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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:58 pm
Posts: 79
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
My wife and I are going to John pennenkamp state park for Thanksgiving week and we planned on bringing along our TI. I'm looking for some local knowledge as to some nice areas to sail around the area. Id love to combine some snorkeling and sailing if possible. I've read that sailing out to the main reefs are a bit far but I've heard certain small keys have interesting snorkeling around them. Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:31 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:23 am
Posts: 564
Location: Lake Norman NC
The gulf side is really really really shallow Try the ocean side Carry a paddle, anchor, VHF radio and plenty of beer. A new NOAA chart would be a good thing to look at before you shove off. Try one of the local dive boats to get out to the reef
Former Hobie Admiral Gary


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
Posts: 1442
Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
domromer :
It all depends on if your scuba diving or snorkeling, if snorkeling you will want to select shallower reefs, as the deep ones >30ft are not very interesting from the surface.

If you go to the wanna dive web site ( http://www.wannadive.net/spot/North_Ame ... non_Patch/) and find the cannon patch, it's very shallow and a perfect place to take your TI out to, it's about 6 miles travel time to get there but a lot of that is going thru the stupid mangroves. If you launch at the pennekamp boat launch it's not too bad.
My boat is rigged for open water and I have an engine, lots of sails, emergency gear (ie... flares, lights, FM radio, several GPS's, and a good compass). When we go diving we also typically tow along an inflatable boat for gear (tanks, BC's, coolers, etc) which also doubles as a life raft if needed. When doing stuff like this it's a good idea to have shore support, or go out in groups (more than one boat). We also have a boatUS membership so if we get in trouble, we can just contact them via FM or cell (cell gets a little sketchy on some of the outer dive sites).
I highly recommend you buy current charts of the area and carry them on board, (and know how to read them), also ask locals about rules and forbidden areas, for example you cannot ever use an anchor on the reefs, and spear guns are not allowed (not even on your boat) in some areas. If you stop into a place like divers direct in Key Largo they can fill you in and all the local rules, and might suggest good places to go.

Here is a plot to Cannon patch from google earth.
Image

Honestly you can just drop into the water anywhere in the area and see all kinds of beautiful stuff when snorkeling, you don't have to go all the way out to the reefs.

Have fun
Bob


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:58 pm
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Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
I think sailing out to the reef might be a bit much for us. We are still learning the boat and our only emergency equipment is the whistle on my wife's life jacket. I think we will start with baby steps. Like you said I can pretty much dive in anyhwere and see fish and such. I'm going on a snorkel trip from the state park so that should take care of that.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
domromer :
That's probably the best thing to do I've seen their boats out there many times. Unfortunately the best visibility is always when it is very calm with little to no wind (one of the reasons I have a motor and all the extra sails, plus I'm all rigged with radios, flares, lights, lifeboat, and a BoatUS membership).
Bob


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