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Old 07-10-2015, 17:34   #1
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Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Hey guys, my name is Brendan i am a young aspiring captain. I have had my 100 ton master for 3 years now. I grew up in South Florida and know the waterways like the back of my hand, I have made many trips to key west using Hawks channel and all around the Bahamas. I am making my first trip to fort Myers here in the next few days. I am going to take Hawks channel to marathon to re-fuel and then head up the west cost from the 7 mile bridge.. I chose to take this route instead of the yacht channel to have some deeper water and also be able to refuel. My draft is 5ft and I was hoping anyone may have some advice on going this route and any tips going into fort Myers would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to talk with you all and can't wait to return the favor if anyone needs some help along the southeast coast, thank you!
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Old 07-10-2015, 18:57   #2
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Just made that trip a few months ago. I split it up in to a three day trip. First night anchored off Middle Cape, second night off Cape Ramano Shoal, and then to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River and up river to Ft. Myers.

Not hard at all. I would caution I hit the river on a Sunday and it got very crowded under some of the bridges. Way too many power boats going way too fast. FWC was giving tickets to boats up on a plane in crowded places. There is a significant current in the river and the tide can change the direction 180 degrees so anchor accordingly.
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Old 07-10-2015, 19:18   #3
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Helped sail a Cal39 up from Marathon to St. Pete this past April.

Was in Charlotte Harbor about a month ago on my Pearson.

We sailed the Cal straight through in about 48 hours with great wind all the way, average speed something around 6.5 knots I think. Never had to motorsail. To Charlotte Harbor should be about 36 hours maybe. Then the run back south to the river at Ft. Myers.

Consider carefully if you want to take the short cut in at Sanibel Island. Lots of shoaling there. Haven't been through there so maybe others could address that.

The pass into Charlotte Harbor is wide open and deep but has a strong current running through.

BTW, with a five foot draft I assumed you have a sailboat. Or do you have a big powerboat? You did mention refueling.
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Old 07-10-2015, 19:56   #4
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Thanks for the tips, I'm look at charts now to figure the safest way up to sanibel, hoping to make is somewhat of a straight shot by going out the 7 mile bridge with the deeper water.

The vessel is a 68 Azimut sport yacht. A comfortable cruse speed is around 24 knots with the lowest burn rate. Planing to leave early and be in Hawks channel by sunrise, going to make it a day trip
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:25   #5
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Oh yeah, that's a big powerboat. Wow!. Nice to cruise at twenty plus knots, no? In style no less. Even if you will use more fuel in one day than I have in five years.

Active Captain has some dated info regarding the shoals south and east of Sanibel, saying the charts are incorrect as the shoals have moved do to a hurricane. Or maybe I need to update my AC data as I can't use the web version on my phone.

Just downloaded the latest chart for there last week that shows just one narrow route into deeper water.

Edit.... forget that. The narrow bit, I was looking at it wrong. Plenty of water and wide in the marked channel if the charts are correct.
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:34   #6
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Same as your chart?
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:47   #7
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

BTW, the route north from 7 mile bridge to open water is easy peasy. From the bridge about 355* true for almost 4nm, then about 27* true almost 4nm should get you to wide open hammer down at about 330*T for about 75nm to clear the Marco island area. One more correction to Sanibel. From memory.
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:59   #8
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Yes that chart is correct. You have the same idea I have thank you very much for your input.

I read on some other post of a marker at 25.41.284. 81.38.793 And if you stay west of the marker there is good deeper water. ( I do not like shallow water when running 2.5 mill vessel)

Yes the boat is fast and does use fuel but for the amount of boat and speed the hour burn rate is very good compared to other vessels I ran in the pass
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Old 07-10-2015, 21:35   #9
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Funny you should mention that marker. Cape something shoals light. West of it is open water around Marco.

That's where the Cal39 lost all electrical power at 2:00 AM with me at the helm and everyone else sleeping. Had just passed that marker so knew I was good as a correction to starboard was next. So I just maintained course hand steering until sunrise when the others awakened. Handed off the helm and went below to fix the electrical, then slept til noon.

Got an extra tip in pay on that delivery.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:52   #10
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

A great trip, made it recently in my 41 ft Morgan, but watch out for crab pots! Depending on when you go, they can be like a mine field!
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:04   #11
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.bam View Post
Hey guys, my name is Brendan i am a young aspiring captain. I have had my 100 ton master for 3 years now. I grew up in South Florida and know the waterways like the back of my hand, I have made many trips to key west using Hawks channel and all around the Bahamas. I am making my first trip to fort Myers here in the next few days. I am going to take Hawks channel to marathon to re-fuel and then head up the west cost from the 7 mile bridge.. I chose to take this route instead of the yacht channel to have some deeper water and also be able to refuel. My draft is 5ft and I was hoping anyone may have some advice on going this route and any tips going into fort Myers would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to talk with you all and can't wait to return the favor if anyone needs some help along the southeast coast, thank you!
===

You'll have no problem with that route if you stay clear of the Cape Romano shoals south of Marco, and stay a bit offshore from both Marco and Naples inlets. Follow the buoys carefully off of Ft Myers Beach right up to the Sanibel Causeway Bridge. Be watchful of the buoy color reversal at ICW marker 101. From that point east you are on the ICW marker system with red markers to the north, green to the south. Pay close attention to the slow speed zones in the river. They are heavily enforced.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:14   #12
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

You might find this link to our similar trip of interest.
ICWW Trip - Tampa Bay to Lake Ontario

I have a video of the Marko Isl to the 7 mile and will post if I can find it.

Best

Brian
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Old 08-10-2015, 15:55   #13
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

I thought I had put in my two bits, That is a shallow run subject to ground swells up to 16ft. caps. So pick your window. Another concerns are the weather buoys. Not NOAA, colleges. Their info. is good just don't nail one in the middle of the night.
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Old 08-10-2015, 18:38   #14
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Re: Traveling to Fort Myers from 7 mile bridge Florida Keys

If you are under power and in the commercial lobster season Florida bay will be full of pot traps so running at night is not the best idea.
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