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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed that there isn't a lot of recent info out there about the islands off the coast of Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina changed the islands and anchorages so I wanted to hear from people who've sailed around there in the last couple of years and had recent info. I've you've never been out to any of them, they are worth checking out! Horn, Ship, and Cat Island definitely seem like a whole new world after sailing out of the muddy waters in the Mississippi sound. They offer sand beaches, great fishing, and wooded islands to explore.

I typically go out to Horn Island. There is deep water at a place referred to as "the horseshoe" which is closer towards the west end on the north side of the island. You can get in close, but there is no protection from north winds. I've been to Cat Island also, but only once. Getting stuck on the bottom at low tide soured me on the place a little bit. If you've been out there, I would love some info on anchoring in Smuggler's Cove. My boat's draft is 4.5 feet and that would be a great place to tuck in if it is possible. Also, has anyone sailed out to Chandeleur Island? That would be a nice sail out of Biloxi, and I have yet to find anything online about anyone sailing down there.
 

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It's my theory that Mississippi has such a low population compared to the East and West Coast areas that there isn't really much information published, whether it's a web page or a published document, that is very helpful. This includes the Alabama and Louisiana coastal areas as well.

I wonder if you could get any help from the Rangers at the Gulf Islands National Seashore?! They circumnavigate the islands daily and would know a great deal about the current lay of the islands.

The guys and gals at OSYC are small catamaran sailors, and those are the people I know. They sail out to the islands regularly, but have no draft to speak of.

Let me know if you need any rail meat. I only have small boat experience but am willing to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Horn, Ship, and Cat are pretty easy to figure out. I really want to hear from any sailors that have been out to Chandeleur Island. I guess I'll just go check it out in October and see for myself.
 

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chandeleur islands

Sailed to the Chandeleurs before Katrina. On the west side at the north part we dropped anchor in 7 feet, as close as I dared. We were still over a mile from land. Dingied in through shallow mud and was not impressed. Glad we went and one day will go back to a different spot because I'd always wondered about 'em. From google earth it looks like the were torn up, but maybe it cleared some mud and cut some channels. Worth checking out.
 

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Good thread for the MS Coast!
I was going to drag my family out to Ship or Cat Island this evening, but we have never overnighted on the hook and have never sailed out to the islands. Wouldn't leave until around 6pm and don't think I will try a first attempt at anchoring in a place I've never been when dark will have already set in. After getting some experience under better circumstances, we'll try it; tonight we'll sleep at the harbor and then sail a bit in the morning. Maybe to Ship Island and let the kids storm the Fort!

Although I'm too chicken for tonight, would the Little Bend at cat Island offer any protection from this evening's easterly winds that will blow steady at around 12mph and kick gusts to 21mph?
 

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For several years, I would go to Smugglers Cove for protection. Due to time constraints, I have been poking along N side more this year. A little west of Little Bend, N of the entrance to the private house and bayou (marked with a light) will tuck you in and protect against E winds well (due to Racoon Spit), and somewhat westerly ones. I can get in 8ft. water, leave the keel down for stability, and do pretty well. The map is somewhat deceiving as to the curve and protection there (more than one would realize). Haven't explored Chandeleur yet. Smugglers Cove is shoaled up pretty good, and 4.5 ft with room for tide will not get you in far. If attempted, stay more to the south side, but be aware that the spit has washed away such that not much is left at high tide. Can be deceiving. 3-4 years ago, people would camp on it. Impossible now. Still offers protection, but not visible at high tide...
 

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Thanks Loose D,
The depth info for near the Little Bend was exactly what I needed. Turned out this weekend was a sailing bust, just camping on the boat. Winds certainly picked up!
 

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Will have to check those Islands out after My boat is fully outfitted... Have a 5.5 ft draft, so may be able to go gunkholing in those islands areas.
 
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sv Cordelia
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I'm originally from the MS Gulf Coast but live near the Chesapeake now. Grew up with power boats - as most people in MS do, but figured to save on gas and since I was so close to Annapolis (the sailing capitol), I'd get a sail boat. Great to see sailors back home.

As for Chandeleur Island... Been a couple times for fishing. The depth is pretty good on the East side, but pretty shallow in spots on the West.

Cat Island is my favorite barrier island.
 

Knotty Wench
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I read that Cat Island on the east coast got hit bad my the BP oil spill so bad that the Boddie family sold them their coast line. Had you heard about that?

