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Discussion Starter #1
We're traveling the ICW eastbound and will enter the Mississippi Sound after the next front blows through. We've been surprised by how many marinas are still closed from Rita/Katrina/Gustav/Ike. In a place not known for good anchorages it's created some interesting evenings trying to figure how to bed down the boat.

Anyone have any feedback for anchorages/marinas in the Sound ? We're most interested in alternatives to Rabbit Isl east of New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile Bay and the islands.

We're headed for Key West and the Bahamas (finally).

Thanks for any help,
Sam and Ginger
s/v Grace PSC34-163

PS - We've gone aground in the ICW a few times. Normal operating procedure for the ICW. We put on an AutoProp to improve fuel economy (and have no idea of how it will hold up) but it does put out an impressive amount of thrust in forward or reverse. We've pulled off groundings I was sure were going to require a tow.
 

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If you come into new New Orleans there are plenty of marina facilities both in the city and at Slidell, which is right at the east entrance to the lake (near the Rigolets).

As you head east, you'll find marinas at Pass Christian, Gulfport and Biloxi that are open and ready to go. Of these, Pass Christian and Gulfport are probably the best bets.

edit: if you need fuel, go to Pass Christian - be very careful going in. I've seen some of the channel markers high and dry at times, don't cut too close)

As I'm sure you know, the Sound is shallow. Be particularly careful between Lake Bourgne and Pass Christian. There are a couple well marked channels. Also, as you get into the sound, keep a very close eye on Grassy Island, which is very low lying. Plot a course well clear.

There are plenty of wonderful anchorages at Cat, Ship and Horn Islands. Trust your depthsounder more than your chartplotter though as the storms have had an impact.

As you get into Mobile Bay, I can recommend Homeport Marina. You'll find it just as you get back into the ICW ditch on the east side of the bay. Lulu's Restaurant (Buffet's sister) is at the marina and it's a $5 taxi ride to shops and groceries if you need to reprovision or just get off the boat. We caught a movie there this summer just to get some A/C!

It's a great place to sail through, I hope you have a wonderful trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mississippi Sound

Thanks Jason - we're having problems connecting with reliable information.
What marinas do you recommend in Gulfport ? Biloxi ? We're trying to dodge northers and don't want to get caught in the Sound.

Thanks,
Sam and Ginger
svGrace - PSC34 #163
 

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S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
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Mississippi Sound Advice

S/V GRACE:

I'll disagree with Jason on there being, "plenty of marina facilities both in the city and at Slidell" As far as I know, here is the rundown in marina facilities:

1. Seabrook Harbor - This is very small and powerboat oriented, but they usually have a transient berth or two. It's on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC), so if you're going to run down the MRGO and then the ICW and bypass the Rigolets, that's an options.

2. Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor - At "West End", a couple miles around the lake clockwise from where the IHNC. Not fucntioning, no water, elec., security. You can squat. Many berths destroyed.

3. Orleans Levee Marina - Just a little further in from the Yacht HArbor. they are open for transients. Somewhere between the two has fuel.

4. Oak Harbor Marina in Slidell - This is where we are berthed. Water, elec, no fuel, no pumpout. The marinas up Bayou Bonfouca are not functioning well and probably too far out of your way.

As for further along the Mississippi Sound, we were running from Gustav on the last pass through, so didn't slow down or stop. On the way back, we did tie up to the Ship Island Park pier. This isn't allowed, but the island's facilities were also completely destroyed by Gustav. On our way back, the USCG buoy tenders were getting aids to navigation back, but I would beware along the longer stretches.

You can definitely anchor up the Pearl River. I understand that Pascagoula might have some recreational facilities. And perhaps up the Escatawpa River.

Bayou Labatre is also a good, deep anchorage on the West side of Mobile Bay, but the problem with it, and most of the others is that its between 5-10 miles North of the ICW.

I've got my Cruising Guide to the Norther Gulf Coast, which covers all that ground. If you don't have it, it is pretty good. Its pre-storm dated from 2003, but it still has a lot of names and numbers that you can try.

If in doing your routeing you think you'll be in a specific area, let me know and I can look it up for you and let you know what it says.

We're actually leaving for the Bahamas too and won't be coming back to New Orleans, so if you want the book itself, swing by Oak Harbor Marina, or let me know.

Ryan
S/V ARGO
WDE3361
PCS37 #309
 

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I'll disagree with Jason on there being, "plenty of marina facilities both in the city and at Slidell" As far as I know, here is the rundown in marina facilities:
Well...without debating what "plenty" is, you can certainly find a free or affordable slip with nearby facilities in north, east or south Lake P. If Slidell doesn't work for you, another option is Mandeville, which is about 20 miles west of Slidell on the north side of the lake. There are transient slips available on Bayou Castine there and you can also tie up on the seawall (it's city owned) in front of Pontchartrain YC. It's free and even has power. If you go there, please let me know. I live about 3 minutes from there and, depending on when you arrive, would be happy to help you lay up and, if you need it, provide transportation for re-provisioning.


What marinas do you recommend in Gulfport ? Biloxi ? We're trying to dodge northers and don't want to get caught in the Sound.
The marina at Gulfport Yacht Club is decent and the club has a fantastic, brand new facility. The sailing director there is Sam Vasquez and he'll get you set up. He does a great job. Email or PM me for his contact info or just google the club.

