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Old 01-15-2020, 12:22 PM   #1
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Marco island anchorage

Transiting down to Marathon and need a few days anchorage in Marco Island area. Any recent experience with the inlet shoaling precautions and good anchorage is appreciated. I’m leaning toward N-NW of green marker 15 but open to suggestions. My boat draws 4’3” but prefer minimum depth of 6’. Thanks
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:07 PM   #2
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We anchored in Smokehouse Bay for a night a month ago. Urban setting, free dinghy dock. Dinghy to grocery store. Many restaurants. Plenty of water depth in the bay. Sheltered from all directions.

Give aptly named Cape Romano Shoals a wide berth. Did not bottom, but learned my sounds can read <1'!
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:41 PM   #3
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Last June we headed north from Marathon. Marco seems a bit tight and shallow for us (5’9” draft) so we anchored in Little Shark River and Indian Key. Both had reasonable depths and plenty of space. No other boats while we were there. We did cut through one of the “channels” in the southern part of Cape Romano Shoals. Depth sounder vs. chart was confusing at one point and we rolled quite a bit with a south wind. The shoals were all around but fairly easy to see on a sunny day. Probably would pick a channel further south and a little deeper next time.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:02 PM   #4
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Another vote for Smokehouse Bay, our favorite Marco Island anchorage. About as protected as you can get, and great restaurants all around. And, a grocery store, with it's own dinghy dock!
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:56 PM   #5
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We anchored in Smokehouse Bay for a night a month ago. Urban setting, free dinghy dock. Dinghy to grocery store. Many restaurants. Plenty of water depth in the bay. Sheltered from all directions.

Give aptly named Cape Romano Shoals a wide berth. Did not bottom, but learned my sounds can read <1'!
Thanks for the recommendation. My Navionics charts don’t show markers all the way to smokehouse bay and the depths look less than ideal. Are there private markers all the way in?

I’ll be coming in tomorrow about 2 hours before high tide so this should help with the depths.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:58 PM   #6
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Last June we headed north from Marathon. Marco seems a bit tight and shallow for us (5’9” draft) so we anchored in Little Shark River and Indian Key. Both had reasonable depths and plenty of space. No other boats while we were there. We did cut through one of the “channels” in the southern part of Cape Romano Shoals. Depth sounder vs. chart was confusing at one point and we rolled quite a bit with a south wind. The shoals were all around but fairly easy to see on a sunny day. Probably would pick a channel further south and a little deeper next time.
Thanks, we will be staying one night at little shark river after Marco island. I’d ask how the mosquitos were but guess they were a lot worse in June than they’ll be in January.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:20 PM   #7
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Good markers into Smokehouse Bay. Higher side of tide and stay in the channel should be fine. Some big boats in there.

We anchored on the Indian and Little Shark rivers in the Everglades. Fantastic! No bugs for 3 days (10-15 mph winds). No-see-ems showed up the morning we pulled anchor, when the wind died.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:22 AM   #8
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I concur with the Smokehouse Bay Anchorage. Good spot, protected, markers were easy to follow, loved the grocery store with the dinghy dock.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:19 AM   #9
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Good markers into Smokehouse Bay. Higher side of tide and stay in the channel should be fine. Some big boats in there.

We anchored on the Indian and Little Shark rivers in the Everglades. Fantastic! No bugs for 3 days (10-15 mph winds). No-see-ems showed up the morning we pulled anchor, when the wind died.
Thanks again for the input.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:20 PM   #10
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Be advised that when the tide is running, it can look a little sketchy (but, it's not) right as you turn off of the main channel from the gulf into the smaller channel leading to Smokehouse Bay, with lots of ripples in the water. Press on!
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:59 PM   #11
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Yes I found out about those cross currents today when I came in today. I was about 3 hours before high tide so the current was running pretty good. I allowed for this on my turn and made the turn alright but glad there wasn’t an outbound boat there as it’s a tight squeeze. Generally depths were alright the entire way in but I still hit 4’6” depths and I was only about 6” from full high tide. Definitely would get stuck at low tide.

Thanks to all for the guidance, without your guidance I probably would have skipped this anchorage as the charts make it look unnavigable.
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