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Old 29-06-2014, 06:30   #31
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

That's good to hear Cap. This is essentially a thread drift anyway so I'll quit. I offer simply this link to the National Park Service: Burmese Pythons - Everglades National Park (U.S. National Park Service) and caution Fl readers NOT to follow the interactive map link ... thar be dragons, mates.

Personally, I am hoping the estimated #s are ridiculously incorrect, and that the gators can hold their ground as the dominant predator. The little green men are wearing NPS hats these days. So far the focus has been on legislation to ban imports which is akin to marinas outlawing slapping halyards.
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Old 29-06-2014, 07:51   #32
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

Yes, those of us that actually cruise that area just laugh at all the hyperbole about the pythons. 100,000? BS!

I've cruised the SW coast for 13+ years, anchored in Little Shark numerous times, never seen any snake in the water, let alone the dreaded python. A couple of saltwater crocs, and maybe a wild boar or 2 on shore. Gators don't like saltwater, so if/when on the rare occasion you see a gator in saltwater, he's usually confused or lost and looking to get back to the brackish water. It's too much or not enough rain during a season that pushes the gators towards the saltwater.

Little Shark River is a fantastic anchorage, better in the dry season or strong breeze as the bugs are less. They will drive you inside after dark unless there is a strong breeze, and hopefully you have good screens. It's not very appealing to go swimming there, the water is murky from the mangroves and the current is strong. If you want to swim, head south from LS and anchor off the miles & miles of beautiful pristine beach and swim there.

LS is a great stopover between Marathon and Marco, it allows for daylight only sailing. Not so much for KW as it's somewhat out of the way, depends on your threshold for sailing in the dark.
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Old 29-06-2014, 08:04   #33
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

As soon as folks wake up and realize they can make good money selling Python Skins they'll probably start to thin out some. Then some will be fighting to put them on the endangered species list, if they aren't on there already.
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Old 10-08-2014, 00:42   #34
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

While on the subject of ghouly beasts, in 1970 I was flying north along the Keys at 3000 feet when I saw a FISH.

It was in the shallows east of the bridge. I knew what I was seeing because its shadow was on the sand beneath it. Its tail was vertical so I know it wasn't a whale. It was longer than the width of the bridge and resembled a cuda more than a shark. It had vertical stripes so it wasn't a whale shark.

How many fish can you see from a half mile away?

-not kidding-

My last fish story.
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:49   #35
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

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Probably the best way to divide Florida cruising areas is East Coast, West Coast, and the Keys.

Aside from the St. Johns River and the Okeechobee Waterway most of the East coast is the ICW with cuts to the Atlantic Ocean that can be hard to transit under some conditions. There are some anchorages as well but the dense population on the East Coast means fewer anchorages and more rules.

There are several rivers on the West Coast and a lot more places to anchor and feel like you are cruising. There are also some fairly large cities if you want a marina/dock to hit and stock up on foot, water, or what ever. Once you get South to the Everglades there are a lot of places to anchor, depending on your draft, that feel like real cruising. There are not really a lot of "good" anchorages in the Keys. Boot Key is the exception, it is often described as the best natural anchorage in the Keys; even if there are problems with government rules. The Keys do get crowded in the winter.

The Keys also are best divided in to three parts, the Atlantic side, the Gulf side, and West of Key West. My favorite place is West of Key West. It is real cruising and at least to Boca Grande safe, easy sailing. The trip to Dry Tortugas can be hard in the wrong weather, or easy in the right weather window. The Gulf side, like the Everglades, is also like real cruising, but again you need to be careful about your draft.

