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Old 27-07-2011, 06:37   #1
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Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

I'm considering a job offer in Mobile,Alabama.Should I take it, I'll be buying a boat to live aboard there for awhile. The area looks intriguing to me as a sailor.A nice large bay, with some barrier islands, and nice beaches.The possible move to Mobile would be the "kick off" of an eventual cruising lifestyle for me.I have two possible boats in mind to live aboard. One is in Miami,Fla. and the other in Indiantown,Fla. If I were to buy the boat in Miami, the course seems to be pretty clear as far as getting the boat to Mobile. Sail down to the Keys and then head some what northwest to Mobile.Or is there some type of "cut" or the inter coastal that one could take from Miami, to Naples? If I were to buy the boat in Indiantown, I'm a little hazy on what could be done there as well.I'm not very familiar with the area, nor have I had time to do much nautical research concerning it.From the "Rand McNally" road atlas I have, there appears to be a passage from Indiantown, through Lake Okeechobee, across a canal or river, and eventually coming out at Ft.Myers. Does anyone know this to be true? Both boats I'm considering purchasing have drafts of 5-6ft.I would really appreciate any feedback that anyone has concerning the Mobile,Alabama area, as well as the course dilemmas.

Thanks,
Stede
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Old 27-07-2011, 07:03   #2
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Hi!
We live aboard a Pearson 365 ketch in the Dog River area of Mobile Bay. It is a little southwest of Mobile. Rather cheap to keep a boat around here, we pay $7 / per foot, which seems to be the average. As for sailing in mobile bay it is kind of annoying really, you can't go off of any wind or wave forecast as they are always wrong . As soon as you do get going you will have to change course due to a ship or tug or shallows or an island or.....lol. Good luck! Jim.
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Old 27-07-2011, 07:15   #3
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Re: Alabama with a banjo on my knee

Thanks "Orrjames" for the input."Captain Ron" used to say when he was steering the "Sara," - Saratoga....."just stay on course, they'll get out of your way." lol!
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Old 27-07-2011, 07:36   #4
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Re: Alabama with a banjo on my knee

look into fly creek also--
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Old 27-07-2011, 07:42   #5
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Re: Alabama with a banjo on my knee

It will depend on the particular boat, but I feel that a 5'-6' draft will be a no go for the Okeechobee route, as well as a problem with the air draft, wich is restricted to 46'. There is a service available to heel the boat to lessen the air draft, but I am not aware of the limits to which they can heel the boat. I am thinking that you should plan to go down the coast and cut into the Gulf just south of Marathon at Moser Channel, if you have less than a 65' air draft.
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Old 27-07-2011, 08:32   #6
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Re: Alabama with a banjo on my knee

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain465 View Post
It will depend on the particular boat, but I feel that a 5'-6' draft will be a no go for the Okeechobee route, as well as a problem with the air draft, wich is restricted to 46' ...
For current information on the Okeechobee Waterway water depths,
lockages and navigational routes, contact:
Army Corps of Engineers at 904-232-3187 (Jacksonville District Office)
South Florida Operations Office, Clewiston at (863)983-8101
Okeechobee Field Office at (863)462-5260

Today's Route 1 Navigational Depth: 4.20'
Today’s Bridge Clearance: 53.10'

The Okeechobee Waterway
http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisi...OCS/owwmap.pdf
Okeechobee Waterway Bridge and Lock Schedule
Okeechobee Waterway Boating Information & Directory
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Old 27-07-2011, 10:52   #7
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Sailing on Mobile Bay

Stede,

We have our 32' schooner at Fly Creek on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, across from the Dog River and Mobile.

We've lived here over four years and we enjoy Mobile Bay as a cruising area. Like any area, of course, there are compromises. The bay itself is quite shallow; outside the dredged ship channel, the average depth in the bay is around 8', and in many areas it's much shallower. Most folks here try to have boats with draft of 5' or less (ours is 2'10" with the centerboard up) - it opens up more areas of the bay to sail in.

In terms of liveaboards, over on the western shore south of Mobile, there are 2-3 marinas on the Dog River that you'd want to check out. This is probably the closest live-aboard area to the city of Mobile proper. Here on the eastern shore, liveaboard opportunities are more limited - there are two marinas here on Fly Creek, a city marina at Fairhope about a mile south of us, and a pretty nice (and pricey) marina at the Grand Hotel at Point Clear, another 5 miles or so farther south.

