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Old 06-04-2013, 10:18   #1
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Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

My gal and I are doing a cat charter out of Marathon in the near future. But, before we get on board we are taking a road trip exploring Florida's Gulf Coast by car for a week. We are driving from Tampa to Marathon where we will meet the boat. I was thinking I might also use the trip to checkout some marinas and anchorages/mooring fields for my future cruising plans in the area. I'm looking for recommendations for:

1) Marina and anchorages/mooring fields to check out from Tampa to Marathon. FYI my boat has a six foot draft.

2) Any seafood restaurants for lunch and dinner along the same route. Waterview is a plus.

Thanks in advace.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:22   #2
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Best mooring field is at Ft. Myers Beach, and there is a fun, funky beachy tourist strip along the whole island. Not specifically seafood, though they do have a lot of it on the menu, but I always eat at the Plaka Greek restaurant right on Times Square.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:29   #3
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Matlatcha is a quirky little town at the entrance to Pine island. There is a couple marinas there, and also at each end of Pine island. Pronounced ( matt-la-shay) This is a can't miss area. There are several quirky art galleries and restaurants in the area. Have lunch or dinner at Bert's bar and grille. (we like manatees,taste like chicken). Also, at the southern end of Pine island, is St. James City it is nice with several small marinas and restaurants. A little further north is Punta Gorda. There is a waterfront area with dockage and restaurants called Fisherman's village. this is a nice stop for a walk and some browsing.
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Old 06-04-2013, 14:27   #4
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Kettlewell:

Thanks. I'll check out the mooring situation and my girlfriend is always on for a Greek Salad and I'm a Gyro guy. Will keep this place in mind as we head down through the area.
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Old 06-04-2013, 14:32   #5
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

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Originally Posted by haw1961 View Post
Matlatcha is a quirky little town at the entrance to Pine island. There is a couple marinas there, and also at each end of Pine island. Pronounced ( matt-la-shay) This is a can't miss area. There are several quirky art galleries and restaurants in the area. Have lunch or dinner at Bert's bar and grille. (we like manatees,taste like chicken). Also, at the southern end of Pine island, is St. James City it is nice with several small marinas and restaurants. A little further north is Punta Gorda. There is a waterfront area with dockage and restaurants called Fisherman's village. this is a nice stop for a walk and some browsing.
Just the kind of info I'm looking for. Never heard of Matlacha sounds like a great place to check out.
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Old 06-04-2013, 15:39   #6
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

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Originally Posted by haw1961 View Post
SNIP
(we like manatees,taste like chicken).
SNIP
Have to wonder about this.

Why are manatees endangered

Kinda puts the parts of the post I snipped out in doubt. There are very strict laws about even approaching manatees (it is considered harassment).

It is one thing to try and be humorous, but if some one suggested that they ordered Southern Fired Bald Eagle because it tasted like chicken a lot of folks might not think it so funny. Not to mention the possibility of the OP being embarrassed by trying to order it, or even getting in to trouble with the law by trying to obtain it themselves.

For pizza in Ft. Myers Beach and a good view of the harbor this place is highly recommended

Matanzas Inn | Fort Myers Beach
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Old 06-04-2013, 18:36   #7
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Being the self sufficient crackers that they are in this part of the gulf coast, the locals don't take kindly to different groups of tree huggers (Jimmy Buffet) trying to stomp on their way of life. So that is what I was told by a patron of Bert's bar as he sported his tee shirt that said we like manatees here taste like chicken. To this redneck it is much funnier than a tinfoil hat and stupid looking glasses
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Old 06-04-2013, 18:42   #8
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Musician friend of mine in St. Augustine wrote a quite funny song about a restaurant entitled "Jimmy's Manatee Buffet". I'd much rather have a laugh than worry about being politically correct. That's why you can't even find a dolphin sandwich on a menu anymore, instead we have to order one of our traditional dishes in a foreign language.
Lighten up Tom.
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:14   #9
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

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Originally Posted by haw1961 View Post
Being the self sufficient crackers that they are in this part of the gulf coast, the locals don't take kindly to different groups of tree huggers (Jimmy Buffet) trying to stomp on their way of life. So that is what I was told by a patron of Bert's bar as he sported his tee shirt that said we like manatees here taste like chicken. To this redneck it is much funnier than a tinfoil hat and stupid looking glasses
None of which alters the fact that contact with manatees is against the law and getting caught will result in fines or jail. Most folks don't find paying fines or going to jail very funny.

