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Old 11-08-2008, 14:04   #1
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Cedar Keys

Anyone ever sail around in the Cedar Key area on Florida's west coast. We are considering taking a week and doing some coastal cruising from horseshoe beach south toward cedar key / crystal river this spring. We plan to do some diving with the manatees, but that is all we have planned so far. Looking for input from anyone familiar with the area. Any info is appreciated from places to see to restaurants or anything at all. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:37   #2
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I want to visit this store.

Curmudgeon merchandise, Cedar Key Bookstore, Curmudgeonalia

As I have found that I am a curmudgeon.

I found this.

A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor. . . . . . They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment. . . . . . Nature, having failed to equip them with a serviceable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor.

- JON WINOKUR

In keeping with the sailing stuff --

Cedar Key is now a popular place and much more "touristy" than 15 yrs ago when I used to visit. It does try to not be bad and at that, does a pretty good job.

That part of the coast is very shallow, IE 10mi out 12ft of water sometimes. With some 3ft shallow rock piles 5 and 6 miles out!!

Manatees are cool because they are so popularized. While not a "greenie" or a "litterer" I know they are not endangered, few have died from props (injured yes, killed, NO), they are so ugly they are cute and I feel they are not too smart either.

Crystal River is clear and a great place to see them.

Pics are not from Crystal River as I have another (now usually overcrowded) lovely place I treasure.

Fishing can be good and bad..........
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:54   #3
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Thanks

Thanks for the response. I have charts and I see that, aside from the channels, once you get in the area water depth is a real issue. Are the channels as clearly marked as the look to be on charts and are you aware of any anchorages in the area or should I stick to the marinas rentable slips.
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Old 11-08-2008, 15:43   #4
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Ive been to cedar key and crystal river. The channel leading into cedar key is narrow and winding with shallow water on both sides. It takes a careful eye to follow all the bends. I remember touching bottom during a little confusion a to which was the next marker. Crystal river is ok, definately not a crystal clear river as the name implies. They have a combine sort of machine running around constantly scooping up nasty looking algae that would cover whole surface if left unchecked. There is a very reasonable marina in Kings bay. It was only $35 a night when we were there. The approach was scary to me. There are miles of water to cover 6-8' deep before you get to the channel marker, kind of unnerving watching the bottom going by. Fishing in the shallows was great. We hooked up with quite a few keeper black grouper trolling silver spoons. There is a good anchorage in Kings bay right outside the cheap marina. Its all the way up as far as you can go up the river. When we were there there were warnings posted about parasitic bacteria in water that causes illness fever and abdominal distress outside the swimming areas and around restrooms.
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Old 11-08-2008, 15:46   #5
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ps free dingy dock on rt side of marina at boat ramp
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Old 11-08-2008, 15:57   #6
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cedar key

cedar key is special. the town is throw-back to cracker and hippie florida.

i love the place. have been in and out of there since the '60s. could spend the rest of my life there if i could afford to live there. great atmosphere, low key but wicked-smart people, funky old bars and architecture, good fishing, fabulous sea food - maybe the best anywhere.

however, the current through ceday key is both deceptive and frightful. double check your anchors every night. also, channel markers have a way of coming up missing so what looks like a straight line from one point to the next will actually put you on a reef or an oyster bar (don't ask me how i know). proceed very carefully and slowly until you really know the water.

otherwise, go to cedar key and let the whole place kind of sneak up and wash right over you. you may never want to leave.
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Old 11-08-2008, 15:58   #7
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ps free dingy dock on rt side of marina at boat ramp in crystal river. At cedar key they let us tie up overnight for free at the docks at the boat ramp where the entrance channel terminates, there were other cruisers there also.There is a boardwalk running from the ramp that is loaded with touristy shops and restaurants. The local supermarket had reasonable prices for stores. Well stocked hardware store near boat ramp geared toward marine supplies. Can see most everything on foot as the island isnt too large.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:21   #8
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... A quick look at the chart reveals why many bluewater sailors avoid Cedar Key. Soundings run in the single digits almost everywhere. Also, current cruising guides warn of confusing channels, poor public dockage, and nonexistent marina slips.
A closer look at the chart, however, reveals a bountiful sailing ground rich in unspoiled islands, secluded anchorages, and pristine rivers. ...

From
Cedar Key - a trailer sailor's Paradise ~ By Vern Hobbs
Southwinds - October 2000
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:33   #9
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As mentioned in previous posts the entrance to Cedar Key is tricky with very shallow water on both sides, it is twisting with a switchback in one spot, but when I was there in 2007 summer it was well marked. Have a chart and study it well, then just follow the numbers, stay on the correct side of the markers and you should not have a problem. There is one channel from the South and another more Northward in case you are travelling N. or S. Our draft is only 4 feet we anchored overnight a couple of hundred yards west of the boat ramp, there was a large trawler and a 40' is sailboat in the area also. Cedar Key is the only place I have seen the Green Flash, from the northwesternmost bar's dock!
Crystal River, the weather was cold and windy during our stay, a few blocks up from the dock near Pete's Marina there is a shopping center with laundry, restaurants hardware, grocery store etc.
Have a good time,
Steve
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