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Reviews from Chris Himmelheber (35)


  • Anchorage Review for North Cat Cay East Side

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber, Carina, on Feb 10, 2020
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    2
    Current Flow:
    5
    Wake Protection:
    3
    Scenic Beauty:
    3
    Cell Service:
    3

    I actually stayed east of Gun Cay (about 3 nm north of Cat Cay Yacht Club), to sleep for a few hours before crossing the Grand Banks. Even though the wind was from the SE at about 5-10 kts, there was only a very light chop through the afternoon and evening! This held true almost all the way East across the Banks (from about midnight to early morning). Good holding, practically no traffic/wakes, very quiet. If the wind is from the West, wind protection may be fair, but really exposed anywhere else.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Whale Cay - Bird Cay

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber, Carina, on Feb 10, 2020
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    3
    Current Flow:
    5
    Wake Protection:
    3
    Scenic Beauty:
    2
    Cell Service:
    3

    Stayed south of Bird Cay (rather than between Bird and Whale Cays) as the wind was shifting to the North. I still caught some significant swells until at least 12 hours after the wind had shift from the West to North. The depth is about 10 feet as close as 100 feet from the shore, but even being so close in, there was still only moderate wind protection. Being in the lee of the clump of trees meant being far enough away from the cut that there was no discernable current at all. Holding was excellent in soft sand. If the wind anywhere but North or maybe Northeast, you don't want to be here.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Chub Cay

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber, Carina, on Feb 10, 2020
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    3
    Current Flow:
    5
    Wake Protection:
    2
    Scenic Beauty:
    1
    Shore Access:
    1
    Cell Service:
    3

    I stayed to the north of Mama Rhoda Rock, hoping to avoid the current and swells closer to Chub Cay. Holding was excellent, and I had no discernable current. However, the island is pretty low-slung, and provided only a little protection from the wind, and there was a significant wrap-around of the swells. I should have anchored closer to shore, but I don't know how much difference that would have made. Still, I was alone out there, and there was no traffic or insects anywhere near me. An easy approach from the West but irreguar shallows to the East.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Chub Cay Resort & Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber , Carina, on Feb 10, 2020
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Rating: 3

    A very nice marina that is barely 1/2 full. I have heard that their restaurant is quite good. However, the marina is very pricey - they have a new pricing system wherein the cost of a slip depends upon how full they are (I didn't try to get the whole schema). They also have a "day pass" available, if slips are available, but you have to be gone by the early evening. The restaurant is available only to those who are docked or have a day pass. The diesel is also about $1.00 per gallon more than Nassau.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Palm Cay Marina/One Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber , Carina, on Feb 10, 2020
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Rating: 3

    It is hard to review this marina. The facilities are nice, but they stuck me in a poor slip - 200 yards from everything, very small, and only 110 volt outlets for power. On the other hand, if you are close enough to use them, they have showers (unisex), a spa, pool, LARGE exercise room (for a fee), cafe, bar/restaurant, and bicycles.

    On the down-side, they are about 10 miles from anythiing, but they do have LOANER CARS for FREE (however, you can only use them once or twice, and only for 2 hours at a time.)

    The staff was very nice, and very helpful, and the (fixed) docks are in pretty good shape. Overall, a lot of good news/bad news.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Boot Key Harbor City Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 28, 2019
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    I stopped here for what I thought would be one week. The daily rates for mooring are $22 and weekly it’s $115 - and they have MANY mooring balls. Well protected with cheap water, mobile pump out weekly, free WiFi, lots of dinghy dock space, loaner bikes, about 12 private showers, and laundry with about 10 washers & driers.

    Staff is very helpful, and there is a bus that goes to Key West about every 2 hrs (05:30 to 23:45) 7 days a week for $1 - don’t buy the weekly pass, it’s $15 for unlimited, but with a 4 hr round trip, you won’t use it that much!

    Only reason I didn’t give 5 stars is that after the office/club house closes at 17:45, TVs are not available. WiFi is, but you have to sit outside, and the skeeters eat you up. Also, it’s a pretty good hike from the grocery store carrying bags.

