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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Florida & SE US East Coast > Florida - Western
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Old 05-07-2013
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Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

My family and I are planning to cruise late May to Mobile, Alabama from SW Florida. Any suggestions or advice from someone who has made the trip? Especially in regard to getting into Mobile Bay?

We are well equipped for watching weather but have never made this trek. I have GPS and appropriate paper charts that I have been studying closely. Just want any local knowledge or thoughts on things I haven't thought of! Any anchorages as well.

Advice is appreciated.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

I have been all over SW Fl and sailed down from Pensacola to FMB. I have spent years in St Pete, Fort Myers Beach, and quite a long time in the keys. In fact, I am typing this from Boot Key (Marathon).

Where are you leaving from? What is the air draft and water draft of your vessel? How do you want to cruise?

I can give you everything from secluded anchorages to fun nightlife.

Brian
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

thank you..

we have a 44' Mason with a 5'6 draft.
we are not looking for fun night life..just anchorages
in case we get stuck along the way.

we've never done this route and are looking for opinions
on best ways and locl knowledge. we do have a 54 foot height.

We have children aboard as well..so more reason to double check.
we also may head ( without kids aboard) from Pensacola to Houston.If you
know any very skilled captains who are extremely familiar with the gulf crossing.
we don't want to make that crossing with our current "crew."

first we need to get to Alabama safely and swiftly...and want to know if there is anything unmarked on the charts..if the intercostal is better and why...are we mising bridges..etc,..the stuff we are not thinking of....

thanks again!
Tiger Shark
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlynt View Post
thank you..

we have a 44' Mason with a 5'6 draft.
we are not looking for fun night life..just anchorages
in case we get stuck along the way.

we've never done this route and are looking for opinions
on best ways and locl knowledge. we do have a 54 foot height.

We have children aboard as well..so more reason to double check.
we also may head ( without kids aboard) from Pensacola to Houston.If you
know any very skilled captains who are extremely familiar with the gulf crossing.
we don't want to make that crossing with our current "crew."

first we need to get to Alabama safely and swiftly...and want to know if there is anything unmarked on the charts..if the intercostal is better and why...are we mising bridges..etc,..the stuff we are not thinking of....

thanks again!
Tiger Shark
Well, I don't know if you follow any of my stuff, but I cruise with two boys aboard who were also on board at 5 days old! SO I am there with ya.

What city are you coming from Marathon? Key West? FMB or Naples?

I will assume you are leaving from Marathon. I can give you details of anything inbetween. To start off with, you will be able to jump under the 7 mile bridge. From there you are an overnighter to Fort Myers Beach. I would personally choose Fort Myers Beach over Factory Bay. FMB is more kid oriented. You can also get some great stocks there. You will fit under the bridge and can stay at the mooring field. I would walk over to the beach with the kids, or take them to Nervous Nellies (cheap food and pretty good). The strip is pretty kid friendly and they would love the powder sand beach there.

From there you have two choices: inside or outside. Your drafts are fine either way. I personally take the Miserable Mile (go under Sanibel and hang a left) but it skinny water and if you get out of the channel, you will be aground. Currents try and push you out of it too. If you are a good pilot, then go that way and watch your depths. It is really only bad the first few miles, then it is easy running. If the winds are anything but NW, go all the way to Useppa Island. Anchor off the east side of it. From there you can take your tender to Cabbage Key. Kids will love it. Hang a dollar on the wall and get a $12 cheeseburger... but it is all the adventure. ALternatively, you can go into Cayo Costa a little further north (Pelican Bay). If you don't go the inside, you can do that trip from the outside but it will add around 3-4 hours with your SOG because of the shoals. Let me know which way and I can help.

From there you can either go inside or outside. I have done both. I would probably go outside unless it is blowing stink. I would jump from Charlotte Harbor to Venice. You can stay at the Crows Nest. It is an easy in and an easy out. No good anchorages there but the rates aren't bad and there is some great scenery for the kids there too. They will loan you a bike for free and you can go check out the old Florida town of Venice. THere is an ice cream and sandwhich shop there that is awesome. FOrget the name though... on the right side of the strip downtown. But hey, is all good. THey also have a good restaurant at Crows Nest if you don't want to bother... but I would. All part of the adventure.

From there you can either take an easy run inside to Longboat Key or a longer one outside to St Pete or maybe Emerson Point. If you need a marina, go to the Harborage in St Pete. If not, stay at Emerson Point. Emerson Point is a rocking awesome anchorage just up the manatee river on Snead Island. We spent weeks there. There are miles of trails to walk, the park is very well kept, dog friendly, a dinghy dock, and a LOT of history. Me and my kids regularly played baseball right where the dinghy dock is under the old mound. Across from that is the National Desoto Park which should not be missed either. It is a very realistic depiction of Desoto and what he has done. Kinda touch history though... the guy was a monster.

From there I would do an overnighter and jump to Panama City. You might could do Apalchicola, but water can be shallow even for you. We stayed at the Panama City Marina on the north side. You can get groceries there, and the immediate shops have been redone, but outside of that is a hard town. Shame because it is a beautiful area. We did not spend much time there.

From there I would jump to Pensacola or Mobile. I would Opt for Pensacola and go for Mobile if I could. Pensacola is an easy in-out and the strip is great (esp One-eyed Petes). Kids will love it.

Does that help?

Brian
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Tlynt (05-22-2013)
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Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

You will not be able to get under the bridge at Fort Walton.There are a couple around panama city,east side,but now sure height.These are all icw.In your boat would stay outside to penescola.
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Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

+1 on what CD and Marc2012 said.
Appalachicola has a shallow bay and the cut closest to the city dock is tricky at best. I draw 4'8" and bumped heading out of there after sitting 3 days waiting for the north wind to shift and allow the water to come back into the bay. If the wind has a northerly component the bay will be on the skinny side.
The city docks are no longer free but they are convenient to restaurants and groceries.

As was already said, your mast height will limit you going inside between Panama City and Pensacola. You can however "duck" into Panama City to get a rest or to wait out weather as well as "duck" inside the Destin entrance to Choctawhatchee Bay. You won't clear the Destin Bridge though so will have to stay outside the bay, there is protected anchorage and dockage in Destin without join under the bridge. It is pretty easy harbor hopping from Panama City over to Mobile or if weather is good it is a beautiful sail outside within a few miles of the coast line.
Safe voyage!
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Old 05-11-2013
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

Port St. Joe is another option for you.

Deep water bay and marina, everything within walking distance. Family oriented atmosphere, and Auto Parts, Boat store, Hardware store with lots of stainless, pharmacy, laundromat, and grocery all a short walk.

Then outside again to Pensacola.


'
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Old 05-22-2013
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Re: Any knowledge of route from FL to Mobile, A

thank you to all for your comments! they have been very helpful in planning...
we leave in a few days and feel very good!
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