There's a marina in Biloxi called Point Cadet, which is also fair (119 Beach Blvd, Biloxi - (228) 432-0454).

Pass Christian's harbor is only about a dozen miles west of Gulfport, so don't rule it out. If you're sailing from Slidell, that dozen miles may make the difference between arriving at night or with some daylight.

I would not want to enter either at night for the first time, particularly Pass Christian. P.C. is not well lit, surrounded by shallow water and a monster sea wall.

Gulfport is too well lit. There's a small port immediately to the west (you'll follow the Gulport Ship Channel into the marina) and it can get confusing. As you go into the Gulfport Harbor, stay dead center.

I haven't spent much time at Biloxi so I can't provide much local knowledge for that marina.
 

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Jason's right about Pass Christian/ Bay St Louis being shallow. If you stray outside the channel in a lot of places there is only a couple feet of water. GYC is good but there are shoals there too. As far as Biloxi goes, there are a few docks along casino row if you feel the need to gamble. The Beau Rivage has docking facilities and a pretty good buffet. As far as Pascagoula and Bayou la Batre go, they are geared toward commercial marine and don't really have very scenic anchorages. They are a good place to weather a blow however. In Pascagoula, if you want to take the trip up the Escatawpa to Moss Point there is a nice little anchorage near 'downtown' Moss Point. As you continue east there is Dauphin Island or if you are willing to travel north for a few hours, follow the Mobile ship channel to Dog River. There are good facilities there. Be careful in Mobile Bay though. There is a lot of commercial traffic. Mobile is a very busy port. Ch 13 is the working channel in the bay. Once you get out of the bay you are getting into my regular cruising grounds and feel free to contact me if you want.
As far as homeport marina, it is worth the stop, but if you continue east to Pirates cove on the north side of Arnica Bay, you will find a real cruisers anchorage. Good luck!:thewave:
Here are some links:
GulfportYachtClub.org
LuLu's at Homeport Marina
home
Dauphin Island Marina, Dauphin Island, Alabama
 

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another good place is ocean springs (just east of biloxi). they are cheap and it is a short walk to restaurants. people around the marina are nice and very helpful.

Only problem with dauphin island marina is depth. this time of year it can get real shallow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mississippi Sound Advice

Thanks for all the suggestions !

We checked out Seabrook on the Industrial Canal and decided on the Orleans Marina on the lake. It was a wise decision as this front is strong, cold and wet. And there's really good gumbo at the Ponchartrain Point restaurant just south of the marina.

The Gulfport municipal marina is still closed, the Gulfport Yacht Club does not accept transients, so the only place available is in Biloxi at the Schooner Pier marina (Google the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum). The Cadet Point marina is closed for rebuilding.

We're eastbound once this front blows thru. We're uneasy with barge traffic in the Rigolets and the Pearl so I imagine we'll have to deal with Rabbit Isl. From there we'll anchor at Ship or Horn Isl and then Dauphin Isl or Navy Cove. After that is Pensacola and a hot shower.

Thanks again for all the feedback !
Sam and Ginger
sv Grace PSC34 #163
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mississippi Sound Advice

The snow was unusual but not as odd as missing an island.

We bypassed Cat Isl - too early to stop - and continued on to Ship Isl. But... it wasn't there. What used to be several miles long is now about 1/2 mile with a few denuded trees on it. More hurricane damage ?? Horn appeared to be intact as is Petit Bois. Too odd.

We're now in Navy Cove - north of Mobile Point and are expecting to reach Pensacola tomorrow or the next day, weather permitting.

Thanks again for the feedback,
Sam and Ginger
sv Grace PSC34
 

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Mobile-Pensacola Marinas : a little off topic -sorry

sorry I was going to send email inquirys or im those who are in the Mobile bay-Pensacola area. Seems I haven't posted enough to do that so I'll have to ask here

I'd like to impose on you for advice if you don't mind, I noted from some of these postings that this discussion includes people who are in the mobile bay area and I would like to find a marina on mobile bay or in Pensacola.

The boat will be a 30-36 LOA sailboat. Price (for dockage) is an issue but not as much as being protected and/or a place where people working there and owners tend to keep an eye on things. As I'm writing this I realized all three of the marinas I've had a boat long term have been both Marinas and Boatyard (all on east coast). That's not very important but it does reflect my preference for places where owners don't wear white "yachting gear" etc.

Reasonably easy access to the gulf is a bit of an issue. the boat will definitely be an open water boat so I expect slower and deeper draft than average (fin keel not likely).

If you have any suggestions or general thoughts on the matter I'd realy appreciate them

Thanks
David Gordon (gdecon)

gd @ clemson dot edu
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Mississippi Sound Advice

A friend of ours staged his boat into Bayou Chico at Pensacola, in the Bahia Mar Marina (850-432-9620). It looked nice and had a boat yard alongside. The marina is run by the same folks who manage Palafox Pier and seem to do a very good job of it. It's a ways from the Gulf but Pensacola Bay is a nice place to sail.

Coming out of Houston/Galveston, we've been very impressed by the number of nice places you can cruise to for overnighters or weekenders.

Good luck,
Sam and Ginger
sv Grace, PSC34#163
 

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Sam & Ginger,
We are on post short of being able to send Private Messages. (sailnet rules) So this is my one more post. We will try again to send you a PM.
Dave & Debbie,
SV Wind Dancer
 
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