    It’s about 1 mile or less to most everything, but Uber is really expensive, so you’re either biking or walking.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Glover Bight

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber, Carina, on Dec 3, 2019
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    3
    Current Flow:
    5
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Cell Service:
    3

    I anchored here overnight to try to avoid some of the north wind that was expected, but even from the north it wasn't well protected. Unfortunately there are a lot of mud flats and shoals to watch out for. I ended up on the mud flats when the wind shifted. Thank goodness for BoatUS!

    I saw a power boat being towed off of the mud further up the channel, and it had caught fire trying to get off the mud!. I think the best places to anchor are on the port side (North) no more than 200 yards from the marina, or directly in the middle of the channel. The depth is about 10 feet in much of it Stay away from the starboard (South) side!

    Otherwise, it was extremely quiet with no traffic, wakes, etc.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Factory Bay

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber, Carina, on Dec 3, 2019
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 6.0'

    Overall Rating:
    5
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    5
    Current Flow:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Cell Service:
    3

    This is a beautiful Anchorage for one or two nights. All the charts I looked at showed only two feet of depth, but I found 10 feet all the way through. The trick is to enter on the Southeast edge going around the red pylon #2, and hugging close to the houses to port.

    I saw a restaurant about 200 yards away, but nothing immediately around this Bay. Aside from sounds of construction during the day, it is extremely quiet. I haven't seen any boats go past, so I can't comment on the wakes. Excellent and quiet.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Chino Island

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Feb 25, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    1
    Current Flow:
    3
    Wake Protection:
    2
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Cell Service:
    4

    With few other anchorages in the immediate area that have greater than 7 ft depths, this is a reasonable alternative. However, bear in mind that it offers no wind protection, and if the wind is from the south (as it was for me) you will have a lee shore. Also, the wakes from big boats on the ICW are moderate, but they don't generally pass between sundown and sunup. There are quite a few smaller boats that speed close to the anchorage, but they also stop at night. The tidal current is mild, and didn't swing me as much as the wind.

    I found the depths to be about 8 - 9 feet 1/4 mile from China Isle, so I could play out a lot of rode to add to my peace of mind. The bottom also held very well. There was only a mild chop with 10 knot winds, and after dark it is silent and isolated. Quite pretty!

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Cape Haze

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Feb 25, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    5
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    4
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Cell Service:
    5

    A really nice anchorage with only a couple of caveats. There was already one other boat anchored there, and they may have been in the 9 to 12 ft area, but everywhere I went it was consistently more like 7 to 9 ft. (And this was with favorable tide levels. In the winter it could be lower.) There is only enough room for 2 or maybe 3 boats to anchor comfortably. The bottom is very sludgy mud that held well for me, but with 75 ft of rode there wasn't much room for anchor drag before I would have struck a dock.

    It has nearly 300 degrees of enclosure, but structures are so low that they gave only mild wind protection. There is a small canal that leads to the north, and the tidal current may swing you more than the wind.

    All that said, there is > 10 ft depth at the entrance, I noticed no wakes at all from the ICW, and there was only a little traffic in and out of the anchorage, and they went slowly. The houses surrounding you are quite nice and very quiet making it a picturesque spot.

    In summary, I think this is an excellent anchorage, but watch your depths, set your anchor well, and if there are 3 boats already there you will probably have to find another spot.

    The depths were at nearly high tide, and during a season when the water is not especially low. Depths were consistent from afternoon to the next morning, and did not seem to drop much overnight.

    • WG Editor Comment:

      Msg inquiring about tide levels.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Marina Jack

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Feb 24, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    This is a GREAT marina! The approach and depth of the marina easily accommodated my 5.5 foot draft. There is a large mooring field right next to the entrance, and it seems to have a lot of boats in it, but there were plenty of empty spots that I could see.

    The docks are floating concrete, and are very well maintained. One of my pet peeves is getting a lot of swells and wake action at dock. This appeared to only be a problem on the outer (south-facing) side of dock H, and it was only a minor problem there. The rest seemed to be well protected.

