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Traveling from Slidell to Fort Lauderdale

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Old 01-04-2018, 03:35 PM
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Default Traveling from Slidell to Fort Lauderdale

Greetings,

I am planning to pick up a boat in Slidell, LA in March, take it around the Gulf to Fort Myers, where I will then pick up the Caloosahatchee River, and take it to Lake Okeechobee. I will then cross Lake Okeechobee, and navigate out the locks eventually leading to the Atlantic Ocean, and eventually home. I am wondering if anyone else has ever done this trip that would be willing to share any advice or pointers in the best way to accomplish this. Right now I am researching and planning my stops, and trying to figure out timing. We plan to run during daylight only. It would be great to hear from anyone that has made this or a similar trip. I'm interested in good places to stop and get off the boat to rest along the way, and I am also interested in any books or cruising guides that might be available. We can sleep on the boat if we have to but would prefer to stop at accommodations when possible whether it's a fishing camp or dockside hotel. We will be traveling on a twin screw 36’ boat with a 15’ beam FWIW. We plan to take it easy and make a fun trip out of it. Although I have years of boating experience, I have never done anything quite like this.

Thanks for any help!

Frank
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:21 PM
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Here's a couple of mid-Florida stops.

1. Venice, FL (south of Tampa). The Kon-Tiki Motel is located on the ICW at Marine Max marina, located on the ICW about 3 miles inside the inlet. I'm assuming the motel has docking arrangements with Marine Max. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kon-T...20864857925793 there is also a very good restaurant at the marina - The Old Salty Dog, and if you have a dog with you, they give out free dog biscuits.

Also in Venice is the Crows Nest restaurant and marina just inside the Venice Jetties - nice marina (with some current flow similar to the Sailfish Marina in WPB, as it is located at the inlet), and one of the best restaurants in town (sports bar downstairs, and linen tablecloths upstairs). No motel here.

And also the Marker 4 Marina and Dockside Waterfront Grill, located on the ICW about a mile inside the inlet http://geckosgrill.com/dockside-waterfront-grill/ - nice marina and very good restaurant. No motel here.

2. Roland Martins Marina just inside the lock on Lake Okeechobee https://www.rolandmartinmarina.com/
Very popular place with the bass fishing crowd, with a motel and restaurant.

I assume you will have a crew with you as going through the locks into and out of Lake Okeechobee (there are 4 or 5 locks) you will need a capt and at least 2 line handlers - and BIG fenders.

You can make it from Venice to Roland Martins in one day - in less than a day if the Gulf is calm and you can run outside from Venice to the Punta Rassa Pass south of Sanibel Island <- that will put you into the western end of the Caloosahatchee River. If you choose to stay inside and run the ICW, leave early as there are numerous no wake zones in the ICW - and they are patrolled and some are long, so watch your speed in these zones.


edit: A couple of weeks prior to your departure, be sure to check with the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure all of the locks on Lake Okeechobee are working. They usually are - but not always, and you don't want to get all the way to the lake and "then" find out you cannot cross. Don't ask how I know that.

Last edited by First Light; 01-04-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:21 PM
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Thank you. That information is incredibly useful, especially concerning the Corps of Engineers. This has made my planning much easier. I really appreciate it. There will be three of us on board.
Frank
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:56 PM
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The area of concern will be based on your fuel range. The area in the big bend has limited water depth and fuel stops. Tarpon Springs may be your first stop on the west coast. From there to the east coast is less of a concern.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:03 PM
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don't know where you end up the night when leaving slidell but down town pensacola has a marina right there. 2 blocks to restaurants and night life
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:08 AM
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Default Pensacola is a good idea for first stop

Originally Posted by moneyeater View Post
don't know where you end up the night when leaving Slidell but downtown Pensacola has a marina right there. 2 blocks to restaurants and night life
Looking at a map, Pensacola seems like a good, reasonable first-day goal. We are not in a rush, our main goal is to make it from port to port during daylight I am gathering from what I have read so far. I am counting on a 400-mile range with the boat. Pensacola is also attractive as we have access to the NAS docks there as well. We will be diving the Oriskany again this trip, so Pensacola makes sense as a stop all around. Thanks for the tip! I am thinking in perfect conditions, 200-mile chunks per day is the most we can do. Pensacola is half that, so it's a great way to start.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:47 AM
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I would choose OBA as the first stop. If the weather is nice the second day I would do Port St Joe.

