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Old 28-03-2006, 16:04   #1
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Best Stops Heading North - Miami to Saint Mary's

We will be heading north for the first time from Miami. We would like to go outside in one day hops. Can you recommend which inlets are best and which ones to avoid on Floridas east coast? Our boat draws 5' and needs 55' bridge clearance.

From what we have learned, Lake Worth, Fort Pierce, Saint Augustine and St Mary's are go stops. Please help fill in the missing pieces.

Thanks
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Old 28-03-2006, 17:39   #2
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From Clairborne Younge’s site: http://www.cruisingguide.com/cruise-news/default.asp

FLORIDA EAST COAST REPORTS:

<quote>
Updated St. Lucie Inlet Info
The St. Lucie Inlet at Stuart is in a bad way. Boats are already grounding and no dredging is planned before next winter. The Army Corps of Engineers received funding for it in February, later in the year than usual, went out for bids, but drew none do to the rapidly approaching sea turtle season when sand can no longer be placed on the beach. Now another round of bidding is planned for November. The Corps may arrange some emergency dredging in the meantime.
Last week, engineers hired by our county made a detailed depth survey of the inlet. Depths of as little as 3.6 to 4.5 feet were found near the North boundary of the federal project "channel". The US Coast Guard has moved the two red buoys just inside the inlet to the South edge of the project. The current physical channel has depths of ten feet or more, but describes an "S" curve to the South of the project
"channel", very close to the detached breakwater jetty. If you're entering or leaving the breakwaters, you have to be very close to the detached breakwater. Now, the County is trying to get the USCG to move the reds and a green again, because they're still not correctly placed. The green buoy sits in only six feet of water and needs to be moved North back to where it probably used to be, making the "S" curve even more exagerated. Carebeful! Don't try a straight line entrance! Hurricane Wilma ended that.
Ted Guy
<end quote>

<quote>
ICW Shoaling at Boynton Beach Inlet
This is a new shoaling problem, or at least one I had not heard about heretofore. If anyone else encounters the shallow strech briefly described below, please post more details here on the net!

We ventured out the Hillsboro Inlet into reported 3-5'waves, which indeed was the case. After things rearranged themselves with a few rolls we returned to the shelter of the ICW and headed north.
We encountered shoaling in the [ICW] channel [near its intersection with] Boynton Inlet at L 26 32.89' at the red daymark [probably #46] with the tide near low. We draw 4'9" and were showing depths of1.5' and there did not appear to be a favorable side to the channel.
Marlys Vickers
<end quote>

<quote>
Faber Cove - Fort Pierce Inlet Cruising Notes
Faber Cove (near Ft. Pierce) has shoaled in since last year. Saw 3.5 foot depths when I visited the place on a shallow draft powerboat. Boat US claims that you can anchor here with a six foot draft, but you might have to feel your way around. If you do find a way into the cove, stay close to the north and eastern shores. The middle is shallower.
Careful of a crab pot adjacent to the Green 9 buoy in the Fort Pierce Inlet. There is a significant length of line just floating on the surface. It is attached to a crab pot ball though, so it's pretty easy to see. Give it a wide berth. I reported it to the Coast Guard, but am not sure if they'll do anything about it. With the tidal currents here, I wouldn't want to foul a prop.
Chris Shustak
<end quote>

<quote>
Report on St. Lucie Inlet
Dredging of the St. Lucie Inlet again by the USAOE is now scheduled for May, thanks to Florida Senators Nelson and Martinez and Rep. Alcee Hastings. The inlet desparately needs dredging after the last two years' hurricanes. It is down to a maximum of seven foot depth; less at low tide, and consequently dangerous on an outgoing tide with an Easterly wind.
Martin County is also thinking about asking Florida to fund dredging of the Manatee Pocket channel.
Ted Guy
<end quote>

And more at:
http://www.cruisingguide.com/cruise-news/ec-florida.asp

HTH,
Gord
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Old 29-03-2006, 12:18   #3
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Add Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral as easy inlets even cruise ships use. The only downside to Port Canaveral is transiting a lock if you wish to get to the ICW.
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Old 29-03-2006, 20:16   #4
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the plan

Gord & Ric

Thanks for the info. Right now we are looking at: Miami - Lake Worth - Fort Pierce - Canaveral - Ponce Inlet - Saint Augustine - Saint Marys - Brunswick, then up to SC. Any other comments will be greatly appreciated.