You didn't mention the LOA of the boats you're considering, but that can limit your marina options a bit. For example, currently at Fly Creek Marina, there are only a couple of open slips that could take anything over about 32' (we're 39' LOA).

In terms of cruising locations, in the upper reaches of the bay there are limited anchorages at Dog River and Fowl River on the western shore; and really no anchorages on the eastern shore. It takes 5-6 hours to sail down the bay (winds are predominately out of the southeast); from there you can go east in the ICW and over to Pensacola, several nice anchorages and marinas along the way including Ingram Bayou and Pirates Cove; or go west in Mississippi Sound to the barrier islands, Biloxi and Gulfport, and then on into New Orleans/Lake Pontchartrain, etc.

Coming up from SW Florida, once you get over onto the Gulf Coast, you'll have ICW availability up through Clearwater; then go out into the Gulf up through Anclote Key (Tarpon Springs) and then into the "Lost Coast," from Hudson up to Carrabelle. We bought our boat at Hudson last year and sailed/motored up to Fairhope - if the winds are with you (they weren't with us) you can jump off at Anclote and go direct to either Cedar Key (roughly 20-24 hours) or all the way to Carrabelle/Apalachicola (roughly 24-30 hours). Or you can take the route we did: day sails up from Hudson to Yankeetown, Suwanne, Steinhatchee and then overnight to Carrabelle/Apalachicola. Unfortunately this involves long, shallow channels at each port, limited anchorages/marinas and not much in the way of towns for reprovisioning. We enjoyed the trip but in the future would hope to do more direct overnight passages to avoid all the shallows.

At Apalachicola you re-enter the ICW and can either follow the ICW all the way up through Panama City, Destin, Pensacola and on into Mobile Bay; or jump out at Port St Joe or Panama City to do day or overnight passages to Pensacola or Mobile Bay. There are a few bridges between Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola that are 50' or less clearance which can impact you depending on your air draft - you might have to go outside no later than Panama City to by-pass them and then go back inside at Pensacola or Mobile Bay.

That's a thumbnail sketch, if you want more specifics either on Mobile Bay sailing or the passage up from Anclote let me know, I'll dig it out and post it (I've posted it on other sites but I don't think I have here).

Mike Turner
Lazyjack 32 schooner "Mary'Lis"
Mobile Bay, Alabama
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Old 27-07-2011, 17:54   #8
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Re: Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

Buying an unknown boat in South Florida....? Why?
There are plenty of good, liveaboard boats available in the Mobile, Pensacola area for similar or better prices and you don't have to get acquanted on a delivery. I have delivered several boats, 100 ton license, and I have never found one that was ready to go to sea. I have never spent less than a week getting that, "Well Found" vessel ready.

AS for the Mobile, NW Florida, Mississippi coast and after having lived aboard, roamed all over, it is a well kept secret. Only place better is the Sea of Cortez, but different.

"Call a place paradise and loose it forever".

Contact me off the list or send a PM.

Tom
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Old 27-07-2011, 18:01   #9
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Re: Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
do NOT tell anyone how awesome the gulf coast is--i loved it and i wanna go back there-- lots of boats to look at also.

i thought fly creek was great. loved ingrams bayou and wolf bay..good anchorages. didnt hit pirates cove, but i hope to this next time there inmy boat.
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Old 27-07-2011, 18:10   #10
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Ummmm...yes, NW Florida is a DUMP. Everyone reading this should avoid it at all costs.
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Old 27-07-2011, 18:38   #11
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Re: Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

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Ummmm...yes, NW Florida is a DUMP. Everyone reading this should avoid it at all costs.
Never been there huh?
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Old 27-07-2011, 18:50   #12
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Quote:
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Never been there huh?
I have. You should stay away. Trust me on this.

I wish somebody would create a "sarcasm" font already.
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Old 27-07-2011, 19:00   #13
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Re: Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

and, no matter what you do-- do NOT go to lulus.......
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Old 27-07-2011, 19:05   #14
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Thread closed...nothing to see here folks. No need to ask these silly questions about an ugly area of the world. Thanks for your cooperation.
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Old 27-07-2011, 19:23   #15
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Re: Alabama, with a Banjo on My Knee . . .

I was using the sarcasm font!
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