I love the history of Cat Island and the dog training conducted on it. People sent their family pets to train to sniff out the Japanese people hiding in America (it didn't work). So bizarre...
 

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Resurrecting this old thread because I really have the same question as the original poster. I also draw 4.5 feet fixed keel and am seeking info on the status of anchorages at Cat Island for a trip this weekend. Forecast is for SE shifting ESE winds 9 knots. Best advice for reasonable protection and easy access to shore by dingy? Coming from Lake Pontchartrain.
 

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I Spoke with another sailor who anchored in Smugglers Cove recently, it was shallow and ok for his 2.5' draft. Not so close in to shore for a 4.5' draft though-- couple hundred yards? He Also said the "flies" were bad on shore. he backed off shore for the night and caught the breezes to escape the flies.

See Loose Diamonds comments in this thread on Little Bend for deeper boats. Report back what you find this weekend.

Good luck!
 

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IRead previous posts. If the wind predictions are accurate and maintain an easterly component, Smugglers Cove would be my choice. The South spit has eroded such that it is almost completely submerged at high tide. There is I lighted buoy at the southernmost tip. Still, you can get in close enough to protect from all but a westerly wind. Enter the cove avoiding the south spit as well as the very shallow area of Good Scotch Point. North side would protect from that wind but very shallow. Longer rides to shore. Finally in the water last weekend after pulling for hurricane Isaac. If I work out some electrical issues, I may be out there Sat and Sun. If you see a small boat with a yellow flag, it is probably me. Hail Loose Diamond or dinghy over for a cold drink! Good luck.
 

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Thank you both for this good information. I'll watch the wind forecast and decide. Since low tide is at night, Smuggler's might offer more protection than I anticipated. I will have more crew than anticipated and a small dinghy so it would be helpful to be a bit closer in than on the north side. I'm surprised to see a three foot tidal range this weekend.

Greg

Laguna 33, "Star of the Orient"
Slidell, LA
 

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Please post an update after your visit. I too am hoping to get out of Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi Barrier Islands this summer, but based on earlier posts to this thread I wondered where I'd be able to anchor with 4 1/2 feet of draft.

Forecast I saw seems to include SE winds this weekend. If you try Little Bend instead of Smuggler's Cove, please report what you find about the depth and wind protection there.

Wish I was sailing this weekend myself. Have a great trip.

Mark
S/V Reality
New Orleans, LA
 

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We did end up at Smuggler's. We saw Loose Diamonds with his yellow flag and swing keel getting really close in to shore, but for us with a fixed keel out in the cheap seats, it would have been a long dinghy ride to shore. We started out in 7.5 feet and had 6.5 feet as tide went out or we swung around. It was a calm and comfortable night; flies were annoying in the evening but mercifully left us after dark. In hindsight we could have gone shallower but too much faith in forecasts did not seem wise. Next time we make the trip we will make a three day weekend of it so that there's a whole day to screw around.
 

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We had a crew member with a dialysis appointment Sunday evening, thus the early start. However we made great speed getting back, with tailwinds and currents in our favor, so perhaps we could have lingered. Do you think we were unnecessarily conservative in where we anchored, including an appropriate margin for the unexpected? With the calm conditions we had later that evening, a Seatow membership, and someone manning the boat on anchor watch, perhaps I could be tempted to close in on those five foot charted (mean low water) depths right up next to the spit for easy shore access during the day, moving to deeper water at night? Or is that just stupid with a four foot draft. I have very little experience with this problem, my prior boat had 15 inch draft. I didn't worry about running aground; I could always get out and push.
 

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Definitely made the right decision, especially on a hard schedule. I have spent an extra night out there more than once when I got in too close and the tide stranded me. Given that and the forecast unusually high tidal range, good call. Anywhere on the N side would be shoaled worse. I have become more conservative over time. Now I will anchor out in the evening in 8 ft with the keel down for stability and peace of mind when on the N side. (a little more familiar with some deep holes in Smugglers).
 

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I know this is a bit old, but be advised that the shoaling in Smuggler's Cove has progressed and the charts are certainly incorrect.

As per my ActiveCaptain review:
"Update 10/2013: the sandbar is very washed out, and the embayment has shallowed. We saw 3 feet at high tide and didn't try to go up inside. Very little east protection now that the bar has eroded. I would now describe this as a north or fair weather stop. Compare the chart to the satellite, you'll see."
 
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