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Old 09-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #1
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City: Fairhope
Country: USA
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Question Navigating the Big Bend area of Florida

We will be leaving our homeport in Fairhope Al. next monday on a slow trip to the keys. I am interested in exploring some of the areas of the Big Bend area to include Panacea, St. Marks, Carabelle and on down to Stienhatchee. I know from the charts that the water is skinny in most of this area and was wondering if it is worth the effort. My vessel only draws about 3 feet.

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Old 09-23-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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City: Longboat Key, FL
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waterfront: You're doing well to have the 3' draft in such areas as some of the river inlets can get down below 4', depending on the tides. I'm over here on the Gulf Coast, FL (Longboat Key), and I've been thinking about how worthwhile it would be to do the Big Bend instead of the Gulf crossing. The most attractive part of it would be the River explorations. Here is a page over at Cruiser's Net that has a lot of info from different sources, but you have to read the whole thing to get a really decent picture. Obviously, for those of us with under 4' drafts, it becomes an attractive option, but ya gotta watch the tides, weather, channel markers and crab pots. Here's the link:

Cruiser's Net West FL – 13 – Big Bend Region – Anclote Key to Dog Island & Carr

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Old 09-23-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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We have been across several times we usually leave Apalachicola for Anclote key off of Tarpon Springs.
In our previous boat a Camano 31 we did Apalachicola to Carabelle, across to Steihatchee, down to Crystal River, to Tarpon Springs and on South to Sanibel with many stops along the way. Coming back We stopped in Cedar Key, Steenhatchee to Apalachicola. We have not been to Swanee River, St Marks or Panacea. We did enjoy the stop in Crystal River very much. I am sorry to say we would probably not bother stopping at Carabelle, Cedar Key, or Steinhatchee again. Not that we disliked them but they were not very interesting and are a long way in through shallow water. The channels were well marked but there are many other places we would rather spend time either west of Carabelle, or south of Anclote Tarpon Springs is a favorite stop.
Steve W.
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