    Of course, they have electric and water at each slip along with a dock box. The WiFi was dicey 1/2 way down dock H, but this is nothing unusual. They also have pump-out facilities at each slip, and good dock security.

    The restroom/showers are really outstanding. There are 6 individual rooms with locking doors and their own toilet/shower/sink in one secure bay, and right next door is another with 4 similar rooms (but the door to the smaller bay sometimes doesn’t unlock.) Each shower room is very nice and air conditioned, even if a little spartan.

    The marina office is well-staffed, and they were very helpful and friendly. There are also an excellent bar and restaurant on site, and the marina is right at the entrance to the downtown. Many great restaurants are within easy walking distance. There is also a Whole Foods about 1/2 mile from the marina, and a Publix supermarket about 1 mile away. The public library (with free fast internet) is also about 1/2 mile from the marina.

    The only amenites lacking are a pool and a gym, and the nearest beach is across the causeway, about 7 miles away. I know, these are trivial. In short, this is a really excellent marina.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Safe Harbor Harborage Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Feb 14, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    Really an excellent marina! Easy, deep water access with easy docking. All the docks are floating and well maintained. Each dock comes with a dock box. Best of all, it is well protected from swells and wakes so you rarely even feel a ripple.

    The boating community there is very friendly and open. The staff are readily available and very helpful. Amenities include clean restrooms/showers, inexpensive laundry, fairly good WiFi, mobile pump-out, fuel dock, and a Captain's Den with coffee and widescreen TV.

    St. Pete is within walking distance, as is the library at USF (with free, VERY fast internet access.) St. Pete is a great city with lots of entertainment, restaurants, shopping, etc., and has an excellent public transit system. And some of the best beaches in Florida are just a few miles away.

    I think this is the best marina in St. Pete!

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for St. Petersburg Municipal Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 27, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    Overall, this is a pretty nice marina. The docks are almost all 1/2-finger docks with pylons, and are fixed. Although the marina has a breakwater, enough waves get through it that there is almost always some wave action at the docks, and if the wind is above 20 knots, the wave action is significant. The docks are well maintained, as are the rest of the facilities.

    Speaking of facilities, they have a very deep water approach and within the marina, able to easily accommodate a 5-feet keel. There is a fuel dock, and a not-so-easily accessible pump-out station. However, they provide free mobile pump-out service that can be scheduled within a week. There are also 3 separate restroom/shower/laundry facilities around the marina. They are all pretty comparable. The one near the South Basin has 4 separate showers for the men (and presumably the same number for the women) within a heated/cooled restroom, and one restroom/shower room that is separate from the rest. There are 4 washers and 4 dryers, and a community room with vending machines, a microwave, and a widescreen TV. All are quite clean.

    There is also a public park within the marina, but the REAL draw is that downtown St. Petersburg is just steps away. St. Pete is a really nice city, with lots or restaurants, bars, and cafes, a multiplex movie theater, a live-theater venue, shopping, etc. Almost anything you could want is within walking distance. They also have an excellent public transit system that is pretty inexpensive if you get a weekly or monthly transit pass. Of course, there are also taxis, Uber, and Lyft.

    The University of South Florida campus is about 5 blocks from the marina entrance, and they have excellent free WiFi in the campus library. As usual, the free WiFi in the marina is almost non-existent. Finally, the staff at the marina office are very willing to help, if you ask. Overall, this is a very nice marina, and the cost is lower than any others in the area.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Clearwater Municipal Marinas (Clearwater Beach Marina)

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 18, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    On paper this is a very nice marina, and in fact it really IS very nice, but there are a few asterisks. First, the bad stuff:

    They offer free mobile pump-out to anyone in the marina on Wednesdays. However, you have to get on the list early because they can only accommodate a limited number of boats. On the other hand, the big caveat is that their pump out boat is out of action, and there is no resolution to that in sight. They have pump-out at the fuel dock, but that goes of the fritz, too. You just have to ask, and hope it’s working.

    They have two separate sets of restrooms and showers for a total of 5 toilets and 2 showers each for men and women. However, the set that are nearer the docks are pretty ragged, and have no heat or A/C. The set that are further away are much nicer, and have heat/A/C, but they are almost 1/4 mile from the dock. A long walk.