It is not likely you would see a python or gator in salt water. The Okeechobee water way is a great cruising destination and might get views of gators, but unlikely you would ever see a python. In the Everglades you might see a gator, or very unlikely a crocodile. Any place in Florida you almost for sure will see mosquitoes the size of small dogs. While it is unlikely you will see any noseeums almost for sure you will get bitten by them.
I see great pics of the Okeechobee waterway over on GalaxyGirl's page, and notice mostly powerboats in those photos. I wonder if there are any caveats for sailboats using the Okeechobee? She (GG) does mention five locks. Otherwise, it seems like a good way to short circuit the trip round the end of FLA.
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:32   #36
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

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I see great pics of the Okeechobee waterway over on GalaxyGirl's page, and notice mostly powerboats in those photos. I wonder if there are any caveats for sailboats using the Okeechobee? She (GG) does mention five locks. Otherwise, it seems like a good way to short circuit the trip round the end of FLA.
There is a railroad bridge at Port Mayaca that is 49 feet in the open position. Mast height will be a problem here. There are also 55 foot bridges on the Caloosahatchee. Chuck
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Old 11-08-2014, 15:20   #37
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

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There is a railroad bridge at Port Mayaca that is 49 feet in the open position. Mast height will be a problem here. There are also 55 foot bridges on the Caloosahatchee. Chuck

That 49 foot limit is really going to clip a lot of sailboats (pun intended). Maybe that's why Okeechobee is not mentioned much for the passage on CF. Thanx for the info!
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Old 11-08-2014, 15:34   #38
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

guess the tipping doesnt work for cats. Ive anchored in hundreds of out of the way places in south florida. Heres a place that lists some of the more popular ones with shore access.

Florida Sea Grant - Boating & Waterways - Anchorage Inventory
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Old 11-08-2014, 15:51   #39
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

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guess the tipping doesnt work for cats. Ive anchored in hundreds of out of the way places in south florida. Heres a place that lists some of the more popular ones with shore access.

Florida Sea Grant - Boating & Waterways - Anchorage Inventory
That information is pretty dated. Some anchorages don't change much over the years but storms, shoaling and other things can change the details. Chuck
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Old 11-08-2014, 16:02   #40
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

As a long term and current Florida cruiser and avid herpetologist I should mention that a cruiser's caution about pythons is just as valid a concern with "Snakes on a Plane"! They are present and with an environmentally disturbing population, but not out among the cruising boats. You'll have to slog into the shallows of the 'glades to have any hope of finding a python and they will NOT be looking for you!
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Old 11-08-2014, 17:01   #41
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

Florida recently sponsored a major hunt for Pythons in the Everglades. Hundreds of hunters descended to collect the bounties. Only a handful of Pythons were caught. 100,000????? We lived in Port Of The Islands in the Everglade onboard Beach House for over a year and never saw one. Lots of gators though. Chuck
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Old 11-08-2014, 17:05   #42
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

I keep a current copy of skipper bobs guide to the anchorages along the intracoastal waterway on board. It has a bunch of current info. Ill have to check out anchorage guys sometime.
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Old 11-08-2014, 17:08   #43
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

Our own anchorage books cover the ICW from Hampton Roads to Key West and include the St. Johns River. We're currently working on and almost finished our Gulf coast edition that will cover from Cape Sable to Mobile and include the Okeechobee Waterway. It will be available in September. Chuck
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Old 11-08-2014, 17:10   #44
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Re: Cruising In South Florida

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Florida recently sponsored a major hunt for Pythons in the Everglades. Hundreds of hunters descended to collect the bounties. Only a handful of Pythons were caught. 100,000????? We lived in Port Of The Islands in the Everglade onboard Beach House for over a year and never saw one. Lots of gators though. Chuck
Head backcountry- top of the Broad River, Cane Patch campsite, etc.
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Old 11-08-2014, 19:33   #45
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pirate Re: Cruising In South Florida

Whistle walking by the graveyard guys. The python thing is here. The "hunt" which was a bust likely had a dozen or so real hunters and another bunch of macho drunken yahoos out for a day. I can find (and so can you) reports of snakes that apparently have traveled thru the water from ENP to SW Fla mainland.

That you all havn't see them doesn't amount to much IMO. It seems they can live on saltwater for awhile. 60 days for one specimen. They don't need to eat every few hours either. They climb. They are large, agile and stealthy. And way stronger than us. 17' so far I've read.

Not to put too fine a point on it: let your fingers do some walking, amigos.

Not kidding anymore. I was a Shark River fan. Not so sure now.
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