I have some newbie questions. I am moving to Weeki Wachee Fl next month from Anchorage Ak. I want to be able to get in the waters of the area (nature coast). I would really like to get a TI but I am not sure it is right for the area. I know the waters tend to be shallow. Is there anyone else in area (Aripeka, to homosassa) that sails a TI?
The nearest bay would be palm Harbor or Anclote Anchorage to the south.
I am wrestling with, Is sailing is a good idea or would smaller yaks without the sail be more useful, lots of rivers to explore and the TI might be to large a boat for them?
Hi AkSteve. I'm a little distance from where you intend to kayak but may be able to help. There are a few AI owners in South Australia who wish they had a TI as their partner doesn't like being left behind. The TI also sails well solo so you have the best of both worlds. I recently spent a week exploring the Maroochydore River in North Eastern Australia. When the tide was in I was able to do some great sailing in the main river. I also explored most of the backwaters, removing the mirage drives and paddling. I was able to get to narrow creeks where the hull touched each bank when I turned around. I could have paddled backwards if I went in too far. So yes, a smaller yak may be able to get slightly further up the creek (with a paddle) but why not go for the real thing. I also recently did some mild rapids in the upper reaches of the River Murray with no amas, sail or mirage drives and the TI performed amazingly. I eventually got the hang of this and stopped doing 360s but all part of the fun. What a versatile craft.
Having said all that, I hope you find someone familiar with your area as you can't beat local knowledge. Cheers, Brian
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am Posts: 560 Location: sarasota,fl
aksteve: I have some good news and some bad news for you, I live just south of there in Sarasota,FL and we go up into that area quite often kayaking and sailing. The bad news is at least in my experience most of the kayakers and sailers tend to go out in salt water way more than fresh (no gators, nearly all fresh water down here has gators (which scare the beejeevees out of me). The exception being the spring fed rivers in your area, we mostly go on the Santa Fe river (near High springs), and Crystal river just north of Weeki Wachee, but those are just our preferences mostly because we are scuba divers (we love to dive at Ginnie springs and crystal river). We also love the Tarpon Springs area (sponge docks). Basically you will be moving into one of the best areas just an hours drive from anything and everything most people dream about. We have been told by several kayakers to stay away from the Suwannee river because several kayakers have been killed by the giant sturgeon (probably a wives tale and not true, but I'm not taking any chances LOL). I am highly recommending the Adventure Tandem Island as the premier boat for this area, as it is totally at home in open salt water, and as a kayak only, is by far hands down the fastest, most stable, and best kayak Hobie makes (a closely guarded secret). Oh and by the way it happens to be a fantastic sailboat too, especially for families where we see youtube videos of whole families taking their TI's with mom, dad, 2-3 kids, and the family pet's.
Near the beginning, what you see would be very close what you see on the Crystal river, then in the narrow area a little later what to expect running the Santa Fe river (we've done similar stuff)
Your not going to grasp how huge and beautiful the intercoastal system in Florida is until you move here. We have traveled the Santa Fe and the Crystal rivers in our Oasis, Revolution, and TI boats many times, and all work very nicely. We used to only just take the TI as a Kayak only, but anymore especially on the crystal river we now take the sails and AMA's along, then scuba dive from the TI, then when we're done diving we sail out to open water (about 5-6 miles away) and just bang around, where it's probably too far to be comfortable just to kayak out there. You will find that any of the Hobie kayaks are just fine in down to 5-6 inches of water, but you might have to dust off and break out a paddle once in a while (basically 95% of any water around here is your playground). Oh yea by the way you will discover that you will have a huge advantage over the native Floridians in the winter being from Alaska (I'm originally from Canada myself) in that during the winter months the water is too cold for most natives (my wife is native and won't go out in less than 80 deg water at all). 65 degree water will be just like summer time to you (BTW the water in all the springs here is a constant 72 degrees all year round). This is a great video because all in one video it shows lot's of things the TI can do, at around 4 minutes you will see them out performing a 30 ft plus bermuda sloop in a light reach. I don't think there are any conditions you cannot go out on a TI and have fun. With the pedal drives, 'no wind' not a problem. We just throw ours on top of our car and try to get out every weekend (year round).
