Reply: River Tips now and Harbor Host further south
By: knicolai on September 22nd, 2015, 2:44 pm
This post may have been better placed in Navigation, but at times posts get buried and lost in that section. And… this post contains what is becoming my annual invitation to partake of my Harbor Host hospitality – once you get to Southwest Florida (SWFL).
Since many now, or will soon find themselves on the Inland (Western) Rivers, I thought I would point you to a short, but sweet document I drew up last season regarding river passage and navigation. It deals particularly with the IL River (ILR) through Grafton to, and down the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) to the Ohio. While on CG Auxiliary patrol I used the run the rivers every weekend, primarily from Central Illinois to below St. Louis and particularly the Alton Pool above Mel Price L&D (UMR MM 202.5). When I moved to Florida, an Aux friend and I brought my 23′ boat down the rivers and across the Gulf to my Florida home near Tarpon Springs. I have since moved south to Cape Coral and have become a Harbor Host.
I put the above referenced document together after I saw several posts from Loopers confused by what they find and experience on the Western Rivers – some running aground below islands, some damaging their boats on wing dikes, others confused by junction buoys and passing and crossing marks and the many dredges and ferries operating on the rivers. The document may be found on the AGLCA site under Resources -> FAQs AND OTHER TREASURES. There is much helpful info on this page – probably largely undiscovered by many AGLCA members. On the FAQs page, scroll down to “Navigating the Great Loop’s Inland Rivers”. The link to FAQs is:
Once you get to SWFL (Southwest Florida) look me up under Harbor Hosts (Members Only -> HARBOR HOSTS or Members Only -> INTERACTIVE MAP:
The map will allow you to search for Harbor Hosts located along the entire Great Loop. All have been reported hospitable, but very few have available free docks. I have dockage with enough space for perhaps 3 or so Looper boats, depending on size, but last year there was a 90′ Chris Craft, a 28′ Bayliner, and my boat on the lift all at once – and there was still room for a 30 – 33 to perhaps 36 footer. I have electric and water at the dock, but electric understandably has to be conserved as the boats start to stack up. There was enough electric for the 90 and 28 together though. Guest Wi-Fi also extends to the dock.
While they are here, Loopers are welcome to use the heated pool and the guest ‘head’ for showers, etc. There is separate outside access to the guest wing and bath with a combination lock. West Marine, Publix, Winn-Dixie – even downtown Cape Coral is within some’s walking distance, others bike-riding distance, or I’d be happy to drive you to pick up stores.
My culinary skills are a little lacking, but I’ve been known to grill a couple of decent entrees. And as a former mixologist, docktails generally don’t disappoint.
My home is off Marker 68 on the Caloosahatchee River (ICW/OWW) as you proceed to Lake Okeechobee from the Gulf. If you are not going through the lake, you would have to hop off the ICW a couple of miles to get here. My canal system approach is on the widest, deepest, straightest channel in the Cape and the canal system to my home is all 200′ wide with no bridges – a better situation than you’ll encounter on many of the Western Rivers.
Remember, this offer has attached the word almost all Loopers love to hear… “FREE”. 🙂 Give me a call or shoot me an e-mail at least a couple of days ahead of time if you plan to stop for a day or so. Many Loopers who come for a day, stay 2 – or come for 2 and stay 4. I will e-mail you approach info to study – but I’m not hard to find. There is seemingly no length or beam limit, but late fall/winter tides may dictate a draft of no greater than 5′ – depending on time of day that you choose to navigate the channel. There is no real depth issue within the canal system up to 7′ or more.
Hope to see you in SWFL.
Cape Coral, FL