    A number of tourist and fishing charter boats go past in the day and cause pretty sizeable wake-action, but nothing late at night.

    Now the good news:

    The marina has good depths on approach and in the marina, but do be careful how you approach. They are all finger docks with piers, and are in good repair. The marina is also right next to Clearwater Beach, and walking to the beach and great restaurants is a snap. The Tampa area has an excellent transit system that can get you anywhere in Clearwater within 1 hr, and all the way to St. Pete in 2 hrs. You can buy 1-, 3-, and 7-day bus passes cheaply on the buses and at the central terminal. Also, get the app called Transit by Transit App, Inc. REALLY useful.

    They have 2 washers and 2 dryers ($1.50 per load) on site, though they are just in a covered area. The staff are also very eager to help with any problems you may have.

    By far, the biggest surprise was EXCELLENT WiFi at my boat, and that was pretty far from the office. Good reception and fast - the best I’ve run across at marinas, by far.

    Aside from the few “yeah, buts,” this is a very nice marina in a great location.

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  • Marina Review for Waterford Harbor Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 14, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    I had the good fortune to live on my boat here for several months, and this marina is the standard against which I measure all other marinas. So far, no other marinas have come close.

    The approach and marina have plenty of depth for a 6-, or possibly a 7-foot keel. All of the docks are floating, full-length finger docks. The entire marina is well protected. I weathered Hurricane Harvey here without any difficulty, and to my knowledge, no boats were damaged. The marina has full amenities, including a gym and tennis courts, the onsite bar/restaurant is quite nice, but there isn’t a ships store. There are two heated/air conditioned restroom-shower facilities each for men and women, and another pair in the clubhouse right next to the sauna. All are very clean and nice. WiFi is free, but is marginal in all but a few places. There are grocery, hardware, and West Marine stores all within 1-2 miles, but little within walking distance. There are also a number of repair yards nearby.

    The marina staff are very helpful and eager to please, and the community of live-ins, as well as the weekend warriors are friendly and welcoming. There is even a mixer every Friday evening, and Taco Tuesdays at a nearby taco joint.

    I have to say that if it weren’t for the iffy WiFi, this marina would be exceptional in every sense. I highly recommend it.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for Port Tarpon Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 12, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    Thank goodness for this marina! Going south, it is difficult to make it any further in one day from Crystal River. They have only two transient berths that I could see, both at the end of the fueling dock. There is only 50amp power, and no pump-out. WiFi exists, but doesn’t reach the dock. Restrooms are close, clean, and nice. The men’s shower is pretty rudimentary, but is clean and private. I can’t speak for the women’s facilities.

    The river approach had plenty of depth for my 5 foot keel, as did the dock. The current is moderate, and I don’t know how low it gets at low tide. Be aware that this is a manatee hang-out, so keep speeds down.

    There is a restaurant at the marina office that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and looks very good. Very inclusive menu, including a wine list! I couldn’t stay to check out the local sights and businesses, but it is a very picturesque area. Staff was very friendly and accommodating.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Kings Bay

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 12, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    4
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    5
    Shore Access:
    4
    Cell Service:
    5

    This is an excellent anchorage with one caveat. It has a full 3-foot tidal range, and at low tide it has about 3 feet of water. So if you have more than a 3-foot draft you will probably be sitting on sand at low tide, and floating easily at high tide. Also, bear in mind that there is significant shoaling in the river approach, and at low tide there can be less than 3 feet of water in many places. (I ran aground with a 5 foot keel about 2 hrs before high tide. After a couple of hours I had plenty of depth.)

