have to go excruciatingly slow?/shallow areas to be avoided?*
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:38 PM   #2
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

I know nothing at all about that area.

However, I do know a lot about the old 34 Mainships as I owned one for 14 years. Great*all around boats that will take more than most of us can.***I hope you are involved with the Mainship owner's group in Yahoo. If not you should join.

And have a great trip.

*
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

I am a member of the Yahoo forum. I don't really care for its layout though, it is not easy to navigate the threads at all there.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

We did the trip a while back in our sailboat with a 6 foot draft so the info might be helpful to you. Go to our Sea Trek site and click on the cruising category in the left column. Start with this post, http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/2008/05...obile-bay.html and continue until Sarasota To Fort Myers. When you get to the bottom of the post just click on "Newer Post." Great trip and plenty of water so enjoy it. Chuck


-- Edited by Capn Chuck on Monday 29th of August 2011 12:57:56 PM
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:32 PM   #5
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Probably the shortest crossing place is from Dog Island near Carabelle to Steinhatchee.* I think that is about 48 miles.* The channel getting into the river*at Steinhatchee*is well marked but shallow outside the channel.* River Haven Marina is good.* It is on the left just passed the bridge.

You can stop at Cedar Key going down.* Very tricky channel that almost doubles back.* Be very careful going in.* It is an interesting stop.* Crystal River is a good stop, but also has a well marked narrow channel that got shallow about marker 9 I think.* Just ask on the radio for local knowledge for any of these areas.

From Steinhatchee the Gulf water is shallow until over 10 miles offshore.* You can run from Tarpon Springs to Steinhatchee seeing the bottom clearly most of the way.

I have run the trip several times crossing at various points according to the offshore comfort level of the crew.* In a 34 Mainship, you should encounter no problems if you plan well.

Along the Panhandle, if running off shore, try not to hit the inlets with tide opposing the waves.* Perdido Pass, Pensacola Pass.*East Pass at Destin, and Panama City are all good if contitions are right.

Oh year, getting near the destination can be a time of letting your guard down.* Don't do it.* In the area of Mile*0 GICWtakes a little attention as to the tricky channel markers and side setting currents.* That is the intersection*right behind the opening to San Carlos Bay.*

Have a great trip.



-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 29th of August 2011 01:37:33 PM


-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 29th of August 2011 01:40:54 PM
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:
*Just ask on the radio for local knowledge for any of these areas.

-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 29th of August 2011 01:37:33 PM

Coming from a commercial shrimping background where radio channels were guarded like grandma's gumbo recipe, I'm not familiar with cruising etiquette. *Is there a channel that cruisers tend to monitor and converse on?
*
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

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twiisted71 wrote:Moonstruck wrote:
*Just ask on the radio for local knowledge for any of these areas.

-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 29th of August 2011 01:37:33 PM

Coming from a commercial shrimping background where radio channels were guarded like grandma's gumbo recipe, I'm not familiar with cruising etiquette. *Is there a channel that cruisers tend to monitor and converse on?
*

*The cruisers' working channel seams to be 68.* Try 16 first then 68.* There is not much traffic in the Big Bend area, so everyone is pretty good about helping.* We got weathered in at Steinhatchee for 3 days one time.* The guys around there are great.* The Seatow boat was on our dock.* I heard him give help on the radio several times.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:43 AM   #8
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Well I've bought the boat. Now I'm holed up in a local motel waiting on the weather. Oh the joy, not!
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:32 AM   #9
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Hey David
I have some tips to make your stay more pleasant. Biloxi Hardrock Casino seafood buffet tonight and if you can stand it- the Beau Rivage Sunday Brunch! We moved our boat back from Biloxi about 5 weeks ago.
Lee is a persistant blow. We had 5 1/2" of rain this morning at 8 just outside of Baton Rouge.
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Old 09-03-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

