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Old 01-05-2006, 22:18   #1
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ft. myers area

i live in clearwater, fl. and have a job opportunity in the ft. myers. can anyone give me any info/opinions on this area. gunkholing, dock space, traffic, schools, housing, etc. i am seriously considering relocating my family but want to get all the info i can.
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:00   #2
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I have lived in Fort Myers for the last 7 years ... and don't have much nice to say about the place. There are indeed a good variety of places to go gunkholing ... but only if you have a very shoal draft ... say 4'6" or less. Dockage is virtually nonexsitant, the few places that are still public have looong waiting lists. I have no experience with the school system, but Florida as a state ranks 46th out of 50 .. and there's no reason to expect the schools in this part of the state are any better than any other. Traffic can best be described as a nightmare .... worse when the snowbirds are here. There is lots of housing available! So many new houses & condo's that local wells are going dry. Prices are starting to come down (some have used the word "plummet") .... but then again, they were "overvalued" on average by 36% ... so a 10% drop isn't quite the bargain it appears. All in all .... we will be leaving in November ... and never coming back here.
Bob & Lynn
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:17   #3
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i was wondering about the traffic. here in tampa bay we have i-275 running pretty much right thru the middle of the area. it is easy to access and get out of town or get from one part of town to another. from the map of ft. myers it looks like there is a long way to go to access i-75. shoal draft is no good for me either. sounds like i need to stay in dundun or look elswhere.
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:48   #4
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I-75 is indeed the North/South corridor .. until it gets shut down by an accident, which is a very common occurance, then everyone jumps over to 41 ... which was already overloaded ... I'm sure you get the picture. I'm a lucky fellow ... live within walking distance of work!
Bob & Lynn
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Old 02-05-2006, 06:45   #5
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i lived at anchor in ft myers beach for more than two years a long time ago. it is a good anchorage, one can dinghy almost anywhere, to the bank, to work, to the post office, grocery store etc. i made alot of friends and found it to be a good place to work and save money. i rarely went to ft myers. the marine authorities of all shapes: local, coast guard etc were very aggressive and rude, it was a real 'good old boys' network. when i was ticketed over $100 for creating a wake with my dinghy and a six hp outboard and then boarded and harrassed by a marine patrol bubba, (who found no infractions), he sent the customs agent to my boat the following day demanding to see my passport even though i am a u.s. citizen and had been back in the u.s. for two years. he wasn't satisfied with my valid (and clean) florida drivers liscense. i was then boarded by the coast guard twice in the week following while still at anchor. obviously, they had been sent by 'bubba' as i had lived there peacefully for eight months. the writing was on the wall way back then that living aboard in florida is nearly impossible, even on the lovely, wooden 'gentleman's yacht' i owned at the time, and soon after this, and many similar experiences in other florida anchorages, i gave up on florida and relocated to the caribbean.
there are some very nice sailors in the ft myers area and some excellent gunkholing; and many marine stores. i have fond memories of hauling out at olsen's marina, which though pricey; i was helped with all my repairs and encouraged by the owners and workers.
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Old 05-05-2006, 18:24   #6
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Fort Myers "Newbie"

Wow! I guess it's a good thing that I moved to Ft Myers before I read these responses to your questions. I've been here for not quite 2 years, having moved from San Francisco for full time warm water sailing. As for sailing, you know what west coast Florida is like as far as winds and weather are concerned. Great area for gunkholing from Charlotte Harbor through Sanibel and Captiva south to Marco Island which is at the head of the 10,000 islands. I've pulled into places there from Panther Key south to Little Shark River. Bugs aside, these are easy sails from Ft Myers. When with groups, we stop in Naples, then Marco, then into the 10,000 islands with opportunities to stay in Goodland and Everglades City which are still like what they call the old Florida. I found a great sailing club, the Caloosahatche Marching and Chowder Society, that has friendly cruising, racing and socializing. Weekend sails to "Danger Island" (actually Picnic Island at the southern end of Sanibel) for picnics, dinghy racing (speed + style points). As for places to keep your boat, like any place in Florida, you have to look and get local knowledge. I started out at Tarpon Point Marina in Cape Coral, ~$10/foot plus electricity- for my 43 footer I was spending about $500/month. Had to go through the Sanibel Causeway bridge, took about one hour to get to the gulf. But after looking around, I found a private slip in Fort Myers Beach that is $250/month and is 25 minutes to the Gulf. Two big non-baoating factors; housing costs and schools. I don't know what it costs for a house in Clearwater but everything in SW Florida went up big time. Your new/candidate employer can probably give you a sense of that cost. Schools are the big variable, they range from very good to unbelieviably awful.

In summary, the sailing can be really good. I've used Olsen marine for major repairs, given that they are the only boatyard that can haul a boat south of Port Charlotte, they charge for there services, which are uniformly excellent. Don't worry about the sailing, do your due diligence on housing and schools.
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Old 14-05-2006, 18:51   #7
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Check out this site for sailing info. Just returned from Ft. Meyers area and had a blast. Chartered a boat for a week with the family and had a wonderful time. It is a good power boat area but sail boats are welcome too. Water is skinny.


http://www.flseagrant.org/program_ar..._inventory.htm
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Old 15-05-2006, 06:11   #8
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It's an absolutely gorgeous morning here in the Fort Myers Area ... comfortably warm, just a hint of a breeze .. a great end to what was an equally beautiful weekend. If they were all like this, I would be calling this paradise too .... unfortunately, weekends this nice are all too rare. In the Winter the Northers howl, in the Summer you swelter then duck the tropical storms ... when you live here year round you really learn to appreciate the nice weekends, because you realize how rare they are. As I have mentioned before, "the Places Rated Guide" puts Fort Myers in the top 10 "worst" places for weather.
Fort Myers Beach is truly a fun place ... and there are many places to keep a boat there (as long as you don't live aboard) ... but ... it's not fair to mention only the positive side of the place. Red tide is a fact, and when the algae bloom shows up you may not be able to visit your boat for the overpowering stench will cause your eyes & nose to burn. If a hurricane is headed our way you have to have plans to move your boat out ... for that's where all the damage will occur. During Wilma, there was a steady stream of boats going East, passing here ... I have no idea where they would have all ended up .. as there were far more boats than upstream facilities could accomodate.
There are indeed many, many good boaters in the area, and an abundance of places to sail to ... but saying that without mentioning Red tide, blue-green algae, black mold & weeks on end with small craft advisories doesn't give an accurate picture of this place.
And oh yeah ...... see that 60' powerboat approaching your stern? Ya better hang on tight 'cause he's NOT gonna come off plane for you!!

Bob & Lynn
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