    Otherwise, it is a very quiet anchorage with lots of room to allow for swinging as the tide ebbs and flows. A big plus is that this is where manatees live, giving you a great place to look for them, and greatly decreasing the speed of boat traffic through here. I anchored in the center of the ?bay? with no difficulties. Just watch out for the crab traps. They are literally everywhere, and will wrap around you propeller with ease.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Marina Review for The Moorings of Carrabelle

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Jan 4, 2018
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    This marina has a lot going for it:

    Pros: 1) Well protected. There is essentially no wake action. Wind is mild.
    2) Good water depth at high tide.
    3) Great amenities that are close to the dock. They have showers, restrooms, a pool, a washer/dryer, free use of bicycles, free continental breakfasts, use of a common room with widescreen TV, pool table, gaming table, and more restrooms.
    4) There are grocery, hardware, and Dollar General stores almost across the street, and several bars & restaurants within walking distance.
    5) Very friendly, helpful staff. They provide an info sheet with phone numbers and addresses of local restaurants, stores, and businesses.
    6) Best of all, it only costs $1 per foot!

    Cons:
    1) The tidal range is HUGE - at least 3 feet. This can cause a boat docking in shallow water to sit high and dry. It can also cause your lifelines or hardware to be trapped under or over the dock (and torn off). Be cautious to hold your boat away from the dock! If you are docked at the bulkhead, it isn’t a concern.
    2) A corollary of the tidal range is that adequate depth at high tide may not allow leaving at low tide.
    3) The ship’s store does not carry much. And there is no marine store in town.
    4) The town is quite small, and it is a long way from anything bigger. It is about 25 miles to the nearest Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc. There is a taxi service in town, but no Uber or Lyft.

    Overall, I think it is a very good marina.

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  • Marina Review for Port St. Joe Marina - CLOSED

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 30, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I do not heap praise very often, but this marina deserves heaps. It is a very well protected marina in a very well protected bay. No swells or wakes to deal with. It is a fairly small marina, but seemed to have a lot of available docks (in the off-season). There are plenty of power and water outlets, a fuel station, and a pump out station. The docks are in good shape, and well maintained.

    It is a short walk to the marina office where there are two restrooms, and two shower/restroom combinations. There are also a washer and dryer in the same place. They also have a pretty good seafood restaurant/bar with plenty of outdoor seating. The ships store is mostly a gift shop with some clothing, etc.

    This is all good, but there is much more. When I checked in, they were very welcoming. I was given a welcome packet that included a visitor’s guide to Port St. Joe, which looks like a nice small town. The packet also has basic info about the marina, emergency names and phone numbers, and a list with names, addresses, and phone numbers of 15 restaurants, 11 churches, 9 motels, and the local taxi service (no Uber or Lyft there).

    In addition, there is a full grocery store, a pharmacy, a recreational outfitter, a barber, a bank, and more, all within easy walking distance. To top it all off, I can actually use the free WiFi FROM MY BOAT! This is a rarity in marinas. All this for $1.50 per foot? My advise is to not stay there for a night, the way I had to (I was on a tight schedule). Stay for 3 or 5. I’ll bet that you won’t regret it. Highly recommended.

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  • Marina Review for Sun Harbor Marina-Temporarily Closed-opening summer 2020

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 29, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    This marina has a lot going for it, but there are a couple of big caveats. The approach and dockside depths were plenty deep enough for my keel. Transients are placed among the regular slips, not separated. The restrooms and showers are on the far side of the marina office - a bit of a hike, but not too far. The laundry is near the same spot, and has about 4 washers and 4 dryers. There is a bar/restaurant right on the docks that is pretty good, if a little quiet in the off-season, and has plenty of TVs for sports. The ship’s store is pretty basic. Mostly soft drinks and T-shirts.

    There is a diesel fuel station and pump out station out at the dock closest to the channel, with easy access. Panama Beach City is an easy Uber or Lyft ride away.

    Now the down-sides: there is a significant wake effect from passing ships that will bash your boat against the dock if you don’t use spring lines that will keep you at least 2-3 feet away from the dock, and plenty of dock lines to keep you away from the pylons. And when the boats go by, you’re going to get bounced around a lot.

    Also, I came in at night. I sail solo and can generally dock pretty easily by myself. However, if one of the live-aboard residents hadn’t noticed me coming in and lent a hand, I would have had a pretty tough time getting tucked in (and would not have known about the wake effects.) The finger docks between every other slip are only about 15 feet long, and the rest is done with pylons.

