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Old 21-04-2013, 10:22   #1
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up the Suwannee river?

I am investigating the feasibility to motor on the Suwannee river, entering trough the mouth, and motoring up to the Fanning Springs bridge, with a Lagoon 450.

I've tried to gather as much info as possible on the marinas along my intended route, that's not a problem, but could not find any depths or currents information - the only info I've found is on the water levels above MSL.

Are there Suwannee river charts? Electronic?

Is there anything obvious that will prevent me doing this route?

Eventually I intend speaking to the local marina operators, it seems many offer flat-bottom house-boats to rent and describe the same route I intend doing (even beyond the bridge), as one of the many possibilities. I hope they will share their local knowledge with me.

I would like to hear from anyone who has done this or similar route.
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Old 21-04-2013, 19:31   #2
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

I'm not familiar with the route, but you need to research power line clearances as well as bridges.
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Old 21-04-2013, 19:56   #3
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

I've made that run a few times. What is your draft?
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Old 22-04-2013, 08:30   #4
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

Thank you for the replies.

I have checked the advisories for the power lines, they all appear to be beyond (north of) the bridge, but I will research again, just to make sure.

The draft is 4'3" at max displacement, the actual will be less than 4'.

Also, I am aware that like all rivers, there will be numerous sandbars, and the condition of the water will most likely prevent me from seeing them, irrespectively how hard I look.

Hence, I would like to have a chart with all (at least most/major) obstacles charted - I'm quite a conservative person, and like to be prepared before I venture into new destinations.

Is there a chart for the river? The only one I've found is a marine chart covering approximately 1/2 mile up the river mouth.
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Old 25-04-2013, 10:33   #5
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

I don't know of any accurate charts for the Suwannee. It is a beautiful river but there it has no commercial traffic except for the first couple of miles, hence the lack of charts. The Suwannee River Water Management District has a downloadable PDF that is meant for canoes but it is a good reference to have on board.

There are two sandbars that you need to watch for between the mouth and the Fanning Springs bridge. They are both clearly marked with white PVC pipes. On the weekend you can also determine their position by the large number of boats beached on them and the people walking around. They are not hard to spot.

Make sure you come into the river at high tide. It can be very shallow at other times. Stay in the channel. There are some very nasty oysters on the north side. Once you get into the river you will have no issues with depth. If in doubt keep to the center.

There are some posted speed limits on the lower river and you should pay attention to them. Be careful when the sturgeon are active. They will make a mess and might hurt someone if they land in your boat.

Be sure to stop for a meal when you get to Fowler's Bluff if you like southern cooking. The restaurant has its own dock just past the boat ramp (on the right). It's about 10 miles from the mouth if I remember correctly.

I feel better if I have at least 35' clearance and I've never had any issues with wires below the Fanning Springs bridge. There are definitely some above the bridge but I've never seen any posted clearances.
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Old 25-04-2013, 10:42   #6
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

A couple of other items you mentioned -

The river is dark (tannin) and you won't see more than a foot or so into it. There are several boats your size or larger anchored along the shore between the mouth and where you will have to stop at the bridge. The river is wide and there are no overhanging trees that will prevent you from travelling it.

There is a current, but nothing to worry about. it is a little stronger when the tide is going out but if you are not trying to launch or retrieve at a boat ramp you probably would not care about it.

Other than timing your entrance for high tide you should not have any problems.
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Old 25-04-2013, 17:48   #7
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

Thank you very much sir, your notes are greatly appreciated!

And we will most definitely stop at every opportunity to support the locals - there will be no rush to get to our destination, the longer it takes, the better.

Thanks again.
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Old 25-04-2013, 17:55   #8
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

It's about 35 miles from the gulf to the bridge. If you take it slowly and don't make much noise there is a lot of wildlife to look at along the way.
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Old 26-04-2013, 07:27   #9
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

We would not be making that much noise - with two powerful electric drives we can maintain 3 mph against most strong currents continuously for up to 20 hrs and in almost complete silence (props at less than 400 RPM).