ChangeMan: One of our favorite things to do on our hobie kayaks is running rapids. though I haven't found any rapids in Florida (yet), we love to go to places like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado in the summers just so we can find and run rivers with mild rapids. I'm actually quite suprised how well the TI does (way better than our Oasis did (more stable)), of course thats kayak only mode (LOL) we leave the AMA's and sails back at the campground.
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am Posts: 560 Location: sarasota,fl
aksteve: There are 3 dealers in the region (see below). I bought mine from Economy Tackle (since I live closest to them), I have heard a lot of good things about Tackle Shack. I don't know Riversport Kayaks in Homosassa, FL, but only because I don't live close by. In my opinion Hobie has worked pretty hard to weed out the bad dealers, so the factor for me would be proximity, and if they have what I want in stock. I think Hobie controls their pricing pretty well so your not going to get a better deal one place or another unless you come across a demo boat. Used and demo Hobie TI's are extremely rare, and I wouldn't hold my breath for one (plus it's desirable to have that two yr warranty). The good news is Hobies hold their value better than any other boat on the market (in my opinion), so if you decide to upgrade a couple yrs down the road, you can sell for quite a bit (though hardly anyone ever sells them). The quality of their products is un-equalled, and their support is second to none. Yes you pay a little more for Hobies, but there is no question you are getting the best. We are heavy users and are on our 7th hobie mirage boat now (our 3rd TI), and I won't buy anything else. The funny thing is I don't even fish, too busy just going out having fun, maybe I'll take that up when I retire.
Everyone else on this forum will tell you exactly the same things.
I also live on the Nature Coast and have a TI. I'm in Crystal River, Florida. I love sailing my TI here and find it perfect for the area. I can set it up fully and go sailing in the Gulf. There are several ramps in the area. I can also take everything off and go kayaking in the springs. There are so many fun activities you can use a TI here for from scalloping in the summer to swimming with the manatees in the winter. The Homosassa area is very similar. I found it perfect to be able to get out on the water regularly but without the constant maintenance cost of a boat.
Thanks Shibashake for the response. I am totally sold on the TI in the area. I have been looking at google maps and all the great ares to explore. Here is a great site to see where all the salt water boat ramps are by county. http://www.saltchef.com/catch_fish/FL/C ... _boat_ramp I guess my big decision now is color
Okay, one more question (this is from my wife who worries about alligators...)
You mentioned that you mainly go out in salt water with the exception of the spring fed Crystal River and the Santa Fe. I have seen some things on the Crystal river and seems like there are alligators there also? Has that been your experience? I have to keep my "things to worry about list" updated.
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am Posts: 560 Location: sarasota,fl
aksteve: There are alligators in all fresh water down here, they say if you go out in fresh water you should carry a bell and some pepper spray for self defense. Before going in any water look around for gator poop, if it is small "like rabbit poop" then there should be no problem, the gators are too small to bother you. However if the poop is larger and smells like pepper, and has bells in it don't go in the water. Alligators don't like humans, and if there are a lot of people around gators will go elseware. Places like Wikki Wachi and Crystal river are very popular and there are always tons of people around. If you stay in the main areas near the springs where the water is way too cold for gators, then you should be fine. If you wander into back water swamp areas were people don't normally go, you might run into one. I'm not sure how accurate the above information about the bell and pepper spray is, I found it on the internet and thought I would share. Shibashake have you seen gators on the crystal river, I have been there a dozen times, and never saw any and nobody seemed worried about them, the dive shop there where we rent our tanks never said anything about gators (nice people there). I've been told if you see turtles in an area there are typically no gators, (but I do carry the whistle and pepper spray just in case (kidding)). My wife is native floridian and isn't scared of gators she has kayaked on the Miaka river (which has lots of gators). Me being Canadian I'm still frieked out by them and won't go in fresh water where there are lots of gators all around. But we have travelled the big and small Manatee rivers, and the Braden river all down here (near Sarasota) and didn't have any problems (yes we saw some small gators). We have been up and down the Sante Fe river about a dozen times and never saw or heard of anyone talking about gators, probably because of the cold springs and lots of people. I don't think there are any salt water crocks this far north, you would have to go down way south into the everglades to see them. We spend a lot of time down in the Keys and I have never seen or heard of any gators or crocs way down there. That brings to mind one other thing about Florida that I forgot to mention. Just about every sub-division has lakes and ponds, and pretty much every one of them has alligators. We have a lake across from our house and another a block away and they are full of gators up to around 6 ft long that you see sunning on the shore. Nobody cares or worries about them, when I go for walks I cross to the other side of the street, my wife laughs at me for doing that. Bottom line, you will get used to the wildlife down here and enjoy it, it is absolutely beautiful all year round. Bob
Thanks for all the info, (this is Brenda, Steve's wife)
It's funny that we are used to bears in our front yard, and i'm worried about an alligator. Alaska presents us with breathtaking views & wildlife daily - - we ride our bikes and it is not unusual to run into a few moose along the way. We respect their space and they tend to ignore us & continue eating. Altho, we do have one funny moment of being chased on our tandem mountain bike by a bull moose.