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  • Marina Review for Holiday Harbor Marina & Grill

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 29, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 3

    I stayed at Holiday Harbor for several days. Access (with a 5.5 ft keel) was pretty easy from the ICW. Just have to keep close to the restaurant and docks. Transients stay on the long T-dock, and it has pylons for tying up. There are power/water stations along the dock, and they have to turn the power on once you arrive.

    The dock is about 150 yards from the ICW, and though the wakes from passing barges are somewhat diminished, nothing stands between them and your boat. Use lots of fenders.

    There are two restrooms and one very basic shower room that are both a pretty long hike from the dock along a gravel driveway. There are also a washer and dryer in the same place that are FREE! There may be WiFi, but as always, it doesn’t reach to the dock. I didn’t try the diesel pump or pump out, but I think they are back in the marina where the depths wouldn’t allow my keel.

    There is also a nice little seafood restaurant right there, but because of holidays I didn’t get a chance to sample it. They have Uber and Lyft, and it is about 30+ minutes to Pensacola - a bit shorter distance to Orange Beach.

    Helpful staff, and pretty reasonable price.

    View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer


  • Anchorage Review for Destin Harbor Southwest

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 29, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    3
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    3
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Ease of Shopping:
    4
    Shore Access:
    5
    Cell Service:
    5

    I stayed here for one night, and was glad it was available. The access is a little tricky. Those with a deep keel need to keep toward the North (near the bridge), and then either go along the north shore or the south one. In the middle is shallow shoaling. That said, going down the north shore, I grounded over a shoal at about 5 feet, but managed to slide off of it. Beyond the sand bar there is plenty of depth. Bottom is good sand. The spot didn?t provide much protection from wind from the North.

    All around it are bars, restaurants, and hotels. Very lively and pretty, and most of them have dock access. Small boats going through the harbor give some wake action, but there weren?t many of them. The tidal current isn?t strong, but when the wind dies down the current will definitely shift you, so choose your spot carefully.

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  • Anchorage Review for Charenton Drainage Canal

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 23, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    2
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4

    This is an excellent place to stop for the night. It is about as wide as the ICW, and if you anchor at least several hundred yards from the ICW, the only wakes you'll encounter are the occasional sport fishers motoring by. The bottom is soft mud, and it has 8-15 foot depths extending very close to shore. I chose to anchor near the eastern shore and was only about 30 feet from it. If the wind is blowing North or South, the gentle current goes South, so you will drift parallel to the canal, and can anchor closer to shore. However, if the wind were blowing East or West, you would have to anchor closer to the center or risk grounding. There is only wind protection close to the East shore, and only from eastern winds.

    I saw no barges or tugs going through here, just small boats. It is marshy, so it is pretty, but has plenty of mosquitoes. I also had terrible cell phone reception here. There are no towns or signs of civilization anywhere near.

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  • Bridge comment on Ellender (SR 27) Bridge

    Comment by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 22, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    VERY IMPORTANT to realize that you have to call the bridge FOUR HOURS BEFORE ARRIVAL to arrange for someone to be there to raise it (800-752-6706). Otherwise, you have to sit and wait, the way I did. Also, bear in mind that cell phone reception is very patchy all around here, so plan ahead.

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  • Anchorage Review for Mermentau G1A

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 22, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    2
    Current Flow:
    3
    Wake Protection:
    4
    Scenic Beauty:
    4

    I had the misfortune of anchoring here minutes before a terrific storm which caused flooding and near-freezing temperatures. It is exposed to all but West winds, and there is a mild current toward the South. Depths going in were about 6-8 feet with lots of shoaling, so you have to feel your way through. Once you get beyond the red channel marker, there is a spot about 200 feet in diameter with variable, but adequate depths. Bottom is soft mud, but with a lot of rode it held me in massive winds and current. It is far enough from the ICW that wakes are negligible. I also had zero cell phone reception here. As this is a swamp, mosquitoes are naturally a concern.

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  • Anchorage Review for Shell Island

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 22, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    4
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4

    I stayed just one night, and had no trouble here. The depths that I found were all around 10-12 feet, but they extended pretty close to shore on the East side. A few small boats zipped by during early evening, but after that there were no wakes at all. The bottom is soft mud, and there was practically no current. Be aware that there are small buoys lined up along both shores, but I found good depths beyond those on the East side. On the West side it got shallow pretty fast.

