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Old 09-18-2012, 05:16 PM   #1
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Cruising experiences in the Big Bend . . .

OK, this is kind of a weird question I suppose. But I would like to read some blogs or day-to-day chatter from trawlers that have done the Big Bend route. By that, I mean from Anclote Key, near Tarpon Springs, as far as Carrabelle (going in either direction). Can anyone point me to such a thing? I am going to be doing that trip within the next few weeks, and there is just nothing like reading what someone else did to get a feel for the trip.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:35 PM   #2
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OK, this is kind of a weird question I suppose. But I would like to read some blogs or day-to-day chatter from trawlers that have done the Big Bend route. By that, I mean from Anclote Key, near Tarpon Springs, as far as Carrabelle (going in either direction). Can anyone point me to such a thing? I am going to be doing that trip within the next few weeks, and there is just nothing like reading what someone else did to get a feel for the trip.
If you are talking about a direct run from Anclote Key to Carrabelle there is not much to talk about. I have done it 3 times crossing from Clearwater Pass, Steinhatchee, and Cedar Key. If you want to cruise a little on the way, you can stop in Crystal River, Cedar Key, and Steinhatchee. The crossings get shorter as you move up. They are interesting out of the way places with much shallow waters. That is be careful going in and follow the channels closely. Currents at Cedar Key can be very fast.

Going in the pass at Dog Island be careful going into Carabelle. To me the channel is a little strange with a sharp turn. The tidal current in the river can be swift. Apalachicola is a great stop. Interesting town with good restaurants.

By the way if going into Cedar Key take the ship channel. It is funky with a weird "S" curve, but the Northwest channel we found impassable with a 4 1/2' draft.

Just wait for good weather.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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I'll do the direct run from Anclote Key to Carrabelle if the weather forecast is good. I figure that I would need a 24-hour window of "winds light to variable" to do that. But most of the time in October it is not all that great, and so probably I will hug the coast and go straight north from Anclote Key up to Steinhatchee and from there over to St. Marks. I have looked at the charts, and LOTS of shallow water! Don't care about cruising and living the good life on the way. Just bought a new (to me) boat, and just want to get it home. Relaxing and enjoying life will come later. :-)
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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There's lots of good info and reads about the crossing on the AGLCA website and blogs!! Good Luck!
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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I'll do the direct run from Anclote Key to Carrabelle if the weather forecast is good. I figure that I would need a 24-hour window of "winds light to variable" to do that. But most of the time in October it is not all that great, and so probably I will hug the coast and go straight north from Anclote Key up to Steinhatchee and from there over to St. Marks. I have looked at the charts, and LOTS of shallow water! Don't care about cruising and living the good life on the way. Just bought a new (to me) boat, and just want to get it home. Relaxing and enjoying life will come later. :-)
It is only 48 to 50 miles straight across from Steinhatchee. I would not go up to St. Marks. That area up there is full of oyster bars. It's a long run in and out of St. Marks also. You could cross from Steinhatchee in 8-10 hours at trawler speed. River Haven Marina up the river at Steinhatchee was an enjoyable place to stay.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #6
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St. Marks is where I will keep the boat.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:06 PM   #7
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There are 4 crossings to and from Apalachicola in my blog MVGUMBO a couple to Tarpon Springs and a couple from Tampa/Clearwater area. before I kept a blog I made a trip, in my Prevous trawler a Camano 31, down then back up via Carabelle, Steinhatchee, Crystal River and Cedar Key. Crystal River was very nice, I'd pass on the others especially Cedar Key.
If you PM me your email address I'll send you the trip report of the trip in the Camano.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:35 PM   #8
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St. Marks is where I will keep the boat.
Sorry, I was under the impression that you were going to Carabelle. St. Marks is very nice, but along way from deep gulf water. I think that Wakulla Springs and the Wakulla River join the St. Marks there. It is beautiful.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:16 AM   #9
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Sorry, I was under the impression that you were going to Carabelle. St. Marks is very nice, but along way from deep gulf water. I think that Wakulla Springs and the Wakulla River join the St. Marks there. It is beautiful.
My original posting did say Carrabelle, because that is where I keep (kept) the sailboat which I sold. So I said Carrabelle when I meant St. Marks. Carrabelle is better for a sailboat, because there is very easy access to sailing water. But for the trawler, I prefer St. Marks, because I am going to do very little cruising and lots of river stuff. I would absolutely agree with you that just stopping overnight at St. Marks is probably not worthwhile. Too far to go up/down river, lots of oyster bars coming in, and lots of shallow water.

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:34 PM   #10
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If you are talking about a direct run from Anclote Key to Carrabelle there is not much to talk about. I have done it 3 times crossing from Clearwater Pass, Steinhatchee, and Cedar Key. If you want to cruise a little on the way, you can stop in Crystal River, Cedar Key, and Steinhatchee. The crossings get shorter as you move up. They are interesting out of the way places with much shallow waters. That is be careful going in and follow the channels closely. Currents at Cedar Key can be very fast.

Going in the pass at Dog Island be careful going into Carabelle. To me the channel is a little strange with a sharp turn. The tidal current in the river can be swift. Apalachicola is a great stop. Interesting town with good restaurants.

