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Old 12-08-2013, 08:58 AM   #41
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Just to provide an alternative view...

We're in Panama City now until after Christmas. I looked over the Government Cut/Carrabelle/Tarpon Spring issues and decided that none of it was worth it. I like deep, well-defined inlets and offshore access so I'm going to go to Port St Joe when the weather looks good after Christmas and then cross from there to Clearwater.

I talked to a few people who live in Pensacola and none of them like Government Cut. One guy touched a few times there last year and swore to never go through there again. We draw 6' so I'm not going to mess around with inlets like that.
That's a solid plan...especially with a 6' draft. The very first time I did that crossing we left from Panama City in an old wooden sailboat that drew 6'2" and made direct for Clearwater, rounding Cape San Blas. Apart from staying well offshore to avoid those shoals extending many miles to seaward from the Cape, your only real precaution would be to guard Ch 16 closely for Tyndall AFB announcements on when those Restricted Areas in the Gulf might be "hot."
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:13 AM   #42
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Looking forward to hearing about your passage. It's a good thing you got out of pickwick when you did. 30deg weather and freezing rain the last couple days and more in the forecast.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:40 PM   #43
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your only real precaution would be to guard Ch 16 closely for Tyndall AFB announcements on when those Restricted Areas in the Gulf might be "hot."
That's good local knowledge - thanks!
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:45 PM   #44
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Yes, I agree that you need to monitor that. Getting bombed could spoil your whole day!
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:57 PM   #45
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That's good local knowledge - thanks!
You're welcome. We might see you down the road. Our plan is to depart south Alabama for Key West shortly after Christmas moving slowly south along Florida's west coast, thence perhaps the Bahamas for spring, early summer. Look forward to hearing from the OP whether they made it OK to Clearwater earlier today.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:17 AM   #46
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Our crossing was "bumpy" but uneventful, other than a couple of items tossed about that were not properly stowed. We departed Carrabelle at 1217 in fog at low tide. No problems at all (I draft 3'8"). Out East Pass, speed 7 knots, and set course for Clearwater. Nice sunset, beautiful sunrise with much calmer waters, well before the crab pots, the first of which we passed about 10 miles northwest of Clearwater Pass. We timed it so that the sun would be well above the horizon and it worked perfectly...pots we backlit and east to dodge.

This route took us through Danger Area 334.670 (rocket tracking splashdown area) but was not a factor as it is only hot M-F.

We are visiting Cathy's mother and will continue south later today. I would love to hear from locals or seasoned travelers on the best route passed or through Tampa Bay, along with any comments on good anchorages between Clearwater and Ft Meyers.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:24 AM   #47
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Looking forward to hearing about your passage. It's a good thing you got out of pickwick when you did. 30deg weather and freezing rain the last couple days and more in the forecast.
Indeed, it is good to be back in shorts and t-shirts! Hell, we went crazy and actually had the AC running yesterday afternoon! My boss back in Calgary called last week and let me know that one of my Wind Farms received 40 cm of snow, and has a wind chill of -40C. Now where did I put my suntan lotion and beer....?!
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:41 AM   #48
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I would love to hear from locals or seasoned travelers on the best route passed or through Tampa Bay, along with any comments on good anchorages between Clearwater and Ft Meyers.
Glad you made the jump OK. From Clearwater southbound, with an east wind, we like to jump back outside and cruise south close along the coast so as to have a good lee. We then tuck back inside at either Pass A Grille near St. Pete Beach, crossing northern Boca Ciega Bay, thence south on the west side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, or continue south past Tampa Bay entrance to Longboat Pass Entrance. Favorite anchorages along this stretch are in Cortez-Bradenton area SE of the Cortez Bridge at 27degrees 28.045' N, 082degrees 41.355 W. Also near Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant in Longbeach at 27 degrees 26.389 N, 082 degrees 40.744W. In Sarasota we anchor SW of Island Park at 27 degrees 19.838'N, 082 degrees 32.855W, or take a city mooring in the same area. If you stay in the ICW southbound, there's another super anchorage near Englewood Beach at 26 degrees 55.248'N, 082 degrees 21.298'W. Farther south along the ICW near Cayo Costa is Pelican Bay anchorage at 26 degrees 41.340' N, 082 degrees, 14.608' W. A bit further south near Useppa Island just off the ICW at 26 degrees 39.563'N, 082 degrees 12.854'W. Hope that helps. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:04 AM   #49
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All good anchorages, Captain K. Long Beach is a great one. I will add a couple. If you are outside, Venus has a really good straight forward inlet You can do a day tie up at the city park on the beach side. I believe the Venus mooring field is active. You won't find much better restaurant than the Crow's Nest that is in walking distance. You can anchor in Charlotte Harbor off Punta Gorda with their new dinghy landing. Ft. Myers Beach has a great mooring field. Ballard Oil there has about the best fuel prices around.