    Also, this is a marsh, so the mosquitoes are fierce.

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  • Marina Review for Homeport Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 22, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    I agree with the majority of reviewers. This is a small, but VERY nice marina. It is directly off the ICW, and depths were no problem for my 5.5 ft keel. The transient dock is L-shaped, is immediately to starboard as you enter the marina, and continues around to the right. It is a floating dock (and sits a little lower than most floating docks I’ve seen.) Looks to have capacity for about 6 average boats, but mine was the only one there during my stay. There are cleats and pedestals with 50 W power and water at reasonable intervals. If you dock close to the entrance of the marina, the way I did, you will get mild wake disturbance as boats go by. However, if you dock around the corner, there shouldn’t be any wakes felt. Also, the showers/restrooms are around the corner, so you will be right next to them. There are only one each for men and women, but I don’t think anyone in the marina other than transients use them, so no waiting!

    There is a highway overpass close to the marina, but I heard little traffic noise outside of my boat, and none from within. The marina also has a sand filled play area with volleyball court, and a very large climbing obstacle course that wasn’t open during my stay.

    There is a rather nice restaurant/bar as part of the marina. It is very quiet during the week, but gets busy on Fridays and Saturdays. They also have live music! Best of all, it closes up by 8:00 pm, so no noise late at night. There is another restaurant/bar across the ICW for easy dinghy access.

    The town itself is a pretty nice resort town, too, though I didn’t get to explore much. The marina has WiFi, but reception is the usual dicey. There is also a library a mile or two from the marina (across the overpass) for better WiFi.

    This was the first marina I encountered going East where prices were higher than $25/night or $1 per foot, but you get what you pay for. This place was really worth it. Highly recommended.

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  • Anchorage Review for North of Singing River Bridge

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 21, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    4
    Current Flow:
    4
    Wake Protection:
    3
    Scenic Beauty:
    3
    Ease of Shopping:
    3
    Shore Access:
    3
    Cell Service:
    5

    This was a very good anchorage. Easy to reach, with deep water and a wide, sparsely occupied river. The railroad lifting bridge is up about 99% of the time, and there is a bridge attendant on duty (channel 13).

    The depth in the area is almost uniformly 20 feet, even fairly close to shore (stay to the eastern side - the western side is where boat traffic goes). There is a very gentle current. Wind protection is moderate to east and west. There is very little traffic at night, so no wakes to worry about. Trains go by early in the evening, and car traffic noises pick up early in the morning, but otherwise it?s quiet.

    Good cell and data service. I didn?t try to dinghy ashore, but there are a few spots nearby where you can. Probably have to call a car to go shopping.

    More than adequate for an overnight stopover.

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  • Marina Review for Gulfport Municipal Marina-MS

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 20, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 5

    This is a very nice marina. They have all the amenities (though there is only one restroom/shower each for men and women). Being a small marina, this may not mean any waiting in the mornings. The docks are well kept with wide alleys between them. I have nearly a 6 foot keel, and had no trouble with water depth. I am sorry that I could only spend one night. It was a VERY comfortable night.

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  • Anchorage Review for Catfish Pt. (Rabbit Island)

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 20, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    5
    Wind Protection:
    5
    Current Flow:
    5
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4

    This would be an excellent overnight anchorage, but the depths are nowhere near what is listed. In spots I found it to be up to 12 feet, but most of it was in the 4 - 8 foot range. Having a 5 foot keel, I was scraping mud more often than not. Be careful entering if you have a keel .Went in at high tide and left at low tide. No appreciable difference between the two. Just alarmingly shallow for my draft.

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  • Marina Review for Morgan City Boat Dock

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 13, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 3

    This dock is very new. The Waterway Guide doesn't have anything on it yet, and even Google Earth shows an outdated satellite shot. Morgan City has a large sea wall with MORGAN CITY in big letters. Now, along its length there is a bulkhead with electricity (50 W) and water pedestals periodically. It is about 300 yards long, but the central 50 yards is the only part designed for cruisers. The rest has pylons every 20 feet or so, and is more suitable for fishing boats. They have a restroom at the end of the bulkhead, but it is not hooked up with any services yet, and they don't know when it will be.