By the way if going into Cedar Key take the ship channel. It is funky with a weird "S" curve, but the Northwest channel we found impassable with a 4 1/2' draft.

Just wait for good weather.
Read the red parts in the quote above!!!

Click the link below and you can read about my trip through there about a year ago to the date!

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s...ions-4373.html
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:40 AM   #11
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Recommend you look at "active captain "

I took delivery of my trawler at St Marks in May.

St Marks Yacht club is where it was berthed.

Shields marina for fuel
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:23 AM   #12
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If you don't already have one get a Doziers Waterway Guide for that area. It is truly great to help you plan legs of a trip/fuel stops/marinas when you don't have computer access. $40 seems like a lot for what may at first glance appear to be a redundant resource since you'll no doubt already have paper charts. If this book had cost double, it would have still been a bargain to me during my trip as 95% was new cruising area to me.

http://www.waterwayguide.com/shipsto...x.php?cPath=21
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Last time we made that trip was a few years ago....but we jumped from Dunedin (Marker 1 Marina) and made it up as far as the Cross Florida Barge Canal...which is a lousy place to drop the hook....its dredged to bedrock and we found no holding, but we did find a state of FL dock up by the US19 bridge ....tied up there.

Went from there to Steinhatchee...a strong front came in...actually tied up at the Sea Hag Marina...on their T-dock...then from there to Carabelle.... straight across... we were on our way to Pensacola...

There is a good bit of skinny water up above Tarpon Springs to Steinhatchee, and there were one or two not so well charted shoals. You'll find that the people up there use the VHF like a telephone....
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:58 AM   #14
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Last time we made that trip was a few years ago....but we jumped from Dunedin (Marker 1 Marina) and made it up as far as the Cross Florida Barge Canal...which is a lousy place to drop the hook....its dredged to bedrock and we found no holding, but we did find a state of FL dock up by the US19 bridge ....tied up there.
That's strange since we found just the opposite in the Barge Canal. We anchored there for a week because relatives live nearby and had severe thunderstorms every afternoon and the anchor didn't budge. Our anchor, a CQR, set the first time with no issues and we pulled up sand when we left. We did find we needed two anchors out so the wind and the current switch wouldn't put us on the banks. There isn't anything there so it is pretty much just a rest stop or someplace to enjoy the seclusion. Typicality we go from Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs unless we're visiting relatives. With our new to us trawler, the Steinhatchee and Swannee are now on our list.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:19 PM   #15
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John and I already spoke about this, but I have done the Tarpon Springs to Carrabelle run in some pretty nasty weather, if it is blowing from the North (likely direction for strong winds this time of year) you can hug the 8 to 15 foot depth contour and ride pretty smooth. Just keep an eye on your GPS and sounder. The water there is clear enough to "read" as well.

I go TS to Steinhatchee, then Steinhatchee to Carrabelle. I've been tempted to stop in Crystal River, but haven't.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:34 PM   #16
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John and I already spoke about this, but I have done the Tarpon Springs to Carrabelle run in some pretty nasty weather, if it is blowing from the North (likely direction for strong winds this time of year) you can hug the 8 to 15 foot depth contour and ride pretty smooth. Just keep an eye on your GPS and sounder. The water there is clear enough to "read" as well.

I go TS to Steinhatchee, then Steinhatchee to Carrabelle. I've been tempted to stop in Crystal River, but haven't.
crystal River is a good stop if you want to hang out a couple or so days to do a little snorkeling in the clear water. You can anchor or tie up at Twin Rivers or Pete's Pier. Twin Rivers is a little isolated. Pete's Pier is a long walk to the commercial area. There are some strip center type and one good seafood restaurant. Been there a few times, and that is probably enough.

I try to stay in at least 9' of water in the Gulf. There has been one shallow spot going in the channel. Coming from the South after clearing Gomez Rock you can start your turn.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:52 PM   #17
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That's strange since we found just the opposite in the Barge Canal. We anchored there for a week because relatives live nearby and had severe thunderstorms every afternoon and the anchor didn't budge. Our anchor, a CQR, set the first time with no issues and we pulled up sand when we left. We did find we needed two anchors out so the wind and the current switch wouldn't put us on the banks. There isn't anything there so it is pretty much just a rest stop or someplace to enjoy the seclusion. Typicality we go from Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs unless we're visiting relatives. With our new to us trawler, the Steinhatchee and Swanee are now on our list.
That's very interesting....seriously. We went up in there, probably halfway or more to the US19 bridge....dropped the hook, and all it did was slide along the bottom! I was using a Fortress FX-37 with mud palms on it.... Pulled it up and went further up the channel....tried again, and had the same results!! I guess I found a couple of spots that were dredged to the limestone bedrock... It got dark and we ended up hanging on to the FWC dock right on the other side of the bridge!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:54 AM   #18
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Well, sure thought that I would be on my way by now! But am still stuck in the marina at Jensen Beach, with a strong South wind and lots of rain. The good news is that the boat does not leak anywhere so far as I can tell. :-) Supposed to be better weather on Thursday, with 5 knots out of the East, so that I can get out of here and head toward the Okeechobee Waterway. Oh well. Comfortable boat, and I brought books to read (thank goodness for the Kindle!)

John
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