Roger
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Old 29-03-2006, 22:43   #5
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Inlet Chartbook

Inlet Chartbook: Southeastern United States by Steve Dodge ($19.95) is a good baseline guide for the Chesapeake Bay to Miami coastline. Includes arial photos as well as descriptions, charts, and advice to seek local knowledge when possible. Some data for the Carolina coasts is available at http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/nav/inlets.htm
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Old 30-03-2006, 07:27   #6
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While stopping at ST Marys GA take in Cumberland Island if you can. Bring bug repellent and a camera

Crooked River State Park and that area can be nice, but the water gets skinny north of the Navy base. Would be a nice day trip in the dingy perhaps.

Downtown St Marys is a quaint "old-south" town worth seeing, especially since the smelly paper mill has now closed down. Last time I was there the river was deep enough all the way up to the town docks & marina, but I'm not sure of current conditions.

The anchorage across from the Fernandina Beach waterfront used to be a good one - provided that the wind was not from the south. The paper mill just south of town is still in operation.

Ft Clinch on the north end of Amelia Island is worth a look, as is the 'old town' area of Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island Plantation and Summer Beach golf courses are excellent.

The Fernandina Beach marina had serious silting problems that I'm not sure have been resolved. Last I knew the only docks with more than 3ft of water were the fuel & transit docks outboard along the ICW.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 06-04-2006, 05:27   #7
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We just read where Fenandna Beach marina will be closed (except the outside face for fuel etc) for a month or so to allow the marina to be dredged. This is certainly a much needed dredging. There are several good anchorages around so it should not be a factor.
Have a good trip. We hope to be underway from NC to GA in a day or so......Roger Rippy Aboard SV Tin Cup
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Old 03-04-2011, 16:16   #8
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

rleslie's plan to day hop up the coast of FL, sailing on the outside, sounds like a great way to cover ground, hit some nice stops, and not get tired in the process. At the time, they got some pushback because of the condition of some of their chosen inlets, but recent information I've seen on this forum indicates that the entrances are now in okay shape, tho all can be dicey in certain conditions. I pm'd rleslie a couple weeks ago to see how their voyage worked out, but apparently they have since sold their boat and no longer receive messages. So I'm still wondering if there is really a nice outside passage from Stuart FL to Brunswick, that can be done in day hops. The night stops would be in Canaveral, Ponce Inlet, St Augustine, St Marys. The monohull draws 5'9". Has anybody done this?
Thanks,
Tom
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:04   #9
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

Tom
I have done all your inlets.
First, there is no anchoring in Canaveral, you will have to transit to the ICW for that. With that said, the lock is closed until the 10th of April, so you would have to take a slip at one of the marina (Ocean Club is VERY nice). If you put in after the 10th, transit the canal (3 bridges and a lock) and visit Cocoa Village (a must visit spot), Cocoa Village Marina is excellent and my home port.

Ponce Inlet is doable and very well marked (do not follow the chart markings) but narrow. I would only do this inlet at slack high tide (did it 2 weeks ago and saw no less than 12 feet under the boat) once inside, there is some shoaling, you should hail towboatUS and ask for advice. There is an anchorage just south of the inlet with plenty of water once your inside the anchorage, ask SeaTow or TowboatUS about entering the anchorage, the cruising guide is wrong and you will run aground.

