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Old 10-02-2022, 10:06 AM   #1
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Hurricane Ian and Travel Plan Impact

I searched the posts but didn't see anything that I was specifically looking for.

We currently have our boat in New Bern, NC with plans to leave mid December to bring her around Florida (with a side trip to the Bahamas) and up the river system to where we live in St. Louis. Now with the destruction of Ian we're unsure whether this is a wise, or even doable, plan. We cruised full time for six years on a sailboat but this will be the first time on a power vessel. Many of the places we used to stop as we made our way from the Keys to Tampa Bay are unavailable to us due to Ian, so in all likelihood we would need to make a straight shot from the lower Keys to Tampa.

We carry 320 gals of diesel @ 3 mpg as far as we know from the PO. The boat is a Kha Shing 40 sedan with twin Cummins 4BT3.9 engines.

Just looking for some opinions since we're newbies on the trawler front.
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:23 AM   #2
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If planning to use the Okeechobee Waterway, I'd say wait and see. I haven't heard of storm damage in Marco Island. Venice also looks relatively undamaged (anyone?). So fuel stops should be doable if you come up through the keys.

However there are a lot of now homeless boats in storage that will be competing for slips where Ian came thru. I imagine lot of clean-up will be done by December so more info. will be available by then.
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve1.0 View Post
If planning to use the Okeechobee Waterway, I'd say wait and see. I haven't heard of storm damage in Marco Island. Venice also looks relatively undamaged (anyone?). So fuel stops should be doable if you come up through the keys.

However there are a lot of now homeless boats in storage that will be competing for slips where Ian came thru. I imagine lot of clean-up will be done by December so more info. will be available by then.
Agree on the wait and see, but we don't have a lot of time because we would have to get here before hurricane season 2023 and we want to enjoy the trip not rush it. Plus, we're doing it on a planned six month leave of absence from my DH's work. The slip thing isn't an issue as we anchor almost all the time. Marco did sustain a considerable amount of damage.

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/new...an/8156288001/

Same in Venice. Our friends' house there near the ICW sustained major damage, as did our friends' in Englewood.

I think the Okeechobee eat to west will be off the table for a long time because of the damage in Ft. Myers. I wouldn't trust the bottom because of debris for years. Plus, all the sand shift will render the ICW charts inaccurate. At this point we're leaning towards a straight offshore run, but keep the opinions coming. I'd especially like to hear from people local too those areas.
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Old 10-02-2022, 11:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kintala View Post
I think the Okeechobee eat to west will be off the table for a long time because of the damage in Ft. Myers. I wouldn't trust the bottom because of debris for years. Plus, all the sand shift will render the ICW charts inaccurate. At this point we're leaning towards a straight offshore run, but keep the opinions coming. I'd especially like to hear from people local too those areas.
I think you're completely wrong on that.

The Okeechobee waterway is designated a commercial navigation waterway (even though there is minimal commercial traffic) and maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers. I would expect they will survey the 150 miles within a week or two, check the locks for functionality and open it back up. Once salvage operations start in SW FL, I would expect to see a significant amount of salvage equipment moving through the waterway as opposed to going around the Keys.

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Old 10-02-2022, 11:37 AM   #5
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That would be a great adventure! Not sure how far you've moved in the trawler or whether your Ka Shing has any stabilization(?) When you talk about a "straight shot offshore" and you're coming from the sailing world... trawlers do not generally have the benefit of that big stabilizing mast a sailboat has.. at least for swells towards your beam, so doing this completely offshore is pretty ambitious. Trawler captains (at least IMHO) will do stints offshore but we will be careful to look for good weather windows, then cut into a calm inlet to the ICW to stay the night somewhere.
As for the Keys you have two choices heading south if discounting Okeechobee: outside is Hawk channel, inside is Florida Bay. Outside is nice but there again you want decent weather windows. Inside is protected.... but last time we did it, it was incredibly shallow in several spots (we have a 5' draft) and for this reason we probably wouldn't go inside again. A lot depends on a cycle of north winds that tend to push the water out of the bay... but at least if you rub there its mostly just soft sand.
Anyway, thats just a few thoughts off the top of the head....
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Old 10-02-2022, 01:03 PM   #6
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You are in a good position, not leaving until Dec. By then all the speculation will be gone. You will have actual information on conditions
I will head south from the Chesapeake Nov 6 and I believe by then we will know what the conditions are. I will be headed across Okeechobee if possible or around via Miami if not.
We have traveled south for 7 years. Two of those years, hurricanes tore up the areas in Carolinas to Florida. Each time the cautious speculation would stop some from traveling. In the end there were no issues and the channels were not changed by the storm. Stay in touch with Waterway Guide, bob423 and alert from the Corp and you will be able to decide.
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Old 10-02-2022, 03:36 PM   #7
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I will be crossing the Okeechobee waterway 1st or 2nd week of November unless I get delayed in the boatyard.

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Old 10-02-2022, 07:05 PM   #8
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Kintala: Your boat's fuel capacity puts a run from anywhere in the Keys (Marathon, Key West, etc.) to St. Petersburg Beach well within reach. If you have enough watch standers, you can do it in 30 hours or so, running just off the coast and bypassing the Ian strike zone. Just pick your weather. I have done it with two watch standers, two hours on and two off, which gets old after a while. With three people, it's a piece of cake.

Ted is probably right about the Corps moving promptly to ensure safe navigation on the Okeechobee Waterway. However, I don't blame anyone for being wary of the waters around the lower Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor and even up toward Lemon Bay. Running outside and then coming back inside at Venice Inlet or points north ought to be safe, as far as submerged debris is concerned.
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Old 10-03-2022, 07:29 AM   #9
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The Coast Guard was pretty quick about mapping out all of the underwater debris after Katrina. But, It was about a year, if I remember right, before it actually was all removed. And, even today, you still occasionally find some or see it on your fish finder. We even picked up a sunken container one day on our fish finder, a couple of years later.

I would imagine that timeline would be about the same for Ian debris.
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Old 10-03-2022, 08:43 AM   #10
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Bob has a interesting chapter about effect of named storms on the ICW in his WaterwayGuide. Found it reassuring. I have more modest goals than you. Planing to go to Deltaville VA later this month. Then do the ICW to Hilton Head starting in the beginning of November. Leaving the boat there for 3 months. Will then wander around there for awhile upon return and subsequently head north for summer. WaterwayGuide is already posting post storm information. Florida may be a mess for some time to come. I’m glad we have reservations in place.
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Old 10-03-2022, 09:27 AM   #11
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If willing to anchor out in many places. Remember things like fuel, food, water and basics will be available in short order to some degree. The communities still will be interested in providing such for their governments (police/fire/rescue), and important businesses for the area such as fishing and supporting cleanup and rebuilding companies such as salvage and piling/bulkhead, etc.

So getting stuff won't be impossible, just a little harder/expensive than usual is my guess.
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