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Old 11-07-2016, 07:57 PM   #1
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Savannah to Fort Myers

Greetings,

Can anyone give me advice on navigating around the southern tip of Florida to the west coast down to Fort Myers?
Hope to make the trip in December. Will take the ICW south as far as I can, then cross over. Will take Lake Okeechobee route back.
We are a Mainship 390 trawler drawing 4 feet.

Many thanks.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:34 PM   #2
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If your going through lake O you dont have to cross the southern tip of fla
Follow your charts and active captian easy ride!
If you want round the tip of Fl south longest leg is from keys to Ft Myers 120nm+ long day open water maybe stop in Naples, fl pm me if ou need help
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Old 11-07-2016, 09:40 PM   #3
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You can go down to Marathon and cut over to Florida Bay under the 7 mile bridge. If you anchor in Little Shark River on the way up to Ft. Myers it would cut the crossing day to about 100 miles or maybe a little less. You can always pull in at Marco Island or Naples.

There is enough water in Florida Bay for your draft. Just watch for pot floats. There will be plenty. If the weather is decent you can see bottom most of the way.
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:43 PM   #4
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When you cut out at Long Key to start to head out into the gulf, watch for this set of markers. As you approach them it can look like you just head straight out through them. But as you can see in the pictures you have to get them on your port side, heading out, and then make a sharp turn to port to go through them.

They have caught more than one person off guard. With going up on the grass banks around them as the result.

And going aground is definitely something you want to avoid in the Keys. As there are state and federal fines involved if you do.
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:45 PM   #5
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:27 PM   #6
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As Moonstruck Don said, heading west across Florida Bay is a nice, easily do-able trip with some attractive anchorages on the other end. Try not to bash into a stiff northwesterly though - the bay is shallow, and can grow boisterous under those conditions.

Capt. Bill 11 is correct about that twisty little bit called "Yacht Channel" on the chart. It can seem disorienting to some, but as long as you are mindful of what you're approaching, it's a total piece of cake.

If you're of a mind to explore, I recommend Everglades City, specifically the docks at the the Rod and Gun Club. Approach through Indian Key Pass, in the Ten Thousand Islands.

After that, there's Marco Island, which comes up over the horizon like the cliffs of Dover, then Naples, and next thing you know you're back inside at Ft. Myers.

An option would be to go all the way to Key West, then head north out of Northwest Channel to Ft. Myers. What the heck - while you're in the neighborhood, head west from Cayo Hueso to America's least-visited national park, the Dry Tortugas. When you can finally tear yourself away from the stunning scenery and astonishing history, Ft. Myers is a comfortable run to the NNE. You'll see the tops of the condominiums long before you run aground.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-08-2016, 02:01 AM   #7
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I would go to Dry Tortuga's if you can, well worth the trip. Done it every year for 15 years and never got tiered of it. It's a nice straight run to Ft Meyers and or Marco island. Watch the northern blows in the winter.
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Old 11-08-2016, 07:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pluto View Post
Greetings,

Can anyone give me advice on navigating around the southern tip of Florida to the west coast down to Fort Myers?
Hope to make the trip in December. Will take the ICW south as far as I can, then cross over. Will take Lake Okeechobee route back.
We are a Mainship 390 trawler drawing 4 feet.

Many thanks.

I did this trip a couple of summers ago in my boat-- we draw about the same.

Leaving KW I cut straight across the Gulf to Fort Myers. I had a good weather report and it was a perfect trip, but a little boring since I was alone. I remember the markers leaving KW in the early morning light were pretty easy to read-- there is some kind of an under water jetty you need to watch out for IIRC.

On the way over to KW from Fort Myers we stopped and anchored out at Naples, then anchored out in Little Shark River (very interesting place), then we cut over to Marathon.
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