If the weather is right, you can anchor off the south entrance to the Boca Grande canal. About the only place to land a dinghy would be Whiddens Marina. Funky and old Florida. You won't believe the place, but ask nicely, and the lady may agree. Walking distance to a quaint village with good restaurants. If you want to try this shoot me a PM, and I will send my super, top secret dinghy landing spot. Sworn to secrecy of course.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:11 AM   #50
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Thanks guys....we appreciate the intel! Unfortunately we are making the trip without the ability to launch our dingy due to an out of commission davit. Although we love anchoring out, on this trip we are stuck having to enjoy the scenery from on board.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:45 PM   #51
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Captain's cook'in up some Jambalaya while we swing on the hook in Longboat Pass. Our first time cruising this part of Florida and we can see why everyone loves it. Great run today, got underway late so not as much ground covered, but great scenery. Great day weather-wise too. We're looking at the Big O soon so that's the next weather challenge.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:28 PM   #52
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Glad to hear that you are there, having apparently successfully dodged K Tower and the innumerable crab traps. Not sure where you are going next, but if you plan to bop on down to the Keys I suggest that you consider going out some to Key West rather than straight in. Lots of skinny water in Florida Bay. Most likely would not be a problem, but running with zero (zero!) depth under the keel always raised my hackles something fierce!
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:32 PM   #53
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Thanks JW. We're going through OK then up the Atlantic ICW to Cocoa. Won't be going to the Keys on this trip, but will definitely be planning one in the near future once we get the boat up to snuff. Thanks for the advice...we've had enough hackle-raising on this trip.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:47 PM   #54
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We're going through OK then up the Atlantic ICW to Cocoa. Won't be going to the Keys on this trip, but will definitely be planning one in the near future once we get the boat up to snuff. Thanks for the advice...we've had enough hackle-raising on this trip.
Roger that. Guess the title of the thread should have told me that. :-) The OK trip is generally pretty smooth. Several locks (5?) and a few bridges. But no big deals. My advice on OK -- for what it is worth -- is to go straight across, rather than going around the edge.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:27 AM   #55
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My advice on OK -- for what it is worth -- is to go straight across, rather than going around the edge.
That's our palm, take the straight across route. We may take the rim route when we return this way. We are finding it much too beautiful here not to return!
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:39 PM   #56
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Rum cove last night, lollypop anchorage just past Ortona Lock tonight. Lake O tomorrow. Still having a great time. Actually saw a Florida Panther this evening on the banks at the anchorage. A little rough in Pine Island Sound this morning, but turned in to a beautiful day. Interesting that they don't bother with equalizing valves on these locks...just crack 'em open and let the water flow! Of course it is a big difference in a lock with 80 foot lift as compared to 2 feet!
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:16 PM   #57
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Rough day on Okeechobee, but we are on the east side now. Hoping to make four rivers loop anchorage for the night.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:30 PM   #58
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Rough day on Okeechobee, but we are on the east side now. Hoping to make four rivers loop anchorage for the night.
Today was a bad day to cross the big O. Hope you didn't get too much mud on your boat.

The Saturday morning farmers market is at Ft. Pierce City Marina. Stop on by or give us a toot as you pass.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:21 PM   #59
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Today was a bad day to cross the big O. Hope you didn't get too much mud on your boat. The Saturday morning farmers market is at Ft. Pierce City Marina. Stop on by or give us a toot as you pass.
It was not too bad. There were a couple of legs with a little more beam sea than I would have preferred, but after all this is an extended shakedown cruise. You can't shake 'er down if you don't shake her. We may stop on tomorrow's leg for fuel somewhere. We will honk your way as we pass.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:47 PM   #60
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It was not too bad. There were a couple of legs with a little more beam sea than I would have preferred, but after all this is an extended shakedown cruise. You can't shake 'er down if you don't shake her. We may stop on tomorrow's leg for fuel somewhere. We will honk your way as we pass.
Not too bad a crossing. I've come across and the whole boat was coated with mud from the gray water.

Fort Pierce City Marina fuel prices as of today

Fuel Prices as of 12/12/2013 -
Diesel 4.169 less .10 Tenant/Boat US discount
Gas 4.399 less .10 Tenant/Boat US ***REC 90 OCTANE
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