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Old 16-11-2010, 17:31   #1
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Ponce de Leon Inlet - Is it Scary ?

Local knowledge required, please.

Currently at St. Augustine and looking to make the next jump south.

The Admiral is baulking at another overnighter (to Cape Canaveral) so that would mean using the Ponce de Leon inlet if we are to avoid the ICW. Looks fairly straightforwards on the chart, but the pilot books are full of warnings about this inlet.

Is it really a scary place ?

Duncan
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Old 16-11-2010, 17:43   #2
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Ponce isn't too bad. Check with Towboat US for the latest. Good anchoring in Rockhouse Creek. If you continue south on the ICW watch out for the authorities at New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County.
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:07   #3
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i use it regularly. it can be a scary place.

it's well marked from seaward all the way in. deep water is on the north side, along the rock jetty. there's lots of shoaling on the south side. it can be a bit scary even in good weather; in bad weather don't even think about it. as you approach the bar you'll get a fair amount of slewing left and right, so hang on to the wheel or tiller real tight. best to attempt it at slack tide.

it's a fairly wide channel so there is room for manuevering, although i wouldn't want to do a 180 in the channel. once you're in you're pretty much committed. once inside you have your choice of going left or right.

contrary to popular opinion, you are not in the icw. the icw runs behind an island you will see directly in front of you and is completely protected from the inlet. turn left or right depending on whether you are going north or south to the icw. watch for shoal water. fairly deep if you're going south, but the northern route has some shallow spots.

it's nice to know there is a coast guard station just inside the inlet - coast guard ponce inlet - and they will answer you on 16 if you ask for an advisory.

a few years ago they were asked for an advisory by a 70 foot motor yacht. it was new and had every toy imaginable including a gps driven autopilot. it was being delivered south by one delivery captain. the weather was pretty bad so he decided to go in to a marina for rest and fuel. both the marina and the coasties advised him not to enter. he assured them that his electronic marvel would get him in safely.

after it was smashed against the rock jetty, it managed to float south onto the sand bar. a few days later it was removed in pieces by a large crane. the captain survived.
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:16   #4
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Thanks both, forgot to mention that I'm a sailboat with 5ft draft.

Vasco, sounds like you already got burned, what do I need to make sure I have / do / don't do ?

Duncan
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:35   #5
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yes it is

I litterly peed my pants bringing a party boat in that inlet in early 80's.
never forget the sound of screaming and Stuff flying around when my stbd corner clipped the rock surfing to thr right, had pt fullrev stbd full ahead.
old Guy came up to wheel house when we got tied . said he was a tin can driver in WW2 and doubted he could have made it.
worked a grouper boat there as a kid, capt F** up and we surfed a fifty footer right over the north jetty!
got slewed in a 180 more than once btw.
That said;
stay out of the slop a by avoiding outgoing tide at all costs.
(THIS IS OLD INFO) i used to come in from the north and cut close to north jetty then kick it in.
i would not trust my 20 hp to get me trough it in anything over 20kn out of east or during outgoing tide.
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Old 01-12-2010, 18:56   #6
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Just to finish this one - we wimped out in the end and went inside. Probably the right decision.

Still, thanks for the info guys.

Duncan
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Old 01-12-2010, 19:16   #7
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Coast Guard escorts distressed crew through inlet - News
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:25   #8
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I was sitting here in Georgia listening to 16 while the CG was trying to find the captain of a Tow Boat USA that sank there a few days ago. They did.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:42   #9
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Almost every entry between Augustine and the Keys is dangerous in strong winds from the north and the east. Even Miami and Lauderdale can be dangerous in severe weather.

Let your wife read about tragic death of the female crew member of the sailboat "Rule 62" in the Abacos which happened because someone thought that it was safer close to land.

A Death in the Bahamas
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:44   #10
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It can be bad but so can St. Augustine Inlet. I've surfed into St Augustine in the past.It is very shallow just inside. Turn left to re-enter the ICW even if you are going North. Don't go right unless the tide is high and you have a shallow draft.
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Old 04-12-2010, 14:14   #11
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Did it once with my 6' 8" keel and had no problems in the channel in more or less calm weather (2-4' seas at the outer buoy). Shoal going into the ICW here moves. Most problem I had was getting into the ICW from this entrance with my keel at high slack. I think this shoal moves a lot as I came out over it as it would suggest on the chart and had to go opposite to keep water under my keel. I think many of these entrances are weather dependent. I would not have tried it in bouncier or more unsettled conditions. Local CG said it was OK when I asked them and gave suggestions about position relative to buoys--but my experience is that the coasties are not often that helpful. Some of these openings are scary when the weather is snotty. Not a problem when it is calm. Problem is that a lot of folks try them when the weather is snotty for shelter. If you got a doubt, stay out.

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Old 04-12-2010, 15:07   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
If you continue south on the ICW watch out for the authorities at New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County.
How are the authorities there scary?
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Old 04-12-2010, 16:05   #13
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How are the authorities there scary?
They are boarding sailboats underway on the ICW and checking that your overboard discharge is properly shut. Also a month or so ago they boarded someone at gunpoint. Do a search and you'll find the thread. Volusia county. I've been boarded there.
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Old 04-12-2010, 16:51   #14
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I call BS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
They are boarding sailboats underway on the ICW and checking that your overboard discharge is properly shut. Also a month or so ago they boarded someone at gunpoint. Do a search and you'll find the thread. Volusia county. I've been boarded there.
It has been proven and VSP also states;
vessel was asked to heave to, It kept going @ 7kn - scary to jump on with jackboots maybe?
Crewmember that was told to stay on deck jumped in cabin and started to open things and make noise.

many countrys forces would have opend up with automatic weapons at that point.

i think the law was the one scared!, been boarded many times never had a problem. I think and say yes sir no sir and am polite at all times in someone elses country
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Old 05-12-2010, 20:40   #15
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not to thread hi-jack, but what happened in Volusia was unacceptable for a civilized country. We aren't living in a police-state....yet (it seem).

I for one will be keeping my boat and my money away from there...by land and by sea. We cancelled our timeshare booking for later next year as well as our RV trip to Daytona for one of the races.

Plenty of places that actually want the business and can do it without resorting to Gestapo tactics.
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