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Old 07-11-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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The big Bend

We are leaving the Florida West Coast behind and making the turn in the next two days or should I say night. Any words of wisdom or anyone else heading that way
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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Study your charts carefully and stand way off. Lots of shoaling and sand islands even fairly far offshore.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:05 PM   #3
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Where are you leaving from?
Are you going to try and follow the coast or cut across?
Where do you want to end up when you first get across?
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:01 AM   #4
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Timing is everything on that crossing. Waite for a good weather window from start to finish locations. It can be a very easy crossing in good weather and can be pretty ugly in storms. I have made it when it is calm and it was great, and in a 31 foot sailboat in 10 footers. Very ugly for sure. We usually leave around noon and get in the next morning.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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We intend to leave out of Tarpon Springs this weekend weather permitting in the late afternoon to arrive the next morning in Apalachicola. About 140 nm at 10 kts.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:39 AM   #6
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We enjoy the non-stop jump from either Clearwater or Tarpon Springs direct to Appalach, departing around noonish, arriving in good light the next morning. It's about 144 NM and we run it at 7.5-8 knots. In settled weather you can make it in under 20 hours...an easy trip in settled weather. As those before have cautioned, keep a close eye on weather and choose wisely my friend! If you're further south, departing from Tampa/Sarasota/Bradenton, I'd bypass Appalach and drive direct for Panama City, using caution to stay well offshore of Cape San Blas. Shoals extend seaward from there at least 10 miles out. It's a longer trip, but you cover lots more of your return journey.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks Captain K. We are in St Pete now preparing to depart to our jump off point. Apalach was just to experience the town. We are in no rush hoping to be in Gulfport MS before the 1st of August. That is our home port for our recently acquired Californian 48. We left Jacksonville on June 20th enjoying the ride.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:26 AM   #8
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Timing is everything on that crossing. Wait for a good weather window from start to finish locations. It can be a very easy crossing in good weather and can be pretty ugly in storms
Certainly agree with that! I've made that crossing perhaps a half-dozen times or so (in the sailboat), and it can get kind of rough. There are days that are flat-calm, however -- just have to wait for weather.

An alternative is to go north from Anclote Key up to Steinhatchee, spend the night in Steinhatchee (make reservations at the Sea Hag, which is the only marina there which can handle your trawler), then from Steinhatchee over to Carrabelle to spend the night (or anchored off Dog Island). This is a longer route, to be sure, but can be done in pretty foul weather without a whole lot of pain.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:54 AM   #9
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Jwnall we considered Steinhatchee but the cruising guide said we can expect to find 3 ft in the 5 ft channel. With us drawing 4.5 that was a concern. Other wise why would I not go load up with fresh Scallops!
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:09 AM   #10
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Jwnall we considered Steinhatchee but the cruising guide said we can expect to find 3 ft in the 5 ft channel. With us drawing 4.5 that was a concern. Other wise why would I not go load up with fresh Scallops!
Um, yeah, there is some skinny water on that route. I guess with a 4.5' draft I would want to be kind of cautious also. :-)
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:20 AM   #11
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High pressure over the gulf now should make for settled weather. Afternoon storms with heavy lightening near coast so you might want to be offshore earlier.

Cold front approaching towards the end of the week will probably bring windier conditions in the north gulf so it would be nice to be there before the front.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:27 AM   #12
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High pressure over the gulf now should make for settled weather. Afternoon storms with heavy lightening near coast so you might want to be offshore earlier
We've been having a lot of severe thunderstorm activity offshore from this area (North Florida) for several days now, and looks as if that is probably going to be the weather pattern for the next several days also (at a minimum). Not a deal breaker, of course. Just something to take into consideration.
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:24 PM   #13
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We intend to leave out of Tarpon Springs this weekend weather permitting in the late afternoon to arrive the next morning in Apalachicola. About 140 nm at 10 kts.
Well then is a very straight forward trip. Just pick a good weather window and mind the thunderstorms. There can be traffic out there in the form of fishing and diving vessels. But I've never seen it what I would consider busy.

There is good fishing out there. So I'd troll a line or two if you've got them.

Enjoy Apalachicola. There are some good seafood restaurants there.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:18 PM   #14
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I have been watching the storms off the coast north of St Pete. That is what I would like to see die down. Right now getting a quartering sea out of the SSW as we head to Clearwater where we will spend the night and see what tomorrow brings.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:51 PM   #15
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I have been watching the storms off the coast north of St Pete. That is what I would like to see die down.
Good luck with that. It's summer.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:28 PM   #16
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Well Clearwater is madness! Watching the sunset in Tarpon Springs and waiting to see what tomorrow will bring
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:50 PM   #17
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Well Clearwater is madness! Watching the sunset in Tarpon Springs and waiting to see what tomorrow will bring
Hard to know what to advise you. I will tell you what I would do, though, and then you can use your own smarts. I would go for it. Seas look reasonable, winds look reasonable. And next week is worse, because of a cold front. If you hit a thunderstorm -- then you hit a thunderstorm. Hunker down.

Again, not advising you. Just telling you what I do would do.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:04 PM   #18
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That is.what it looks like to me.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:55 PM   #19
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We love Apalachicola. Great run from Clearwater. No reason to run overnight though. Get an early start and at 10 knots you'll make it before dark. Actually you might leave a bit before sunrise, perhaps 6 AM, and that leaves extra time. Now our path last time was to Carabelle, then a short run to Apalachicola. We hadn't had a previous interest in that area and had skipped on to Panama City. Glad we checked them out last time.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:51 AM   #20
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If you elect to enter Apalachee Bay via Government Cut, you'll save quite a few miles over going via Carabelle, but use caution for shoaling near where the cut enters the Bay. We followed a local shrimper outbound two years ago and as I recall we favored the green side to keep to the deepest water. Once in well into the cut, we moved to mid-channel and had good water all the way out into the Gulf. As you proceed northbound from the cut into the Bay, I suggest you pass the range marks fairly close keeping them to starboard. From there to the ICW you'll have decent water. BTW, our draught is 4'2". Give a shout on channel 16 to ask for local knowledge as you approach. Obviously shoaling in that area is subject to change over time. Always best to get in touch with locals with the latest info. As to the thunder bumpers, about six years ago I delivered a sailboat from Cortez (near Bradenton, FL) to Panama City. We sailed through a line of storms during the night about 60 NM south of Panama City, and were easily able to circumnavigate the most vigorous cells using radar. But with the moon nearly full, you should be able to do the same visually. Bon Voyage.
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