Just for the record I have lived in Florida since 1954 and spent lots of time on both coasts and currently live on a boat in the Keys. I have never seen anyone ever eat a manatee and never seen any menu list manatee.

I have however seen folks get stopped by FWC for harassing manatees and have to go to court. I am not so sure how the OP would find it if the FWC charged him with harassing a manatee.
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:16   #10
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

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Musician friend of mine in St. Augustine wrote a quite funny song about a restaurant entitled "Jimmy's Manatee Buffet". I'd much rather have a laugh than worry about being politically correct. That's why you can't even find a dolphin sandwich on a menu anymore, instead we have to order one of our traditional dishes in a foreign language.
Lighten up Tom.
No one who knows me would ever think I am politically correct. But I do have an aversion to a criminal record.

As I posted earlier it is a crime to harass a manatee.

Telling me to lighten up is one thing. How well do you think it would go over if you told an FWC officer to lighten up when he was arresting you for harassing a manatee.
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:47   #11
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Hey pal, I have never harassed or been accused of harassing a manatee. Furthermore, I have been a fisherman for 40 years and have never been cited by the Florida marine patrol or any other marine patrol for that matter. I have also lived on the east coast, west coast, and in the keys. It was a tee shirt. Take a chill pill before they run you out of the keys, or go to Bert's bar and take it up with them. Be careful, lots of badass 4x4 driving crackers up there just looking for a fight.I think you need to adjust your tin foil hat. Maybe then you will stop hearing the voices.
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:23   #12
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

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None of which alters the fact that contact with manatees is against the law and getting caught will result in fines or jail. Most folks don't find paying fines or going to jail very funny.

Just for the record I have lived in Florida since 1954 and spent lots of time on both coasts and currently live on a boat in the Keys. I have never seen anyone ever eat a manatee and never seen any menu list manatee.

I have however seen folks get stopped by FWC for harassing manatees and have to go to court. I am not so sure how the OP would find it if the FWC charged him with harassing a manatee.
Whoa Tom! As the OP (original poster) I never said I would eat much less ever touch a Manatee. But, I pity the person who gets between me and a cracked Conch sandwich. I'm just looking for some good spots to eat along the Gulf Coast before I start my Keys cruise.
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Old 06-04-2013, 22:06   #13
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

All this talk of eating manatee reminded me of Cow Pens anchorage off Plantation Yacht Harbor. Nice place to drop anchor for a day or two. Not sure about a six foot draft.

Sea Cows - Cow Pens, you guys figure it out.
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Old 06-04-2013, 22:11   #14
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

Capt. Mike, on your drive from Tampa to Marathon you might want to cross the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail instead of Alligator Alley. They just opened a new mile long bridge near the east end of the Trail. I haven't seen it yet but the view from the bridge should be spectacular.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:47   #15
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Re: Marinas, anchorages/moorings Tampa to Marathon

I can't speak (yet) for Tampa and north, but the Fort Myers/Cape Coral/Charlotte Harbor is loaded with interesting places, many of which can be reached by car. Gasparilla Island is cute and quiet. Useppa Island is boat only. Cayo Costa state park is also boater friendly.

In the Fort Myers area there is St. James City on the south end of Pine Island and Bokeelia on the north. Pine Island can be reached by car through Matlachai, which is interesting in itself.

In Cape Coral you can go by car to Tarpon Point where there is a pricey restaurant called Marker 92 and a jumping outdoor bar called the Nauti Mermaid. From there you can see Glovers Bight, one of my favorite anchorages, which is reached by boat from, what else, marker 92 on the Gulf ICW.

There is a large mooring field a bit up the Caloosahatchie River operated by the city of Fort Myers.

There are many other anchorages. I would suggest you go to www.activecaptain.com where you can log in as a guest and use their Interactive cruising guide book. There are marine charts and satellite shots with markers showing anchorages, marinas, obstructions etc. Each anchorage has information contributed by cruisers who have been there. There are also ratings for each.

Good luck. Enjoy both trips.

Dick Pluta
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