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SW FL/Thous Is/Everglades/Keys Adventure
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:42 pm    Post subject: SW FL/Thous Is/Everglades/Keys Adventure Reply with quote

Hi Friends!

We plan for this year’s Adventure prior to the Hontoon Hoot to be a cruise from Punta Gorda down the SW FL coast to the keys, up to Elliott Key in Biscayne Bay, then back. We originally planned a loop using the Okeechobee waterway. After three scouting expeditions by plane and car we decided that the ICW between Palm Beach and Miami is just one long 6 MPH over-priced, congested condo concrete canyon that we don’t need to see more of. Typical (nice) marinas were $3.50-$4/foot with a 40 foot minimum.

We like to keep my towing runs under 500 miles at 62 MPH. Our planned first stop on Tues Feb 9 is a North Tampa Hilton Garden Inn that has a large side parking lot (confirmed with staff that it would likely be empty for us). We’ll test the Road Toad I transferred to the 2019 F250 from the last truck to keep the fridge from discharging the boat batteries too much while towing (10 amp max charge with a built in circuit breaker and microprocessor that auto shuts down when the truck ignition is turned off).

We’ll have some exposed passages in Charlotte Harbor, Pine Is Sound, and out in the Gulf between Naples and Marco Island. There is no ICW south of Marco Island all the way around the Everglades and into the Keys. Molly Brown crew did it (with more time than we have) so we figure we can too. Worst case, we could pull out at Everglades City, Port of the Islands, Calusa Island marina etc and rent a UHaul van back to the rig in Punta Gorda (Enterprise has NOT been useful during this pandemic). Thanks to James for the rec’d of Laishley Marina (with decent ramp and a transient night there) and Crystal Cay secure storage for the truck and trailer ($48/$72 for a month) 3 miles away.

The days are getting longer, and summer is almost here! Time to get on the boat and go for a cruise!

Wish us Luck! (in our experience, Luck helps those like us a lot when we lack Skill).

John

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John and Eileen Highsmith
2010 Tom Cat 255, Cat O' Mine
Yamaha F150, LXF150
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 18817
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take your mosquito repellant and have a great trip.
_________________
Bob Austin
Thataway
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018
Thisaway 2006 22' CDory November 2011 to May 2018
Caracal 18 140 Suzuki 2007 to present
Thataway TomCat 255 150 Suzukis June 2006 thru August 2011
C Pelican; 1992, 22 Cruiser, 2002 thru 2006
Frequent Sea; 2003 C D 25, 2007 thru 2009
KA6PKB
Home port: Pensacola FL
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Yakmandu



Joined: 03 Nov 2017
Posts: 47
City/Region: Lake Lanier
State or Province: GA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 19 Angler
Vessel Name: Pops GO!
Photos: Pops GO!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Everglades is a great area. Be sure to complete the new Everglades Boating Education Program before entering the park. Here is a link...

https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/boater-education-program.htm

Lots of shallow water, so take your time and enjoy the park!

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Patrick Rohde
Pops GO!
Lake Lanier, GA
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Molly Brown



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 323
City/Region: Punta Gorda
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 24 Tomcat
Vessel Name: MOLLY BROWN
Photos: Molly Brown
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2021 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey John:

Crystal Cay are good people. They’ve done work on Molly Brown many times. Please pass along our regards to Mike, Connie and Jim.

Didn’t need any bug spray since it was fairly cold. Some noseeums at dusk in a couple places but once it gets dark they tend to leave.

That state test is now mandatory, and includes all crew on the boat whether they pilot or not. Standard stuff, and you’ll like this.... FREE CoolSmile

Flamingo entrance channel is shallower than we remembered. All the boats do it on plane, legally, since slow speed zone isn’t until just before the marina. NO cell service except AT&T who has a tower at the marina. 2$/ft if you stay overnight, floating docks. We were the only boat over 3 nights.

Have fun,
James

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James and Betty on the TomCat Molly Brown
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:19 pm    Post subject: SW FL grand adventure Reply with quote

Thanks guys, did not know Eileen needed a certificate too.

This Adventure started Feb 9 when we left in a cold rain that leaked into the Lewmar hatch in the southern tail of the same blizzard that swept across the US to start the boating season.

