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I finally got to take some time off from work, kids, tball, and fishing (lol, in case she reads this) and decided to take my wife on cruise aboard our 22' W/A. We are heading to Harbortowne Marina in Sandestin via Choctawhatchee Bay and just wanted to know if anyone else had made the trip down the Intercoastal and could provide me with any details regarding hazards, must stop fishing holes, sights, must bring alongs, etc. Any and all responses would be much appreciated as this will be our first trip East of Pensacola Beach.



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Once you have passed the Navarre Bridge be sure to take heed of the channel markers. It should start to turn south. Also careful taking the souther end around crab island it can be shallow.
 

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Like said above, stay in the channel and you'll have no problems. GPS should have it marked well. Just remember that the channel doesn't stay in the middle of the ICW. There is a few times that the channel moves to the south side then moves back to the north side. Good Luck and have fun.... Should be nice couple days for it..
 

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Hook (4/9/2010)Once you have passed the Navarre Bridge be sure to take heed of the channel markers. It should start to turn south. Also careful taking the souther end around crab island it can be shallow.
X2 - definetely follow the channels, there are lots of shallow spots. Also, before you get to the Navarre Bridge heading east, look for the channel markers along the north shore and follow those as well. The intercoastal between the bridge and Ft. Walton beach is a nice ride and if you feel like stopping for some "Island Time" along the way there are some really nice ones along the way, but again be very cautious of water depth. Can't offer any info on fishing spots, but there are lots of grass flats, so there should be something worth wetting a hook for. Have fun, and enjoy the ride.
 

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Hook (4/9/2010)Once you have passed the Navarre Bridge be sure to take heed of the channel markers. It should start to turn south. Also careful taking the souther end around crab island it can be shallow.
STAY IN THE CHANNEL MARKERS...
 

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The islands just east of Hurlburt are pretty and a convenient stop to explore,Helen Back pizza is just before Brooks Bridge (west and south) and has a dock, good pizza and cold drinks, and the incoming tide will have crab island lit up with gulf water especially after noon, good for an anchor and a swim. There are a lot of redfish in the marina at baytown
 

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Go under the Destin Bridge and at least take a quick tour of the Harbor. You can pull up on the beach there too, it's likely to be getting crowded on the Beach in the Harbor with the nice weather in the forecast. If you can anchor up by the Destin Bridge they been catching a ton of Sheepshead there. Remember there is a no wake zone around the Destin Bridge and Destin Harbor and then a minimum wake zone around the Brooks Bridge near Helen Back in Fort Walton Beach. Good luck and enjoy the trip!
 

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Great responses. One additional question - what kind of ride is it from Port St. Joe to Destin? I know that much of that is in the ICW. Are there significant portions of it that are no wake?
 

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I have made the trip several times. As already suggested it is an easy trip if you just folloe the channel markers. It is 36 miles as per GPS from the dock @ Portofino to Crab Island. I don't know what type of boat you have but that may help you on your cruising time. Have Fun !
 

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harbor walk in destin is a good stop. shops, food, couple good bars. across from all of that is noriega point (spelling is not my strong point) and you can pull up there and relax and sit or take a walk. coming from ft. walton, that is a good place to take the fam. islands inbetween ft. walton and navarre are also a good deal as stated...
 

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. Sounds like we are in for a treat in deed! I am figuring between 5 and 6 hrs for the trip. Does that sound about right? Launching from Navy Point is mostly like our starting point. I am not planning on dashing over there but putting along and enjoying the scenery for once.



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If you plan on docking at Baytowne, call the dock master on channel 16, they will tell you to go to channel 10 and then ask where to Dock and they will tell you where. The marina can be a busy place on weekends and dockage is all assigned.
 

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it has been many years since I have been through that strectch of the ICW ( 25 or so ? )

but didn't one of the green day boards used to be in a guys backyard ? on land ?
 

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Thanks again everyone. It is great to be in good company. We are planning on heading out next Tuesday. It is supposed to be raining then but we will find out on the water. I guess I better dust off the vinyl enclosures! Oh just by chance is anyone aware of a place to rent like a scooter off site. I was thinking of tossing one on the boat to scoot around on. I also heard that they may have something of the sort at the Harbortowne Marina. Any ideas?



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deltachidawg73 (4/13/2010)Thanks again everyone. It is great to be in good company. We are planning on heading out next Tuesday. It is supposed to be raining then but we will find out on the water. I guess I better dust off the vinyl enclosures! Oh just by chance is anyone aware of a place to rent like a scooter off site. I was thinking of tossing one on the boat to scoot around on. I also heard that they may have something of the sort at the Harbortowne Marina. Any ideas?

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You'll find scooters for rent in Destin, not sure about Baytowne Wharf, I think that's where you meant. The Destin Harbor has Harborwalk. I hope you enjoy your visit to our side of the Emerald Coast!
 

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We got back home Thursday morning. What a perfect trip. Thanks for all the input! Helen Backs was a cool spot with great pizza. I did spin my hub on the prop in the middle of Escambia Bay but only a 2 hour set back from the early start. However the blues were practicing and we got a free show. The Prop Shop got me back up with in a half hour. Seemed a bit pricey but I was at their mercy and again couldn't ask for a better TAT. Thanks guys! No fish in Sandestin but I found a nice Red Fish in the Pensacola Pass off the North Jetty that made for a delicious dinner on Fort McRae.

I would highly recommend anyone considering the trip to make it. It was fairly quick Navigational aides weren't too bad either. I only burned 46 gals including the trip back in from the prop spin one way to Sandestin on a 200 HP Black Max Merc. I can say I will definitely make the trip to Ft. Walton for the pizza again. That was fun.

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