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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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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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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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We returned to Cat this summer, anchored on the north side. Quite far out but it was a good night.

I have a question though.

Sailing westward from Ship Island pier to the north of Cat Island, we need to cross a big marked channel. On either side of the channel there's a blue spoil area on the NOAA chart with unmarked depths, which took us way out of our way to the north (where there is a gap for the ICW) to clear it.

Was that an unnecessary detour? Could we cut more directly west from Ship, through that spoil area, but avoiding of course the shoals of raccoon spit?

I can't imagine these waters are less than 6 feet or so... but I was prudent.

Edit: I guess this is only about a 2.5 mile detour not a big deal. I did see a sailboat cut the corner but he was smaller than me.
 
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