Arrived without issues at Hilton Garden N Tampa, which has a very large side parking lot in a quiet and safe area. Nearby state parks are cheaper, but we’re too lazy to reconfigure the berth. This is a find at 470 miles and one time zone from home; we prefer that trailering days be about 500 miles at 62 MPH.



We took on 150 gallons (900 lbs) E0 gas and arrived Feb 10 at the Laishley Porta Gorda city marina, which has a good ramp with a 300 foot day dock, fob security gate and clean air conditioned restrooms.



They have some moderate road noise, but not with a 15k BTU AC running. We spent a few hours arranging to store the truck and trailer rig 3 miles inland at Crystal Cay. They were pretty much full but fit us in. Ordinarily we would walk back, but it was sunny and 84 degrees on a busy road with no shoulders or sidewalks, so we got a Lyft back for $9. We regard being able to launch and stay at a transient slip at the same marina a huge advantage with no weather worries.

http://www.laishleymarina.com/

https://crystalcay.org/

The next day we crossed Gasparilla Sound and Charlotte harbor in one foot whitecapping slop to Cayo Costa island state park. Many larger boats anchor in Pelican Bay, protected by a mangrove island, but there is also a 2.5-3.5 ft deep cove behind a long sand spit that is mainly used by day boaters with outboards. Before sunset we were the only ones there. 82 degrees and sunny. This one was in the 1% that was still on our 40 year long quest to hike all the public beaches and islands between Key West and New Orleans. No night dockage and no generators allowed.







Pelican Bay had over 100 boats in it 2 weekends ago according to the AGLCA blog.





It’s difficult to get to a trail to the beach other than at the docks, but can be done by wading thigh deep around a few hundred yards of mangroves jutting out into the water to find the Osprey trail and some , others intersecting it.

The next day we drove south through the south wind and slop to go up the Caloosahatchee river to Legacy Harbour Marina for two nights. We had a great time touring the Edison and Ford winter estate homes, labs and gardens. 83 degrees and sunny with gusts to 22 MPH. Early tomorrow we plan to head down to Pink Shell Marina resort before the winds kick in. (Maybe shouldn’t mention the weather unless it’s NOT 80-84 degrees and sunny). This is not the most direct route to Hontoon, but's it's lots of fun!

Safe travels!

John and Eileen
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We just finished a week of daily and nightly wind Small Craft Advisories (20-22 sustained, gusts to 28MPH at the airport) just off Matanzas Pass, Ft Myers beach in a very exposed dock at Pink Shell Marina.



Man, did we get walloped and jerked around and bounced and trounced and slammed and have cabinet doors open and spill out stuff (thank goodness we favor box wine!)




We had wind whitecaps putting the aft scuppers a good six inches underwater and had to deploy the 2 inch scupper plugs for the very first time ever to keep the overflow from reaching the aft portions of the fishboxes and getting into the bilges every minute. The auto bilge pumps would take care of that, but no sense in not doing a little preventive mitigation. My good camera is not waterproof and I was partially successful trying to avoid the stern geysers.



Anyway, not only did we successfully live through it, we slept through it like babies! However, we each admitted that when we went up to the marina bathhouse each morning, if we closed our eyes we would have to hold onto the countertop!



Better settled weather is already here:

https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/ff98da6c69135a492ddfaae88ce2307863017fb1503721bed65645848087324e

Safe travels to all who are cruising, and GET ON THE BOAT to those who are not! 20 days until daylight savings time!

Cheers!

John and Eileen
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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
Posts: 3278
City/Region: Madison
State or Province: WI
C-Dory Year: 2009
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: C-Traveler
Photos: C-Traveler and Midnight-Flyer
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll remember that last set of photos next time you invite me to go cruising with you in the Keys. lol... Mr. Green Although it still looks better than the white and ice around here! Colby
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though I’m reluctant to contribute to harsh obscene rhetoric, I must declare that those who claim that no sane person can sleep well on a TC255 anchored into the breeze due to to wavelet slap is a….

What’s the Worst that comes to mind?

OK, a ‘pantywaist’.

So there!

John
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Hunkydory



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2359
City/Region: Cokeville, Wyoming
State or Province: WY
C-Dory Year: 2000
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Hunkydory
Photos: Hunkydory-Jay-and-Jolee
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John & Eileen, we are enjoying following along with you on your adventure. The holding on to countertops, while at the Marina showers after some shake & stir nights aboard brings back many memories of us after weeks/months aboard walking like drunks on land & anytime in a Marina shower having to keep a steadying hand on the side.

