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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:54 am 
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Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Can anyone advise a good spot to launch from Ft Desoto for a sail to Egmont key? I've been to Ft Desoto a few times but never with a mind to launch a kayak.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:32 am 
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Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
Personally, I would launch from the picnic area on the eastside. When the Bay-Way ends, turn left and you'll see the pavilions, etc. on your right. That is where the Watertribe sets up and launches from each year. Lots of room.

Be careful. I'm out in my flatsboat in that general area at times. Between the big ships coming in and out and the crazy boaters and strong tides, it can be a mess.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:43 am 
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Location: sarasota,fl
domromer :
We are up there a lot, I almost always launch from the public boat launch (near the entrance to the right). It costs I think 5 bucks to park anywhere in Ft Desoto, and only costs I think 6 bucks with your trailer to park by the launch. It's about 7 miles to Egmont key and can get rough in the deep cruise ship channel between the islands. Also the current can be pretty strong, and don't get ran over by a big ship (they don't stop).
You can also launch from a park on the south side, but it's a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the beach (that's where the Watertribe EC challenge launches from in March every year). When you to get to the T in the road at the south of the island turn left instead of right (right goes to the beaches and the fort). I have never tried to launch from the beaches on the West side or from the fort perhaps someone else can comment (it would be much closer). It gets kind of shallow around shell key (the next island north of Desoto) at low tide.
I try not to go out there (Egmont) when there is a strong off shore wind (too much risk of getting blown out to sea).
If your a camper, and you can get a waterside site, it's awesome (just launch from your campsite), but as with most campsites in Florida, it's hard to get in there.
Hope this helps.
Bob


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:49 am 
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Terry:
Have you ever tried to launch from the fort or the beaches on the north side, I always see lots of small kayaks in that little lagoon to the right up near the north end, but have never tried to launch up there.
Bob


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Hmm that sounds a little hairy. Maybe we'll wait until we have some more experience on the TI before we venture out to Egmont. Thanks for the info. Might check out Anclote Key first. That seems like a pretty easy sail.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:04 am 
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Location: sarasota,fl
domromer :
It's probably better if you save the Egmont trip until you have had a few smaller trips under your belt. I recommend you don't make the trip alone as that trip is advanced according to all the kayaking guides and they recommend at least a 14 ft or longer sea kayak with spray skirts, a PFD (worn), and an FM radio (basically geared for open water), and they all warn about the heavy ship traffic in what we call the cruise ship channel, by saying 'stay away from the ships'. And they also recommend to not make the crossing alone (safety in numbers). Obviously our Adventures are way more capable. All you have to do is announce a date and you'll get a pile of us to come along (we all are looking for excuses to go out). We also belong to the Watertribe and we had a trip out there a while back, it was a blast, hope they do it again soon. Typically when we go out there we take our scuba tanks along and like to dive around the old sunken fort. We often meet our powerboat friends on the west side and anchor just off shore. You can't go on land because that part of the island is protected I'm told (I don't know all the official rules however, just going by what people tell me). There are I believe hiking trails on other parts of the island, and I have heard of people hiking to the lighthouse. There is I think a ferry that goes out there and docks near the south east corner, so I'm sure you can land and explore anywhere around there (east side).
Even when we had our SeaRay powerboat people warned us to stay away from the skyway bridge and the area south of ft Desoto/Egmont key because of the heavy ship traffic and the really strong currents coming from the Tampa bay entrance (kinda makes sense). I honestly don't know first hand because we were scared off.... and don't go too far south of Egmont key except the couple times I made the trip up from City Island (Sarasota Bay) up to Egmont, but I stayed offshore away from the bridge and bay entrance. I have no idea if any of this is true or not, someone who is there more can probably fill us in better (not trying to scare anyone off, just going by what people told me to do).
Bob


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:47 am 
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I agree with most of Fusioneng's comments. The big ships cannot stop in anything less than a mile or so, that is why it is smart not to get in front of them. If a large ship would run over you, I doubt you could successfully sue them for damages, because I suspect they have the right of way. On the other hand, last March at the EC2013 WaterTribe start (first Saturday of March) there were over 100 boats that left from Ft Desoto East Beach--everything from paddle boards to surf skis to kayaks to AI/TIs to small monohulls--and made their way across Tampa Bay successfully. You can see pictures of that start at http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=270 Scroll down on that page. We will be camped over at Ft Desoto this year (Feb 26-28, site #4) for the WaterTribe festivities, and I'm sure we will sail down to Egmont Key. Hope to see you then, if not sooner.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:02 am 
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Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
fusioneng wrote:
Terry:
Have you ever tried to launch from the fort or the beaches on the north side, I always see lots of small kayaks in that little lagoon to the right up near the north end, but have never tried to launch up there.
Bob