We are looking forward to arriving in Florida end of April and beginning our exploration. I suppose we'll be saying goodbye to the larger bears & moose, and getting adjusted to the insects & lizards - - and maybe even a few alligators.
I have not seen any gators on Crystal River. That doesn't mean they are never there, but it's really nothing I've worried about. Crystal River is mostly brackish water so that may have a factor. I know I've heard of them in the Homosassa and Rainbow rivers, but that doesn't stop most people from kayaking and people even go tubing in the Rainbow river.
Most alligators are terrified of humans and the real problem arises when you have irresponsible people feeding them or stomping around their nests. If you are around fresh water much at all in Florida, you will get used to the sight of alligators and it's something we learn to live with here. I just keep my distance, don't bring my dogs if I may be going near fresh water on nature trails, and, of course, never ever feed them. And don't say goodbye to bears quite yet.. we do have the Florida Black Bear. They strike fear in the heart of all who see them
Hi Shibashake, thanks for your reply. I have been learning a lot from the forum trailers, wind skirts, hakkas, Wave deflectors, but some local knowledge would be helpful. Do you go out into the gulf much? Do you get to sail much? Is there much wind in the area? How is the fishing? Have you been up to Cedar key or down to anclote key. They look like great places to explore. I know that's a lot of questions, but when you're stuck in Alaska for another month all you can do is dream about the fun.
what about the currents where the rivers and ocean meets in the sarasota area? i've always been in a motor boat when crossing these currents but they do look like they could pose difficulties in a TI when the tide is running hard...
--i remember snorkeling and fishing in crystal river as a kid i think i even remember manatees and i think i remember otters too,, does this sound correct?
I have sailed quite a bit in the Gulf off of Crystal River and Cedar Key. It is not typically very windy here, so I usually plan my trips based on the forecast. Even though we are on the coast, the morning and evening breezes are not enough to count on for good sailing. That being said, I have had no shortage of good sailing days if I plan it around the forecast winds. I have not sailed out of the Sarasota area, so hopefully someone can help with that question. I can tell you the mirage drive is surprisingly powerful and when I got into a situation with heavy winds, waves and tide working against me in the kayak, I was able to fairly easily power my way through it while friends on a traditional kayak had a lot of difficulty.
I couldn't tell you about fishing, but I know they have fishing tournaments here so there's probably plenty of info online. As for wildlife, we don't have whales here, but it is rare to go out sailing in the Gulf and not see a pod of dolphins. In my experience, they are usually very curious about the TI and come up quite close. In Crystal River there are hundreds of manatees in the winter. I love to take my TI down to being just a kayak and going swimming with them in Three Sisters Springs. I have not yet seen otters, though.
I do not have spray skirts on my TI. Personally, I would rather get a little wet than add even more set-up time. On hot summer days, I'm usually trying to hit a wave right and get some spray. That's definitely a personal preference thing and I would wait until you take yours out a couple of times to make that purchase. I would recommend the trampoline option though. They are great to lay out on and a perfect place to store snorkel or diving equipment and, of course, the cooler. As for trailers, I have the trailex and the cart with both sets of wheels. I have so far only used the beach wheels with the cart because I typically either beach launch or just launch off of a boat ramp.