Thanks for sharing & keep the tales & photos coming.

Jay & JoLee

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Jay and Jolee 2000 22 CD cruiser Hunkydory
I will not waste my days in trying to prolong them------Jack London
https://share.delorme.com/JuliusByers
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 11585
City/Region: Sequim
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sleepy-C
Photos: SleepyC
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay beat me to it, but after a month or so on the water, standing in the shower was not possible without holding on. Shampoo and eyes closed was dangerous Shocked Embarassed

John, was there no way to get around onto the other side of the dock. Seems that might have mitigated some of the rock and roll. White caps at the dock is more excitement than one should really indulge in safely.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon


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Though in our sleep we are not conscious of our activity or surroundings, we should not, in our wakefulness, be unconscious of our sleep.
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jay and Harvey…

Harvey, there is a pontoon rental operation on the ‘protected’ side of the dock, so we could not go there.

The violence of the ‘bucking’ was enough at times to make us concerned about the possibility of the boat gunnel getting trapped under the floating dock, and there would not be any possible way for us to free it. We managed that with careful line planning in advance, and one railing tie bowline to dock cleat in the pic that Bob can use for the next 30 years about how to NEVER use a railing when you need a cleat (hey Bob, permission is given). It was dark and rough and we were tired and the long line we needed was hidden under a box of (you guessed it) wine.



You too must choose your packing priorities. We suggest you always choose wine first.

Safe travels!

John
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 18817
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The violence of the ‘bucking’ was enough at times to make us concerned about the possibility of the boat gunnel getting trapped under the floating dock, and there would not be any possible way for us to free it.


John, that is why you carry the sledge hammer, large crow bar and fire axe aboard--to demolish the dock when it traps your boat!

Keep having fun.
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 2360
City/Region: Leesburg
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
Photos: SoBelle
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gulfcoast john wrote:
... The violence of the ‘bucking’ was enough at times to make us concerned about the possibility of the boat gunnel getting trapped under the floating dock, and there would not be any possible way for us to free it. ...


That is one concern with the C-Dory. Not so much with floating docks, but certainly with fixed ones. In the mid Atlantic, there are a lot of fixed docks. Because the tide range can be a couple of feet and the height of the gunwales of the C-Dory is pretty low compared to some boats, there is the distinct possibility that a C-Dory can be shorter than the dock (especially at the back). There are places where I dock, that a low tide where other people are stepping into the cockpit or gunwales of their boat, I have to step onto the roof of mine.

So we have to be careful that the boat does not get trapped under the dock when the tide comes in or get suspended by the lines when the tide goes out.

The low height of the C-Dory can also make it a challenge in some places to position the fenders to keep off the dock. Fenders aren't much good if there is nothing to fender against because the fenders are so low.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 18817
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

The low height of the C-Dory can also make it a challenge in some places to position the fenders to keep off the dock. Fenders aren't much good if there is nothing to fender against because the fenders are so low.


If there is a mid dock piling this is a good place to use a fender board. So that any fender can be on the piling no mater where the boat is located. We also carry long inflatable fenders (material similar to PVC inflatable dinghies) which are about 4 feet long. The could be deployed from the cabin top railing to the side of the gunnel, to keep the boat from getting trapped. Also using "Shelter Rite" PVC/scrim material you can make your own long inflatable fenders, using a standard Halkey Roberts Valve, and HH66 Vinyl Glue.

If there is a stand-off piling, that could be used to keep the boat away from the dock. Also using long spring lines can help to keep the boat out from under a dock.
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 702
City/Region: PENSACOLA
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
Photos: CAT O' MINE
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It turns out that we had met the couple on the Cutwater 24 docked next to us in the picture in July 2019 in Canada as part of the Triangle Loop Adventure while cruising down the Richelieu river at a free town dock near Richelieu.

They have since downsized from a Ranger 30 and moved to Punta Gorda.

Today they headed toward Calusa Island Marina (one of our south FL favs) then to the Rod and Gun Club marina (a little worn, still cool) and then into the Ten thousand Islands and Everglades.

All that was in the Our Original Plan but has been overcome by events.
Details to follow.
Small World or what?

We need to get back to the pool.

Happy Cruising!

John
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