Don't go to Apalachicola
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:59 AM
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Lots of info about the route on trawler forum . com

Here is one from a few weeks ago but going in the opposite direction.
http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s...a-35878-2.html

interactive map of bridge, lock, anchorage and marinias.
https://activecaptain.com/livemap/Y.php
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:12 AM
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The naval air station marina is on base and nothing around it for miles
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:19 AM
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Downtown Pensacola
http://www.marinamgmt.com/page/PalafoxPier
Lot to do in easy walking distance
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by H2OBUG View Post
I would choose OBA as the first stop. If the weather is nice the second day I would do Port St Joe.

Don't go to Apalachicola
Thanks for the advice. What is OBA? Also, I was curious as to why to avoid Apalachicola? I thought it might be interesting to check out?

Frank
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by moneyeater View Post
The naval air station marina is on base and nothing around it for miles
Good point. Thanks. After thinking about that it makes no sense for us to go there.

Frank
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fdarden View Post
Thanks for the advice. What is OBA? Also, I was curious as to why to avoid Apalachicola? I thought it might be interesting to check out?

Frank
Orange Beach Alabama

There are not many nice docks or services in Apalachicola there a lot more and nicer stops in Pt St Joe.
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:11 PM
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i think he was talking about running outside from orange beach, with good weather would be ok and the Oriskany is keep of on the way. but if weather was not great and i was in no hurry i would stay inside
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:28 PM
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It's been many years but used to run Eden Isles in Slidell to S FL pretty frequently.
Rigolets & MS Sound to at least Dauphin Island. At that point weather would dictate running outside or ICW, so distance would vary based on path taken.
With a decent N wind you could still run outside hugging the shoreline therefore avoiding wake concerns.
Lots of places to stop along the way but I was usually just looking for fuel and a decent dock for overnight.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:26 PM
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what speed do you plan to run? pensacola will be a long day at hull speed. from pass christian to the wharf in orange beach is a 10 hour run at 9 knots. about 45 minutes shorter if i didn't live on a bayou off of bay st. louis
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bigbill1963 View Post
what speed do you plan to run? pensacola will be a long day at hull speed. from Pass Christian to the wharf in orange beach is a 10 hour run at 9 knots. about 45 minutes shorter if I didn't live on a bayou off of bay st. louis
I was hoping to run somewhere between 10-15 knots depending on the weather. 10 hours sounds about right. We plan to start at sunrise and stop close to sunset. Thanks for this information. It is very helpful to hear from locals as I have never visited this waterway before, and it is easy to get carried away with distances on a chart! 150 miles seems short sitting in the easy chair!
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tiretyme View Post
It's been many years but used to run Eden Isles in Slidell to S FL pretty frequently.
Rigolets & MS Sound to at least Dauphin Island. At that point weather would dictate running outside or ICW, so distance would vary based on path taken.
With a decent N wind you could still run outside hugging the shoreline therefore avoiding wake concerns.
Lots of places to stop along the way but I was usually just looking for fuel and a decent dock for overnight.
That's exactly what I am looking for. A place to get diesel fuel, and a bed that isn't on the water. If there are other amenities, that's even better. I plan to bring what I need as far as food is concerned. Thanks for your reply!

Frank
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by fdarden View Post
I was hoping to run somewhere between 10-15 knots depending on the weather. 10 hours sounds about right. We plan to start at sunrise and stop close to sunset. Thanks for this information. It is very helpful to hear from locals as I have never visited this waterway before, and it is easy to get carried away with distances on a chart! 150 miles seems short sitting in the easy chair!
We always made way at night and with plans of making landfall near dawn. Really not much to see offshore and the distance from the panhandle to south of Crystal River is very limited if you have to come in.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by fdarden View Post
That's exactly what I am looking for. A place to get diesel fuel, and a bed that isn't on the water. If there are other amenities, that's even better. I plan to bring what I need as far as food is concerned. Thanks for your reply!

Frank
Well depending on how you progress each day will certainly be a factor.
Orange Beach Marina and taxi to nearby hotel.
Same at Pensacola Beach.
Destin has plenty of docks w/ hotels nearby.
Panama City has Baypoint Marina & hotel.

Been too long since I've been S of Anclote Key by water, but as mentioned, a current edition of a waterway guide is the key.

Pls let us know how your trip progresses, and enjoy!!
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