St Augustine Inlet is a tricky one (I'll be there this weekend) and again ask for local advice. Try to time it so you are at slack tide or at least the wind with the current. It can be confusing once inside so watch your marking carefully (lots of boats run aground because they are not watching the marker change to ICW markings). The city is awesome, a must see, call the city marina a head of time and get a mooring ball (North field is my chose, less current and right in front of the fort.) No anchorage is available.

St Marys is a piece of cake, wide and deep, just listen to 16 because the Navy has submarines entering and leaving the inlet. Highly recommend Cumberland island love to anchor there. St Marys and Fernandina are not one of my favorites, the pulp mills ruin the lovely town of Fernandina, but if the wind is right, you can grab a mooring ball and visit the town.

Scott
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:27   #10
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

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Add Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral as easy inlets even cruise ships use. The only downside to Port Canaveral is transiting a lock if you wish to get to the ICW.
Additonally, there are several marinas actually in Port Canaveral, but if you want to anchor you must transit the lift bridge and Canaveral Locks into the Banana River. There is a small anchorage just south of the western most portion of the Locks. Or you can continue west down the "Barge Canal" to the ICW and anchor anywhere away from the actual ICW that has acceptable depth.
- - My favorite anchorage is just a few miles south down the ICW at the village of Cocoa. The primary anchorage is south of the hwy bridge and the power lines crossing the Indian River. Cocoa Village has built a massive boardwalk and dinghy docks/boat ramps area and encourages cruisers to stop and enjoy the restored village area of shops and restaurants. Just east over the highway bridge is Merritt Island and a West Marine and a large grocery store/shopping area. All within dinghy/walking range although there are buses to ride.
- - Much further north is Fernandina Beach which is also a favorite stop of mine. A wonderful little town with an anchorage across from the muni marina. Just be careful of the tidal range and be sure to have enough water under your keel while anchored.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:41   #11
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

Osirissail
I believe the anchorage you are referring to on the Banana river is just NORTH after exiting the Lock. There are a group of spoil islands that afford around 6.5 feet of water right outside the lock. Charts are accurate in this area, but it gets shallow very fast.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:06   #12
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

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Osirissail
I believe the anchorage you are referring to on the Banana river is just NORTH after exiting the Lock. There are a group of spoil islands that afford around 6.5 feet of water right outside the lock. Charts are accurate in this area, but it gets shallow very fast.
No, The one I am talking about is definitely south off the western end of the Locks. The area is small and will not hold too many boats and the depth is about 6 feet. Actually a little deeper than is shown on the chart. But it is nice and I have anchored there many times when the Locks/Bridge are closed down for the night.
- - The area north is actually inside the NASA/Air Force security boundary that is just north of the Locks. See chart 11478_1. You can anchor in that area but it gets a little too close for comfort to the Security Zone unless you stay west of the northbound barge canal. And you are more exposed to winds and such. 6 to 1, half dozen to the other . . .
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:29   #13
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

The security zone is right there. However, the spoil island is JUST outside the zone.
The last schuttle launch is scheduled for 19th of this month, and it is an evening launch. what a great experience for those who want to see history made. There are a few great spots to view the launch on the ICW, for anyone interested. Just don't go past the security signs, you will lose your boat and pay a huge fine.
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:18   #14
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

Forgot about the final Shuttle Launch. My favorite place to watch it is to turn north on the ICW and then after passing through the Addison Point bridge work you way eastward to anchor in 7 feet of water just east of Indian River City and the ICW. This is about as close to the launch pad that a boat can get. You will be pretty much looking up the tailpipes of the rocket.
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:50   #15
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Re: Best stops heading north - Miami to Saint Mary's

If you are going further north. Savannah inlet is good, then Port Royal in SC, St Helena good spot to anchor west of Otter Island, Charleston has good inlet, then Georgetown, once you leave Georgetown, Cape Fear River is the next good inlet, Then Beaufort NC. large swell on bar but water is good, Have a safe trip.
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