I took the Big Bend round trip in my Camano 31 a few years ago. On the way down we went from Carabelle to Steinhatchee then down to Crystal River, then into the GICW at Anclote Key then on, with many stops, to Sanibel Is. On the way back Anclote Key - Cedar Key -Steinhatchee- Apalachicola. It is a pretty long haul into any of those stops along the Big Bend but the channels were well marked as Moon said watch for the switchback on the way into Cedar key if you stop there. I preferred Crystal River but it is further inland.
The Camano drew 39" no problems there or on down to Sanibel in the GICW from Anclote Key South. Any of the cruising guides or Active Captain will have lots of information too.
Have a great trip, there is some beautiful cruisin' along the way.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:48 PM   #11
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Well after 6.5 LONNNNNNG days we made it! Ended up having to wait until the 6th to leave due to tropical storm Lee. It was still pretty sporty in Mississippi Sound to the point that I was considering going into Pascagoula to find a slip for another day! Luckily the waves decreased somewhat and were more on our stern by the time we got there. We pushed on to Pensacola Bay and spent a crummy night on the hook as the wind picked up and made for a pretty nerve wracking night. Up at first light and made it to Panama City. We had a not so great experience at St. Andrews Marina. Fuel pumps were a PITA to get to operate and none of the electrical outlets on the transient dock worked, we got charged for it anyway! Up again at first light and set off again. We both loved the Apalachicola River, very private feeling, and made it to Carrabelle for an "exciting" docking experience at C-quarters marina. Wind and tide both determined to crash us into a snazzy Brand Banks looking trawler next to us b/c the pilings were too far apart to "catch" our boat. Had supper at a place called Fathoms and was treated to a Karaoke experience and a half. Up at dawn again and heading out for Steinhatchee we had a nasty quartering sea with a full 2' chop hitting the port stern and 2-3' seas coming at the stbd stern quarter! After about 1/2 hour of that I made an executive decision to head for Cedar Keys. The last 3.5 hrs of the day were in a nice heavy downpour. It was getting dark and the tide was falling so I figured (after consulting my GIWW guide) that we'd go in the north channel. MISTAKE! We got to within 20' of where the North channel and Main Channel meet and the bow rose! I poked around for 15 minutes trying to find a gap in the "unmentioned" bar to no avail. It was getting dark so we made out way back out to open water and found our way behind one of the outer keys to anchor for the night. Up at dawn again for a trip down to Clearwater. We spent the night at the Indian Rocks Beach Holiday Inn Harbourside (MM129). Little pricey (Guess I should have expected that since they spell Harbor with a "U") but nice, and it was time for a night ashore! Easy side tie docking but shallow nearest to the bridge. The next morning we got a little later than usual start to make sure our intended fuel dock would be open. we fueled at the Madiera Beach Municipal Marina. Can't recommend this place high enuff. Easy access and the cheapest fuel anywhere in the area by a significant margin. We went back on the outside at John's Pass. We were having such a good day I decided not to go in at Venice Inlet and just push on to Boca Grand as I knew we wouldn't make the last opening of the last low bridge just above Boca Grande. By the time we had reached the inlet at Boca Grand the seas had built considerably, HMMM this would mean running the inlet with full 3' waves bashing us broadside. We cut the shoal as close as I deemed safe to make the run in the beam seas as short as possible. we had just made the turn into the main part of the inlet and were being rolled pretty violently when I heard the little Perkins skip a beat. My pucker factor went off the charts, after growing up on commercial shrimping/fishing boats I knew we'd finally been hammered hard enuff to break some stuff loose in the tanks. I sent my wife forward to deploy the anchor and in the same instance the motor quit. She dropped the anchor while I went in to the lazarette to get the spare lunch hook incase it was needed. Thankfully it wasn't and TowBoat FINALLY came out to get us and tow us the 1/4 mile into calm waters. I had him take us into Bokeelia to tie up to a dock for the night. Had a friend come get us so we could go home and sleep in our bed for the night. The next morning we went back changed the completely PLUGGED Racor filter, cleaned the crummy primary sediment separator, changed the two engine mounted filters which were spotless, bled the injectors and were on our way again in about 45 minutes. I was never so happy to see the miserable mile on the Caloosahatchee. *Home about mid day!! What an adventure!

*

We used about 3 GPH running 16-1700 RPMs at about 8-8.5 knts.


-- Edited by twiisted71 on Monday 3rd of October 2011 02:56:44 PM
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:08 PM   #12
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

What a story.* What do you do when not 'pleasure' cruising?

You hit some bad spots.* Pensacola Bay can build an extremely nasty chop.* The current in the Carabelle River can be very strong.* I probably should have warned you about the North Channel at Cedar Key.* Just didn't think anyone would try it.* It is amall outboards only.* If you had made it over the shoal, you would probably not have made it all the way.

There is a short cut into Boca Grande Inlet called Swash channel or some call it cut.* You have to run up close to shore near the pier and come in at a break in the jetty near the beach.*

Glad you made it safely.* That was really quite a story.


-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 3rd of October 2011 03:10:17 PM
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:20 PM   #13
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

LOL yeah to say the least my wife was a real trooper for the conditions we encountered! In real life I'm the guy who puts the stickers on Chiquita bananas, but I've got a lot more experience in boats. Yeah I saw the swash channel on the charts but with the seas we were encountering I didn't think trying it would be the wisest option at that point esp. after our Cedar Keys experience with charted channels that aren't the main one.