    The depth of the approach and at dockside is well over 20 feet. Once you pass under the railroad lift bridge, the dock is on your immediate starboard.

    Front Street is immediately behind the sea wall, and has a marine supply store, hair salon, and several small restaurants. There is also a library (WiFi!) and a nice little park, both within 2 blocks. However, don't walk much further East than the park because the neighborhoods become dicey.

    There are also two fuel stations just a bit further up the canal, but there is a fixed bridge to get past with 50 foot clearance and my sailboat has a 51 foot mast.

    There is only one taxi in town (no Uber or Lyft), called Mo City Cab (985-519-6063). There is no shower or pump-out. Be aware that a tug or barge goes past the dock every 2 or 3 hours, and there is significant wake-effect. Use lots of fenders! If you need anything, call Pete (985-519-5245), a super nice guy.

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  • Marina Review for Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 12, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    Close to everything - there are two nice restaurants looking down on the marina. I didn’t stay in the hotel, but there was no wake noticeable overnight. The restroom is around the corner at the hotel, and there are no showers or pump-out. They have WiFi, but it is a little weak.

    Be aware that this marina is pretty small. It has finger-slips, enough to hold about 12 boats. However, if your boat is larger than 40 feet and does not have bow thrusters, it will be a challenge getting in and out. Recommend you look at satellite images on Google Maps or Earth. When I was there, the only other boat was a commercial tour boat.

    It is a pretty nice marina in a great location. I wish I could have stayed for the Dickens Street Festival.

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  • Marina Review for Sabine Pass Port Authority Marina

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 3, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Rating: 4

    Refueled here. Self-serve, and (I think) open 24/7. Very nice lady helped me tie up (motoring single-handed). But beware! When I told her I had come through the cut West of the unnamed island, she said I was lucky to make it through the “boat graveyard.” She strongly recommended only entering through the Southwest opening. Upon entering the marina, the pumps are immediately on the right.

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  • Anchorage Review for Taylor Outfall Canal

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 3, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    3
    Holding:
    3
    Wind Protection:
    3
    Current Flow:
    3
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    5
    Ease of Shopping:
    1
    Shore Access:
    1
    Pet Friendly:
    1
    Cell Service:
    2
    WiFi:
    1

    This canal is about 150 feet wide and almost uniformly about 12 - 15 feet deep (at low tide) from shore to shore. Winds tend to blow North or South (side-to-side), so leave a lot of room in case the wind shifts, or use 2 anchors. Mud didn?t hold with solid reverse, but held well with moderate overnight wind. No wake, very remote, and no traffic except for an official-looking speedboat that went by every hour until about midnight, and resumed at about 6:00. This is marsh and reeds, so the mosquitos are fierce.

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  • Anchorage Review for East Pass

    Reviewed by: Chris Himmelheber on Dec 3, 2017
    Boat Type: Sail
    LOA: 36'
    Draft: 5.5'

    Overall Rating:
    4
    Holding:
    4
    Wind Protection:
    4
    Current Flow:
    3
    Wake Protection:
    5
    Scenic Beauty:
    4
    Ease of Shopping:
    1
    Shore Access:
    1
    Pet Friendly:
    1
    Cell Service:
    2
    WiFi:
    1

    It is noted to be 12 - 20 ft deep, but when I arrived (at low tide), it was more like 8 - 15 ft. The entry is a little tricky. Enter East of the flashing red “2” marker, keep to the center, and aim for the mooring float (I don’t know whose it is). Before reaching the mooring, turn port and then hug the East side. There are marker buoys on both sides, but it only decreases to 8 ft deep well beyond the buoys to the East, is about 6 feet deep within 10 feet of the reeds on that side. The side toward Shell Island looks much more shallow. No wakes, VERY quiet, small current, and TONS of mosquitos. You have been warned!

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