But we would rather take it easier - motor 1-2 hrs, see something interesting on the banks, take the mountain bikes and explore the vicinity for few hours, then, perhaps next morning, continue slowly in the same leisure style.

Even if it takes us 3-4 days to do the route, we would be happy - I will need to spend +/- 3 months at my destination (I will be commuting to Trenton daily, about 10 miles from Fanning Springs Park) so getting there sooner will definitely force us to miss on the opportunities along the route.
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Old 26-04-2013, 08:52   #10
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

Here is the link to the canoe map I mentioned earlier. It shows every boat ramp. In my experience boat ramps usually have roads attached to them. Roads would be a good place to use your bikes.

If you are coming from the south consider stopping at Cedar Key. There is a lot to see and explore, particularly if you like art. Coming from the north plan on stopping in Steinhatchee, lots of good places to eat.

I live about 20 miles east of Trenton. Let me know if you need anything.
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Old 26-04-2013, 08:53   #11
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

Forgot the link: http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/Documen...Home/View/1224
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Old 26-04-2013, 15:24   #12
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

One point to keep in mind for any of the Big Bend waterways. Strong northerly winds will lower the water in the entire Big Bend so it is possible to get into some of the rivers and not get back out for a while. Chuck
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Old 26-04-2013, 16:33   #13
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

About half way to Fanning look out for Jack's Bar. No this is not a place for cold beer but a sand bar. Depending on the river level the bar could be exposed or 12-24" under water. Roughly located at 29 26.605 N 83 00.864 N.

Going upstream you will be at a large bend to the right. The deep water is on the outside of the bend, very close to the left bank. The sand bar extends about 75% of the way across the river.
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Old 26-04-2013, 19:37   #14
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Re: up the Suwannee river?

Just posted on the Gainesville Sun

From The Gainesville Sun:
Stay out of Suwannee River, state agency again warns
Staff report


Residents and recreationalists along the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers are urged to avoid contact with the river water because of possible contamination from city of Valdosta’s sewage treatment plant, according to a Florida Department of Health press release.
The agency on Thursday issued an advisory to residents in the counties surrounding the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers — Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison and Suwannee counties.
The Valdosta utility department has located a sanitary sewer overflow that has spilled into the northern Withlacoochee. The Withlacoochee flows south and empties into the Suwannee River.
This is the second time in two months that state health officials have had to warn residents of North Central Florida to avoid contact with the water flowing in the Suwannee — and both instances involve sewage contamination involving a spill in Valdosta.
In early March, the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant in Valdosta overflowed into the Withlacoochee, state officials said at the time.
As for the current situation, state officials say that, until further information is known regarding possible contamination of the rivers, people are urged to avoid contact with water from either river.
Water contaminated by wastewater overflow presents several health hazards to humans and may contain untreated human sewage with microbes that could cause gastro-intestinal and other diseases.


http://www.gainesville.com/article/20130426/articles/130429701
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Old 06-10-2013, 17:25   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcwi View Post
I am investigating the feasibility to motor on the Suwannee river, entering trough the mouth, and motoring up to the Fanning Springs bridge, with a Lagoon 450. I've tried to gather as much info as possible on the marinas along my intended route, that's not a problem, but could not find any depths or currents information - the only info I've found is on the water levels above MSL. Are there Suwannee river charts? Electronic? Is there anything obvious that will prevent me doing this route? Eventually I intend speaking to the local marina operators, it seems many offer flat-bottom house-boats to rent and describe the same route I intend doing (even beyond the bridge), as one of the many possibilities. I hope they will share their local knowledge with me. I would like to hear from anyone who has done this or similar route.
Hello Arcwi - Did you eventually cruise up the Suwannee? We contemplate doing this as we move south from the Withlacoochee next spring in our Leopard 42 JAMU. Our draft is 4.5 ft and mast height 64'. Will appreciate any advice.

Safe Sailing,
JamuJoe
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