*

PS to anyone else considering *this trip may I humbly suggest Big Lagoon just west of Pensacola bay as an anchoring spot. *I didn't expect P'cola bay to kick up anything like it did, but it was VERY uncomfortable pitching around like a cork in a washing machine the first night aboard your new boat!



-- Edited by twiisted71 on Monday 3rd of October 2011 03:52:45 PM



-- Edited by twiisted71 on Wednesday 5th of October 2011 05:53:42 AM


-- Edited by twiisted71 on Tuesday 28th of February 2012 09:40:04 PM
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:45 AM   #14
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Well I've bought the boat. Now I'm holed up in a local motel waiting on the weather. Oh the joy, not!


HUUH, ??? Why a motel, this is a good time to learn how to function aboard. Cook clean , explore the storage.

Find out what works , what doesn't and start your list of future work.

Look for leaks !!!
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:39 AM   #15
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

I've spent more than my fair share of nights aboard boats and I knew I'd be spending 5-7 days aboard with no respite for the journey. *Also remember Tropical Storm Lee was "gently spritzing" where I was for the entire time I was there. *I wanted to get some good nights sleep in a little lower humidity than the boat could afford even with the A/C going (which of course crapped out the day we left the dock!). *Of course two of those nights I had to get up twice a night and drive to the marina to check the lines as we got about 5' tide surges above normal astronomical high tides! *And the holding tank on the head was split so hiking to the bath house at the marina in the monsoon just wasn't something I wanted to do. *I spent my days provisioning and stowing things as best I could but that hotel sure was a welcome sight at the end of the day for a nice long hot shower, comfy bed, and some silence from the wind and rain.
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Old 10-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #16
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Not sure about that "swash channel" at Boca Grande.....I thought Charlie had really messed it up.... I know you have to hit it just right or end up rubbing the bottom.

Pensacola Bay has quite a fetch across it....we spent some time in the marina by the fish-house downtown.....a few years back.....it was like a "roller coaster ride" and we were tied to a floating dock....
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:26 AM   #17
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RE: Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

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Not sure about that "swash channel" at Boca Grande.....I thought Charlie had really messed it up.... I know you have to hit it just right or end up rubbing the bottom.

Pensacola Bay has quite a fetch across it....we spent some time in the marina by the fish-house downtown.....a few years back.....it was like a "roller coaster ride" and we were tied to a floating dock....
*Have been through the swash channel several times.* I wouldn't try it in a north or west wind.* East wind is best, but south wind usually will be pretty good.* Have not hit bottom with a 3'9" draft.

When wind is opposing current in Pensacola Bay there is one of the steepest nastiest chops that I have encountered.* Much fetch and shallow water makes for rough conditions.* There is a good, protected anchorage just inside Pensacola Pass to the west.* It is as you entire Big Lagoon behind the spoil island on the beach side of the lagoon.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:05 PM   #18
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Biloxi to Cape Coral trip coming up. Any tips/suggestions

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:Have been through the swash channel several times.* I wouldn't try it in a north or west wind.* East wind is best, but south wind usually will be pretty good.* Have not hit bottom with a 3'9" draft.
When wind is opposing current in Pensacola Bay there is one of the steepest nastiest chops that I have encountered.* Much fetch and shallow water makes for rough conditions.* There is a good, protected anchorage just inside Pensacola Pass to the west.* It is as you entire Big Lagoon behind the spoil island on the beach side of the lagoon.":

*

*
Quote:
Yea so guess what we had.......15-20kt NW wind and a ripping out going tide! *There was NO WAY to tell where any channel was by water color or wave action. *Even though the chart and GPS showed the Swash Cut being deep enough for our boat I wasn't about to try it in those conditions for the first time!
Quote:
As for the bad night in P'cola bay. *We were anchored out just East of the opening to the Gulf by the old military fort. *When we bedded down there was a gentle NE wind and outflowing tide to keep us nicely positioned in about 15-20' of water but the anchor was in about 35' because the bottom rises very sharply *there as it comes up to the beach. *Well about 01:00 in the AM the wind pulled around to due North and kicked up to 20-25kts per the WX channel! *Let me tell you it was NASTY with the waves having the entire bay to build across then stack up on that steep shelf where we were anchored. *Daylight couldn't come quickly enuff for us to get the hell out of there.
*


-- Edited by twiisted71 on Friday 7th of October 2011 07:06:32 PM
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