I'm not positive what spot you are referring to, Bob. I assume you mean at the south end of Bunces Pass, which is all the way out to the end of the road on Mullet Key. I have never launched my AI there. If it is allowed, it would be fine for sailing in the Gulf.

When I go to Fort D. with my Adventure to fish, I always launch just pass the first toll road on the right side of the road, immediately before the bridge. It is a fine place to launch an AI, too. Someone could then go out Bunces Pass into the Gulf to sail. Sailing on the inside of Mullet and Shell Keys would be limited due to water depth and boat/kayak/paddle board traffic. Bunces Pass can get a bit hairy at times but I don't think it would be bad in an AI or TI due to pedal/paddle/sailing options.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:14 pm 
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Location: tampa, fl
Coming back in Bunces pass can be tricky if the tide is moving out fast and the wind is out of the east. Probably best to peddle it along the south shore with the mast down to keep things going the right way. Plenty of room to tack but the tide current going out in the middle is an easy 4-5 mph at peak.
Best solution is to pull up on either shore, kick back and relax or fish(great on outgoing tide here) and wait for slack or flood tide. This is one of the most scenic beaches in the world.....and we live here!!!

Same for travel to Egmont Key. Done it plenty of times but you have to understand the tide and wind forecast to do it safe and be willing to do something else if those don't stack up right. Also have to be provisioned well enough to sit out over there if the forecast was wrong.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
For someone who really wants to get to Egmont in an AI, you might consider launching from the north end of Anna Maria Island. There is a park there with good parking and non-motorized boats can launch. There is boat traffic, but nothing like the deeper channel off of Fort D. This is my normal approach to Egmont and you just have to still be aware of the tides and weather/wind. Since the south channel isn't so deep, isn't as much of an issue, but is still an issue. And for you guys coming from points north, it is obviously a long, but beautiful car trek over the Skyway.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:48 am 
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For a quick hop to Shell Key, and just to play on the north side of Fort Desoto, we put in on Pinellas Bayway, just north of the first toll plaza. There are usually a handful of kayakers' cars parked on the west side, sharing a 10' "beach".

If you look at Google maps in "Satelite" or "Earth" mode, you can see where it is deep enough to use the mirage drives and dagger board.

Just out into the bay, south of Shell Key can be loaded with rays, really cool to see. Don't forget to check the tides before heading out/in.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:03 am 
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Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
I'm having a hard time finding the toll plaza on google earth. Can you offer any more details on the location. This sounds like a fun sail for tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:02 am 
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Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
domromer wrote:
I'm having a hard time finding the toll plaza on google earth. Can you offer any more details on the location. This sounds like a fun sail for tomorrow.


If you are heading south on the Pinellas Bayway, JUST BEFORE the bridge over Bunces Pass is the Sunpass type of toll. You'd immediately get in the right turn lane and turn right on to a dirt road that parallels the Bayway and the shoreline. If you go over the bridge and see the boatramp and camping area, you went too far. Yo can park before the toll, but there have been some car breakins recently. I prefer going through the toll, not that cars are ever safe from breakins any more. This area gives you a nice launch on hard-packed sand. It can get crowded on the weekends. Be sure to note the tides (Mullet Key Channel) so your car isn't too close for a high tide and so you know if you need to go out the channel or across the flat. That flat gets very skinny. If you fish, that entire area is terrific. Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, Terry.

Hopefully this link will work. I can't figure out how to make a link with the new Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Pinellas+Bayway+South,+Tierra+Verde,+FL&hl=en&ll=27.657997,-82.720139&spn=0.001214,0.000856&sll=27.698638,-83.804601&sspn=19.809678,14.018555&oq=pinellas+ba&hnear=Pinellas+Bayway+S,+Tierra+Verde,+Florida+33715&t=h&z=20

GPS: 27° 39.560', -82° 43.180'


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:46 am 
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Thanks for the map. I'll be sure to check out that area.


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